FIFTEEN Two (Thirteen Black x Millie Grace Mar ’14) completed his preparations for a crack at the Group 1 Hobart Thousand (461m) with a stylish win over the track and trip at Hobart last Tuesday.
Trained by Dale Hammersley, Fifteen Two began slowly off box four, dropping out towards the back end of the field in the early stages.
Staying in the middle of the track, the black dog began working into the race around the turn before unleashing in the home straight, kicking clear to win by one length in 26.19.
Hammersley, who has been training greyhounds for more than three decades, says the win should put his charge in good stead for the Hobart Thousand heats.
“It was a pretty good win – he has been racing really well since coming back from Melbourne,” Hammersley told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He has had 11 starts back here for five wins and five placings so you can’t fault his form going into the heats and he is a very good chaser – he would go through a brick wall.”
Fifteen Two, which finished sixth in the 2016 Hobart Thousand, comes into this year’s series as the winner of 22 of his 65 starts with 23 minor placings.
Owned by the Dog Squad Syndicate, Fifteen Two has drawn box one in his qualifier, having carried the red rug four times for two wins and a placing so far throughout his career.
It won’t be an easy mission to make the final, coming up against some quality chasers including recent Melbourne Cup place getter Kouta Mayhem (Fabregas x Belle’s Melody Feb ’15), Queensland star Maurice Minor (Cosmic Rumble x Shabeky Jun ’15) and the in-form Leeroy Rogue (Big Daddy Cool x Fantasy Royale Apr ’14).
“His biggest downfall is that he isn’t a brilliant beginner,” Hammersley said.
“But if he happened to come out a little bit better and got a clear run I have no doubt he could break the 26 second mark easily.
“I’m not saying he will win his heat, but he is in there with a big show.”
Success in the Hobart Thousand would be a career highlight for Hammersley who trains a small team of dogs as a hobby.
He is assisted by his wife and daughter as well as some of his friends and says it would be a big thrill for every member of the team if Fifteen Two could race well in the series.
“It would be our biggest win, for sure. He qualified for the Hobart Thousand last year, the Launceston Cup and he ran third in the consolation for the Devonport Cup.
“He has been thereabouts so it would be lovely to see him win a nice race and winning the Hobart Thousand would change a lot of things.
“It would also be great for the owners – every time the dog is in there is always four or five people from the syndicate there watching him.
“Having good owners makes it so much more enjoyable – they are a great bunch of people.”