NEIL Monelli (Barcia Bale x Dyna Sandy May ’15) continued his domination of WA middle distance/staying racing when taking out the $30,000 Summer Chase (600m) final at Cannington on Saturday night.
Sent to the boxes as the odds on favourite, the Dave Hobby-trained dog was only fairly into stride, settling midfield but managing to stay out of trouble.
Down the back the 34-kilogram powerhouse slipped into top gear, working his way towards the front before assuming the lead in the home straight, kicking clear to win by three and one quarter lengths in a fast 34.55.
Classy campaigner Astrozone (Cosmic Rumble x Starlight Delly Nov ’14) finished second ahead of roughie Chezzy Allen (Turanza Bale x Carol Allen Feb ’15) back in third.
Hobby told Australian Racing Greyhound on Sunday he was pleased with the victory.
“It was a quality 600m race, there was plenty of speed, but I thought he was the best dog in the race.
“It was really a case of whether he could stay out of trouble from box eight, but he managed to get around unscathed and he showed what he can do.”
Neil Monelli has now faced the starter 47 times for 18 wins, 14 seconds and six thirds with over $137,000 in prize money earnings. Amongst his victories was a win in the Group 3 Miata (715m) which he won in track record time in January.
Hobby says a rise in trip has suited his blue chaser which has only missed a place once in 11 starts over the middle distance and staying trips.
“He is really starting to improve,” the leading trainer said.
“Since he has started racing over the 600m and 700m he has become a better race dog – over 500m he was getting too far behind – but he can settle a bit closer over more ground and he is very strong.”
Hobby said he isn’t too concerned about turning down an invitation to nominate for the Group 1 Zoom Top (725m) at The Meadows next Saturday night, with plenty of options for Neil Monelli in the near future.
“It’s an invitation race so I wasn’t sure he’d get a run and it was hard to turn down a $20,000 race at home when there’s a chance he might not get a start,” Hobby explained.
“On top of that I am going in for an operation on Tuesday so I will be out of action for a couple of weeks and I didn’t need the extra stress of having dogs all over the place, it was easier to have them all at home.
“We have some good dogs in WA at the moment which are capable of matching it with the best anywhere in Australia – hopefully he will be one of them in the future.
“He is definitely good enough to travel with – a track like the Meadows would suit him so that’s something I’ll consider soon.”