FANTASTIC Spiral upset his more fancied rivals to score a determined victory in last Friday’s Group 1 Dapto Megastar, giving trainer Jason Fletcher his first win at the highest level.
The son of Spiral Nikita and Light Fantastic qualified for the final by running third behind Aphorism and Whittaker in the Prelude the week prior, joining invitees Keybow, Flash Reality, Bessy Boo and his half-sister Fantastic Dotty in the $75,000-to-the-winner decider.
Beginning well from box three, Fantastic Spiral went straight to the lead and was able to hold on, despite a late challenge from Keybow, to score by a length in a flying 29.51, with Fantastic Dotty, also trained by Fletcher, finishing third.
Fletcher told Australian Racing Greyhound that he went into the event confident of going close, but not with Fantastic Spiral.
“I was overly confident with Fantastic Dotty,” Fletcher said.
“I told my wife that she would just win.
“Even though she came alright her legs went everywhere for her first couple of strides, whereas Fantastic Spiral nailed the start and exploded away from them.
“I knew once he did that he would be very hard to beat.”
Fantastic Spiral has now won 16 races from 29 starts with a further 10 minor placings.
Fletcher gave a lot of the credit to leading Victorian mentor Kel Greenough, who had been training the greyhound during a brief stint down south recently.
“I have only had the dog back less than two weeks and the preparation Kel had given him was spot on and I think he actually came back in better condition than when he went down there,” Fletcher said.
“He has come back a bit more mature and I have to give a lot of the credit and a special thanks to Kel.”
Fletcher said he was also happy with the performance of Fantastic Dotty, the Dapto track record holder which was having just her fourth race start in the final.
“She ran a great race,” he said.
“To spot dogs like Keybow, Spiral and Aphorism a good six or seven lengths up the back and to only get beat two-and-a-quarter running 29.67, I couldn’t be happier with her.”
Fletcher is undecided where Fantastic Dotty will start next, while he has already made the tough decision to bypass the Group 2 Bob Payne series at Wentworth Park with Fantastic Spiral.
“Spiral hurt his hip support just a tiny bit so that will unfortunately rule him out of the Bob Payne at Wentworth Park as I won’t be able to gallop him for seven to 10 days.
“It isn’t a serious injury… he will be back in no time.
“I am still tossing up between two races for Fantastic Dotty. I am thinking about taking her down to Sandown for the Speed Star series, but if I don’t go there then her next start will be in the heats of the Nowra Puppy Classic.”
Watch Fantastic Spiral winning from box three.
Greenough Excels at Healesville
The beautifully-bred Allkel To Excel stamped himself as a star in the making with a tremendous victory in Sunday’s Group 2 Healesville Cup over 350 metres.
Jumping from box seven, the son of Elite State and Kingsbrae Di, a full brother to former champ Paw Licking, went straight to the early lead and was too classy out in front, scoring by just over one length in a new track record time of 18.80.
Trainer Kel Greenough said he was expecting a good performance from the youngster.
“I was expecting him to get to the lead early – I was just hoping that he would be able to hang on knowing that Kayda Shae would be near him somewhere.”
Allkel To Excel has now won 12 races from just 13 starts, with his only other appearance resulting in a second placing behind Ballerino in a heat of the Group 2 Launching Pad.
Greenough said that he would continue to pursue Country Cups with the black speedster.
“I will stick to targeting the Country Cups while he regains his fitness.
“His next series will probably be the Geelong Cup and once he gets up to the 460 metres we will be able to judge from there whether or not we will have a crack at the Melbourne Cup. If he looks like he is weakening we probably won’t – but if he is going ok I think we will.”
Suzie seizes Canberra Cup honours
The daughter of Cosmic Chief and Uno Witch, who took out the Group 2 Black Top at The Gardens last month, started the punter’s elect from box seven following a strong heat victory the week prior.
Beginning fairly, Uno Suzie mustered pace in the run to the first turn, but lost momentum as kennel mate My Boy Snoop checked off her heels. Despite the setback, the black bitch was able to maintain the lead down the back, with roughie Second Line (box four) slipping through into second spot.
Turning for home Uno Suzie was under pressure as Second Line railed underneath the favourite, with Irish Whip (box one) also making a late surge for the title, however Suzie had done enough, holding on to record victory by a nose in 30.76.
Fernando dazzles in Traralgon Cup heats
Australia’s best sprinter Fernando Bale captured the second track record of his career when clocking a brilliant 29.97 in a heat of the Group 2 Traralgon Cup on Saturday night.
The five time Group 1 winner exploded from box four, cruising to the line nine-and-three-quarter-lengths clear of Clash Of Kings over the 525 metre journey.
The son of Kelsos Fusileer and Chloe Allen will start from box six as the dominant favourite in the $47,000-to-the-winner feature where he will be aiming to push his career earnings over $925,000.
