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Trainer Priest on hunt for Queensland Straight Track Championship

T2DX4222.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans

A few complimentary comments many years ago has delivered Park Ridge trainer Terry Priest an out and out Capalaba specialist.

Priest trained in the Hunter Valley of NSW for three decades before relocating to Queensland almost two years ago for a new adventure.

When he was training south of the border, Priest would often bring his quality dogs to the Sunshine State over the carnival period, including one of his best – Old Spice.

When racing Old Spice at Albion Park, Priest would regularly marvel at the feats of champion greyhound Cyndie’s Magic, one of the more popular dogs in Queensland in her racing days, and would tell legendary Brisbane trainer Bill Elson exactly that.

All those pleasantries eventually paid dividends as Elson handed some of Cyndie’s Magic’s litter to Priest, including the dog that would become Magical Trav, after he saw he was “kicking goals” as a trainer at Capalaba.

He would also receive Magical Len, a pair of dogs he would describe as “class animals”.

“I always used to tell Bill how magnificent Cyndie’s Magic was and I think he remembered that when he was deciding to give me these dogs,” Priest recalled.

“He was pleased that I used to pump up the dog and luckily enough, I get some of her progeny to train.

“A little bit of sucking up all those years ago has worked out well for me now, it was worthwhile to always have a chat to him and his family.

“It was a surprise, I never asked for any dogs, but we were glad to take them on and they are happy with the way the dogs have been going.”

Magical Trav has a spectacular record down the straight at Capalaba, never running outside of the money, for 20 victories from 28 starts and eight minor placings.

The black dog ran second in one of the heats for the Queensland Straight Track Championship last Sunday and now heads towards Sunday’s Final.

Magical Trav

DSC-0036.jpgMagical Trav is likely to be the pacemaker in Sunday’s Final, jumping to the lead in the opening stages and it will be about if the quality field of straight trackers can run him down late.

Outside of the annual Capalaba Cup, Priest thinks the Queensland Straight Track Championship Final is its biggest race of the year of the Club. 

And, outside of Bogie Fury and Hara’s Clyde, the veteran trainer believes the best straight trackers in Queensland will assemble for the race on Sunday.

Speaking of the best straight trackers, that title usually goes to Jamie Hosking’s Columbian King – a dominant force at Capalaba and also a heat winner last week.

Magical Trav has a sparkling record at the club but remarkably, Columbian King’s is even better again.

He is 23 victories from just 30 starts at Capalaba.

“He is 3-1 against us, we have beaten him once and he beat us a head in the Derby, we have got a really good racing match going together,” Priest said.

“He is stronger than ours, he is a brilliant and he is the best at the track – I will admit that – but with my bloke, I love racing Columbian King because it brings out the best in my one.

“I do not think there is much between them, it is just about who performs on the day and who gets the best box draw.

“My bloke always gives himself a chance.”

Fellow Queensland trainer Selena Zammit, who will have Sequana and Oliver Keeping in Sunday’s Final, says the prospect of toppling Columbian King on his favourite track is a difficult assignment.

“He is very hard to beat and is the straight track king,” Zammit said.

“She went well running second to him last Sunday, I do not think there is too many dogs that can beat Columbian King up the straight when he is 100%.

“Jamie is a very good trainer and he is doing well with Columbian King.”

Priest will also have Magical Len and Full on Fabio in Sunday’s Final and declared they will need some interference in the run to be a winning chance.

Priest also noted the depth in greyhound racing in Queensland is as strong it has ever been in his memory.

Columbian King