TONY Brett will be aiming for an unprecedented fifth straight success in Thursday night’s Group 1 Winter Cup at Albion Park when he puts the collar on the two veterans in the race, Keybow (box three) and Flash Reality (box six).
Both dogs are multiple Group winners and are returning from some time on the sidelines, but Brett remains hopeful his grand campaigners can perform well against some of the best young sprinters in the country.
“They are the old legs in the field up against the up and comers,” Brett said.
“Pop The Cork and Dyna Double One are the new kids on the block and my blokes have already won Group 1s.
“Getting them into the final was a massive thrill and now that we are there anything can happen.”
Dyna Double One has been installed as the $2.15 favourite with Bet365 after his phenomenal 29.51 track record run in his heat last week, while local boom sprinter Pop The Cork is a $3.50 proposition from box one.
Keybow, currently $5.50, is a relatively new addition to Brett’s Grandchester kennels, with the former Victorian making the move to the Sunshine State in March.
Owned in NSW by Kel Lean, the rising four year old has an impeccable record in top company, being the winner of two Group 1s (Perth Cup & Brisbane Cup), one Group 3 (Silver Bullet) and a placegetter or finalist in a further five Group events.
After beginning brilliantly from an identical draw in his heat last Thursday, the son of Take The Kitty and Key Exit faded in the run home, running a credible second behind boom pup Pop The Cork.
“We had a few setbacks with him leading up to the heats so I knew he’d go into the heats a bit underdone,” Brett said.
“For him to ping and go was the main thing, I knew he’d get tired, but he still ran 29.91 and he got through – I know there is a bit more in the tank for this week, for sure.”
Brett is confident with a clean beginning Keybow can show his brilliance again this Thursday night.
“If he can get out like he did last week he is going to go close to leading the race.
“I know he can’t run the track record times that Pop The Cork and Dyna Double One can, but I reckon he can run quick enough on the bunny that if there is a little bit of strife behind him then he can hold on.
“The dog is a champion…it would just be nice to see him come back with a clean slate and show everyone that he can win a Group 1 on his merits because he is a lovely dog.”
Brett will also put the polish on Flash Reality, $12 with Sportsbet, last year’s Winter Cup winner, which has been plagued by a recurring hock injury throughout the last 12 months.
At just his third start back last week, Flash Reality proved he is still a seriously talented individual, posting an impressive 29.87 over the 520-metre trip.
“He did a hock and had three months off and then we got him back and he won a couple at Albion Park which got him an invite into the Temlee,” Brett said.
“Unfortunately the same thing happened, after the Temlee he pulled up with a sore hock in the catching pen again so from there it was another three months on the sidelines.
“I knew I would be pushing it to get him ready for this race so it was exactly what I was looking for with him last week – I knew he still had it in him, he just had to bounce out.
“ When he bounced out like that I knew then that we would see the real Flash back.
“He has missed a lot of racing in the past year, but he seems to be pulling up good on it and now he is really hitting his straps – this will be his fourth run back and he is coming good at the right time.”
Brett feels that Flash Reality is boxed well in the six.
“The box is right for him because he would prefer to be off the track. If he can stay out of trouble and run his 29.70 or 80 he is going to be there for a long, long way.
“The legs might not be as quick as they were 12 months ago, but I don’t think he is far off – he isn’t a track record dog anymore, but he has got some improvement in him from last week.”
If Flash Reality can make it back-to-back wins in the Winter Cup he will emulate the feats of Brett’s former champion Glen Gallon, affectionately known as ‘Mac’, which won the feature in 2012 & 2013.
Brett also won the 2011 edition of the Winter Cup with Iso Octane and admits it is an enormous thrill to be going for five straight.
“Mac was running around the kennels this morning and we had Flash out in the yard – so we told him to give him a few hints on how to win it again,” Brett joked.
“It is pretty special all round.”
Below are the stats for each runner in the Winter Cup final, with comments courtesy of Australian Racing Greyhound’s expert form analyst, Brad Bugeja.
