By Isaac Murphy
Litter sisters Sly Gambler and Savoy Gambler rug up for the first time on a Thursday night in this week’s Sky Racing Thunder final but trainer Patrick Lavis says it’ll be the first of many appearances on ‘The Creek’s’ marquee night.
“It’s a real bonus to have a race like this for them early in their careers. We’ve been racing for around $2000 a win and now we get a crack at near on ($10,000) on Brisbane Cup night as well,” Lavis said.
The Lismore trained duo have started their careers in fine fashion only finishing out of the placings a combined three times in 18 starts over the 395m journey.
Lavis is confident their success can continue drawn alongside each other; Savoy Gambler in Box 7 and Sly Gambler from Box 8.
“It’s a quality field but I’ve got no doubt both of them can win the race.The only dog I’m worried about is Farmor on Fire out of the one, he’ll be tough to beat from the draw,” Lavis said.
“Both of them have won from out wide, I would have preferred the inside, but they both have the ability to win from every box.”
While they come from the same stock Lavis said he gave the talent edge to Sly Gambler who was easily the faster qualifier in 22.49sec winning her heat by six and a half lengths.
“They’re very different animals, Savoy Gambler is the consummate professional, you know what you’re going to get from her each week,” he said.
“Sly Gambler has a real chance to be a star, she’s still a little green in her racing but when she gets it right as she did last week she’s capable of anything.”
Lavis bought five pups from the Kinloch Brae x Fratella Fresh litter with the two sisters’ leading the charge.
Brothers Maroon Gambler, Orange Gambler and Rose Gambler have all won races at Albion park in the last month but Lavis said they are not of the same class as their sisters.
“I bought them, reared them and broke them in and they weren’t showing much initially, but I was patient with them,” Lavis said.
“I gave myself the time to find their right weights, gave them plenty of trials in fields, trialled them out of different boxes and that’s probably why they’ve both had early success, they’re far more mature than your average two-year-old.”
Once the dogs began to show ability Lavis laid out his plan always wanting to start their careers at Albion Park with a move up to the 520 metres imminent.
“I wanted to start them off over the 395 metres at Albion Park and it makes the drive from Lismore a lot easier when you’ve got two in the back of their ilk,” he said.
“I’ve been training in and around the Northern Rivers since 1972 and while it would have probably been easier to start them earlier down here, I knew they were city grade and we haven’t seen the best of them yet.
“I’ve got about 25 dogs in work total and bring seven or eight up each Sunday and Wednesday, it’s very rewarding to have them in on a Thursday night, it might be their first, but I don’t think it’ll be their last.”