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By Isaac Murphy
Frieda Las Vegas’ perfect eight from eight introduction at Albion Park was always going to end sometime, but the excitement around Tony Zammit’s Easter Trophy and Winged Runner Trophy is certainly still there.
The versatile bitch is taking a step back down from the 600 metres this week to tangle with Queensland’s best young sprinters in the Emerging Origin Stars Final.
It’s a big ask for the bitch who hasn’t run over the trip for a month and faces a raft of Group placed and Listed winners, but Zammit is not deterred knowing if they give her a sniff she’ll be flashing late.
“It’s a hell of a field with plenty of young talent, I was originally a bit disappointed with box four but having a look at the field quite a few of the dogs around her have the early speed to clear her early and let her drop to her favourite spot on the fence,” Zammit said.
“She’s got quite a good history with box four as well; both her feature wins the Easter Trophy Final and The Winged Runner Trophy Final have come from the blue - it’s not beyond her.”
“I was really pleased to see the club put this race on, obviously we didn’t get the Origin Series this year but the field really shows how deep the talent pool of young pups in Queensland is.”
Having closely examined the form, Zammit knows Frieda will be out the back early, but with so much early speed it might just play to her advantage.
“Farmor Beach (1), Eulogia (3), Special Cyndie (5), Hara’s Panda (7) and Flying Jet (8) will all be charging for the lead at that first corner,” he said.
“If one of them clears the field and leads we probably can’t run them down but when you’ve got a lot of dogs like that who want the front, there’s normally some amount of trouble and that’s gives us a big chance to get the better of them late.
“She knows how to use the rail and her field sense if phenomenal, there are quicker dogs but you can’t count her out of it.”
Frieda’s month between 520 metre runs has been due to her much anticipated step to the 600 metres, which began in brilliant fashion but for the first time in her career she’s had a run of outs.
“I thought she would go well when we first got her to the 600 about a month ago especially when we came up with box one,” Zammit said.
“She used it as well, that’s probably the best she’s begun since the Vince Curry Series and to run 34.65, going 9.68 early and 13.07 home was huge, I think she was only a couple of tenths off the track record.
“She just hasn’t drawn a box over the middle-distance since then and when she tries to head to the fence early all she finds is other dogs and you get pushed off the track at the first turn.”
Zammit has stated the 600 is only a stop over on Frieda’s way to the 700 boxes, where he thinks she’ll be far more comfortable.
“The outside boxes over the 600 are far worse than the outside boxes from the 520 or 710 metre starts; starting on a bend they’re all condensed early and it doesn’t give her the chance to let the speed go and balance up,” he said.
“My main intention with her eventually will be to get her up to the 710 metres where they start down the back straight there.
“It gives the field more of a chance to string out and find their positions before they go into that first turn.
“She’s still just over two-years-old so despite her wanting the 710 I’m just holding her back for the moment, it’s nice when a race like this comes along and she has the ability to drop back to the 520 and still be competitive.”
Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 9:13 PM
Although Frieda Las Vegas can mix and match her distances, Zammit wants a sustained run over the staying trip when she gets there, with the odd 520 thrown in to keep her fresh.
“When we do make the jump to the 700, I want to test her out over some easier races first before diving straight into a feature race,” Zammit said.
“All things considered we should be able to get enough runs over the distance in her by the end of the year to have a good idea whether she’s right up to the standard of Group Races.
“we could look at building a campaign around the Group 1 Gold Cup early next year, but that’s a long way off.
“The beauty of her is we can mix and match her distances week to week; she carries great condition and will try her heart out wherever I place her.”
Frieda’s immediate future is up In the air depending on box draws but Zammit has plenty of options at his fingertips.
“I’m considering keeping her over the 520 metres with the Ipswich Young Guns heats approaching Saturday week, she ran great time at Ipswich in the Vince Curry Series and it’s the only track she’s pinged the lids from,” he said.
“Our next move will likely be dependant on if she can draw a box for a Monday night 600; I don’t want to knock her confidence around too much if she draws wide again but will probably accept if she’s somewhere near the fence.”