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Brett gives himself a double chance at the Golden Ticket

By Isaac Murphy

The Group 3 Golden Ticket match races have been decided, following a cracking night of racing at Albion Park on Thursday night.

The marquee matchup is undoubtedly between Brett’s kennelmates Sentenced and What A Debacle - who won their heats in 29.67 and 29.65 respectively - and the trainer couldn’t be more ecstatic with both performances.

The two will face off as the fastest two qualifiers in one of four match races next week, to determine who grabs the Golden Ticket into the Group 1 Gold Bullion Final.

“I thought Sentenced was fantastic! There were a few nerves coming off a run where he was knocked around a bit, but it’s a big weight off the shoulders to see him come out and do that,” Brett said.

“Things looked like they got pretty tight at the first turn even with four of them, but once he hooked to the outside, I was confident he’d open up.

“He did a few things wrong, he didn’t fly out and is still a bit wayward at times, but to see him go 29.67 tells me he’s right where he needs to be for next week.”



Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 6:58 PM


Sentenced was racing the clock to be 100% fit after a rough house affair at Ipswich, and Brett was surprised he was so forward given the little work he’d had.

“After a relatively light workload for the last week-and-a-half I didn’t expect him to get down in the 29.6 range, that’s really humming here,” the trainer said.

“He was always looking for the run this week, I was desperate to get him in a two-dog match race next week which should suit his racing pattern even more.”

Sentenced is a home-grown product for Brett but What A Debacle has only come to him in recent months, and Queensland finally feels like home as he blitzed his heat bettering the kennelmate on the clock.

“It was all about timing for him, he’s come along in leaps and bounds over the last month and I probably didn’t think he’d get down to that time - full credit to him he’s come into his own,” Brett said.

“We’ve seen the transformation at home as well, he struts around like he owns the place and it’s carrying over into his racing.

“He was originally with Jason Magri in Sydney and ran some real good times at Wentworth Park, but he recommended to the owners they bring him up here where he thought he’d race well.

“They’re a rowdy bunch, you’ll hear them cheering next week.”


Looking at their splits, although the overall time was almost identical, they race quite differently with What A Debacle doing his best work down the back, and it’s given Brett plenty to ponder.

“It’s a good problem to have but I’ll be worrying all week they’re going to bump into each other being in the same heat,” he laughed.

“In a perfect world it would have been good to have them in separate races, but we’ve qualified the two fastest dogs for the Final - it’s been a very good night.

“Looking at their early splits, there’s nothing in it to that first turn, I hope they just play nice and give each other every chance.”

Western Australian Group 1 superstar Tommy Shelby left trainer Steve Withers a little nervy after an average trial last week, but the time in Queensland has done him the world of good after a 29.74-second heat winner making it a three-length improvement.

“He’s had a good week at Brent Kline’s place, he’s definitely acclimatised and with the track playing a little quicker tonight he looks on track for next week,” Withers said.

“We got him eating right during the week, got his weight to where it should be, and he’s duly had a much better performance.

“He still got tired late tonight, but now we’ve got another week to top him up even more and keep working towards the goal which is that Golden Ticket.”

While Tommy was posing for photos with fans, Cyndie Elson’s Magical Hope was getting ready for her heat, surging to the front and running away in 29.71 seconds to set up a cracking match up with the visitor.

“She’s found some consistency, she’s always been fast but she’s using her head a bit more now,” Bill Elson said.

“She ran a tenth quicker than what she did winning the Best 8 last week and with less dogs around her time should go down.

“He’s (Tommy Shelby) a great dog and has won plenty of races, but she races here every week which is a big advantage.”


Like the other clashes, there is nothing between Cheap Wine for Kev Macintosh and Crazy Cool for Robert Jacobsen who both ran game seconds in their heats in 29.86 and 28.87 seconds respectively.

Cheap Wine went up a huge price and ran Tommy Shelby down to a length-and-a-half on the line, and Macintosh remains optimistic about his chances next week.

“We all know the wraps on that dog, and we gave him and start and almost chased him down, if she’d avoided trouble at the first turn she might have got there,” he said.

“I knew she was back to her best when she won in 29.7 a few weeks ago, I was just hoping to make it through to a match race and we’re there now.

“Hopefully we don’t have to worry about trouble at any stage and I can see her down around 29.7 again which will be competitive in any of the heats.”

Crazy Cool has been knocking on the door of a feature win after running second in the Group 2 Futurity and third in the Group 2 Golden Sands, and trainer Rob Jacobsen is hoping it’s third time lucky in the Golden Ticket.

“I’m not sure how she found herself out three-wide down the back in a four-dog field, but she’s fit as a fiddle from her 600-metre starts and did what she needed to do to get through to next week.

“She’s a really nice balance of speed and power; if she gets out in front, even a strong bitch like Cheap Wine will struggle to make a dent.”

Not to be forgotten are Speranza and Frieda Las Vegas, two greyhounds who’ve run in the 29.6 range before, and will be charging late in their matchup.

Tony Zammit said Frieda Las Vegas will be much better off after her first 500-metre start in a couple of months.

“We just gave her a really light week and she responded, she jumped and almost crossed them - if she had the inside, she would have held them out,” he said.

“Like a lot of others, we just wanted to get to the match races, she’s usually coming from behind so the less traffic the better.

“Speranza is a fairly similar chaser to us, we won’t be taking anything for granted.”

Just about everything that could go wrong did for Brian Baker’s charge but Speranza still found the line and a spot in the final.

“He’s done a remarkable job to qualify, we were racing the clock to have him fit after a niggle and new he was going in fresh tonight,” Baker said.

“He’s finished a long way off the leader but the checks he copped to keep coming speaks to what kind of a chaser he is.

“We know how strong Frieda Las Vegas is, I’m confident we can lead early and rattle off some quick splits to make her do it the hard way.”