By Jordan Gerrans
Leading NSW trainer Peter Lagogiane rates Beast Unleashed as the best greyhound he has ever prepared and believes Flying Amy Classic hopeful French Martini is tracking towards becoming a female version of the retired star.
French Martini was one of five heat winners for the Group 2 event on Thursday evening at Albion Park – progressing through to the $150,000 Final next week.
Lagogiane is seeing plenty of northern NSW in recent weeks, travelling north to trial the emerging bitch last month – before heading home – and has done the same this time around before returning for the Final.
With six victories from eight starts and almost $70,000 in prize money won, French Martini is well on the way to star status.
From the same kennel, Beast Unleashed won the Group 2 Launching Pad and Group 2 Gosford Gold Cup during his 15 start career, winning on 10 occasions, through 2018 and 2019 before retiring to become a stud dog.
And, Lagogiane thinks his young bitch is following the same path.
“I am rating her,” Lagogiane said on Friday morning as he headed back to NSW.
“I think Beast Unleashed is still the best I have had and she is a female version of him.
“She does everything right at home and she does everything right at the race track.
“She reminds me so much of him.
“If she stays sound then the world is her oyster over the next six to 12 months, it is all about staying sound and healthy.”
French Martini upset local hopeful and race favourite Black Comanche from box seven in their heat, stopping the clock at 29.96 seconds.
West Australian visitor Steven Withers claimed the speediest heat victory of the evening, Panama Pepper getting home in 29.65 seconds, for an almost six length triumph.
French Martini scorched the track in a 520 metre trial in 29.75 seconds late last month ahead of what is being described as the strongest Flying Amy series in memory.
The Llandilo-based trainer thinks the trial was crucial to his bitch’s performance on Thursday night, her first in the Sunshine State.
This time last year, Lagogiane based himself in Queensland with six dogs for the carnival but is opting to go up and back every week this time around for now.
With an array of young dogs at his kennel back home in NSW, he could not afford to spend long periods in the Sunshine State this time around.
“She is a good traveller and if she wasn’t such a good traveller I would not be contemplating doing this,” he said.
“She handled it a treat when we came up for the trial a few weeks ago and she did the same this week.