2012 was a extraordinary year for Pearcedale mentor Jason Thompson, as his leading charges dominated Group racing Australia-wide claiming a remarkable six Group One's, three Group Two's and one Group Three event worth a staggering $1.1million dollars in total prizemoney.
There was no greater recipient for Australian Trainer of the Year than Thompson, with his bid to secure back to back titles well on track, after a sensational start to his 2013 campaign including four outstanding victories at Warrnambool last night.
The astute trainer's best performer come from one of the hottest greyhounds on the racing scene at present in Ronan Izmir. Securing his seventh consecutive victory, the new 460m track record holder at Geelong, was ultra-impressive once again beginning fiercely from box four and producing a sizzling display, clocking 25.16 in taking out heat six of the Group Two Warrnambool Cup. As expected, Thompson has high hopes for his newest kennel sensation:
“He's just started to come of age. He just got etched out on running the best of the night by 0.002 of a second which is nothing so I'm really pleased with his effort. Every run his getting more experience and improving which you can ask for much more”.
Despite coming up with an unfavourable box six draw in next Wednesday night's $40,000 to the winner final ,Thompson is very much optimistic that the son of Elite State and Adhara Izmir's early speed will become a vital factor after clocking the fastest early section of the heats, running 6.52.
‘The box isn't ideal; in saying that he does have genuine early speed and if he clears them he can win. The first turn will be very tight and whoever gets through is likely to be the winner. I just hope it's one of mine! said Thompson.
Remarkably before Ronan Izmir's dominating display, Thompson already had two qualifiers into next week's final in El Brooklyn and Ima Geisha Girl, who came up with boxes six and eight respectively.
Last year's Group Two Warrnambool Classic winner El Brooklyn returned to his brilliant best in heat four producing a beautiful exhibition of racing in a smart time of 25.37 from box eight. Owned by Thompson's partner Seona Hood, the son of El Galo and Dark Marne has been on the road since March, taking out the Group Three Ultra Sense final at Wentworth Park and was a finalist in the recent Group Two Maitland Gold Cup. Returning to home soil certainly paid dividends for Thompson who was very pleased with his chasers effort.
“He returned to his best last night. His been on the road a fair bit but I was confident he would perform well. Again, box five in the final isn't ideal, however his a good beginner which will help him overcome that”.
Thompson's extremely affluent relationship with marvellous trainer Reg Kay also continued last night when Ima Geisha Girl pinged from box four and led throughout in a speedy time of 25.36. It wasn't all smooth sailing for the 27kg featherweight by Bombastic Shiraz out of Kay's outstanding broodbitch Elite Oriental, after being dragged down at the first turn giving Thompson plenty of hope for further improvement in next week's final.
“She lost a lot of momentum when she got dragged down from behind. She is only small so it takes her a bit for her to get going again and that definitely affected her time. Box eight is not too bad because she will get the fly from out wide and hopefully can lead at the first turn”.
Not surprisingly, Thompson is ecstatic to have three runners into the final, however will have to contend with another star chaser in Kel Greenough's Paw Licking who clocked a flying 25.15 (BON) in the final heat of the night from box one.
“Paw Licking was very good and has come up from box three next week which will be tough. I just hope one of my dogs can get to the front early and try to hold him and the other runners out. I would have been happy to get one through to the final but to get three is excellent and as long as they all get around safe that's the main thing I'll be hoping for” said a humble Thompson.
Wednesday night could provide Thompson with a double dose of Group wining glory after Proven Nitro put in a dazzling performance to secure a spot in the $75,000 Group Two Warrnambool Classic final. After exiting from the tricky box five, the son of Nitro Burst and Proven Cobalt quickly mustered genuine pace to clock a fast 25.37, with his master trainer elated with the performance.
“I knew box five would be difficult so I freshened him up during the week to try and get him to jump and it worked. His really come of age and is the most experienced dog in the race so I have total confidence in his ability. Box two is perfect for him in the final so I'm confident he can repeat the performance. His been set for this race for a while and personally I wouldn't swap him for any other dog” said a delighted Thompson.
Jason Thompson and his team emulate what all greyhound trainers aspire to be through hard work and immaculate preparation that ultimately leads to their astonishing results on the track. After a stunning 2012, Thompson looks set for another year of Group racing supremacy with all his greyhounds certainly worth adding to any avid follower's blackbook.
Box Draw for Group Two 2013 Warrnambool Classic
1. Lady Dee Dee (Karen Leek)
2. Proven Nitro (Jason Thompson)
3. Anathema (Darren Brown)
4. Daintree Emperor (Lauren Gorman)
5. Daintree Dynasty (Gary Joske)
6. Daintree Warrior (Lauren Gorman)
7. Premier Event (Angela Langton)
8. Blue Flute (Chris Johannsen)
Box Draw for Group Two 2013 Warrnambool Cup
1. Peter Rocket (Keith Hellmuth)
2. Garrick Bale (Andrea Dailly)
3. Paw Licking (Kelvyn Greenough)
4. Shroder Bale (Graeme Bate)
5. El Brooklyn (Jason Thompson)
6. Ronan Izmir (Jason Thompson)
7. Whispering Wind (Angela Langton)
8. Ima Geisha Girl (Jason Thompson)