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Sea Riding switches to life as a stayer

By Isaac Murphy

Brett Hazelgrove knew early on that Sea Riding’s future was over the staying trips, the problem was it took her ten attempts to win her 520 metre Novice.

Once she ticked that off, Hazelgrove didn’t waste any time getting to the 600 metres.

A 35.11 debut win will hopefully be the start of a successful winter campaign, which continues in the Fifth Grade 600 this Thursday night.

Thursday is set to be the greyhound’s second 600 this week after a chequered passage on Monday, with Hazelgrove happy to write it off as a forgive run and look forward to tomorrow night.

“She was a hard luck story Monday, she got cut off by a good bitch in Zipping Cosmo early and when she tried to recover copped another check down the back,” Hazelgrove said.

“That was the end of her hopes that night but she would hardly blow a candle out and is a good chance tomorrow.

“I always thought she would have no problem with the 600 but when she came out and won in 35.11 from box eight first up I knew that was her trip.

“I think from a low draw Thursday she can really improve on her personal best, I think she’ll be a 34.8 bitch in time.”

Albion Park

BOX 1 PHOTOGRAPHY 600m

Sea Riding jumps from box two in a race that includes four other winners at track and trip, but the trainer was confident with her racing pattern she’d give herself every chance.

“I’d love to see her beat box one (Waikarie Bell) out and get on the fence early putting herself in a spot to win the race at the back end,” he said.

“She loves the rail which has its positives and negatives, she’ll never go around a dog which can result in her having to ease off heals a lot but when she gets a gap on the fence, she won’t hesitate to take it.

“When it comes down to it, you’d take a good railer any day, it may cost her a few races but will win her even more.”

With the Winter program on the horizon and the bitch starting to show consistent form, Hazelgrove thought a fortnight ago was the right time to finally pull the trigger over 600.

“She’s always shown us with the breaks she can run a good time over the 520 metres, she won her Novice in 30.16,” he said.

“Her last three runs over the sprint trip on a Wednesday, she’s just run into three really god dogs in Hammer Down, Messy Man and Naturally Gifted.

“It was the most consistent form she’d been in and the right time to go to the 600.”

Sea Riding holds a modest record of three wins from her eighteen starts but building up to bigger races, and her low grading should see her peaking when it matters.

“She’s only got three wins to her name, but I think you’ll see that change pretty quickly in the next few months where she’s eligible for plenty of fifth grade 600 metre races, and Albion park are doing a great job of scheduling at the moment,” Hazelgrove said.

“She’s got a lot going for her; not three until late in the year, a very clean winded long striding bitch who looks like she has her best racing in front of her.

“She’s got a lot of boxes to tick over the 600, but I do think if things go to plan she’s a born stayer and will run the 700 out no problem.”

Racing Queensland’s winter programming has not left stayers out in the cold, and Hazelgrove is excited about the bevvy of options for his bitch.

“I’m hoping she’ll be able to race competitively over both distances in the winter program, there are some really nice races for her over 600 like  the Winter Chase and the Chairman’s Cup,” Hazelgrove said.

“Over the 700 the Dashing Corsair, Super Stayers and the Queensland Cup are all on the table.

“There’s plenty about her that screams stayer, she doesn’t have brilliant box speed or acceleration but once she finds her cruising speed unless something gets in her way there’s no slowing her down - I think she’ll be more than competitive.

“Over the staying trips with fields generally more strung out, it just gives her the opportunity to settle into her groove, not be blown away early and work her way into a race.”

Hazelgrove is hoping to repay the faith owner Darren Delaney placed in him when he asked Hazelgrove to train Sea Riding without a prior relationship.

“I was quite flattered to get the bitch, Darren Delaney who bred, reared and owned the litter down in New South Wales contacted me online asking if I’d like to take her on,” Hazelgrove said.

“I was quick to accept and really hope she can start to reward him with some wins now she’s done the hard yards early.

Hazelgrove’s marquee sprinter Dam Slippery is also on the march back for a big few months, the trainer just having to pick the right time to bring her back from injury.

“Dam Slippery is on her way back, I was aiming for the Winged Runner Trophy, but she may be a run or two short,” he said.

“She’s coming back really well; it may take some time, but I think she can certainly get back to her Group Two Richmond Oaks and State of Origin winning best.”