By Isaac Murphy
Last October, Let’s Go Ozzi ran second to Group Two Futurity winner Zipping Cosmo in The Albion Park Young Guns Final.
Since then, he’s been first reserve for the Ipswich Cup, runner up at the Bundaberg Cup and a Queensland Short Course finalist.
it’s a fair list of achievements, and trainer Doug Gladman will look to add to in this Thursday’s Easter Trophy Final at Albion Park.
Gladman said he was hoping to meet slightly weaker company in the fifth grade event but instead is greeted with a final of up and coming stars, including Tony Brett’s Hara’s Clyde and Hammer Down as well as Tony Zammit’s Frieda Las Vegas.
“He always gives himself a chance with his box speed, he’s at a point where he’s fairly bulletproof at the start and he’s going to have to fly the lids if he wants to beat Thursday’s field,” Gladman said.
“We’re up against it as a small three dog kennel tackling some of the state’s biggest.
“There’s a lot of speed in the race with Tony Brett’s two dogs Hammer Down and Hara’s Clyde, but I truly believe we can beat them all out and if he can get around that first corner, the statistics are in his favour.”
Let’s Go Ozzi was caught in the shadows of the post in last week’s heat after giving a brave sight from box one, something he’ll need to do again to be a realistic chance in the final.
“I’d love to see him come up with any of the inside three boxes, it’s where he seems to do his best work,” Gladman said.
“As they say, boxes can win you races like this and if he can reach the post first and skip around the turn there will definitely be stronger dogs behind him, but he gives himself a chance to pinch it.
“If he’s on the bunny in the back straight I don’t think there’s many dogs who can match him, the momentum he gets sling shotting off the turn is pretty unique.”
Last week wasn’t the first time the dog had gone down by a narrow margin late, always towing the line between a short-course and 520 metre dog.
“The question with him has always been is he a true 520 metre dog, although he’s getting stronger my answer is probably still no,” Gladman said.
“He can absolutely fly when he gets around that first corner and down the back, but you’re always holding your breath around the home turn when he starts taking the short ones.
“He would have been a wonderful dog down in Victoria over the 450 metre one-turn country tracks, but at this stage of my training career and life we didn’t have the resources to get him down there and unfortunately we don’t yet have a similar track in South-East Queensland.”
Let’s Go Ozzi’s positive traits far outweigh the negative, and Gladman is well and truly proud of what he’s achieved at two-and-a-half years old.
“He’s still be a fantastic dog for us, his heart’s in the right place and every time we send him out there, we know he’s going to give it everything he has,” Gladman said.
“I’m definitely a bit harsh on him, for a dog that’s doesn’t run a true 520 he still has achieved a hell of a lot as a Queensland Sprint Finalist, first reserve for an Ipswich Cup, second in the Albion Park Young Guns and runner up to Big Bad Bob in the Bundaberg Cup - it’s a fair resume.
“He’s an honest little fella that always gives us a big thrill because he can lead some good dogs a merry dance a good while.”
The door is not completely shut on Gladman’s one turn aspirations with the dog as he rued a missed opportunity at the Maitland Cup.
“I was going to take him to the Maitland Cup about a month ago but thought he might be a little off with the virus going around so I pulled out,” Gladman said.
“He ended up coming out and running 30.10 winning at Albion, so I was cursing that decision but if the borders open again, I wouldn’t hesitate to take him to a race like that somewhere in New South Wales.”
As good a dog Let’s Go Ozzi has been, Gladman is constantly thinking about what his brother Ricochet Radish would be accomplishing had he not done a serious injury late last year - his last start a two-and-a-half-length victory over dual Derby winner Oh Mickey.
“The travesty is with his brother Ricochet Radish who broke his hock last November, he was a dog that could go with Let’s Go Ozzi early but also finish a race off,” Gladman said.
“We never got to see the best of him, we are still hopeful of getting him back but to the same level probably not, he was the fastest dog I’ve ever had as a two-year-old.
“He had his first free gallop back this week and seems to have pulled up fairly well from it, the legs plated so he’ll never quite have the same action again, but we’d be mad not to give him another chance.
“We’ve invested the time and to even see him back racing would be a real thrill.”
The brothers come from a Magic Sprite/Dyna Aline litter who at least on the dam’s side lend themselves to a strong 520, something Let’s Go Ozzi will hopefully find in time.
“We get all the dogs we race from a friend in Victoria who bred the Let’s Go Ozzi, Ricochet Radish litter and I think we were lucky in probably getting the pick of the bunch,” Gladman said.
“The dam Dyna Aline was a very strong 500 to 600 metre dog who won twenty plus races down there as a front running stayer, that strength obviously rubbed off on Ricochet Radish but not so much on Let’s Go Ozzi.”
Gladman is winding down his operation, with only a few dogs in work and says he and his wife Heather have been blessed to have a dog in Ozzi that’s given them so much satisfaction.
“At the end of the day my wife Heather and I race for the enjoyment of it, not for the glory, we never bet we just love greyhound racing,” he said.
“She’s the brains behind the operation if it was up to her the greyhounds would be eating caviar and I’d be eating kibble, but without her help I’d be nowhere.”