VICTORIAN trainer Gerry O’Keeffe is hoping his superstar stayer Ring The Bell can bounce back to his brilliant best in Saturday night’s Group 3 Summer Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park.
The brindle dog was dismal in his heat of the feature last weekend, finishing two and one quarter lengths fourth behind Acheron in a performance which O’Keeffe considered to be lacklustre.
“Although he surged late when the race was nearly over and was only beaten just over two lengths, I was quite disappointed with his run,” O’Keeffe told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I am not sure whether it’s just a case of him not liking Wentworth Park, but that will be answered on Saturday night and I am hoping he will go better.”
The brindle powerhouse will start from box two in the feature, the first time he has drawn inside box three in 11 starts.
Fittingly, the last time Ring The Bell started wearing the black and white stretch vest he scored a determined triumph in the Group 1 National Distance Championship at Angle Park.
“He appreciates the inside – he seems to surge earlier and chase harder.
“I was absolutely thrilled with myself when I picked box two – that’s the closest the dog has had to the rails in a very long time.
“I am hoping box two will play to his advantage and that any feelings that the dog isn’t at his best at Wentworth Park are dispelled on Saturday night.”
A victor of 16 of his 55 starts, Ring The Bell is also the winner of $241,798 in prize money, with a triumph in Saturday night’s feature set to add another $25,000 to that figure.
Amazingly, Ring The Bell’s litter have won a staggering $816,499 between them – with the figure mainly bolstered by Blazin’ Bomber ($194,830) and Bells Are Ringin ($284,178).
O’Keeffe, who also trained Bells Are Ringin to win the Sandown Cup, said it has been an exceptional ride with his talented duo.
“The ride has been outstanding with this bloke and his sister Bells Are Ringin’ who is now retired and currently living in a backyard in Drouin with a little terrier as best friend.
“The owners are waiting for her to come on season and then she will be mated.
“We decided to retire her with 50-odd starts – she had won over $280,000 in prize money and far exceeded our expectations so we couldn’t ask for anything more.”
However, O’Keeffe has his fingers crossed the ride is far from over with Ring The Bell, who only turned three years of age last month, and is hoping he can regain his best form this weekend.
“It is a handy field – Acheron was an outstanding run in its heat – it came from a long way back to win and it is the one to beat.
“I find that if you go into these races with expectations you often feel disappointed, so I try to go into them just hoping he will go well.”
The Group 3 Summer Cup is race six at Wentworth Park on Saturday night and is set to jump at 9:18pm.
Group 3 Summer Cup – market
1 Winsome April $4.20
2 Ring The Bell $3.50 with Crownbet
3 Whittaker $9
4 Nangar Flame $15
5 Acheron $6
6 Melissa’s Pride $8
7 Gunnadoo Cove $7.50
8 Lovelace $7