IT started as the week from hell for Kelly and Brett Bravo, but it ended on a high on Saturday night when Scott Keeping (Bekim Bale x Kim Keeping May ’15) caused a boilover in the Group 3 Summer Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park.
Starting from box two as a $17 chance, the black dog was hampered in the early stages before settling just behind the pace as greyhound racing’s golden girl, Fanta Bale (David Bale x Ucme Typhoon Aug ’14), charged to the lead.
Fanta Bale, which recently became the third greyhound to win $1 million, appeared to have a race winning break down the back, but the Rob Britton-trained champion began to tire swinging into the home straight.
That was when Scott Keeping unleashed his finishing burst in the run to the line, hitting the front in the shadows of the post and scoring by a neck in a handy 42.45.
Big Daddy Bee (Kinloch Brae x Winning Charm Jan ’15) rounded out the placings back in third ahead of Packey Keeping, a litter brother to Scott Keeping which is also trained by team Bravo.
Speaking to Australian Racing Greyhound after the race, Kelly Bravo said box two was the ideal draw for Scott Keeping which had been knocking on the door with some cracking placings behind some classy stayers in recent weeks.
“He hasn’t had much luck with box draws since we’ve had him, but he was suited in box two so we gave him a rough chance,” Bravo said.
“Fanta Bale is a great bitch so you obviously can’t go into these races expecting to beat her and in fairness to her I believe they slightly harrowed the track at Wentworth Park and that wouldn’t have suited her.
“During the race I was basically hoping he’d run a place when she led so easily, but swinging for home I thought ‘he might give her a run for her money here’ and he managed to get there just in time.”
Scott Keeping has now won three races from 27 starts and has run 10 placings, his earnings now sitting above $40,000 for Bravo and his owner/breeder Shayne Stiff.
Saturday’s win capped off a good night for team Bravo who also took out the Ballarat Cup consolation with the talented Hone In (Spring Gun x Benalla Doll Oct ’14) which was able to overcome box five to stop the clock in 25.14 over the 450m trip.
Hone In was due to head towards the heats of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand (461m) this week, but due to a misunderstanding with nomination closing times the 13-time winner missed a start.
Saturday night’s pair of wins also helped soften the blow of having to scratch their kennel star Striker Light (Kc And All x Pretty Fancy Mar ’15) from the $47,000 Group 2 Ballarat Cup final after she sustained an injury when winning her heat the Saturday prior.
Thankfully, Bravo explained the dual group 1 winner shouldn’t be on the sidelines for too long.
“She has a slight tear in her triangle muscle so she is probably out for four to six weeks.
“The swelling has all gone out of it and she has already started swimming again, but it is one of those things you can’t rush so she just needs a bit of time.
“Obviously it was disappointing but we have been lucky that she has stayed sound for so long and the injury could have been much worse – it’s not career ending so hopefully she is back racing soon.”
Group 3 Sydney Cup – full results
1st: Scott Keeping (2) – Brett Bravo – $17
2nd: Fanta Bale (8) – Rob Britton – $2.10
3rd: Big Daddy Bee (1) – Ray Smith – $10
4th: Packey Keeping (4) – Brett Bravo – $21
5th: Ebby Ripper (7) – Michael Eberand – $6
6th: Fire And Smoke (5) – Christopher Carl – $71
7th: Zipping Lady (3) – Marty Hallinan – $26
8th: Bogie Bekim (6) – Ben Rawlings – $3.30
Margins: neck x 1
1st section: 16.12 (8)
2nd section: 29.68 (8)
Run home: 12.77 (2)