Trained by Steve White, Don’t Kid Me scored a tough win in his heat last week, narrowly prevailing to defeat Jesaulenko in 30.38 after going stride for stride with the Melbourne Cup runner-up for most of the race.
The victory took the Ray Fewings-owned chaser’s record to 20 wins and 20 minor placings from 54 starts, with White thoroughly pleased with the performance.
“His heat win was good – he had to work hard early to get to the lead and squeeze up in between Invictus Rapid and Jesaulenko,” White told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Now he has got to do it all again this week from box eight.”
White praised the son of Lochinvar Marlow and Clinga who has continued to improve in leaps and bounds since making the move from SA, running third in the recent Group 2 Cranbourne Cup.
“He is getting better and better every week – he has been racing against a better class of dogs lately and he is mixing it with the best of them.
“He is probably still a few lengths of the best dogs going around – but he is holding his own at the moment.
“The thing about him is that he is a great chaser which makes him better than a lot of other dogs.”
Don’t Kid Me comes up against a quality field in the final including Adelaide Cup winner Aqua Cheetah (box two), Jesaulenko (box five), track record holder Extreme Magic (box six) and young gun sprinter Aston Dee Bee (box seven).
Despite facing a tough task from box eight in the $47,000 final, White says Don’t Kid Me’s early pace will put him in contention for the title.
“He has got great speed and even if he misses the start half a length he can muster very quickly if he gets clear room.
“The seven in the final wants the fence so I am hoping [Don’t Kid Me] can come out as well as he can and build enough speed to get to the front around the first corner.
“There are some strong dogs in the race – if we happened to lead and a dog like Extreme Magic got right behind us then it would be all over.
“But if he can cross them and there is a bit of trouble behind him, then he is definitely going to be in the finish.”
White, who has trained countless top class performers including Paua To Burn, says a victory would also be a massive reward for Fewings who raced the black speedster in SA before deciding to send him interstate.
“It would be great for Ray – we have been in a few group finals down here but we haven’t been lucky enough to pinch one,” White said.
“I am sure Ray would be ecstatic if he won – he sent him over to us thinking that he would be a nice grade five dog who could pinch a few city races.
“But he has handled the jump up in grade and even though he has had more than 50 starts he is still getting better.”
The Group 2 Traralgon Cup will be run and won this Saturday night.