By Isaac Murphy
There’s plenty of debate around the so called ‘big three’ in this Thursday’s Group Three Golden Ticket match races.
Heat winners Sentenced and What a Debacle for Tony Brett as well as Western Australian star Tommy Shelby for Steve Withers are drawing most of the attention, but flying under the radar is Cyndie and Bill Elson’s bitch Magical Hope.
The winner of heat four is in the form of her life and is every chance to roll the lot of them.
Bill Elson spoke glowingly about his bitch, who’s won 18 races - including the Listed Rising Stars - and continues to produce results with her 29.71 effort last week.
“She gave us a fair idea early on she was going to be a good bitch; her times were good over the short course and we were able to get her up to the 500 quicker than her litter mates - she was always the strongest,” Bill Elson said.
“We generally like to take our time with them a bit, but we wanted a shot at the age races with her where she was really competitive and came out of those ready for open company.
“She doesn’t like to lose, put her in a match race like she is this week and she’s going to be tough to beat, she’s quick early and strong home.”
Magical Hope knocked over her restricted races with ease, and as a two-year-old was ready to take on anything put in front of her.
“Winning the Rising Stars and racing the older dogs in the Ipswich Cup has really benefitted her, she rises to the level of her competition,” Elson said.
“When the four of them got nice and tight in the match race last week I always back her to get the best of those situations having been in them as many times as she has.
“I think the two dog fields will only help, as usual we’re up against the best but she’s fearless the way she goes about it.”
Magical Hope’s last couple of months have put her in the upper echelon of Queensland chasers, and Elson has seen the change in her as she matures.
“We always knew she could run time, but she was very hit and miss and a young bitch, one race she’d jump and the next she’d find trouble,” he said.
“I always thought she’d be a 29.7 bitch around Albion Park, but wasn’t sure she could turn up every week and be around the mark, but she’s been first or second in Best 8s since the Ipswich Cup Final.
“It was just maturity, we always like to use our grades and once she started getting a few wins, everything about her got that little bit better.”
Magical Hope ran the third quickest time of the heats, just three hundredths faster than Tommy Shelby (29.74), and Elson is not shying away from the contest with the Group 1 winner.
“I like the match up with Tommy Shelby, he was good last week but looked to get tired to the line, that’s not a problem for us - it could be the difference,” Elson said.
“The good thing about her is she can chase from behind and get over the top, or she can ping the lids - she’s gone 5.4 early which would see us leading.
“She’s been racing at Albion Park since she was a pup and has won a lot of races there; Tommy Shelby’s a good dog, but we’ve got the home ground advantage.”