By Isaac Murphy
Double Gee will attempt to write himself into TAB Origin Greyhound Series folklore as the first greyhound to record back-to-back series wins at Albion Park on Thursday night.
Double Gee burst onto the scene at Albion Park in a blitz that saw him win The 2018 TAB Origin Distance Final and post the second fastest time 710 time (41.34sec) in history in a matter of months.
A year later the Selena Zammit trained three-year-old is back to defend his Origin crown.
It was a massive year of racing for Queensland’s top stayer, which saw him take out his first Group triumph winning the Summer Plate Distance Final and mixing it week in week out with Australia’s best stayers, several of which he’ll meet this week.
Kennel representative Mick Zammit said the camp endured a few worries in the lead up to the Origin Series but were confident he was ready to go after a huge run in Free for All company at Albion a fortnight ago.
“He pulled up sore after his last Wentworth Park start in March and had a bit of an enforced layoff then came back for the heats of the Sandown Cup and fell,” Zammit said.
“It was heart in mouth stuff with Origin and the Winter Carnival on the horizon you build all year for these races, but thankfully he’s ok.
“The most impressive part about his last start was getting around without any physical and mental scarring on a quick backup from a fall, but the dog seemed one hundred percent going in and answered all the questions with a big run home.”
Double Gee could be described as enigmatic at times with his back-marking style often getting him in trouble.
Zammit said there was no changing the dog and there was nothing like the thrill of him roaring over the top of them.
“You’ve always got your heart in your mouth with him, he’s an out and out stayer and unlike some others who go to the front and try to hang on he’s got that extra pressure of finding a path through the field, but he’s only getting stronger with age,” he said.
“We’re hoping Little Digger (1) after having a look at the track last week can improve off the inside and be prominent, which would give us a nice trail.”
Zammit said the team were more than happy with the box draw (2) and were hoping to find some clear running room down the straight the first time with some early speed dogs expected to lead.
“We were very happy with the box draw, he really needs to be drawn on the inside half of the track and the two gives him every chance,” Zammit said.
“I expect Bago Bye Bye, Infrared Lad and Poco Dorado who I think is drawn perfectly out in the seven to be in front of us in the run, but I wouldn’t want to get any further back than that.”
When pressed on a favourite for the race Zammit said it was John Finn’s Poco Dorado who looked most dangerous to rip the race away from the Queenslanders.
“I think it was this race last year Poco Dorado had her first run over the distance and didn’t handle it too well, but her record since then has been exceptional, if I had to pick one main danger out of a field of chances it’d be her,” he said.
“You know what you’ll get from her, she’ll get out of the boxes quickly and try to hold on, we’re at the other end of the spectrum and will have to hope for a bit of luck to be in striking distance.”
Zammit said Double Gee had met a lot of his interstate competition before, but this time it was a little different they were coming to his home turf.
“It’s one of those races there are a lot of question marks on a lot of them, having six wins at track and distance is invaluable for us,” he said.
“The staying trips you like to think they all get a chance no matter where the race is run, but our boy will definitely have that extra little bit of comfort as the most experienced dog at the track.”
Zammit declared Thursday’s features a great night of racing and was aware the team would be relying on a victory in the distance event.
“I know we’re up against it to win the series and a lot of people are saying we have to win the distance to be any chance,” he said.
“It’s nice to have the support, but you also feel the pressure as defending champ, it goes to show just how big this concept has become in just its second year.”