By Isaac Murphy
In mid-October trainer Barry Kitchener and the Pound Lika Hound syndicate were searching to win a race with Zipping Cosmo, less than two months later the bitch has added the Young Guns and Group Two Futurity to her resume and is ready to compete in the heats of the inaugural Group Three Golden Ticket this Thursday night.
“I’m delighted she’s got herself a spot in the field it’s been a pretty remarkable couple of months and to have a shot at the Golden Ticket is pretty exciting,” Kitchener said.
“Before she won the Young Guns at headquarters in October her biggest victory was in Grade Five company, we’ve just held on for the ride.”
The Golden Ticket concept sees dogs compete in four dog fields this week, the fastest two from each heat progressing to next week’s match race format where the fastest of the night will reserve themselves a spot in January’s Group One Gold Bullion.
The Group Three has drawn four heats and sixteen dogs of the highest calibre and while Zipping Cosmo isn’t the quickest dog in the field Kitchener is hoping her race sense can continue to carry her.
“She’s not the fastest bitch the in the world but she just finds a way to get her head in the frame which is a really admirable quality considering she’s done it in a Young Guns and now a Group Two Futurity,” he said.
“A lot of dogs struggle around that first corner at Albion Park and even though she might get back she always manages to avoid any trouble, couple that with her ability and she’s a chance in any race.”
Zipping Cosmo (1) clashes with Group One placed Nangar Diva (3) Ash Star (5) and Brandi Alexander (7) in her heat and Kitchener says she’ll have to be switched on against across the board quality.
“She’s proven she’s got a pretty good racing brain on her and she’s going to need it this week, Nangar Diva and Ash Star are probably the quickest two bitches in our heat but haven’t had nearly as much experience around Albion Park as us,” he said.
“We’re certainly not overlooking Brandi Alexander as well who’s won three out of her last six in Best 8 company and if we’re talking experience, she’s got it.”
Most greyhounds would be crying out for a four-dog field, but Kitchener said there are certain pitfalls that may be against Zipping Cosmo with the reduced field.
“She’s relied so heavily on her race sense in her marquee victories staying out of trouble you could argue the small field is to her detriment with less drama at the start,” he said.
“The concept gives greyhounds the chance to really run up to their best times and I know Nangar Diva has gone sub thirty finishing third in the Brisbane Cup earlier this year, while Ash Star came out and went 29.83 first look last week.”
“The bright side for us is we’re likely to get a hassle-free run too and it’s all about getting her time down now the next goal is to break thirty and consistently mix it with free for all dogs.”
No stranger to coming from behind Kitchener expects Zipping Cosmo will need to produce her best run home yet to track down her rivals.
“I expect her to probably be out the back early which is nothing new for us, but we’re definitely the strongest home out of Nangar Diva and Ash Star and Brandi,” he said.
“I’d be rapt if she could run a personal best, even if she doesn’t progress it’s another new challenge for her and an exciting concept to be a part of.”
“You’ve got sixteen dogs competing for one Golden Ticket, it’s going to be tough, but I really think it can spring board her towards the Golden Bullion heats and get her comfortable racing next to Group One dogs.”
Kitchener has trained for the Pound Lika Hound syndicate for several years and with Zipping Cosmo’s success was rapt to see the group re-investing in the industry.
“The great thing about the Pound Lika Hound syndicate is they invest back in racing, they’d had a pretty lean trot until Zipping Cosmo’s two feature victories, but have already picked up Zipping Blondie who’ll have her first start for us at Ipswich on Saturday night.”