By Isaac Murphy
It’s a family affair for Selena and Michael Zammit at Ipswich this Saturday night. Futurity and Derby finalists, as well as siblings Sequana and Stinger Noir are ready to put their best foot forward for their respective Futurity and Derby tilts.
The tandem have set tongues wagging in the infancies of their careers. Stinger Noir narrowly missing out on a Million Dollar Chase semi-final berth while Sequana was denied her chance at the race due to minor injury, which she returned from last week running an admirable second to Glorious Izmir.
Sequana is up first on Saturday in race six. With a comfortable draw and a run under her belt both giving her hope, but Michael Zammit believes there is one bitch in particular who will be hard to roll.
“We’re drawn the three which I would normally be fairly confident about, but she has the two heat winners inside her, Glorious Izmir in the two and Velocity Bettina in the one who was brilliant in running 30.23 last week,” he said.
“In my opinion the one dog (Velocity Bettina) for Kev Ellis is going to be really hard to beat. She’s come up with the same box and is very good off the inside.”
“We won’t want to be spotting it too many lengths early. She’s a Zambora Brockie as well and is just as strong in the back half as the front.”
Just five starts into her career Ipswich is already Sequana’s third track, but the Zammit’s have done their due diligence and are hoping for an improved performance this week.
“She’s had a couple of trials, a 431 metres before her racing career started and a box to box ten days before the heat. On both occasions she was exceptional,” Michael Zammit said.
“Knowing she would handle the track was a big reason we brought her back for this race, but as we saw in her heat she’s going to have to jump a lot better if she wants to be in the finish.”
“She got out quick in both her trials, so we’re hoping after a look under race conditions she can come out on terms.”
Michael Zammit said the bitch had bounced back well from her three weeks off with injury and thought she’d be a lot better for the run last week impressed with her ability to handle the track.
“Her injury from the Million Dollar Chase was on the minor end and healed very quickly. The only lingering effect was her conditioning. Fitness was a bit of an issue after a few weeks off and she’ll definitely strip better this week,” he said.
“In her short career, wherever we’ve taken her she’s handled the conditions. Not only is that a positive for here and now but down the road when we look to travel her, that adaptability will be priceless.”
Stinger Noir will look to follow his sister’s lead in race eight The Derby Final. Michael Zammit believes he’ll have to turn a few things around to figure from a middle draw (5).
“His form on paper looks pretty average. He’s been getting away slow, finding trouble, drawing middle boxes but if you look past that he’s still hitting the line really strong and if he can clean up a few bad habits he’s not far away,” he said.
“He’s a much better dog out of the inside boxes, but he’ll have to be on his best behaviour because there are a number with early toe that could put him in a spot of bother.”
“The best he’s ever jumped is probably from the red at Ipswich. He’s got the yellow for the final but if he can stay in touch with them, he’ll keep coming. Which is probably the one thing he’s got over his sister, he never throws in the towel.”
Zammit said the kennel was in no hurry with the ultra-talented two-year-old’s, but with some big races on the horizon would give them their chance if they felt they were up to it.
“All going well Saturday night, we’ll probably head to the Young Guns and beyond that we’ll re-access where they’re at,” he said.
“The Summer Carnival is a long way off and is probably going to attract some very good dogs all across Australia, but it’s certainly something that gets your attention.”
“At their best and with a bit of natural improvement in the next few months, you hope they can be competitive in races throughout the carnival, but that’s a long way ahead.”