By Isaac Murphy
Brisbane trainer Brett Hazelgrove is confident his two pronged attack of Call Me Ugo and Buddy Tokaam can feature in Thursday night’s Free For All Final (331m) at Albion Park.
Hazelgrove believes Call Me Ugo (Box 2), who has won three from three over the track and distance, is his leading chance.
But he said kennel mate Buddy Tokaam (Box 8) could represent the value of the field, in a final comprising of eight heat winners from last Friday.
“Ugo’s trialled 18.80 twice and come out and run an 18.79, while Buddy has an 18.90 to his name,” Hazelgrove said.
Call Me Ugo had been running over the 520m and recently finished fifth behind Group 2-placed Velocity Charm. But when the 331m heats presented, Hazelgrove thought it was worth a shot.
“He was super impressive in the heat (Box 1), he jumped well and was going away from them. Drawing Box 2 on Thursday night is important, with his 520m experience if he can get to the front he’ll be hard to catch," he said.
“Having two chances is definitely better than one, so it’s nice going in with some sort of confidence.”
The $10,000 331m Free for All Final preludes the $10,000 395m Free For All Final, with the first and second placed runners from Friday’s heats comprising a classy field.
Bribie Island trainer Christopher Riordan hopes the aptly sponsored Bribie Island Free for All is a good omen for his impressive heat winner Fabrique.
Riordan said while he had hoped to draw box two alongside Barra Trip, he hoped a similar trip behind the speed from box three would see Fabrique in the finish.
“He likes to rail up, so if Barra Trip (Box 1) and Amber Marie (Box 2) jump together he might be able to slot right in behind them, giving him the perfect trip probably,” Riordan said.
“With those corner starts you almost always find some sort of trouble it’s just how you recover. He’s fit and ready to go, if he gets that luck in the run he’ll be finishing off.”
Jumping from Box Five in his 146th start is the Ned Snow-trained Plum Jam, proving age is not a barrier as the five-year-old continues his run as a kennel favourite.
Snow said the 395m was Plum Jam’s best trip at this stage of his career, but would need luck from a sticky box draw to challenge.
“He wants to get to the fence all the time, so you’re always watching the start,” Snow said.
“It’s going to be tough out of box five, the one dog (Barra Trip) if you look at the times has the fastest first sectionals, so there’s a good chance he’ll be off and gone.”
Regardless of his finish Thursday night Snow has a soft spot for the dog he bred.
“He’s a bit like his trainer an honest old bugger,” he said.