By Isaac Murphy
Hall of Fame trainer Tony Brett has won an astonishing five out of the last seven Group 1 Winter Cups and the prolific Queensland trainer believes his dog Jury is capable of putting its name besides his fellow past champions.
Second up after an injury enforced 117 day layoff, Jury continued to show signs of hitting his straps at the right time, navigating the eight box well to finish off a clear second behind Not Available, who used his inside draw to win the heat in a fast 29.65.
Jury qualified as the fastest second place finisher in the heats, a result Brett was extremely happy with given his dog’s short preparation.
“I was actually more nervous last week getting him in because I knew once we made the final he was going to be ready to go,” Brett said.
“He’s come through the run excellent and he’s trained on great during the week so everything’s on track.”
Brett said he was ecstatic to see Jury draw box one for the final, with betting outsiders Gunnadoo Rev and Codrington Kid in the two and three box respectively.
“Getting box one, the draw is just lovely, but he’s just got to make the most of it,” Brett said.
“You can’t afford to make mistakes out of the one because in this quality of race everyone is out and going at the same time so you don’t want to be hemmed in on the rails.”
“If we can hold the inside brigade we are in with a real chance.”
UBET’s Gerard Daffy said punters had taken notice of the National Sprint Champs draw and the money had followed accordingly.
“The opening $8.00 was snapped up in a few minutes as was $7.00, and the Tony Brett star is now $6.50,” Daffy Said.
Brett said Jury was well away from out wide last start but is hoping his dog can show even more box speed third up and was ready to run a peak race.
“He began better last start, but I know he’s capable of getting out much quicker than that too, hopefully with that run under his belt he gets it right this week,” Brett said.
“I couldn’t be happier with how the timing has come along and he’s ready to run a great race.”
While drawing box one was a coup for the Brett camp, the tricky draws of the three Victorian’s in the field were arguably of more important for Jury’s hopes.
“I was probably even happier seeing a clump of them, (Not Available), (Mepunga Blazer) and (Hasten Slowly) draw out wide than I was in drawing the 1,” Brett said.
UBET’s Daffy said the sticky draw was reflected in the betting with Not Available the biggest drifter in the field, while support for favourite and track record holder Mepunga Blazer had been only fair.
“Not Available has been the least popular of those well in the market and has eased in the betting from $3.50 out to $3.80,” Daffy said.
Despite Mepunga Blazer’s irresistible form Daffy believes punters may get a better price closer to the jump.
“Punters have been apprehensive to take the $1.80 with UBET and he looks certain to get to a better quote,” he said.
“There is a bit of pace around Mepunga Blazer and that might explain why the betting public are keeping their powder dry with him at the moment.”
Brett was also quick to praise the chances of fellow Queenslander It’s Dyllan, drawn the outside.
“You have to be careful not to discount It’s Dyllan who is the quickest Queenslander in the field, he’s run 29.58 there.”
Brett spoke about the importance and history of the race to his kennel, plus his desire to win on home soil.
“To think we’ve won five of the last seven and have another dog capable of adding to that is awesome,” he said.
Any win on your home soil is special, it’s nice to go away but in front of your home crowd family and friends it’s a massive night.”