By Isaac Murphy
Middle Distance features are few and far between, which is why races Like The Dashing Corsair are so important for dogs like Uni Fabio, who after establishing himself as one of Victoria’s best chasers is back with his original trainer to take on Queensland’s best.
Uno Fabio dons the green rug for this Thursday night’s 600m Final and trainer Frank Hancock is bullish about his chances despite a sub-par performance in his heat (4th).
“Nothing went his way last week, we were camped out in the seven and he found trouble on several occasions throughout the run, but he qualified for the final which is what we came for,” Hancock said.
“His run over the 520 the week before let me know he was ready, first look at the track 29.93 is impressive enough, but the way he did it working home from the tail of the field he was crying out for the 600.”
With a similar draw for the final, Hancock is hoping for some luck out of the boxes so Uno Fabio can show just how good he is.
“He’ll have to jump out of his skin to beat them across to the rail, I think our best hope is to miss it a length and drop into a position just behind them on the fence,” he said.
“If he can get there he knows how to hit a gap and will be doing his best work late, he’s a dog that doesn’t necessarily need to lead them early to win the race, he’s only average out, but picks it up in his second sectional … he does his best work late.”
It’s been a long path to Thursday night’s final with Hancock making the tough decision to send the dog he bred to Victoria to race until he returned to the trainer’s Northern Rivers kennel two months ago.
“I bred the dog out of My Bro Fabio and Dulcie Dee and knew pretty early on he was going to be in something,” Hancock said.
“To give him the best chance in the top grade I sent him to Victoria with Anthony Azzopardi who I knew would take care of him.
“He certainly made a name for himself down there winning a lot of races and prize money, but we always retained ownership and with him turning three a few months ago were always keen to get him back home and do some racing in Queensland.”
Hancock said he was confident the chaser could continue to be an excellent 520 dog, but the 600 was his go and was looking to kick off a big Winter by winning tomorrow night’s feature.
“He can bounce between the 520 and the 600, but the latter is his preferred distance, so to have a middle-distance feature come along is perfect timing for him,” Hancock said.
“We’ll be racing him over the 600 on Thursday nights for the foreseeable future, I want to get him to the 710 and think he’ll eventually handle it, but I’m not sure if he’ll be ready to match it with the top stayers this Winter.”
Ex-Queenslander Hancock donned the baby blue of New South Wales in last years origin series, Uni Fabio’s full brother Mister Beluchi taking out the match race and event the now stoic New South Welshman would love to contest again.
“We were very lucky last year with Mister Beluchi, I was a bit each way with my allegiances last year, but I’d love another crack with his brother this year,” he said.
“If we were lucky enough to get picked for the match race I think it would suit him down to a tee, not having to worry about interference at the start he’d be steaming home.”