By Isaac Murphy
Veteran trainer Bill Elson continues to rack up winners at Albion Park and his prolific strike rate looks in good hands with twenty-three-month-old litter mates Wazza Who and Katie Who both lining up in this week’s Molly Campbell Silver Dollars Memorial Final.
Wazza Who flew the lids in last week’s opening Heat to record win number nine in his fledging career and less than half-an-hour later Katie Who joined him in the final with a promising second behind boom sprinter Rio Brave.
Whelped out of Magic Sprite and Abby’s Fantasy in November 2016, the pair have quickly matured into promising 520 metre dogs after serving their tutelage over shorter sprint distances.
“I like to start them over the shorter course (395) when they’re still young but the plan was always to step them both up to the 520 when they got a bit older, “Elson said.
“They both matured fairly young, that’s why I didn’t push them to get to the 520, I knew I had time to give them the education they needed over the shorter distances.”
Elson said at this stage of their careers if he had to pick between the litter mates he would fancy Wazza Who.
“The main difference between them is Wazza Who’s pace, when he gets it right he’s the better racer, but I’ve only tried Katie Who over the 520 three times, so she may improve,” he said.
Wazza Who’s early speed was critical in his heat win last week but Elson said the dog was not always the most reliable at the start.
“He’s generally been a bad box dog, he jumped well in the heats last week but he’s not consistent, he’ll either ping out or miss it,” he said.
“When he won his maiden at Albion Park he missed it by about three and won by about three, so he’s definitely come a way since then.”
“He’s got that rare speed, you don’t always see it early sometimes it’s down the back or coming home, that I don’t think his sister can quite match.”
Despite their impressive showings in last week’s heats, Elson conceded his pair would need luck on their side to topple race favourite Rio Brave who beat Katie Who home last week in quick time.
“I think the favourite will be hard to beat, he showed it was no fluke running in the 29.70’s two weeks in a row, he’s just a freak Rio Brave,” Elson said.
“I think I’ve got a good chance of running second and third, I’d probably favour the dog (Wazza Who) over the bitch (Katie Who) because of his early speed and he’s done a bit more racing over the 520.”
With the box draw to come on Tuesday Elson said he did not have a preference when it came to Wazza Who but hoped Katie Who could get some help.
“It makes no difference to him (Wazza Who) if he jumps he’ll be right in the race, but with the bitch (Katie Who) I’d like to see her down near the inside.” He said.
Regardless of Thursday night’s result, Elson knows he has two serious young dogs with plenty of time of their side to tackle bigger races.
“The more racing he’s (Wazza Who) getting the stronger he gets and the same goes for his sister (Katie Who) it’s just taken her a little longer to get to the 520.”
“I’m lucky I haven’t had to push them into anything, the Molly Campbell just happened to come along at a time where I thought they were both up to it.”
The soon to be two-year-old’s both hold personal bests of around 30.10 over the 520 at Albion and punters are set to see more of the duo in Queensland, with Elson certain he has both on the path to longevity and success.
“At this stage of their careers I think I’ll keep them going through their grades at Albion Park, I don’t think they’re ready to take on some of those dogs down south,” he said.