By Isaac Murphy
Queensland’s most promising pups will descend on Albion Park for the Racing Queensland Young Gun’s Heats on Thursday night, a date trainer Warren Nicholls has been waiting for with two live chances to make next week’s final.
Dusty Delight wears the yellow cloth in Heat One, while Common Ground jumps from the six in Heat Three, Nicholls is bullish about both their chances.
“What’s exciting about it is they are both genuine chances,” Nicholls said.
“In the past you just throw them in because they make the age restrictions, but I really think these two are capable of winning their heats.”
At just over two-years of age Dusty Delight has compiled a 9-3-3-1 record, entering the heat’s off the back of a two race winning streak and despite a sticky box (5) Nicholls believes he can maintain his run.
“He’s been really strong late which I’ve been happy with, but he’s only just above average early,” he said.
“If he can stay out of trouble early and get to the winning post unchecked he’ll be a big chance to win the race.”
“He’s about a 5.54 second first split and looking at the field he should at least get away with them and if he does his middle section and back end should be too strong for them.”
While Nicholls is confident Dusty Delight can make it three on the trot, he knows the step up in class will be a test.
“He has led at his last three starts, but it’s definitely a step up in company so luck early will certainly play a factor,” he said.
“When I look at the field they’re a really even bunch of dogs, there are a couple of unknowns but it’s really going to come down to who executes on the night.”
Despite being the slightly younger of the duo Nicholls puts Common Ground slightly in front of Dusty Delight at this stage of their careers as the bitch also enters he heats on the back of two impressive wins.
“I’d probably put Common Ground a bit ahead of Dusty at this stage, she’s very smart early,” Nicholls said.
“She’s not the quickest away but has the race sense to weave her way to the fence.”
“It’s a bit of a blessing and a curse, she’s come up against Dam Slippery a couple of times and loomed to win but wants to stick to the rail instead of going around, but she’s always learning.”
“I’m going to keep them in Brisbane for a few more runs after the Young Guns, regardless of how they go I think they’ll be better dogs for it.”
Nicholls first goal is to qualify his Young Guns for next Thursday’s final, but with a number of age races on the horizon the trainer has decided to keep the pair at home the next few months to further their careers down the track.
“I think Dusty Delight has a real opportunity to become a 600-metre dog, so after a few more runs at home over the 520 metres I may look to step him up,” Nicholls said
“I thought about taking Common Ground to The Futurity at Wentworth Park, but I’ve decided to keep her at home and build her up before going interstate.”