By Isaac Murphy
Not many people have invested as much of themselves into finding that champion dog as owner trainer Clint Kratzmann and although it’s early days, Oh Mickey is showing signs he could be that elusive star as he looks to conquer Australia’s best young dogs in the National Derby Final at Wentworth Park tomorrow night.
“He’s done everything I’ve asked of him this dog, come out and run 29.9 at Albion, 30.50 at Ipswich and now gets his chance at a big race only six starts in and only twenty-two months,” Kratzmann said.
It was initial heartbreak last week when Oh Mickey drew the pink for the third time in six starts running an admirable second to finish as first reserve, but with the scratching’s of Simon Told Helen and Aston Sapphoro the Queenslander is guaranteed a start.
“I think the eight cost him last week, he actually ran the quickest first section by a head he just wasn’t able to clear the inside dog,” Kratzmann said.
“I was still really pleased with what he produced last week, he’s a born railer and stayed nice and straight coming across and then after the bump still chased really hard to secure that second position.”
“He’s come up with three box eight from his six starts so far, but I think at this stage of his career it’s a really good thing for the dog because you’d rather him get the education now than start twenty where he might not know what to do with himself.”
Despite the dog being a quick learner from a wide draw Kratzmann is praying for box four where he thinks Oh Mickey is a genuine chance of leading the race.
“Being first reserve in Queensland he’d go straight into box four with Simon Told Helen the first scratching,” Kratzmann said.
“In New South Wales they do it a little differently, they’ll punch the numbers in the computer tomorrow morning and we’ll either get the four or the second scratching the seven.”
“I’m just praying we get a bit of luck and jag the four because the closer we are to the rail the better.”
Kratzmann said there was quality across the board in the $75,000 to the winner race but there was one dog that stood out as a notch above after last week’s heats.
Jason Mackay’s dog Hard Style Rico in the five is the class of the field and you want to be drawn inside him,” Kratzmann said.
“I see the rest of the field as very god dogs but he’s a machine, we’ve got similar speed early but he’s stronger late, ideally we get a bit of a break on him out of the boxes because we’re going to need it.”
The National Derby was a planned strike from the trainer relinquishing the dog to close friend and fellow trainer Troy Donaldson who was able to put the polish on him in the lead up.
“I followed a similar pattern of what Steve White did with Sennachie up here, I sent him down to my good mate Troy Donaldson and put him is his name and we were able to get a trial and a win at the track before he tackled the heats last week,” Kratzmann said.
“I bought Oh Mickey’s mother Iona Champion off Troy (Donaldson) and raced her up here around five years ago before leasing her back to Troy (Donaldson) to breed this litter of Fernando Bale’s/Iona Champion’s which produced Oh Mickey.”
“We’ve got another litter with Fernando Bale where I’ve picked up two bitches and a dog, which I’m really excited about too.”
The Kratzmann kennel is about quality over quantity and the savvy dog man has built the right relationships to reap the rewards.
“I don’t have a lot of dogs between the ones I train myself and the ones I own I’ve got about six in work, but I really concentrate on producing top class litters and deal with the right people in the industry,” he said.
“The flipside of my relationship with Troy (Donaldson) is come Winter carnival time he’s got a real hot dog called Jet Jackson along with fellow Derby finalist My Mate Clarrie who will come up and stay in my kennels, it’s an exciting partnership.