Box One: Pop The Cork
Black Dog – 29.8kg – July 2013
Brett Lee x Ima Geisha Girl
Prize money: $35,633
Trainer: Peter Ruetschi
Career: 12: 8-0-0
T/D: 10: 6-0-0
T/D Best: 29.58
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Young Guns, Albion Park 29.58, 29.59, 29.66, 29.67, FINALIST 2015 Listed Flying Amy Classic.
“Superstar in the making and easily one of the fastest chasers in the land. In recent weeks he has scored some devastating wins over this track and trip and with a clear run he is a major player, however my big concern with him is that he doesn’t begin all that well and he is better suited to a wider draw. Clearly he is a great winning chance but I think he is under the odds and he will need a lot of things to go his way early on.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $3.50 with Bet365
Box Two: Fabulous Storm
Black Dog – 32.0kg – February 2013
Fabregas x Whirly Storm
Prize money: $64,127
Trainer: Reg Hazelgrove
Career: 34: 9-8-10
T/D: 19: 5-4-6
T/D Best: 29.80
Career Highlights: 3RD 2015 Group 2 Queensland Derby, 2015 Listed Flying Amy Classic, 2015 Young Guns.
“Ultra consistent speedster and he deserves his spot in the final. Last week he showed a great turn of speed before going on to score in a zippy 29.90. Like the red I would prefer him from a wider draw but if he does happen to step and drive through early he could definitely feature in the placings.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $26 with Bet365
Box Three: Keybow
Black Dog – 31.1kg – December 2011
Take The Kitty x Key Exit
Prize money: $508,206
Trainer: Tony Brett
T/D: 9: 5-2-0
T/D Best: 29.67
Career Highlights: WON 2014 Group 1 Perth Cup, 2014 Group 1 Brisbane Cup, 2014 Group 3 Silver Bullet, 2ND 2014 Group 1 Australian Cup, 2014 Group 2 Cranbourne Cup, 3RD 2014 Group 1 Melbourne Cup, FINALIST 2014 Group 1 Topgun, 2014 Group 2 Queensland Derby.
“I think last week he showed that he is clearly a little past his best but he is still more than competitive and he could run a big race. There is very little speed drawn underneath him tonight and that should allow him to settle in the top two or three. He doesn’t appear to be as strong as he used to be but if they shuffle up behind him mid race, he might be able to steal the prize.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $5.50 with Bet365
Box Four: Dawkins Bale
Black Dog – 30.9kg – February 2013
Turanza Bale x Bala Bale
Prize money: $126,538
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
T/D: 3: 2-1-0
T/D Best: 29.76
Career Highlights: 2ND 2015 Group 1 Golden Easter Egg.
“Last week he returned to his best form with a dazzling heat win in 29.76 and he is my top pick for the final. He managed to break the 5.60 barrier to the first marker and with a clean getaway tonight he should be able to follow Keybow across early and assume control mid race. He is a very hard chaser to get past when in the lead and at the $7.00 mark he is huge overs.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $7.00 with Bet365
Box Five: Dyna Double One
Black Dog – 34.5kg – March 2013
Barcia Bale x Crystin Bale
Prize money: $148,498
Trainer: Andrea Dailly
Career: 24: 13-6-2
T/D: 1: 1-0-0
T/D Best: 29.51 TR
Career Highlights: WON 2015 Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation, Albion Park 29.51 TR, The Meadows 29.43, Wentworth Park 29.55, 2ND 2015 Group 2 WA Derby, 2015 Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic, 3RD 2015 Group 1 Silver Chief Classic, FINALIST 2015 Group 1 Golden Easter Egg.
