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Punter's Guide to Thoroughbred Tracks
By Isaac Murphy
Greyhound training can be a cruel game and Jeff Crawford was left pretty flat after kennel star Radar Gunn suffered a career-ending injury and another one of his top prospects went down late last year.
The trainer used his time away from the track breeding and recruiting to bounce back in 2020, and he’s done just that with Classy Ethics in the Dashing Corsair Final and Kiss And Spin in the Group 3 Flying Amy this Thursday night.
“We had a really tough trot at the end of last year with the kennel’s top three of four race dogs all coming down with pretty serious injuries at the same time,” Crawford said.
“We decided to put racing on the backburner, re-set our focus on some of the pups and purchases we had coming through this year.”
With an exciting litter of pups still a couple of months away, Crawford turned his attention to filling the rather large void Radar Gunn had left.
He looks to have found a good one in Classy Ethics who won last week’s Dashing Corsair heat in 41.97, only her second run at the 710 trip.
“I spent about a fortnight ringing people in Sydney enquiring about a potential stayer for the winter events we have on in Queensland, I had a bit of a void to fill in the kennel and I knew with the staying ranks the way they are if I could get the right dog we could be very competitive in the feature races,” Crawford said.
“I came across Classy Ethics after watching a couple of replays and gave the trainer/owner David Smith a call who I’d met a number of years ago and he was more than happy to give me Classy Ethics for at least the Winter and we’ve struck up quite a good friendship out of it.
“He’s made it very easy on Jane (Crawford) and me to get the bitch up here, so we’re hoping we can really repay the faith with some good results for him.”
Classy Ethics fronted up an unknown quantity over the 710 a fortnight ago, but Crawford saw enough to be encouraged.
“I was really pleased with her fourth first up after she’d only had one six hundred metre trial the week before the Dashing Corsair heats, it gave her a good look first time out of those boxes and over the trip,” he said.
“Based on her runs down in Sydney I thought she would be the kind of bitch who could get the 710 and we were rapt to see her come out and lead all the way in last week’s heats.
“She looks like a genuine front running stayer, which is what I was after all along, the best part about it is she’s only two runs into her 710-metre career.”
Classy Ethics only brought a moderate winning record to the Crawford kennel, but the trainer had seen enough to know she’d enjoy the surrounds of Albion Park.
TAB The Dashing Corsair (L) H 710m
“She needs a bit of room in her racing and doesn’t like to get crowded; if anything, she likes to go around a dog rather than underneath one and the tracks she was racing at like Dapto didn’t lend to that type of dog,” he said.
“I just thought with the smaller fields up here on the bigger track and over further distance would bring the best out of her with the fields generally getting spread out rather than tightly packed and she’s looked the goods so far.”
The final is by far the two-year-old’s biggest test, with two of Queensland’s most respected stayers both at the top of their game.
“I think in this final Rasheda and Infrared Lad are obviously the two dogs to beat based on their ability,” Crawford said.
“But I really think even from box five if the four can give us a run across we might be able to push for the lead into the straight the first time and who knows after that.
“I’m quietly optimistic she’ll run a really competitive race, just based off the jumps she’s made since she’s been up here.
Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:37 PM
“Hopefully she can equip herself well this week, get a start in the Super Stayers and then onto the Queensland Cup, if all goes well David (Smith) may even leave her up here with us a little longer.”
While Classy Ethics was an import, most of the kennel is home-grown and the up-and-coming litter is looking set for a big year.
“I’m starting out with a handy young litter out of our brood bitch Reshuffle and KC And All, who’s a hot sire at the moment and they’ve produced a few exciting young pups for us,” Crawford said.
“Eulogia has three starts for two wins and a second over the 520 at Albion and Kiss And Spin has made the Flying Amy Final on Thursday.
“I’ve got another seventeen pups in total all ready to make their first starts at some stage this year.
“With the young ones beginning their racing careers and some of our older established dogs still going well, the goal is to have about twenty racing by the end of the year and hopefully unearth a few really good dogs.”
Crawford has already found one in Kiss And Spin who despite her age and inexperience, finds herself in a Group 3 flying Amy Final at start seven as she continues to get better.
“Kiss And Spin only broke in average but we knew the motor was there because she was getting home at the end of her trials,” he said.
“We gave her a couple of weeks off and put her into full pre-training and she looked like a different bitch, her first 331 at Albion she went 19.18 with an 11.80 run home, next week she ran quickest of the morning over the 395.
“I had her right on track for the Dave Brett and on the eve of the race along with a lot of other dogs in the kennel she came down with what I assume was the virus going around, so we had to forego that and started her off in the Bob Vernon.
“She was the only bitch in the final and ran third and she hasn’t been unplaced at Albion since.”
Kiss and Spin went around a $51 chance and the bookies aren’t giving her too much of a chance this week either, but Crawford said the race maps perfectly for her tendencies.
“She’s developed a bit of a habit of coming out and crashing left, so the wider boxes haven’t suited her whatsoever,” he said.
“Drawn the pole this week I hope she can use it, I believe she can get under thirty seconds with the right run which is no mean feat with her lack of experience.
“She’s still an outside chance this week but the draw has brought her into calculations, a lot of speed is drawn out wide and Hara’s Clyde in box two likes to get up the track a bit.
“It might give her an opportunity to punch up early, I wouldn’t be ruling her out of any trifectas of first fours.”
Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 9:22 PM