By Isaac Murphy
With only a trial under her belt the Brett Hazelgrove trained Dam Slippery ran 29.83 in the heats of the National Futurity at Wentworth Park last Friday, a time that would have seen her qualify for the Group One National Derby comfortably.
Never the less, she'll line up as a leading hope in The Futurity reserved for dogs under 27 months, with Hazelgrove expecting further improvement upon her second look at the track.
“She ran a really good heat, it was a quick time overall and even though she finished second she would have won any other heat, I was really impressed,” Hazelgrove said.
“We left last Thursday night for the Friday heats and she travelled really well, so we’ll fly down on Friday for Saturday night knowing she’ll handle the trip well.”
With a winning strike-rate just under 50%, Dam Slippery can win her races from any box.
Hazelgrove said she’d have to be at her best after she drew the pink (Box 8) for the second straight week.
“I would have preferred the one, two or three but failing that the eight was probably the next best option for us,” he said.
“The three of Jeff Britton’s dogs (Oakvale Magic, Circle Of Dreams and Flossing) will be the hardest to beat, it’s a powerhouse kennel and they showed it by all three heats.
“In saying that we ran the second fastest time, so I know she can mix it.”
Hazelgrove said he'd taken great pride in plotting Dam Slippery’s path to the feature races knowing he had a talent on his hands.
“From day one I knew she had ability and was running times of a really good chaser,” He said.
“In knowing that I’ve been very careful picking my way through the grades with her building up her confidence and fortunately she’s living up to her potential.”
After her National Futurity campaign, she is set to return home for a crack at the Queensland Futurity, where on recent form she’ll be tough to beat.
“She’s head back for the Futurity at home we were lucky with the age limit at 30 months, she just scrapes in, the cut off is 27 for Saturday’s race,” he said.
“Following that there is a bitches only Best 8 where her sex will help her out.
“She’ll have to take on the likes of Wise Misty but I think she’s ready for open company.”
In a big week for Hazelgrove he also lines up the well-performed Call Me Ugo in the Queensland Short Course Free For All Final on Thursday night at Albion Park.
Hazelgrove said the accomplished sprinter was coming into some nice form off the back of a spell and if he could avoid trouble early would really test them.
“If he gets a clear run he’s a good chance, but that’s the question mark if he can do that from the five box,” he said.
“It’s a race with a high calibre of dog but he has the times on the board to put him in the picture.”
Call Me Ugo has made his name in Queensland as a front running 520 metre dog and Hazelgrove believes a move South to a more suitable track could better suit his talents.
“The plan is to get him down to Wentworth Park, it’s more of a front running track down there which suits his racing pattern,” he said.
The Hazelgrove operation is the definition of an in-form kennel with Xerox Letter winning the Australia Day Cup at Maitland last Thursday night, with a fortunate turn of events landing the dog straight into the final.
“He went down for the Heats of the Australia Day Cup, which they called off because of the conditions.”
“Stewards then made the final a Best 8 which he scraped into and he managed to carve across them from the eight to win at double figure odds.
“He’s another one with some talent, I’ll be looking to try him over the short courses at Albion next.”