By Isaac Murphy
The 2020 Ipswich Young Guns could easily be a Group race given the class of greyhounds that will go around in this Saturday’s Final.
Perhaps the most intriguing of them all Tony Brett’s Hara’s Clyde, who a fortnight ago ran the seventh quickest time in track history, and along with kennel mate Messy Man didn’t let the trainer down both winning last week’s heats.
Hara’s Clyde had a grand total of seven starts when he ran the time in late February, a pleasant surprise for Brett who thought the 22-month-old may take a little longer.
“I didn’t think he’d run 30.12 that’s for sure, I’ve always had an opinion of him and he’s a nice dog, but with that one performance that put him right in the cross hairs for bigger assignments,” Brett said.
“Leading up the to the run he’s shown flashes running 24.7 winning over the 431 and then completely missing the kick next start, but he did show signs he’d excel over more distance.
“What was more surprising for us is he went into that race possibly a little underdone as we’d been on holidays, but he obviously loves being fresh because he’s running time that some of my Group One winners have run in the past.”
Brett said while the run was a great confidence boost for dog and trainer he didn’t do it against much of a field and was keen to see if he could produce a similar performance in last Saturday’s Young Guns Heats.
“Saturday night really proved to me he was coming of age, to jump from the six and accelerate across a good field was no easy feat and to still run home in good time shows he’s stepped up into a good all-round dog,” Brett said.
“His timeline heading towards the Winter Carnival all of a sudden looks ideal, he gets his chance at a Young Guns Saturday night, but then we’ll get him to Albion Park go through a few grades up against the older dogs and have him ready for Group racing.”
Hara’s Clyde has revealed his devastating ability, but it’s up to Brett to not rest on his laurels and continue to get the best out of the dog.
“The most impressive thing about the times he’s running and the way he’s winning is the fact he’s still very raw,” Brett said.
“He’s a bit ungainly around the turns, takes them a bit awkwardly, drifted off the fence a bit in the straight in his Young Gun Heats and still winning, when he gets it all together, he looks like the full package.
“He’s not two until May, he’s got plenty of upside about him and should just keep improving.”
Box draws make and break feature races, and Brett was forced to temper his expectations when the kennel mates drew alongside each other.
“Box seven with Hara’s Clyde I would have been over the moon, but the fact Messy Man drew the eight has me a bit worried because he’s got speed as well,” Brett said.
“The good thing is Messy Man isn’t a crasher, they both should hang out wide and hopefully clear dogs like Stinger Noir in the six and Velocity Bettina in the four.
“If Hara’s Clyde can get across and lead Velocity Bettina, she’s the only bitch who could run him down and if she’s good enough to do so you say well done, because he’ll be flying.”
While Hara’s Clyde is rightly grabbing all the headlines, Messy Man went about his business in clinical fashion, flying the lids to win in 30.47 with a nine-length margin back to Velocity Bettina.
Brett had expected him to run well but not to that level.
“We gave Messy Man a good hope, you couldn’t be confident with Velocity Bettina in the race, but with her out in box eight I thought if we could get out and go he’d make his own luck,” he said
“No bars about it he was disappointing in the Auction Sprint Series over the 431, but he’s obviously just a true 520 metre dog because I trialled him straight after he was knocked out of the series and he went 30.70, so I knew he was going pretty well.
“I was hoping he could get down around that time in a field and get his way into the final, but he took all luck out of it at the jump and 30.47 was a nice surprise.
Left a bit flat after his Auction Sprint Series performance, Brett was as high as he’d ever been on Messy Man post-run.
“It was a big relief to see him bounce back from a couple of average runs the way he did, you worry it might have dented his confidence a bit, but he’s got a good month of racing coming up now,” he said.
“Hopefully he can acquit himself well in the final on Saturday night and lead him straight into the 520 metre Auction Series with a bit of bounce about him.”
Messy Man hasn’t been at the Brett kennel since day dot and while he’s still learning about the dog, he had a good reference point that he could run.
“Messy Man is a litter brother to Wolf Racketeer, so I had a little bit of knowledge about the dam Cincinnati Juice and knew she could produce a quick one,” he said.
“The dog was actually with Tony Apap for his first couple of starts, but was a bit of a barker at home so he went back to the bloke who bred the litter Adam Macintosh, before the owner Graham Lunney brought him to me because of my work with Wolf Racketeer.
“Luckily for me his barking has got a little bit better I’m not getting woken up at 4.30am in the morning, and apart from those couple of four hundred runs he’s been progressing nicely.”
The dog is in a midst of a busy few months, the Ipswich club rolling out race after race that suits then young chaser.
“The fact they brought back the Sprint Auction race this year was awesome, to have a lead up even though it was a step back in distance shows some real foresight from the club for dogs looking to go onto the traditional 520 metre Auction Series,” Brett said.
“With the Young Guns in between as well, it really fills a spot on the calendar for a young dog like Messy Man and the timing and placement of the races are spot on.”