Trained in Victoria by David Geall, Up Hill Jill ran sixth in last year’s final won by Striker Light, but since then has gone on to become one of the top racers in the country – her career highlight being a sensational win in the Group 1 Topgun at The Meadows.
Up Hill Jill comes into the series having run second in the Group 2 Richmond Oaks last Friday night. Fittingly, she also finished second in last year’s Oaks final before venturing to Wenty for the series.
Geall is hopeful history can repeat in this year’s Egg heats when ‘Jill’ jumps from box two in the first heat – taking on a cracking field including Richmond Oaks place getter Miss Splendamiro, Richmond Derby runner-up Wild Walter and National Futurity finalist Zinkey.
“When Miss Splendamiro moved up behind her at Richmond last week I thought she was going to beat her for second, but Jill being Jill just showed that she is all heart and she dug deep,” Geall told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I was very happy with that run which is why we decided to push on towards the Egg and I am happy with her going into the heats this week.
“I know she hasn’t won for a few starts now, but she always seems to bounce back and I think she can do that on Saturday.
“She is back at her favourite track too. She goes well everywhere I take her, but she does seem to really love Wenty – she always mixes it with the top dogs there.”
Up Hill Jill has qualified for 14 group finals throughout her career, winning twice (the Topgun and the Laurels) and placing on a further 10 occasions. All up she has faced the starter 64 times for 33 wins, 20 seconds and three thirds, with prize money in excess of $511,936.
Geall acknowledges ‘Jill’ is likely to be having her second and final crack at winning the Egg, having turned three last month. Despite competing with the best of the best consistently since December 2016, Geall says Jill is still racing as well as ever.
“Someone made the comment the other day that she seems to have lost her early pace, but I don’t think that’s the case, although I do think she is getting a bit stronger.
UP HILL JILL will go into tonight’s Group 1 Paws of Thunder final as the red hot favourite!
Will this be the night she breaks through for her first Wentworth Park Group win?
Wenty Park Preview: https://t.co/sIM8aUa7SL pic.twitter.com/V3yiG1lZpC
— The Dogs (@Thedogs_com_au) January 20, 2018
“She will definitely be one of the most experienced dogs in the series – she has been doing this for a long time and now she is starting to come up against some of the new young ones such as Blue Sky Riot.
“But she is still going well and she loves her racing – hopefully that experience helps her out in this series.”
Ten heats of the Easter Egg will be held this Saturday night, featuring the nation’s best which have won a combined total of 29 group races. Headlining the series is dual group 1 winner Out Of Range, Group 1 National Futurity and Richmond Oaks winner Blue Sky Riot, defending champion Striker Light, Australian Cup winner Hecton Bale, Melbourne Cup superstar Aston Dee Bee, three-time group 1 runner-up Slick.
The first three from each heat will progress through to the semi-finals as well as the two fastest fourths, ahead of the $250,000 to the winner final which will be run and won on Saturday March 31. The first Golden Easter Egg heat will jump at 7.27pm.