Former Tasmanian Rumbling Rick gave Linda Britton her second WA Sprint title in as many years on Saturday night, when leading all the way in the state decider. The son of Cosmic Rumble and Ricky’s Angel caused an upset in the feature and will now head to The Meadows for a crack at the group one National final and the $75,000 first prize.
Rumbling Rick was the first reserve after running third behind On Coin in his heat the week prior, but gained a start when another Britton trained greyhound, West On Polly, was withdrawn due to injury.
“She (West On Polly) was injured and the vet dropped by and he agreed with us that she shouldn’t run”, Britton said.
“It was bad news for one owner but it was good news for another owner. In the end it all worked out ok”.
Beginning swiftly from the six alley, Rumbling Rick speared across the front of the field to take up the lead in the run out of the first turn. From that point it was a matter of times and margins as the red fawn dog kicked clear to score over his kennelmate, Gomes, in a slick 30.39 seconds. The fancied Boss Coin filled the placings when running third.
Even though he had a few lengths to spare heading down the back, it was a nail biting affair with Boss Coin, who is known for his finishing strength, poised behind the leader for much of the race.
“I was pretty happy to see him get over the line”, Britton said.
Despite the fact that he was not fancied in the betting ($10.90), Rumbling Rick still had his fair share of supporters. The 31 kilogram greyhound, owned by Australian cricketer Ricky Ponting, came to Britton’s kennel from the Apple Isle with big wraps.
“He came over for the Mandurah Derby and then the City Derby but he got kennel cough and couldn’t run in the Mandurah Derby. It was a bit of a rush job to get him ready for the City Derby so he didn’t go as well as we would have wanted him to”, Britton explained.
Rumbling Rick has now won three of his seven starts since joining Britton’s Nambeelup kennel in April. Prior to Saturday night, his best winning time had been a handy 30.51 seconds. The performance in the final showed vast improvement and indicated he may have the class to be competitive at the top level.
“Every time he has gone out he has improved”, Britton said, “He had quite a setback so it is good to see him still improving and going well”.
Rumbling Rick will now head to Victoria and trial in preparation for his next big assignment, before the final field and box draw are announced next weekend. Britton is not overly concerned with the box draw, as long as he does not end up with a squeeze alley.
“I don’t think it really matters. It doesn’t seem to worry him much. He can handle it out wide and he seems to go alright from the inside. I just don’t really want a middle draw because with so much speed in the race he might get squeezed up”.
“You don’t really know until you see the full field, box draw and how he trials”.
As for Rumbling Rick’s famous owner, Ponting was reportedly elated with the success of his handy chaser.
“He is away but I got a message straight after the race. He is very excited,” Britton said.
“He loves the dogs and has a big passion for them. I think it will be good for racing as a lot of people will be watching the race because of who owns him, not that he likes the attention”.
Britton will have a busy couple of weeks preparing both her star runner for his big adventure and her team at home. However, she has revealed that she is very excited for the big night.
“All the racing people get together which is a nice side of getting through (to the National final)”.
“You get to meet other people that you talk to on the phone and that you train dogs for. Being all the way over here (in WA) it will be great just to catch up”.
Also run and won was the final of the WA Distance Championship. The event went to the race favourite Magpie Bob ($2.20- David Hobby), who mustered plenty of pace after a fair beginning to hold the lead from the cherry. Once he found the front of the field he never looked in danger, stretching out to claim the decider by seven lengths in a nippy 42.13 seconds.
The white and black son of Cosmic Rumble and Amanda will celebrate his third birthday next month and has accumulated 19 wins and 13 minors from 60 racetrack appearances.
Magpie Bob is a former Victorian with experience around The Meadows which will be of benefit when he makes the flight east to have a crack at the National final. Magpie Bob has excelled since joining Hobby’s kennel, particularly after stepping up over the longer trip, winning four of ten over the Cannington 715 metres with a personal best time of 41.96 seconds.
Whilst they may not have the Mighty Miata to represent the state this year, Western Australia still has two strong prospects that will be trying their best to secure Nationals glory. Both Magpie Bob and Rumbling Rick will line up for their respective finals as underdogs with much of the attention focused on Victoria and New South Wales.
However, with just a little bit of luck, both dogs are capable of showcasing their talent and clinching victory in two of Australia’s most prestigious group one series’.