By Isaac Murphy
Tony Brett trains to win big races but not all big races are Group One’s, Queensland’s premier trainer has most recently set his sights on this Lismore Maiden Series where he saw three pups from three different litters sail through to next Tuesday night’s $20,000 final at the Northern Rivers track.
“Timing is everything with dogs especially when you’re looking to target a maiden series and Lismore is somewhere, I go every year, so I identified a team a long way out to take down,” Brett said.
“It’s nice to get a treble anywhere let alone in the heats of one of what I consider a time-honoured maiden.”
This year’s series drew six heats to determine next week’s final and it was Brett’s number one prospect that got the ball rolling in heat three Hara’s Clyde bolting in by seven lengths in a quick 23.84 over the 420-metre trip.
“I was pretty confident Hara’s Clyde would go well even if it was an eight dog field he’s a really nice pup with a touch of class about him and when it got down to a four dog field and I still saw two to one about him I thought he was a pretty good bet,” Brett said.
“He’s a Fernando Bale out of Hara’s Annie, Tony Glover is the owner who I trained Hara’s Dazza for who was a very good dog over the 520 and 600 metres at Albion Park.”
“In a years’ time it’ll be interesting to see where he is because he’s not the quickest dog on the trial track but everything you ask him to do, he does and seems to have a very level head on him.”
“He seemed to appreciate box three in his heat, and he moves one closer to the fence in box two for the final, on pure ability he’s definitely my leading hope.”
Skilled out of Barcia Bale and Velocity Melzon was next to salute in heat five but the big lump of a dog went about it a bit differently than Hara’s Clyde, nevertheless winning in 24.12.
“Hara’s Clyde and Skilled are chalk and cheese they broke in at the same time but that’s where the similarities end, Skilled is a bit like the Shane Webcke of dog racing he’s big and clumsy but there’s one thing on his mind and that’s to chase that lure and good luck if you’re in his way,” Brett said.
“He tips the scales at about thirty-eight kilos and he will just barge through anything and everything to get there.”
“Hara’s Clyde is learning and getting everything right and this fella is just mad crazy with no idea which can be an advantage and a detriment at the same time.”
Not as clean winded as his kennel mate Brett believes it’d be a stretch to get him to the 520 though his racing style gives him a chance over the shorts and in next week’s final.
“His future is probably more over the short course due to that bullocking style and the fact he doesn’t run a strong 400, I’m a little less cautious of how far he can go,” he said
“In regard to this race he’s certainly a chance because if he can create a bit of chaos over the shorts, he can pinch it, I’m just glad he’s drawn away from Hara’s Clyde in the six.”
Brett brought up a treble in race six, the well-bred Duplicated carving his way across from the six Brett hoping he was similar ability to a talented litter sister.
“Duplicated is a litter brother to Velocity Bettina out of Zambora Brockie and Velocity Shirl and she’s had a remarkable start to her career winning the Ipswich Futurity, a Heat of the Ipswich Cup and line’s up in the final of the Futurity at Albion Park tomorrow night, if he can live up to that I’d be very happy,” he said.
“I thought the 420 might be a bit nippy for him, hence the one start over the 520 at Albion which he didn’t appreciate, the positive of that was he was eligible for this series.”
“His time wasn’t too flash (24.29), but I was really impressed with the way he navigated the field from the six getting over to the rail he’s another one that will be learning each time out.”
Brett said it was unusual with the lack of Queensland trainers engaged in the series with Kev Ellis and Nicole Connell the only other Queenslander’s to try their hand.
“I was very surprised to see the lack of Queenslanders down for the series this year, in the past they used to run four dog qualifying heats because you’d have eighty or ninety dogs turning up,” Brett said.
“The numbers seem to have slowly dropped over the last few years to six heats that aren’t always full fields, but it was nice to see we stacked up well against the best Northern Rivers dogs.”
Brett said he won’t be deserting the series anytime soon having been a happy hunting ground over the years with a Group One Brisbane Cup winner starting his career there.
“I won it for Steve Williams with a little girl called Velocity Zoe and he owns Skilled and Duplicated this year along with Velocity Summit for Kev Ellis, so Velocity Lodge still places a big emphasis on the race,” he said.
“Fast Times won in five years ago and broke the track record in his heat so I’ve got some good memories and it will continue to be one of the maiden’s I target.”