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Frieda Las Vegas to fend off upstarts in Young Guns heats

By Isaac Murphy

If Frieda Las Vegas wasn’t already on the map as a potential star, she confirmed it last Thursday night taking out the Winged Runner Trophy and bragging rights as Queensland’s best bitch.

The two-year-old, who celebrated a birthday during the week, now tackles this Thursday’s Young Guns heats with much anticipation around her to make it nine from nine at the track for trainer Tony Zammit.

“I sound like a broken record, but her track sense just impresses me more and more every week, it’s a nervous watch seeing her last away from the boxes and straight to the fence but her track record speaks for itself,” Zammit said.

“Even though her first instinct is to get to the fence, she’s shown she can go around and between dogs in the run too, if she was just a railer she wouldn’t have won eight in a row.”

Zammit said despite tackling open class company in the Winged Runner Trophy, he was confident her body of work would stack up.

“She’s shown she can run around the thirty mark and while there were a few highly graded bitches, the fact that it was only a bitches race played in her favour with no big dogs to knock her around,” Zammit said.

“One of her biggest assets is that she’s quite a large bitch, she’s around the twenty-eight to twenty-nine kilo mark which is a good size for a bitch and helps with her strength in a race too.

“The way she was drawn (4) the one the two and the five all had speed, so there was a fair chance she was going to drop over on the fence behind them and it was up to her to make her own luck and come between them in the home straight - it was quite an honour to win the race so young.”

Albion Park

SKY RACING Winged Runner Trophy F 520m

Greyhounds are usually looking for a class drop to gain an advantage, but Zammit thinks the step up in grade has actually benefitted his bitch.

“The good company she’s been racing in has helped her win some races lately in a strange way, there’s been plenty of early speed which lets her settle in to her pattern and if there are a few annoying each other up front it gives her time to get there,” he said.

“When I’ve taken her to Ipswich for a bit of a change of scenery, she hasn’t run bad races from unsuitable wide draws, but I think in the lower class with more dogs that start slowly she tends to get in a bit more trouble early.

“Her will to chase has never been in question though, she’s got a long way out of her ground even by her standards there and still rockets home.”

Frieda gets another chance to test the class theory this Thursday night, another eight-deep field ready to test her metal.

“I think that’s that sixth time in her fifteen starts that she’s drawn the four, I quite like the box because she’s the last to load in the new score up system so she’s not sitting in there too long,” Zammit said.

“I was just praying she wasn’t going to draw the same heat as Oh Mickey because there’s one qualifying spot already booked, we’ve still got a tough heat but he’s obviously the standout dog of the series on paper.

“If we can make the final, I’d probably give her a better chance than the heat, because again there is going to be a lot of early speed and if there’s trouble up front, she’s going to be the one stalking them late.”

Frieda has only been able to enjoy her title as Queensland’s premier bitch for a week and she already has a worthy challenger; Jamie Hosking’s Waddling Witch who’s drawn the black rug in the same heat.

“Frieda breaking was big, but she is going to rely on luck in those first fifty metres if she wants to go quicker than that, and she might need to if a quick beginner like Waddling Witch that can run time gets an uncontested lead on Thursday night,” Zammit said.

“I watched her (Waddling Witch) run when she went 29.74 on a Wednesday and I was very impressed, if she does lead we’ll be flat out chasing her down but two go through to the final and she might find it a bit tougher up in grade and from a wide draw.

“There’s a few other dogs like Flying Jet in the red, and Hope’s Dynamic in the eight that can go fast early too, so we’ll probably get our chance to run into it again.”

While Zammit is confident of a Young Guns finals birth, Frieda’s body of work has left him with a litany of options.

“The Winged Runner came along at the perfect time for her and I really believe she belongs with the best of them in the Young Guns, but we’ve got plenty of options with her,” Zammit said.

“She still has a fifth grade up her sleeve and there is intrigue whether she will become a 600-metre bitch, but as long as she keeps showing she’s happy at the 520 we’ll stick there.”