By Isaac Murphy
The Ipswich Greyhound Racing club was Darren Russell’s playground Thursday night, as the accomplished trainer took out the Ipswich Sprint Final quinella and twenty minutes later the Group Three Ipswich Gold Cup.
Fab Fit lined up as a $13 dollar shot in the Ipswich Gold Cup after finishing second in her heat, behind Fire to Rain last week.
A noted quick beginner the bitch saved her best for the big stage, burning across from box seven to hold out the highly fancied Cosmic Bonus to take the lead down the back and had enough in the tank to finish the job in 30.43.
In a hot field featuring a number of strong chaser’s such as Del Rey, Fire to Rain and Rio Brave, Russell knew his bitch would have to pinch a break early to score the cash.
“It was all in the star for her, once I saw some of the stronger dogs well off the speed down the track I started to think I was a real chance,” Russell said.
“This is the biggest win of her career, she’s three and a half going on four and hasn’t been finishing off her races too well, but to get a Group win before we send her to Dam, she really deserved it.”
One race before Fab Fit’s Group Three glory, Russell was again the centre of attention as Go Lassie Go lit up the track in the Ipswich Sprint Final, finishing one tenth outside Bubble Guppy’s track record in 24.58 and if that wasn’t enough kennel mate Lobcha claimed second.
In a common theme Russell said it was all in the start for the bitch and once again she pinged the lids for a wire to wire win.
“You never take anything for granted from the 431m boxes, especially in a final,” he said.
“I thought if we could get out and across Noel Evans dog Queen Werina she’d be a really good shot, once she got clean air she was gone.”
Reminiscent of Fab Fit, Go Lassie Go is racing better than ever at almost four years of age and Russell said he didn’t see any reason she couldn’t steal the track record before he called time on her career.
On the biggest night of the year for the club Russell took the time to thank all those who kept the track humming.
“This track has done a lot for me, I think I’ve won every feature race we have here after tonight,” he said.
“It’s a really important venue for greyhound racing in Queensland and to see a good crowd here tonight and strong fields, The Ipswich Cup looks like it’ll be a big race into the future.”
Arden Street was an impressive winner for Serena Lawrence in the Consolation Cup, the trainer rapt with the veteran chaser’s progression.
“He’s getting better with age, he missed the start, but when I saw him find the rail at the first turn I knew he would chase, if he gets his box manners right he could do anything,” she said.
Femme Folle continued her growth for Jockey turned trainer Nathan Evans in the Mixed ¾, coming home like a train despite the trainer’s fitness concerns.
“I was a bit worried about her fitness, I thought she was probably a week off hitting her straps, but she came home huge tonight,” he said.
Shoes To Fill continued to march towards his Group One Sale Cup goal, proving too strong in the free for all over the 630m.
“I really like that he showed a bit of fight tonight, John’s (McCarthy) dog headed us along the back there and he kicked back,” Auckram said.