By Isaac Murphy
Plenty of water has passed under the bridge since trainer John Clancy first won the Vince Curry Memorial Maiden Series but the Murwillumbah trainer believes he's found a dog who can deliver his second.
Spotted Wolf has been hard to ignore in the series, the distinctive white and fawn chaser has twice won from Box 1 to qualify fastest for Saturday's final.
Clancy said at twenty-five months the hope had been to get the dog to the track a little earlier, but after a few minor issues he was happy to wait for the Maiden Series he first won eighteen years ago.
“I held him out for this series, we could have had him at the track a little earlier but had a few little issues breaking him in, so in the end the timing was spot on for him,” Clancy said.
“I won the race in 2001, with Awesome Attack who was out of Spotted Wolf’s great grandmother and I’ve managed to keep the line right through.
“Eighteen years is a long time between drinks, but I think we’ve finally got the dog to do it.”
Clancy said everything he has seen from the dog at home and on the track has his career headed in the right direction.
“I trialled him at Lismore over the 520m a few months ago and I was very impressed with him,” he said.
“His first section was good, his middle section was good, and his last section was even better.
“Every time we give him a new test he goes one better and thankfully he’s carried that through to this series.”
Spotted Wolf, or 'Wolfy as his trainer likes to call him, went around a $5.50 shot in last week’s semi-finals and paired-off at the winning post with race favourite Exciting Times, before gettin the upper-hand late.
“I knew we were in a pretty good position going off his trial and first up run, it was great to see him kick clear and put up a few lengths on him,” Clancy said.
The strong performance and another handy box draw (3) have given Clancy plenty of confidence heading into Saturday night’s Group Three Final.
“I’m very happy with the draw. Tony Apap’s dog (Shorino) has a bit of speed to the turn, but even if Wolfy can’t lead him he should sit right on him and use those closing sectionals to get past,” he said.
“He was crook right up until race day last week, it was touch and go whether we were going to run him.
“This week he’s been jumping out of his skin, so I’m hoping he can go even quicker.”
Wolfy has provided some temporary relief for Clancy who has been largely incapacitated for the last four weeks after a nasty fall.
“I’m on the mend now but in the mean time I’ve had my good mate and part owner Des Cecil, doing all the kennelling and leading the dog out for me,” Clancy said.
“My wife and my young grandson have been doing all the hard work at home giving him a gallop and making sure he’s ready to go, but I’m determined to get there Saturday night and lead him out myself.”