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Zammit kennel mates lead winter chase

By Isaac Murphy

Star Queensland sprinter Oh Mickey must have got the memo on Racing Queensland’s revised winter programming.

The Mick Zammit trained dog was back to his brilliant best, winning the Best 8 at Albion Park on a night that also saw Ray and Mary Burman and Darren Russell both score doubles.

The National Derby Champion uncharacteristically missed the kick at his last two starts but found the fence and the lead last night winning by almost five lengths to kennel mate Stinger Noir.

“They are very different dogs; Oh Mickey has a clear advantage at the start and late while Stinger picks up a little bit of ground down the back but doesn’t quite finish off as well,” Mike Zammit said.

“Last night was a good illustration, once Mickey found the fence and put a gap into them early Stinger was the only one making any headway, but Mickey was always going to find again late.

“I’m really happy for Clint (Kratzmann) to see him run down around his best (29.69) after the kennel swap, it just affirmed he’s going as good as ever moving forward.”

Zammit said Stinger Noir had come into his own as a Best 8 dog, with maturity doing him wonders.

“Stinger Noir is always going to lack that genuine early box speed, but what he has in spades is the will to chase and that’s something you can’t teach them,” Zammit said.

“He’s really grown into himself this year with a heightened race sense keeping him out of trouble early, he’s putting himself in a lot more races.”

Zammit has arguably the state’s best two sprinters in Oh Mickey and Stinger Noir, and was as excited as anyone to see the remodelled winter schedule.

“Races like the Brisbane Cup are just starting to appear on the horizon,” Zammit said.

“We’re not getting carried away, it’s a long way off and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge, but we’d love to get them both there.

“We’re just grateful to have those races back on, it looked like we wouldn’t be racing at all a month ago now open class dogs like ours are still going to get their shot in the modified program.”

Oh Mickey has been with Zammit long enough for the trainer to declare the best is yet to come, an ominous warning to rivals.

“I think with age Oh Mickey can go even quicker, it sounds a bit funny when he’s consistently running in the 29.6 range,” Zammit said.

“He’s only turned two a couple of months ago and I think we can get him peaking at two and a half to three years old.

“He tried to anticipate the start and banged his head on the boxes his first start back in Brisbane and since then hasn’t been quite as bulletproof at the start.

“If we can fix that I can certainly see him gaining at least another length on what he’s doing now.”

Albion Park

SKY RACING 520m

Burman duo starting to shine

One of the biggest surprises over the last couple of months at Albion Park has been Techno Hornet’s 600 metre form for Ray and Mary Burman.

He’s won three races this prep and after almost cracking the 35-second barrier, the late bloomer showed last night he could do it over even further.

“We’ve been a bit stuck for ideas with Techno Hornet, with him in top grade over the 600 now and even though he’s not really a 700-metre dog we thought he would go well in a fifth-grade field,” Mary Burman said.

“We expected him to get a nice big lead and hold on, it didn’t pan out that way as he had to chase for most of the event but he was pretty brave holding on late.”

The Burmans picked up a double with litter mate Junior Jet rattling home to score by a head at $26 over the 520 metres, a run they knew he had in him.

“We thought we might have got a result out of Junior Jet the last few weeks, but he came out of his last run a bit battered and bruised, so we got our trainer onto him this week which did the trick,” Burman said.

“He had to do it tough last night, he was fifth down the back and a fair way off them, but he didn’t leave the fence, picked his way through and they left a nice run for him up on the inside to grab it.

“I think he’s more suited to the six hundred and we’ve found a nice mix fourth and fifth grade for him on Monday where he should go well from the two.”

Up until this point in their careers, last night’s winners have been outshone by Paw Licking/Bizarre Barbie litter mates Big Boy Bruce, Blue Diva and Dynamite Lucy, but now are starting to make their own mark.

“They’ve flown under the radar with Big Boy Bruce, Blue Diva and Dynamite Lucy developing a bit earlier, where they are just coming on now,” Burman said.

“I don’t think they’ll ever have the explosiveness of those three, but they’re both really honest on speed dogs.”

Mary Burman said it was a real victory for the code to salvage winter racing with plenty of good races for her chasers.

“We were rapt to see that Racing Queensland was able to put forward the races they have for the winter, it certainly beats racing in the same grade and company each week,” she said.

“There’s plenty of races over the 600 and 520 that should suit all our Paw Licking/Bizarre Barbie dogs, we’re looking forward to it.”

Albion Park

FAST TIMES @ SIRES ON ICE 710m

Brother to Oh Mickey is smokin’

Darren Russell has had to deal with a lot of expectation around Smokin’ Wits, being a brother to Oh Mickey.

The dog has struggled with injuries since a first up win and Russell thinks for a young dog he’s tracking quite well.

“He’s one of those dogs who’s more than capable on his night, has just been very hit and miss since his first start at Ipswich where he was excellent winning his Vince Curry Heat,” Russell said.

“I think people’s expectations of the dog have been warped a bit because he’s Oh Mickey’s brother, they expect him to be up to that standard - he’ll win plenty of races but he’s no Oh Mickey.”

Russell secured a double when the talented Best Fit flashed a brilliant early sectional to set up a race-winning lead in his 520-metre event.

“Best Fit did a pin about two months ago at Albion when he went straight to the lead and pulled up, he’s been behind the eight-ball fitness wise since then,” he said.

“They had the Queensland bred heats on at Ipswich over the 431 metres which I rushed him into, and he ended up winning the final.

“Even coming to the track last night, I wasn’t sure if he’d last the trip and he did get a bit tired late, but he’s a good two or three weeks off peak fitness where I think you’ll see him go sub thirty.”

Albion Park

EXPAT LODGE 520m