By Isaac Murphy
Australian trainer of the year Tony Brett added another piece of silverware to his expanding collection last Thursday night winning his third Eric Thomson Memorial Maiden in five years with the speedy Painted Picture gripping on in a bobbing finish.
Brett went back to back in winning the 2018 crown and also won the race in 2012, the trainer saying he was proud to once again win a race that is synonymous with providing a pathway for future stars.
“It is an honour to win this race again, it’s been really kind to us over the past few years and is generally a really solid starting point for quality dogs,” he said.
“For us to have won three out of about the last five is just a great effort.”
Brett said he owed a great deal to owner Mark Wilkes, who had entrusted him with the dog after breaking him in.
“I’d just like to congratulate Mark Wilkes he’s up from Lismore, he owns the greyhound and did all the early work with the dog,” Brett said.
“He actually went backwards when he first came to me, he was in such good order.”
“But we managed to strip a bit of weight off him for the heat and then another half a kilo for the final which really tightened him up.”
Going forward Brett said he would be concentrating on the back half of his sprinter’s race with his explosive box manners taking care of themselves.
Brett had the opportunity to chase another listed race in the Molly Campbell Heats this week at Albion Park but instead chose to give Painted Picture a crack at knocking over his Novice.
“I knew the fields for the Molly Campbell would be pretty hot and while I’m sure he could compete with them I thought at this stage of his career it would be best to put him in something more winnable while his confidence is up,” Brett said.
“He likes it out wide so drawing seven will suit, but in saying that we meet the Zammit’s dog Black Loch who finished third in the Eric Thomson and I think at this stage he’s a sub thirty dog, while I’m not sure mine’s there yet.”
Painted Picture is the first to suit up in what is a busy night for the Brett kennel, with Regal Recall jumping from the red in the first Molly Campbell Heat, multiple Group One winner Jury returning from an eleven week layoff and prolific Ipswich winner Jetta Knight shooting for six straight.
Brett said Regal Recall was a live chance in the race but would have to overcome his racing pattern.
“I expect him to jump, but he’s probably wrongly boxed out of the red,” he said.
“He likes to use a bit of the track, so he’s got to come out and clear them and if he leads the race he’s a pretty smart pup and is a chance as long as he jumps.”
Jury lines up in a tough Best Eight, first up off a break but Brett hopes the test can get his star ready for his next target.
“Unfortunately, he only made second reserve for the Top Gun (Group One Sprinters Meadows), probably because of his lay off, but we move on with it and he’ll go to the Casino Cup on Tuesday,” he said.
“I’ve trialled him leading into tonight and he’s going as good as ever, but he’ll find that Best Eight from box eight pretty tough tonight it’s a good race.”
Jetta Knight has won his past five over the 431 at Ipswich in emphatic fashion but Brett said the 520 was a different animal for the sprinter.
“He won a novice at Albion way back at about his third start in about 30.50,” he said.
“He’s really a pure sprinter he gets a good 450 and pulls up, but he’s got such good form I just thought now was the right time to push him and he might get run down but I’d say he’s around a 30.30 dog."