2015 Group 2 Traralgon Cup – box draw
Box One – Emrys – Mario Briganti
Box Two – Harlon – Michael Fearnley
Box Three – Clash Of Kings – Stephen Whyte
Box Four – Sonic Pirate – Peter Reinders
Box Five – Dyna Yemen – Andrea Dailly
Box Six – Fernando Bale – Andrea Dailly
Box Seven – Lektra Outlaw – Andrea Dailly
Box Eight – He’s So Good – Michael Fearnley
1st Reserve – Starlight Jack – Mario Briganti
2nd Reserve – Nifty Neveelk – Rose Kleeven
In the stewards room
Andrea, Tom and George Dailly appeared before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board (RADB) last week after they were each slapped with a breach of GAR 86 (p) and GAR 106 (1) (c). The charges were in relation to a total of nine race kennels which were each found to contain two greyhounds, despite the fact that they were only constructed large enough for one greyhound.
After discussion, the charges against George Dailly were withdrawn, while both Andrea and Tom pleased guilty as charged and were each handed a $500 fine.
Margery Quick disqualified
Trainer Margery Quick faced the RADB last week charged with a breach of GAR 83(2) and (3) after her greyhound Cerberus returned a pre-race urine sample which showed the presence of the prohibited substance Theobromine when competing at Warrnambool on April 16, 2015.
Quick pleaded guilty to the charge and was disqualified for three months, one of which has been wholly suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR 83 during that period.
Cerberus was also disqualified from the event in question.
Eddy Hamilton disqualified
Eddy Hamilton has been disqualified by the RADB after his greyhound Blush Burst returned a post race urine sample which showed the presence of Morphine and Codeine after it competed at Warragul on April 19, 2015.
Hamilton pleaded guilty to a charge of GAR 83(2) and (3) in that he presented the greyhound to compete in a state which was not free of a prohibited substance(s). RADB found him guilty as charged and disqualified him for three months, one of which is wholly suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR 83 during that period. Blush Burst has also been disqualified from the event in question.
GRNSW launch positive swab inquiries
Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) Stewards have launched inquiries into 15 different NSW trainers after prohibited substances were found in urine samples taken from their greyhounds when competing in their respective events. The trainers, greyhounds and prohibited substances are outlined below.
- On The Froth (Anthony Hoyland) – Benzydamine – Casino – March 13, 2015
- Sovereigh Queen (Subawa Ngurah) – Atenolol – Bulli – February 18, 2015
- Celestial Prince (Subawa Ngurah) – Atenolol – Goulburn – March 10, 2015
- Buddy’s Me Mate (Gregory McAlister) – Sotalol – Bathurst – April 6, 2015
- Elite Merritt (Dawn Lee) – Tetrahydrozoline – Coonabarabran – February 14, 2015
- Wilma Sprite (Ray Stevenson) – 5beta-androstane-3alpha, 17beta-diol – Mudgee – March 1, 2015
- Lacinda’s Boy (Bruce King) – Dexamethasone – Richmond – January 28, 2015
- Be The Influence (Kerrie Walker) – Dexamethasone – Wagga – January 23, 2015
- Pride Of Egypt (Dawn Garrett) – O-desmethylvenlafaxine – Richmond – March 6, 2015
- Sunny Mulwee (Alexander Verhagen) – Pentobarbitone – Muswellbrook – April 19, 2015
- Omega Deacon (Jodie Lord) – Methylprednisolone – Bulli – April 1, 2015
- More In Store (Mark Gatt) – Propentofylline – April 25, 2015
- Fishaholic (Mark Taylor) – Tamworth – Meloxicam – December 6, 2015
- Create Havoc (Peter Simpson) – Oxazepam – Grafton – April 6, 2015
- Dear Darcey (John Ayoub) – Caffeine, Theophylline, Paraxanthine and Theobromine – Wentworth Park – May 23, 2015
- Avoca Rock (Albert Burns) – Diclofenac – Richmond – June 3, 2015
Eric Robinson suspended
Eric Robinson has been suspended by GRNSW Stewards after pleading guilty to a breach of GAR 83(2)(a). The specifics of a charge were that a urine sample taken from his greyhound Witchita Icon was found to contain the prohibited substance O-desmethylvenlafaxine after it won at Nowra on January 5, 2015.
Stewards imposed a suspension of eight weeks, with Witchita Icon also disqualified from the event in question.
Run of the week
Friday was a terrific night at Dapto all-round for Jason Fletcher. Not only did he take out first and third in the Group 1 Megastar, but he also managed to break the existing 600 metre track record with his exciting youngster Fantastic Tail.
A litter sister to 520 metre track record holder Fantastic Dotty, Fantastic Tail clocked a sizzling 34.09 when scoring by 10 lengths, taking her career record to seven wins and two minor placings from just 11 career appearances.
Check out the daughter of Goodesy and Light Fantastic scoring from box seven below.