KELLY Bravo is optimistic that her exciting speedster Striker Light will be able to overcome box five this Thursday night when the lids fly open for the Group 2 Laurels Classic (515m) at Sandown Park.
Trained by Bravo and her husband Brett, Striker Light has been ultra-consistent throughout the series, winning both her heat and semi-final in 29.39 and 29.53 respectively.
The most recent of those performances was on Sunday and included a breathtaking 4.92 first section – just 0.02 off Fernando Bale’s benchmark.
A winner of five of her six career runs, Bravo said she is hoping the black bitch will show the same dazzling speed in Thursday’s $50,000 decider.
“When we first started trialling her that’s how she used to begin – but when she started racing she stopped flying the lids – she would come out ok and then muster,” Bravo told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“It hard to do it at both ends and I am happy that she has got a first section because it is a lot harder trying to win races coming from behind.
“Hopefully she is starting to learn now and is getting into a nice pattern.”
A daughter of Kc And All and Pretty Fancy, Bravo concedes the Laurels series was a massive test for Striker Light, who had never raced beyond 450m prior to her heat.
“Last week (in her heat) was her first 500 and when the first two splits came up on the board I was just hoping she’d run it out – we were very happy with her.
“If you compare her to top dogs such as Black Magic Opal and El Grand Senor – they never had great run homes – but they put themselves out in front so it didn’t really matter.”
Striker Light will come up against a quality final this Thursday, including Fanta Bale and fellow semi-final winners Isla’s Style (29.85), Fearless Swan (29.53) and Up Hill Jill (29.53).
However, with her dazzling early speed, Bravo is hoping her promising youngster will be able to put herself in contention for the title.
“If she begins like she has been then box five shouldn’t really worry her – but she needs to come out because she is not really going to give herself a chance if she misses the kick or makes a few mistakes.
“She is pretty clever though, she tends to run straight and she doesn’t cut across so hopefully she can get a clear run and show what she is capable of.”
Striker Light is showing glimpses of being a top class chaser, with team Bravo considering a crack at the Group 1 National Futurity (520m) early next year at Wentworth Park.
At just 20 months of age, the future appears bright for the George Farrugia-owned bitch, who is a natural race-dog according to Bravo.
“She is a funny girl – she is really switched on – her attitude is more like a dog,” she said.
“When she gets to the track she doesn’t want to walk around – I have to pick her up and carry her – all she wants to do is get out on the track and race.”
The Group 2 Laurels Classic will be run at Sandown Park this Thursday night and is worth $50,000 to the winner.
Group 2 Laurels Classic – market
1 Up Hill Jill $8
2 Fair Of Face $26
3 Fanta Bale $2.80
4 Leave Me Out $34
5 Striker Light $2.65 with Crownbet
6 Fearless Swan $4.25
7 Isla’s Style $11
8 Poppy Pete $67
1st Res Shez Sublime $21
2nd Res Andrea Doria $21