By Isaac Murphy
Tony Brett is a busy man at home taking care of his bustling kennel, but the next two days are all about racing for the trainer who sees his in-form trio of Messy Man, Hara’s Clyde and Hammer Down all go around at Albion Park.
With the heats of his father’s Dave Brett Memorial running at headquarters, read about what the master trainer thinks of a big couple of days.
The Dave Brett Memorial heats are first up in races two and three this afternoon and despite extenuating factors, the trainer is looking forward to seeing who takes the crown.
“The numbers are a bit down this year (for the Dave Brett Memorial) and that’s because of a number of factors, first of all coronavirus but I’ve also been in discussions with the graders about possibly moving this race a little later into the year when you have a lot of maidens coming through,” Brett said
“I always look to have at least one dog in the race every year and had one full steam ready to go until he injured himself ten days ago, but that’s life and we move on.
“I’m sure we’ll bounce back to four heats next year, but I’m really appreciative they’ve kept the race on under these circumstances and one young dog is going to get a nice feature race to start their career.”
Messy Man steps out in race eight in fifth grade company fresh off a flat 30 second run last Thursday night as well as a third place in the Ipswich Young Guns, and Brett is getting creative in finding the right race for the two-year-old.
“The postponement of the Ipswich Auction Series really threw my plans out with Messy Man, and after he won his fifth grade last week if he were to go back on a Thursday night he’d be up to a fourth grade” Brett said.
“I’m getting a little bit inventive finding 520 metre races for him on a Wednesday at Albion and Saturday at Ipswich before he steps up.
“It’s still a good five grand if you can go and win those couple of fifth grades before you have to go back to a tough Thursday night field, that’s some good money for myself and his owner Tony Glover.
“I’m fairly confident he can knock that race off tomorrow, Brett Hazelgrove’s Sea Riding is in box one where he won his Novice from in 30.16, but if he leaves like he did last Thursday he should be able to cross from box two and hopefully improve on his 30 dead run.”
Brett said races like the Young Guns and this Thursday’s Easter Trophy heats were critical to not moving a young dog through their grades too quickly, starting with Hara’s Clyde who is engaged in the first and arguably toughest heat.
“There’s a few in Hara’s Clyde’s heat that can get it done and there probably should be when you’re talking five grand for the heat and eight grand for the final, plus it only counts as one fifth grade that’s a lot of incentive,” Brett said.
“From the inside he likes to drift out a little bit from the boxes, the six certainly isn’t a negative he’ll stay out wide and hold his line and is a fair chance of getting across with not much speed inside him.
“Trav Elson’s dog Magic Miss and Steve McInerney’s dog One Two Win are the two that can go with us early and they’ve drawn outside us, the big danger is Blanco Caliente in box two but the way I read the race that inside brigade might get bunched up at the turn, but we’ll be watching out for him late.”
Hara’s Clyde has been faultless in her last three starts at Ipswich going as quick as 30.12, while also dominating the Young Guns Series, but if he was ever vulnerable it could be Thursday night.
“Thursday night will be the litmus test as my biggest worry is that he’s been racing at Ipswich for the last eight weeks and sometimes when you’re away from a place that long it just takes you a start to get back, that’d be the one chink in his armour,” Brett said.
“If he can get through tomorrow night running first or second, I’ll be delighted because the final is the one we want him going full bore.”
Speaking to the last of his trio, Brett said Hammer Down’s 29.95 performance he put together last Thursday was probably his most complete win.
Consistency is the next step for the dog and he’s hoping that starts in heat four on Thursday.
“Hammer Down’s assignment is definitely easier on paper than Hara’s Clyde but that doesn’t always win you races,” Brett said.
“Peter O’Reilly’s Blue Jillem in the five probably is our biggest concern, he can get out quick and we’ve just got to hope they don’t tangle early because I think Hammer Down has the three inside him covered and should lead with a touch of luck.
“The first twenty metres is the key with him as he’s got to lead to win, and if he settles in third or fourth he just doesn’t have the engine to run them down.
“If he can go 5.50 early and near 11.50 down the back he doesn’t have to run home too quick because he’s stolen it.”
Brett said he couldn’t remember when he had a trio of young stars travelling so well at the same time and could only hope they build on what they’ve already done come the winter.