SANDAVE Sapphire stamped herself as the top stayer in NSW with a terrific win in Saturday night’s Group 3 Wentworth Park Gold Cup (720m) at NSW’s premier racetrack.
The daughter of Miagi, which took out the 2008 Gold Cup, and Stately Sapphire exploded from box six, taking up the early lead ahead of Victorian star Lioness Lulu which had been sent to the boxes as the punter’s elect.
Despite putting everything into the chase, the favourite was not able to get anywhere near Sandave Sapphire which extended her lead in the run to the line to score a five length win in a sizzling 41.84.
Whittaker, which gained a start as the first reserve following the scratching of Explosive Range, filled the trifecta back in third spot.
Sandave Sapphire’s trainer Dave Richardson said he was quietly confident going into the $25,000 to the winner event.
“During the week she had been jumping out of her skin – probably the best she has felt for a long while,” Richardson told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Driving down I was pretty confident she would run well and when we got to the track all she wanted to do was get out there.
“When we walked onto the track before the race she was up on her back legs walking me to the boxes.
“When she was acting like that I thought: ‘God she is going to go good tonight’.
“I did get a bit worried early with [Lioness Lulu] sitting behind her, but once she got to the home turn I knew nothing would run her down because she is very strong.
“Any of these types of races are very hard to come by – I was over the moon when we won it last night and it is even more special because my wife Sandra owns the dog.”
The victory made it five wins from her past eight starts over the track and trip, with her cup winning time over four tenths quicker than her previous 42.27 personal best.
Richardson said he had been expecting Sandave Sapphire to improve, explaining his charge is finally getting used to the tough staying racing regime.
“When you first start stayers off they have to build their stamina up – which she has been – but it can take them a while because they are hard runs and it can be difficult to keep them up for a long time,” he said.
“I knew she would go better than her 42.27 from a couple of weeks ago – although I thought she would run around 42.00 – so when I looked up at the clock and saw 41.84 I did get a bit of a surprise.
“With that being said she has always been a fast bitch – she ran a length outside of the track record at Maitland when she won there and I took her up to Grafton last July and trialled her over the 600 on the Tuesday morning and she ran a length outside the track record.”
Sandave Sapphire’s triumph also took her bank account to a healthy $55,357, with the black bitch, alongside her brother Sandave Prince, being very good money spinners for Richardson who thanked their rearer, Dave Brown, for all his hard work raising the duo.
“Sandra whelped the litter for the bloke that owns their mother (Stately Sapphire) and she asked him if she could buy a pup so she picked [Sandave Sapphire],” he said.
“When it came time for them to go away and get reared we asked if he had any more for sale which is how we ended up with [Sandave Prince] who now holds the track record at Bulli.
“He is a different style of dog – although he is very powerful he will never run 600 or 700 metres.
“They can both run though, that’s for sure.”
Richardson said he has no definite plans for Sandave Sapphire, but concedes he is keen to contest some feature races across the country.
“I won’t race her next week,” he said.
“Because of the time she run last night she has got to be a little bit flat – even though when I put her in the galloping yards this morning she was digging holes and running around in circles.
“I’ll take her back to Wentworth Park in two weeks and then after that I might have a look at some races interstate – there are a couple of good races coming up in Melbourne and one up in Brisbane – so we have a few options.
“If we don’t go in the races we will never know what might have happened, so you have got to have a go while you have a dog which is good enough.”