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Classy Ethics repays Crawford’s leap of faith

By Isaac Murphy

Trainer Jeff Crawford saw an opportunity for a front running stayer to make an impact throughout Brisbane’s winter feature races.

Not wasting any time, the trainer got to work identifying the talented but unproven Classy Ethics from David Smith’s New South Wales kennels.

It’s been two months since Classy Ethics has arrived, and on Thursday she gets a crack at the Group 1 Queensland Cup after a superb training performance.

Classy Ethics hadn’t won or run further than 600 metres before she came to Brisbane, but Crawford liked what he’d seen down south and was confident she would get 700.

A Group 3 Super Stayers second placing and a 41.83 Queensland Cup heat win showed the trainer he was right on the money.

 “In the small amount of time I’ve had her I’ve seen her really mature into a confident race dog and that’s showing in her races getting out in front and enjoying what she’s doing,” Crawford said.

“She just loves to run even at home; you let her out and she’ll bounce around until you go and grab her and even after her 710 metre runs, she wouldn’t blow out a candle and is wagging her tail everywhere.

“Seemingly every time she steps out, she’s running a new best.

“Will she gets to a level where she plateaus out? I’m not sure but she’s still rising now and needs to find another gear if she wants to win the final.”

Classy Ethics has shown the box manners to put herself in a race regardless of draw, but Velocity Bettina in her favourite colour could mean trouble for the rest of the field.

“I wasn’t bothered where Classy Ethics drew (6), she can begin from everywhere but I think the most interest was around Velocity Bettina and she got her box in the red, which I think dented everyone’s confidence a little bit but we’re still optimistic about our chances,” Crawford said.

“We know we have the speed to lead her early because we did it in the Super Stayers final, we just drifted off the fence and gave her the run she wanted.

“We hope she can get to the front again and has hopefully learned and improved on what she’s done her past few starts to compete with a Group 1 field.”

Classy Ethics

Velocity Bettina has dominated the winter staying program and demands attention but there are plenty of other rivals ready to stake their claim.

 “I expect Blazing Cartier to really improve on what she did last week, she’s drawn well in the two and should get a nice suck up behind Velocity Bettina and then a run-on dog like Rasheda will be waiting to pounce if you don’t get away from her in the early stages,” Crawford said.

“In saying that, I wouldn’t trade Classy Ethics for any other dog; the way Velocity Bettina races I think we’re the only runner that can put her under pressure early - I’m quietly confident.”

Classy Ethics was hardly an out-and-out star arriving in Queensland, and Crawford had done his homework watching her replays and looking at her breeding.

He took an educated gamble bringing her up and turning her into a stayer, and things couldn’t have gone any smoother.

“She hasn’t put a foot wrong since she arrived at our place, we threw her straight in the deep end with the seven hundred and she hasn’t let us down,” he said.

“If you asked me when we first brought her up if she could make it to a Queensland Cup final so quickly, I would have liked to have said yes, but the real answer would have been a no.

“The most impressive part is the amount of work she’s been able to handle running 710 metres almost every week and being worked hard between runs, she’s definitely come on quicker than I thought she would.”

Albion Park

TAB Queensland Cup (G1) H 710m

Crawford thinks the bitch is still a way off her ceiling and is incredibly thankful to David Smith who plans to keep the bitch with Crawford post-Queensland Cup.

“David Smith - her owner and former trainer - has backed us all the way with her and has said he’s happy for her to stay up here and keep improving while the races are there,” he said.

“The Breast Cancer Cup over the 731 at Ipswich is coming up later this month, so we’ll lock her in for that and if she’s still running well, we might look at travelling with her.”

The Group 1 Brisbane and Queensland Cups are rightfully getting all the headlines for Thursday’s card but the third feature - The Mick Byrne Memorial Novice - shouldn’t be forgotten.

Crawford is another a huge chance with the fastest qualifier in Eulogia, sister to Group 3 Flying Amy winner Kiss And Spin.

“Eulogia and her sister Kiss And Spin are both really intelligent bitches, each time they go out they seem to learn from their last experience and come back that little bit better,” Crawford said.

“Early on Kiss and Spin looked like she was going to be handily the quicker of the two but as it stands I’d say Eulogia is probably the better race dog and has caught up on the clock running 29.87 last week as well.

“There’s no real weakness with Eulogia; her splits are so consistent and she’s just a really good little race dog that’s going places.”

Eulogia looks to map well from her draw and if she gets to the front Crawford thinks she can run another personal best, but some of her competition might have a say in the matter.

“She’s a good beginner from just about anywhere but the closer to the rail the better and she should get a good run to the first turn from box three,” he said.

“I’ve got enormous respect for the other dogs in the race, particularly the four (Rio Valiente) and the five (Mick’s Recall), but our main advantage is our box speed which we hope sets her apart from those very talented dogs.

“It’s always an interesting race the Mick Byrne, you often see a lot of young dogs come out of it and go on to bigger and better things, we’d love to get a feature beside Eulogia’s name.”

Crawford said he was still riding the high of Kiss And Spin’s unlikely Flying Amy triumph, having only won a maiden before the race and upsetting a seasoned field.

“It was quite a thrill seeing Kiss And Spin win the Flying Amy, she was our first Group dog we’ve trained ourselves so there was a fair bit of pride attached,” Crawford said.

“The graders have caught up with her now and she’s been going around in some tough races but has been holding her own in the placings.

“She’s in a Mixed Fourth Fifth Grade on Thursday that she’s not without a chance in if she bounces well from box five.”

The KC and All/Reshuffle litter have been a godsend for Crawford, and with a couple of pups yet to start there’s exciting times ahead.

“They’ve been an amazing litter so far, but we’ve still got a couple to start who’ll hopefully make their debuts in the Eric Thompson Maiden heats in a couple of weeks’ time,” Crawford said.

“For Eulogia and Kiss And Spin we hope they’ve shown enough to get a start in next week’s Emerging Origin Stars Sprint - another chance to race for some really good money.”