By Isaac Murphy
The Racing Queensland Young Guns heats this Thursday night at Albion Park have attracted the best greyhounds the state has to offer under thirty months. That hasn’t deterred Northern Rivers trainer Glenda Dart from rugging up brothers Cha Cha Charlie and Lucky Jock who don’t turn two until next month.
“I think you’re better off racing the good dogs if that’s where you want to get to. You might get outclassed but there’s not as much trouble and gives them a better education,” kennel representative John Dart said.
“We’re looking at it as a chance to run in a feature series, but the race also serves as a prelude to the Derby in December. They’ll get another four of five runs over the track and trip leaving them well placed for a run at a Group race.”
Cha Cha Charlie comes up in the first of three heats off the back of a brilliant 29.87 Novice win which was the quickest on the entire card last Thursday. Dart is happy with the draw but wary of talented rivals.
“If I had my pick, I would have taken the inside any day of the week. It’s no secret he’s not the quickest early, but if he can use it like he did the two last week, he shouldn’t be far off them,” he said.
“He needs to be in the first two at the turn to be a legitimate chance, Ray Burman’s bitch Blue Diva and Steve Scott’s Farmor Fearsome look the two to beat with race experience and early speed.”
“Off his Novice win and time (29.87) last week he earnt a chance at this race, but it’s a big step up. You’ve got dogs with over twenty race starts where he’s just had the six.”
Lucky Jock clashes with series favourite No Easy Beat who’s 29.60 personal best looks beyond most of the field, but Dart is hoping his raw chaser can put himself in the race early to give himself a shot at the final.
“Lucky Jock will have to be at his absolute best. I think he’s probably three or four months away from maturing into a really nice dog but lining up against No Easy Beat from the five on Thursday may be a bit beyond him,” Dart said.
“His latest win was off the five when he got to the lead early. This is a different class of field but if he can put himself there, he gives himself a chance.”
“He’s growing with every run. He’s just a big boofhead at the moment who can be a bit all over the place with his racing.”
Dart believes experience is key to the pair’s progression. With only six and eight starts respectively they have a long way to go but he was starting to see signs already.
“I said it after Charlie won last week, they’re learning with every run. The week before he came around the corner and ran up the back of the leader. Whereas the next week he took the rails. It’s little things like that they’re still picking up,” Dart said.
“I’d say at this stage Cha Cha Charlie has matured into a race dog a lot quicker than Lucky Jock, but I’d say the former has the most untapped potential and improvement to come.”
The brothers came to Dart’s kennel through fellow trainer Noel Murdoch who bred and owns the dogs after a consultation with Dart.
“The Murdoch’s came to me asking for an opinion on who to put the mother (Lucky Cha Cha) into and I said Fernando Bale. They were pretty happy with the result and asked me if I’d train a couple,” Dart said.
“They turned out to be Cha Cha Charlie and Lucky Jock and hopefully we can enjoy some success together. They’re both great prospects.”
Dart said the pair were babies even by Young Guns standards and although they might be up against it with the older dogs, had a big opinion of where they could get to in the future.
“After the Young Guns we’ll just keep them ticking over until the Queensland Derby, but somewhere in that time we want to take them to Wentworth Park to trial with their Derby in January,” he said.
“One of the first things I said to Noel (Murdoch) when we got the dogs is that we’re more than happy to travel them when they’re ready, I look at both of them as potential Group performed dogs in the future.”