Stagger Out Lee still has more to give after Bold Trease win
Bold Trease Final-winning trainer Jack Strutt believes Stagger Out Lee's best is still to come after her incredible last-to-first win at Sandown Park on Saturday night.
Like the way she built into her race to salute in the Group 1 feature over 715m, with $105,000 going to the triumphant connections, Strutt believes his two-year-old bitch is slowly but surely building an excellent career.
And it is also reminding him of her mother, Parrydise Star, who retired in January 2017 with 10 wins from 49 starts.
They are solid numbers, but it took her 14 starts to notch her second victory following her maiden salute in start No.2.
“It seems to me that she (Stagger Out Lee) needs three or four runs at a track to know where she is,” Strutt told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“With every run, you can see she takes three or five lengths off.
“I'm told her mother was a very slow bitch to mature as well.
“You can see that with her and her siblings they've shown some ability.
“But now they're all starting to click a bit.
“Hopefully she's still on the up, hasn't yet hit her peak and she can keep going.
“Hopefully she's like her mother and her peak isn't till she's three and a half years old.”
Despite the way Stagger Out Lee stormed home from last just before the turn to salute in 41.71 seconds, Strutt said she pulled up well on Sunday.
2022 Bold Trease Final replay | Stagger Out Lee (1st)
“She bounced back well. She was up on her toes again in the morning when I got back up,” he said after her 1 ½-length victory over Cawbourne Magic for Andy and Jodie Lord.
“She wasn't knocked around too much from the run.
“She'll go to The Gardens (for the Newcastle Cup heats over 715m) on Friday.
“She loves the track at Newcastle. First time I took her up there over 600, she won by nearly 15 lengths.
“So she does go well there. She hasn't had a 700m race there, but there are some very good NSW stayers.
“I don't know where a lot of them are at in terms of their fitness at the moment.
“Super Estrella and Zipping Kansas (will be competitive) and we'll probably see Cawbourne Magic up there again.”
With four wins from her past four starts, Stagger Out Lee could be set for a very festive Christmas.
“Whether or not we get an invitation to the Christmas Cheer at Wenty, we'll have to make a decision to head up there with her,” the Wagga Wagga-based conditioner said.
“Or down to Sale for the Sale Cup Carnival.
“I think the Sale track really suits her because she likes to tuck in on the bends at the big track.
“She trialed there a couple of months back and I was really satisfied with her trial because she's not really a clock dog.
“If we do go to the Christmas Cheer we can take her back down for Sale Cup Night for the match race (on Boxing Day).
“Her ranking is probably high enough to get a start there.”
For someone who is just 24 and in the sixth year of a double degree (Bachelor of Economics/Finance and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Wollongong), Strutt has already built up a respectable knowledge of greyhound racing.
He did his apprenticeship under some of the best conditioners in Victoria – Correy and Samantha Grenfell – at their Anakie property for nine months from August last year.
That connection came through Strutt's father, Paul, who assists him with their operation at their Springvale property on the Wagga Wagga outskirts.
Jack and Paul get along with Michael Finn, whose dogs are trained by the Grenfells.
“It was very instrumental going down there and working for them, and seeing how they do it,” Strutt said.
“You pick things up real quickly, especially because they had close to 80 dogs in work.
“And here I've got not even eight. So you pick it up 10 times as fast.
“And they've learned off heaps of big trainers over the years like Graeme Bate.
“So they obviously know what they're doing.”
Like Stagger Out Lee, the level-headed Strutt has an impressive future in front of him both at and away from the track.
He drove back to Wagga Wagga after his Bold Trease triumph and arrived in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
With dogs and text books to attend to, there wasn't much time to celebrate, despite the fact many his age would have treated themselves to a deserved night out.
“They (studying and greyhound training) fit in well together, I think. I have to manage my time pretty well with the dogs,” Strutt said.
“With the dogs you know exactly what you want to be doing each day, and what time.
“You want to keep the same process day-to-day. With the study it's just filling the time in between.
“With exams, I might need Mum and Dad to help out.
“If the times clash and I'm meant to be doing something with the dogs, I'll have to get them to help out.
“But that's not too often.”
And right now while Stagger Out Lee is winning good money, there is no rush to learn on the job quickly at a law firm, like he did training greyhounds with the Grenfells.
“I think so (being there for Stagger Out Lee is the priority), while she's still going around,” Strutt said.
“I think I've only got one semester left, so just two more subjects.
“I'll just see how it goes – I'm not looking to jump straight into it.
“It'll be six and a half years at uni by the time I'm finished. I never took a break after school.”