Saturday night at Greyhounds WA Cannington was all about the the Lew Dorsa Memorial heats over the 530 metre distance. Although there was a number of outstanding performances on the night, Linda Britton’s veteran chaser Gomes added a bit of shock value to the night defeating his very talented kennel mate Star Recall.
Gomes has captured the heart of Nicola Hind, who worked for Linda Britton prior to falling pregnant. Nicola still helps the Britton team whenever she can and was handling Gomes on Saturday night.
“There was something about him that drew me in, usually I am drawn to greyhounds that are a lot like me; loud and hyper-active, but Gomes had a calmness about him. It’s like he didn’t have a care in the world and these big puppy dog eyes.” Nicola explained.
“After a couple of weeks of being in Linda’s kennels I saw that he had a more mischievous side from going in and sitting in his kennel with him. He started picked my sunnies off my head and while I tried to take photos he would steal my phone.”
The son of Bombastic Shiraz – Shazlyn has had 76 races in his career, 31 of which have been on WA soil. It has taken him a while to hit his stride but after a number of months in the Britton kennels Gomes is mixing it with some of WA’s brightest talent.
Gomes has just the seven Cannington wins to his name, but most have come in the last two months; with victories over Zelemar Fever, Star Recall and Te Amo. In his Lew Dorsa heat win Gomes recorded a personal best time of 30.38.
“He has just turned four and is running his best times!”
“Leading up to the heats I didn’t think he would be able to win the race with Star Recall and Hillbilly Flash in the field, but I was confident he would place. He has been running really well and looking stronger and stronger each week.”
“Hearing that Magpie Bob had been scratched from the red box it quietly gave me a bit of confidence that the odds were in his favour. It gave him the chance to get straight out onto the rail and behind the bunny, which is exactly where he wants to be. The only challenge then was Star Recall, because of her early pace.”
With the four Lew Dorsa Memorial heats full of talent, it was always going to be a night that saw some consistently quick times run.
The first Lew Dorsa heat was all about Gomes. The scratching of Magpie Bob from box one gave Gomes the advantage because he was coming out of box two paying $6.00. Hillbilly Flash jumped from box four as the equal $2.30 favourite and was dragged down, preventing him from making a run at the lead. Star Recall shot up next to her kennel mate Gomes and the pair eyeballed each other, sharing the lead between them until Gomes and his white and black rug pulled away to win by a convincing length in 30.38. Star Recall held onto second with Hillbilly Flash running on to finish third.
“As I stood behind the boxes I saw him he explode out straight to rails and for me it was game on. Coming into the first turn it was neck a neck with him and Star Recall and that was pretty much how the rest of the race panned out.”
“I was aware that Gomes was stronger on the run home, so I thought the race was his for the taking.”
In the second heat of the night On Coin made his debut from his likely career ending injury as second favourite paying $3.50 behind Zelemar Fever. The returning champ jumped surprisingly well out of the boxes and Zelemar Fever hung back after being checked by Significant Bit and Thunder Rama. On Coin took the rails run to victory winning by two and a half lengths in 30.31, with Zelemar Fever running on strongly to finish second.
“Zelemar Fever was a great run; she stumbled out of the boxes and then put in an amazing effort to run second to On Coin. She copped about four or five checks and she kept going, to run second was a great effort. To have On Coin back racing and seeing how happy John and Brenda Crossley were when he won is what racing is all about.”
Astronomic looked to fly out of the boxes from box one paying $1.90 for the win in the third heat. Roughie Kasumi Rose managed to shoot to the lead wearing the white and black rug paying $21.00. Celtic Coin (box eight) for new trainer John Carmody hung within the top three positions for the majority of the way around, until Astronomic decided to make his run on the rails, defeating a leading Kasumi Rose in 30.58.
In the last heat of the night punters struggled to chose favouritism between the Linda Britton duo Te Amo (box three) and Gone To Heaven (box four). It was Te Amo’s night after she jumped out of the boxes with a near personal best first sectional of 5.65. Merlot Monelli (box one) sat behind Te Amo who looked strong as she pulled away to win by four lengths in an equal personal best performance of 30.33. Gone To Heaven ran on to finish third after failing to keep up with Te Amo onto the first corner.
“It’s going to be hard for Gomes next week with On Coin and Zelemar Fever. It all comes down to the box draw now, where each dog is positioned, fingers crossed he gets the red to give him a slight chance.”
“This could be the last time I get to walk out Gomes in a final and be involved in his racing because I am pregnant. When he finishes racing he is coming home with me. The couch is big enough for him, there is no other place I would have him!”
With the box draw set to come out on Tuesday afternoon it is very hard to pick a greyhound to take the race out. There are several dogs that are heavily dependent on box one; if Zelemar Fever or On Coin manages to receive the red box it will be a matter of watching the clock rather then the race.