DAVID Geall says his promising youngster Up Hill Jill will target next month’s Group 1 National Futurity heats at Wentworth Park following a determined win in the Group 2 Laurels Classic (515m) at Sandown Park on Thursday night.
Stepping well from box one, the black bitch was able to roll straight to the early lead along the fence and was never headed, defeating Fearless Swan (box six) and Fanta Bale (box three) in 29.55.
Geall said the victory was a huge relief after expecting Up Hill Jill to perform well.
“We gave her a big chance off box one, it was a very good field with Fanta Bale and Striker Light, but we thought the draw would give her every chance,” Geall told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“She is pretty consistent around the 5.00 mark early so we thought she would be up near the lead, but you can never be over confident in greyhound racing.
“You never know when they are going to miss the start, thankfully she didn’t last night.”
Geall, who has been training full time for nine years, has had previous group success with Bo Frasier who won the 2009 Rookie Rebel, but rates Thursday’s win the biggest of his career.
A daughter of Premier Fantasy and Where’s Demonica, Up Hill Jill was bred by Geall and is owned by his wife Rose, making the victory even more thrilling.
“We part own the mother Where’s Demonica and we raced her. When it came to breeding we wanted to give the line some strength and Angela Langton, a friend of ours, talked us in to using Premier Fantasy.
“My wife whelped the litter and reared them and spent a lot of time handling the pups, it allows you to get to know them so well, so it made last night’s win extra special.
“The Laurels is a blue ribbon type of race – it is one of those races which everyone wants to win so it takes a bit of pressure off being able to say I have won it now.
“I had a huge spring in my step this morning when I went out to do the dogs – it was a different feeling to doing them yesterday.”
Now a winner of seven of her 14 starts and over $80,000 in prize money, Geall says the next assignment for Up Hill Jill will be the $75,000 Group 1 National Futurity early next year.
“She will have two weeks off now – it was a tough series and we are conscious of over racing her at just 22 months of age.
“After that the plan is to head up to Sydney for the Futurity at the end of January and she will either trial or have a race at Wentworth Park the week before.”