“One out he is probably the fastest chaser in the land and he showed his true class with a record breaking performance in his heat. Prior to his 29.51 heat win last week, he had gone sub 29.60 in his three Wentworth Park runs and he has began well in each of his past four runs. The box draw is a big concern tonight but if he does get away on terms he should be winning. He would normally be my top pick but he can miss the kick on occasions and from box five he may get squeezed out early.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $2.15 with Bet365
Box Six: Flash Reality
Black Dog – 33.3kg – December 2011 Premier Fantasy x Orara Flash
Prize money: $191,363
Trainer: Tony Brett
Career: 28: 15-2-5
T/D: 21: 14-0-4
T/D Best: 29.58
Career Highlights: WON 2014 Group 1 Winter Cup, 2014 Group 2 Queensland Derby, 2014 Queensland Sprint Championship, 2014 Byrne Memorial, Albion Park 29.58, 3RD 2014 Group 1 Dapto Megastar, FINALIST 2014 Group 1 National Sprint Championship, 2015 Group 1 Temlee.
“He had been disappointing for a little while, however last week he bounced back to form with a slick 29.87 heat win and he could cause a boil over in the final. He has the speed to lead a race like this and his record over this track and trip is tremendous. The big concern tonight is there is a heap of speed drawn in three, four and five and that means he may get posted wide through the corner. If he gets out to silly odds though, he could be worth a saver bet.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $12 with Sportsbet
Box Seven: Victory Prince
Black Dog – 32.6kg – October 2012
Cosmic Rumble x Lizzy Tibay
Prize money: $23,915
Trainer: Gary Friend
Career: 23: 11-2-5
T/D: 10: 2-2-2
T/D Best: 30.03
Career Highlights: WON Lismore 24.09, 30.34, Albion Park 30.14, Capalaba 19.77.
“Victory Prince has been racing in career best form in recent weeks and he deserves a crack at the big time. The wide draw is a big advantage for him, however he has been missing away in recent weeks and he will find it difficult to give some of his opponents a head start.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $67 with Sportsbet
Box Eight: Yada Yada Yada
Black Dog – 30.8kg – April 2012
Kinloch Brae x Holly Hotpants
Prize money: $35,054
Trainer: Mark Saal
Career: 41: 13-16-2
T/D: 8: 3-4-0
T/D Best: 29.97
Career Highlights: WON Albion Park 30.03, Ipswich 24.97.
“Far from disgraced in his heat last week and he has amazingly only missed a place in one of his past 20 starts. This is clearly a big step up in class for him but if he happens to settle in the top two he could hold on for a place. Great effort to make the final but it does appear that this will be too big of an ask.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $81 with Bet365
1st Reserve: Swap Ya
Black Dog – 35.1kg – May 2013
Fear Zafonic x Cels Honey
Prize money: $19,371
Trainer: Tony Apap
Career: 10: 6-1-0
T/D: 6: 4-1-0
T/D Best: 29.97
Career Highlights: WON Ipswich 25.39, 30.80, Albion Park 29.97, 30.26.
“Highly promising speedster and if he happened to gain a start he could be some nuisance value. He is blessed with explosive early speed and he would have enough pace to cross and lead. I don’t think he could hold them off in the run home but he could pinch some minor money.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $51 with Bet365
2nd Reserve: Blue Scorpion
Blue Dog – 35.2kg – November 2012
Fear Zafonic x Just A Break
Prize money: $27,726
Trainer: Steve Lennon
Career: 31: 5-9-6
T/D: 21: 3-7-5
T/D Best: 30.00
Career Highlights: WON Albion Park 30.01, 30.34, 2ND 2015 Mick Byrne Memorial.
“Soundly beaten in his heat and will definitely find this beyond him. Must lead to win his races and is yet to break 30 seconds here.”
Odds to win the Winter Cup: $81 with Bet365
Top Four: 4 – 5 – 3 – 1
Each Way Bet on Dawkins Bale
Trifecta: 3,4,5/1,3,4,5/1,2,3,4,5,6 ($36 for 100%)
Quinella: 4 to rove with 1,3,5 ($3 for 100%)
Boxed Quinella: 1,3,4,5 ($6 for 100%)