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Punter's Guide to Thoroughbred Tracks
By Isaac Murphy
Zulu Rapid came to Corey Mutton’s kennels as a highly touted prospect, and while the trainer was rapt to get his hands on a quality bitch, there’s pressure that comes with it to continue the upward trend.
That’s exactly what Mutton have done, turning the short courser into a 500-metre sprinter who goes to Albion Park tonight on the back of the three-race winning streak over the same trip at Ipswich.
“It’s more relief that she’s found a bit of form since joining the kennel, a good mate of mine Peter Arnerich bought her after she won her first three starts over the short course in New South Wales and it’s just taken a bit of time for her to settle in and find her right distance,” Mutton said.
“Originally we were going to keep her over the short course, but the grading wasn’t too kind and the work she was doing at home told me she’d probably get further and since she’s been up over the 500 she’s been a different bitch.
“She hasn’t had it easy in any of her three wins drawing the four, eight and seven, but she’s just handled everything I’ve put in front of her which is really pleasing.”
Zulu Rapid’s latest 30.69 Ipswich win should translate to a nice time around Albion Park and with the change of track there’s also been a change of fortune with the box draw.
“With her confidence high I thought it was probably the right time to take her to Albion Park and she’s drawn the red in a Fifth Grade there on Thursday night which should suit, especially with the good dogs racing in the Queensland Sprint heats,” Mutton said.
“It’s a good field with plenty capable of winning on their night, but the way they’re boxed has really gone in our favour; a dog like Rattle The Gate will do it tough with no early speed from box four and a dog like In And Out will have to work over time from the seven to get across - I like our draw.
“There will definitely be a few nerves on the night, I do most of my racing at Ipswich and bring the ones with some scope to Albion but all things point to her going well.”
TAB 5th Grade F 520m
With just 13 starts, Mutton is in no rush with the bitch and is keen to build her confidence in the right races before entertaining anything tougher.
“At this stage we’re just happy to go through her grades and nurse her along, she’s only a baby at just over two-years-old and we probably won’t worry about races like the Young Guns and other series’ before she’s had a few more starts,” he said.
“Especially with good dogs once they get to open grade, they don’t often come back to Fifth Grade, so we’ve still got plenty of non-metro wins and bitches races that we can pick through before we have to worry about that.”
Coming from a sprinting background early in her career has really helped the bitch over the 520 metres, with brilliant first sectionals the common denominator of her three Ipswich wins.
“I’ve been really impressed with the way she’s coming out of the lids, drawing box seven in her toughest race to date last start she really needed to lead and she almost came under the box she was out that quick which really set up her race,” Mutton said.
“We had a good one chasing us in Rio Valiente, but she’d had a full week off and I was pretty confident she would hold him off late.
“She’s got three litter mates that have already won over the 600 metres, so that’s something we have in our back pocket for the future, but while she’s jumping and running over the 500 that’s where she’ll stay.”
Mutton has a keen eye for bloodlines and he’s confident his Kinloch Brae/Notso Sweet product’s best is yet to come and even has an eye to her post-race career.
“Being out of Kinloch Brae and only just turning two she should only get better over the next six months to a year, they’re not forward coming bitches and sometimes it takes a little while to see the absolute best of them,” he said.
“Even this early in her career she has some real promise as a brood bitch being out of Notso Sweet which is a Fancy Jaffa line.
“She has plenty of value without racing, if she can keep putting the wins on the board, she’ll be a great producer.”
Zulu Rapid is a product of Zulu Lodge, a premier Greyhound rearing centre on the New South Wales Coast, and Mutton is more than happy to do business with the professional operation.
“The thing with Zulu Lodge is they breed, they rare, they sell for the right price and you know you’re going to get a readymade quality pup,” he said.
“I’ve been buying dogs off them for years, I just find they’re honest sellers they’re never going to undercut you.
“What you see is what you get - full transparency - and don’t have to go through the full process on breeding, raring etcetera.
“I’ve got a great relationship with all the blokes down there; they’re always getting into me calling me the Mutton Man whenever I get a win and I should be getting a few more with Zulu Rapid.”