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Jason Mackay keeps his dogs fresh ahead of Brisbane Cup heats

29 June 2022

By Jordan Gerrans

NSW greyhound trainer Jason Mackay has no concerns around his two Brisbane Cup hopefuls going into Thursday’s heats without a look at the track, declaring they are perfect for the Albion Park circuit.

A glut of interstate kennels have opted to trial their dogs around Albion Park before, and during, the TAB Queensland Greyhound Winter Racing Carnival to familiarise them with the conditions they will face.

Having travelled his team north of the border countless times across his career, Mackay is not worrying about getting a look at the track with kennel mates Impress Shades and Fantastic Raven ahead of their heats for this year's $525,000 Group 1 Brisbane Cup.

Fantastic Raven arguably has a more outstanding resume than her kennel mate, but Mackay is hopeful they both will be competitive and land in next week’s decider.

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A total of six quality-stacked heats will be run on Thursday in a bid to score a spot in the Final seven days later.

The Mackay kennel mates have shared in 42 victories across their careers and their experienced trainer thinks that is enough knowledge to tackle Brisbane’s premier track first-up.

And, as they have collectively started in more than 100 races, he thinks the new environment should fire them up for the assignment.

Impress Shades has faced the starter at 12 different tracks while Fantastic Raven has visited 17 across her career, with their trainer noting they enjoy travelling and racing around Australia.

“They are seasoned dogs, they have been there and done that,” Mackay said.

“I think it more excites them these days going to a track first-up.

“I have no qualms about no trials, I know what they can do first-up.

“I have taken them to a fair few tracks first-up and they have gone very good and I cannot see a reason why it would not happen up there this week.

“Over the years, I have trialled dogs at Albion Park before racing them there, multiple times, but we will go this way with these ones.”

Mackay believes a dog with early speed, as well as being able to be strong late, are the keys to winning big races at Albion Park, which he thinks he has in his two Cup chances.

“I think you need a certain kind of dog to race at Albion Park,” Mackay said.

“That is what fits these two dogs quite well, they are nice and strong.”

The Richmond Vale-based kennel of Mackay has not been seen north of the border in recent winter carnivals, last contesting a feature race when Zipping Bailey ran fourth in the 2019 Brisbane Cup.

Following an eye-catching second in the recent Group 2 Richmond Oaks, Mackay says Fantastic Raven is well placed from box seven in the second heat.

The daughter of Fernando Bale finished just under three lengths behind Good Odds Cash in the 2022 Richmond Oaks, who won in track record time.

Impress Shades
Fantastic Raven

Mackay was impressed with the effort and thinks the form will translate well to the Brisbane Cup heats.

Despite jumping with the black rug on, the long-time trainer believes Fantastic Raven can handle the wide draw with her electric box speed.

“It is all about getting the start right and putting herself in a lot of good races,” he said.

“That is what you got to do.

“She went good the other day at Richmond, down the back she looked like she was making up a lot of ground but that Good Odds Cash is a very good dog on the bunny.”

Impress Shades also arrives at the heats in outstanding form after winning over 520 metres in a Free For All at Wentworth Park in 29.62 seconds earlier this month.

He has drawn the two alley in the opening heat of the night.

“He ran a good time at Wentworth Park the other night and now he has his foot in the right position,” he said.

“If he gets clear ear from his box to the winning post and he is able to get through his gears, he will be hard to beat as well.

‘They will both begin well; they will give their all.

“They will chase hard and will run the distance.”

Mackay prepares a team of 25 dogs around two hours outside of Sydney and will embark on a ten hour drive to Queensland this week for the heats.

He may bring up others from his team later in the carnival – likely to be younger dogs – but says unlike their older kennel mates, they will need a trial at Albion Park before racing.

Four heats of the Group 1 Queensland Cup over 710 metres will also be run this Thursday night. 

Races

1
1

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 6:17 PM

TAB Queensland Cup (G1) H

2
2

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 6:40 PM

TAB Queensland Cup (G1) H

3
3

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 6:58 PM

TAB Queensland Cup (G1) H

4
4

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:22 PM

TAB Queensland Cup (G1) H

5
5

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:43 PM

SKY RACING Brisbane Cup (G1) H

6
6

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:07 PM

SKY RACING Brisbane Cup (G1) H

7
7

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:28 PM

SKY RACING Brisbane Cup (G1) H

8
8

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:52 PM

SKY RACING Brisbane Cup (G1) H

9
9

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 9:19 PM

SKY RACING Brisbane Cup (G1) H

10
10

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 9:37 PM

SKY RACING Brisbane Cup (G1) H

11
11

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 9:59 PM

BORGBET TIPPING SERVICE

12
12

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 10:17 PM

GARRARD'S HORSE AND HOUND