HEATS of the Lew Dorsa Memorial (520m) were the standout of Saturday’s meeting at Cannington and they were dominated by Dave Hobby who won two of the three qualifiers.
His first winner was Trouper Monelli (Fernando Bale x Bingle Monelli Nov ’15) which saluted after a string of placings, leading all the way to defeat Astrozone (Cosmic Rumble x Starlight Delly Nov ’14) in a fast 29.85.
The brindle dog hadn’t won a race in seven starts leading into the heats, but had still been in good form, having run second behind Dandalup Brutus in the Sandi’s Me Mum Memorial the week prior.
Hobby said it was good to see the youngster find winning form, having run some very good placings in top company over the past couple of months.
“He has been racing in top grade for some time now which is a big ask for a young dog,” Hobby told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“In these races it normally comes down to who can begin and get the best run – luckily he got the luck on Saturday night and was able to get the job done.”
Also impressive for Hobby in the heats was Benny Monelli – a litter brother to Trouper Monelli. The 30-kilogram racer had been missing the start in recent weeks, but timed it beautifully on Saturday night and was never headed in 29.77, defeating Max Profit by three lengths at the finish. It was his 10th win at start 33, with Hobby relieved to see him nail the beginning.
“He is hit and miss, but when he begins he can really motor – he is a different dog when he can get out in front. But it does all come down to what he’s doing in the boxes when the lids go up.
“[Saturday night] he had his mind on the job and showed everyone what he can do.”
The remaining heat of the Lew Dorsa Memorial was taken out by boom youngster West On Augie (Fernando Bale x Te Amo Feb ’16) in a best of night 29.53. The Chris Halse-trained dog made his rivals look like bush dogs, defeating a stellar line-up including recent The Meadows winner Black Bombshell by five lengths.
West On Augie will likely start the favourite in the feature after coming up with box three, while Trouper Monelli and Benny Monelli will jump from boxes four and eight respectively.
Hobby rates his runner set to wear the blue stretch vest as his best chance of taking home the $30,000 feature.
“Trouper Monelli is more reliable out of the boxes and doesn’t look too badly drawn in box four so I’d have to go with him.
“Two out Benny Monelli would probably beat him by a length or two – but it’s not always the quickest dogs which will win you the most races.”
Hobby’s successful night didn’t end in the heats of the Lew Dorsa Memorial. Short course sprinter Everest Monelli (Fabregas x Sveta Monelli Dec ’15) registered his 10th win when saluting over 280m in a fast 21.88, while Poppy Monelli (Fabregas x Jackie Bale Feb ’16) and Frida Monelli (Fernando Bale x Bingle Monelli Nov ’15) both got the job done over 520m.
The series is limited to dogs with less than six wins, with Poppy Monelli now the winner of seven from 19 with six placings after she stopped the clock in a slick 29.69.
Later in the night Frida Monelli had her first start over the ‘500’ since last September and was too good for her rivals, scoring by two and three quarter lengths in 29.85. A sister to Trouper Monelli and Benny Monelli, it was the ninth win of her short career and took her earnings above $33,000.
Saturday night wasn’t all smiles for Hobby, with his kennel star Neil Monelli (Barcia Bale x Dyna Sandy May ’15) set to be sidelines for several months after tearing his calf muscle.
The blue dog had stamped himself as the hottest stayer in the state when winning January’s Group 3 Miata (715m), breaking the track record in the process, but failed to feature on Saturday night.
“I got five winners but unfortunately Neil Monelli will be out for a while – it was a good night but then to lose one of your better dogs, you walk away feeling like you’ve lost.
“It’s a shame – it’s an injury that can take them a while to come back from.”