By Isaac Murphy
Jury, Fabrique, Slick, Big Bad Bob, Del Rey, these household names of Queensland greyhound racing are all taking a shot at Saturday night’s Ipswich Cup Heats, but young Steve Scott chaser Mottza has been quietly plying his trade at Wentworth Park and is keen to show he can mix it with the best.
Mottza lines up in Heat two, jumping from the five and while the majority of his rivals have been preparing for the Ipswich Cup in 520 races at Albion, Scott jumped on the chance to test his two-year-old at Group One level in Sydney.
“His first start was in the Youngstar Classic, where he qualified for the final and ran second, but the grand final was the Vic-Peters Group One, where unfortunately he didn’t have much luck,” Scott said.
“He ran fourth in the final and was terribly unlucky, he poked his head three quarters in front but just wasn’t able to cross from the five, so change the boxes around and he probably wins.
“He drew the four and the five for both finals at Wentworth and If the dog draws inside I think he probably wins and that’s $125,000 prize money at just about bang on two years of age.”
While Group One glory eluded him, Scott said he was cautiously optimistic moving forward.
“It’s pretty encouraging knowing that he can mix it with them at Group One level,” he said.
“He’s not the strongest dog over 500 metres but with his box speed when he gets it right it’s pretty special.”
“Ipswich will be a test, it was a bit of a last-minute decision, but he’s a chance anywhere if he can lead.”
Mottza along with his full brother Coopes came to the Scott kennel via Victoria, Scott jumping at the chance to train the pair when they became available.
“The owner Carolyn Knox who we train for brought them up from their previous trainer in Victoria who said they weren’t really what he was looking for and she asked if we were interested in trying them and we jumped at it,” he said.
The lightly raced Mottza is yet to run under race conditions at Ipswich, but Scott said the track should not be an issue after a recent trial and Mottza’s natural ability to race anywhere.
“I took him there and gave both him and Coopes a trial and Coopes ran quicker which he seems to always do in a trial, but under race conditions Mottza seems to have his measure,” Scott said.
“When I took him to Grafton for The Million Dollar race, he ran fantastic time over the 407 there without seeing the place at all and the same thing when he won his heats at Wentworth, you don’t have to trial the dog he’s just a race dog.”
Despite Mottza’s versatility and race sense Scott said the Cup Heats would present a whole new challenge.
“It’s a tall task we’ve done so much travelling with the dog he’s never won a 5th grade race, I’ve got a high opinion of him but he’s going to have to be at his best,” he said.
“He’s come back here and drawn the five again at Ipswich where he’s going to need all his speed because if he’s not there at the first turn it’s probably race over.”
“The dogs definitely going well enough, if anything is going to trip him up is that last 50 at Ipswich, which just seems to bite them a little bit more than the 520 at Albion.”
Remarkably Mottza has yet to win a Grade 5 race and Scott said he was looking forward to settling the dog in Brisbane for a period of time after his Ipswich Cup quest.
“We’ll come back here after Ipswich and try to give him a bit of consistency in his runs and maybe have a look at a Brisbane Cup if he shows us he’s ready for that,” he said.
While The Ipswich Cup is the immediate focus Scott knows he has a good one.
“If he holds together he’s got a big future ahead of him, he’ll be a look in at all the 450m Cups as well as 520’s,” he said.
“Every time he goes around he gives it 110% if he gets beat or wins, so as a trainer that’s all I can ask for.”