By Isaac Murphy
It’s almost two months to the day Radar Gunn won her first 710 metre race at Albion Park. In that short time, the Jeff Crawford stayer has built a resume that has seen her handpicked as one of the best eight stayers in Australia to compete in the Group One Top Gun Stayers at The Meadows this Saturday night.
“Initially we were thrilled to get the invite saying she was going to be considered, so to actually make it into the final field of eight is a real tick for her and flattering that the committee had the confidence she belonged,” Crawford said.
“Having prominent race callers like Tim Newbold in New South Wales, Peter O’Neill and experts like Sky’s Jason Lincoln and Albion Park’s own Luke Gatehouse give you the nod, reaffirms we’re on the right track with her.”
Radar Gunn is comfortably the youngest in a field of star stayers, but fresh off making The Group Three Sydney Cup Final and breaking the 635 metre Lismore track record in a subsequent trial, Crawford is in it to win it.
“While it’s an honour to be there we’re not happy to just make up the numbers. We certainly feel she’s earnt her spot to compete with the other seven dogs,” he said.
“I have to say the box draw (8) has dented our optimism slightly, but we’re glass half full people and are heading down knowing she has the potential to win.”
“Ideally I’d like to come out a length behind three of four of them and a length in front of the other three or four of and slot in somewhere near the fence before the turn out of the back straight. It might be a bit of wishful thinking but if she finds that rail, watch out.”
Radar Gunn endured a slightly chequered build up to Saturday night’s showdown with some unexpected travel not helping her before last week’s trial.
“We flew her down to The Meadows last week for a trial, things didn’t go quite to plan when she was forwarded from Tullamarine to Hobart making it an eight-and-a-half-hour trip where she lost a kilo as a result,” Crawford said.
“Her trial went from a seven hundred metre trial to a seven hundred box to box, where she excelled despite the hiccup.”
“We were told if she broke thirty to the second sectional, you’d be very happy and she managed 29.94, so we were very happy with that and have given her a really light week to get her back to optimum condition for Saturday.”
Two and a half in January ,Radar Gunn is in a prime window to cash in against Australia’s best stayers in the foreseeable future and Crawford not afraid to shoot for the biggest races.
“She’s shown us she’s the right type of dog to compete in the Group circuit and there are a lot of races coming up between now and April that we’re pencilling in and we know she’ll just get better with maturity and experience,” he said.
“We’ve just got to bide our time, you’re not going to win all those races. We’ll just roll with the punches and wait for things to go her way.”
“The Bold Trease is on twelve days after the heats of the Top Gun, so we’ll consider that. In December there are races at Wentworth Park and even over in Western Australia where the connections live, but the Gold Cup up here on January the 2nd is a lock for her.”
Crawford has built a lot of connections racing his greyhounds all over Australia for years and it was a friendship formed through the industry that made owner Jayson Gunning bring the bitch to Crawford.
“I’ve known Jayson (Gunning) for the best part of a decade. We met through mutual friends in Sydney and formed a friendship where we get together a few times each year and with him recently retired from training I was lucky enough he sent her to me,” Crawford said.
“With his history he’s very knowledgeable and between the two of us we have a great rapport bouncing ideas off each other.”
“I know he’s breeding another litter so hopefully we can find another one with ability close to Radar Gunn.
2019 Group One Top Gun Stayers 725 Metres
- She Will Bloom
- Tornado Tears
- Blue Shadows
- Bago Bye Bye
- Boom Down
- Blue Moon Rising
- Radar Gunn
Reserve 1 – Just Terms
Reserve 2 – Annie Lava