By Isaac Murphy
Not many greyhounds are capable of running 29.7sec over the 520 at Albion Park and turning up next week to win a 710m Free For All, but that is exactly what Terry Auckram’s Shoes To Fill will look to do this Thursday night.
Shoes To Fill has won three of his last four starts, with a win each over the 710 at Albion, 630 at Ipswich and last week’s 520m romp at Albion.
Despite his ability to win at multiple trips Auckram has a plan to set him up for Group One success.
“He’s a very strong dog and I wouldn’t say he was bred to run distance, but his earlier 520 indicated he’d get further, but his ideal distance is 650,” Auckram said.
“He’s enjoying his racing at the moment, he’s mature and I’ve chosen to go over the 710 rather than the 520 where he ran good time last week because I want to keep his fitness up for a tilt at the Sale Cup in December.
“It’s a 650m Group One, the track is ideal for his type of racing, the distance is perfect, so it suits him down to the ground.”
While the Sale Cup looms as Shoes To Fill’s grand final, Aukram’s immediate attention is on tomorrow night’s Free For All, featuring arguably Queensland’s three top stayers.
“I wouldn’t say he’s (Shoes To Fill) an overly strong 710 dog, you’ve got Double Gee and Champagne Sally who are both proven performers, but I believe the race tomorrow night will be won by the dog that leads of those three I’ve mentioned," Auckram said.
“My boy has got better over the last four starts out of the boxes, but in saying that the start before that over the 520 he walked out like a turtle.
“It’ll be a good contest because you’ve got five of the best 710 metre stayers in Queensland going head to head tomorrow night.
Though Auckram will be hoping for the lead, he said his dog had the versatility to win in multiple ways.
“We know Champagne Sally can come out of the lids like a rocket, while Double Gee’s form has been a little intermittent since returning from Sydney,” Auckram said.
“In saying that If my boy doesn’t lead I’d like to think he’ll sit close enough to the leader, because he’s proven he can win from behind and in front.”
At three-and-a-half years old, Shoes To Fill is racing as good as ever and Auckram said he was showing no signs of slowing down.
“He’s got the will to win at the moment he’s enjoying his racing, as much as I’m enjoying watching him,” he said.
“He’s only had fifty-seven starts, which is fairly light for a dog of his age so as long as he’s sound and continues to enjoy his racing I can’t see why he can’t go on to a four and a half five year old.”