By Isaac Murphy
Jeff Crawford’s two-year-old Radar Gunn finished half a length second in the Queensland distance final at start number twelve and while a trip to Nationals would have been nice, Crawford has plenty of plans for his staying prodigy starting at Ipswich this Saturday night.
“We’d always aimed her towards the Col Harris Gold Sovereign, it was a plan had for a while, it was only a last-minute decision to have a crack at the Nationals narrowly missing out on a trip to Perth, but it’s a nice to have a plan to fall back on,” Crawford said.
Radar Gunn kick started that plan last Saturday night coming from near last at the post first time round to win her heat, but Crawford knows she has to improve her box manners to figure in the final.
“She’s developed a bit of a knack of missing the start, but she probably needed to miss it the other night to be able to cross down and find the rails from box six,” Crawford said.
“While I was disappointed with her early section, it was pleasing to see her go to plan B find the fence and get after the leaders.”
“It worked out well on the night but it’s something we’re definitely going to have to iron on over time, because that won’t cut it in finals.”
Out of Magic Sprite and Miss Barcia, Crawford picked up Radar Gunn of good mate and Western Australian trainer Jayson Gunning, the littler enjoying good early success with one common habit.
“The whole litter want nothing other than the fence, they get so close they tend to actually be bouncing off the rail,” Crawford said.
“While it’s the shortest way home it can make them a bit one dimensional, it could be to their advantage in some races, but times are going to come when she has to learn to go around other dogs.”
“Unfortunately, she’s going to have to do it the hard way again on Saturday coming up with the seven, but at least she has the experience of last week’s run.”
There are not many races catered to a thirteen-start stayer in Queensland, but Crawford has found one in the Gold Sovereign.
“There are only a few races like this each year, it’s an event we went after last year and missed out, but we think we have the right bitch in 2019,” Crawford said.
“It’s really attractive for a young up and coming dog like Radar Gunn who needs extra ground to go out and feature in.”
Trainers are traditionally cautious at getting their dogs up over the staying trips at an early age, but Radar Gunn showed she was the exception to the rule with one of her early trials.
“You can’t make a stayer into a stayer, you’re born with it and we knew from early on when she went 29.9 around Albion with a 12.42 last sectional, she wanted distance sooner rather than later,” Crawford said.
“She justified that pretty quickly with a couple of sub 35 second wins over the 600 and went within half a length of going to Nationals at her second run over the trip.”
Crawford is looking at a possible return to Ipswich next week, but also has some interstate plans locked in for his gun chaser.
“There is a 732-metre race next week at Ipswich we are looking at and at sometime in the next month I’d like to take her down to Wentworth Park for a Grade Five Heat and Final, it’s somewhere she’ll hopefully be racing in the future,” Crawford said.
“Apart from that we’ll chop and change her between the 600 and 700 over the next couple of months and then hopefully get on a plane and start taking her to some Group staying races around the country.”