DARWIN Cup winner Off And On (Tomac Bale x Jackie’s Trouble Mar ’15) turned plenty of heads on debut at Ipswich on Friday night with a brilliant 30.31 win over 520m for trainer Tom Tzouvelis.
The black bitch was having her first start in just over a month and sprinted incredibly well fresh, carving across from box eight and blitzing her rivals by seven-and-three-quarter lengths on the line.
The time wasn’t far off the fifth grade class record over the track and trip which is held by Slick (Dyna Lachlan x Pearl Za Zinger Apr ’15) at 30.14.
Tzouvelis, who has always touted Off And On as a stayer of the future, says he wasn’t surprised to see his bonny bitch perform so brilliantly over the sprint.
“When she is fresh she sprints well which allows us to put her in races you wouldn’t normally expect her to be in,” Tzouvelis told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She actually went into the race on Friday a bit underdone which makes her run even better.
“A few weeks ago I scratched her from the heats of the Lismore Cup because she came on season.
“Because of that I wasn’t able to give her much work, she only had two trials including a box to box at Ipswich.”
Despite her lack of race fitness going into Friday, Tzouvelis said he wasn’t concerned given Off And On’s stamina.
“Luckily she is naturally very strong. I wasn’t really worried about putting her in on Friday – she handled the track well when I gave her a box to box and she was well-graded.”
The 30-kilogram bitch is now the winner of 12 races from 26 starts, having also run six placings and banked over $50,000 for Tzouvelis and the That’s Special Syndicate.
The prominent Queensland trainer said Off And On will now be aimed at the heats of the Group 3 Ipswich Cup which will be run over 520m on Saturday night.
“It has worked out well – the run on Friday served as a trial at Ipswich so she’ll head towards the Cup now.
“It was good because she would have gotten a bit of confidence out of that win the other day too.”
Tzouvelis has had a great 2017, winning the Darwin Cup with Off and On as well as the Group 3 Townsville Cup with Gadsby’s Road (Glen Gallon x Gotcha Coota Aug ’14).
He is hoping one of his other kennel stars, Maurice Minor (Cosmic Rumble x Shabeky Jun ’15), will soon be on the track again after the three-time group finalist sustained a nasty shoulder injury in the SA Derby final at Angle Park.
The red fawn dog is a smokey to make an appearance in the heats of the Ipswich Cup next Saturday night.
“He had his first trial back this week – he went enormous and trialled the same time Off And On did box to box.
“Fingers crossed he holds together – he’ll trial again on Monday and if he goes well I may consider putting a nomination in for the Ipswich Cup.
“But at this stage I am planning on setting him for the Hobart Thousand next month.”