By Isaac Murphy
Matthew Reid’s Deep Impact set the bar high in his Masters Heat win last Thursday night. His 29.90 romp the time of the night, but the run seemingly inspired his fellow Masters with the subsequent two heats being won in 30.06 and 30.05, setting up an intriguing finale this week.
“You see how important Masters races are to the industry the results we had last Thursday,” Reid said.”
“A lot of those dogs are considered over the hill in racing terms, but I’ve always gone by how the dog is feeling rather than a number and the performances of Deep Impact as well as the other heat winners (Flyaway Barb, Blazing Storm) are case in point.”
From the early speed of Warren Nicholls Red Vee to the strength of 710 metre specialist Flyaway Barb for Craig Cassidy, there are plenty of ways the final can shake out. Deep Impact couldn’t have been more impressive last week and from a similar draw Reid was hopeful of a result.
“Very happy to draw inside (2), but he might have a bit of an issue with the one (Bella Cette) early who likes to shift off a bit. Maybe if our bloke misses it a bit, he could get a nice run up the rail,” he said.
“His one vice is he’s always been a bit slow early against the good dogs, but in the Masters like we saw last week he can find himself up there early or if he is behind, rattle off some quick sectionals home.”
Although Reid has been involved in far bigger races than a Masters final, Thursday is a big night for the chaser whose stop start career has come full circle after some rotten luck.
“Even though you look at last week as a Masters Heat win, that was a really big moment for us and the dog,” Reid said.
“His career has been riddled with injuries. He spent almost a year on the sidelines early on and we thought his racing days might be over, so to have him back running the time of the night was something I probably didn’t think I’d see again.”
Reid said the dog had shown potential from the start and while he missed out on his prime was making up for it now.
“He had ability from an early age. I started him off in the Pop Northfield Maiden Series at Casino where he ran the fastest heat, had a brilliant win from behind in the semis but hurt a fibula bone and had to be scratched from the final and that was the start of his bad luck,” he said.
“He turns four early next year and you think the ends probably relatively close, but the silver lining of his troubles is he’s only had the thirty-one race starts and the way he’s working at home and on the track he’s got a lot of racing left in him.”
“He’s bouncing back that well from his Thursday’s, I’m going to put him back over the 600 the following Monday. He went ok his first try and they normally need a run under their belt to make a go of that.”
With a bevy of greyhounds flourishing late in their careers, Reid suggested clubs get creative with Masters concepts to keep quality greyhounds coming to the track.
“If you’re going to have a cluster of Masters dogs capable of running well below the time limit it would be great to have an Open Class Masters series. It would encourage trainers to keep racing their dogs,” Reid said.
“You look at a dog like Cosmic Bonus who is lining up for a crack at a second Masters Meteor Final where the prize money is up over $100,000 the winner, there is a real spot in the market for smaller type series.”