LIONESS Lulu will return to the scene of her biggest career win on Saturday night when she targets the first of two heats of the Group 3 Wentworth Park Gold Cup (720m) in the Harbour City.
Her return to the Sydney track will mark one week since the fawn flash scored a devastating win in the Group 1 Association Cup (720m), giving her 22 year old trainer Mark Giddings his first group win in the process.
Starting as the $5.80 third favourite in the $75,000 to the winner feature, the daughter of Big Daddy Cool and Jackie’s Capri began swiftly from box eight, taking up the early lead.
The pocket rocket chaser made it a one act affair out in front, drawing clear to score by a widening seven and one quarter lengths in the run to the line, clocking 42.21 in the process.
Giddings is still on cloud nine after the win, but is ready to get back to business this weekend when his prized bitch lines up from box two.
“I’m still buzzing, it’s something that will probably never sink in, but I am looking forward to coming back up on Saturday and hopefully she will go good again,” Giddings told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She has pulled up really well after last week, she is ready to go so hopefully she can come up with the bickies.”
Lioness Lulu, $2.10 with Bet365, will meet a handy staying field including the likes of Whittaker ($3.60), which finished second in the Association Cup, and talented middle distance chaser Explosive Range ($7) which is having his first crack at the testing half mile.
Giddings said Lioness Lulu is really starting to settle in to the routine of being a distance chaser and says it would not surprise him to see her shave time off her 42.09 PB over the track and trip.
“She used to be a little bit stressy, but she is getting a lot better and she is starting to settle down a lot,” he said.
“I think the track might have felt a little bit softer under foot (last week) than what it did (for her heat).
“If the track is in good order this week I can’t see why she can’t run [a good] time again and possibly give the 42 second mark a nudge.”
Lioness Lulu has been a terrific buy for Giddings, who says he never expected the 26 kilogram chaser to transform into a top quality stayer.
“It was a fluke to be honest,” Giddings laughed.
“We bought her for $2000 and we played around with her over 500m for a long time because she never showed any inkling early on that she was going to stay.
“I always thought she might be able to run a little bit more ground, but I never would have picked her to run out the 700 week in week out like she has been.
“One day we decided to step her up and she ran a really good second over the 650m, from there we decided to have a crack at the Superstayers series and the rest is history.”
Lioness Lulu is racing in great form since making the step up in trip, having had six starts over the middle and long distances for two wins and three placings, including the Association Cup and a third in the Group 1 Superstayers.
“She likes the 700 – it has made it a bit easier for her having that bit of extra breathing room early – she is able to position up in the first couple early whereas over the 500 she was always back in the pack and finding bother.
“She is only small – so it knocks her twice as hard when she gets a bump because she is only 26 kilos.”
Giddings also said he was incredibly thankful for the support he has received from the widespread greyhound fraternity since landing Saturday’s win.
“It is really good to have a lot of support from the industry and I also have my friends and family behind me all the way,” he said.
“Every time I have gone to the races this week everyone has been coming up and shaking my hand to congratulate me – it has been really good.”
Watch Lioness Lulu (8) winning the Group 1 Association Cup.