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.
“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.
“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.”