By Isaac Murphy
There’s a sense of sentimentality for Ray and Mary Burman ahead of the Past Members Trophy Final over the 630 metres at Ipswich this Thursday evening.
For the third time, the training couple are looking to win the race and are a strong hope with Big Boy Bruce.
They also own the track record with retired star, Champagne Sally, with Mary Burman suggesting the trip should suit Big Boy Bruce to a tee, but the Free for All event had drawn plenty of challengers.
“It’s a race that we look out for every year, Free for All dogs like him only get the one opportunity a year to go over the distance and thankfully he’s a dog that looks like he’ll be ideally suited,” Mary Burman said.
“We’ve won the race twice before with Techno Man and Dream Blaster, Champagne Sally found trouble a few years ago as a short-priced favourite, but we’ve got a history with the race it’d be nice to continue.
“He’s never been out of those boxes before which can be a challenge first up, but a dog like him that’s seen so many different starts and distances I’m fairly confident he’ll adjust.”
Whether it’s the five hundred, six hundred or seven hundred Big Boy Bruce races in Free for All company every week and although his last few runs don’t look great Burman thinks he’s right on the cusp of his next win.
“I think his form’s a lot better than what it reads on paper, he was smashed in the Ipswich Cup Heats last week and before that was checked at the wrong time over the six hundred at Albion, we’ve forgotten about that and think he’s right in the mix,” she said.
“His last six starts the closest he’s drawn to the rail is box five, especially over the longer distances he likes to take a forward spot and he should get that chance from the three on Thursday night.
“Being a one-off race it’s brought together a serious field, Micks Recall, Frieda Las Vegas, Infrared Lad, I could go on they’re all good dogs, but Micks Recall is probably the main danger if she jumps well.”
Burman knows the dog’s best chance is to jump and run opening up a gap on a few of the run on dogs.
“Our biggest hope is to beat Javens in box two and Floral Lace in box one out, get to the rail and lead the race, if he jumps he has the speed to do that and he’s proven himself up over seven hundred it’ll take a mighty effort for something to chase him down,” she said.
“Frieda Las Vegas and Micks Recall are traditionally slow beginners but of late have been getting out much quicker, we can’t afford to give them a start and run them down.”
Twenty-one wins and over $160,000 in the bank Big Boy Bruce has been a wonderful chaser at just three-years-old, the latest of a long line for the kennel.
“He’s a fantastic dog he just laps up whatever I serve him, whether it’s an Ipswich Cup Heat of a Free for All seven hundred metre contest, he’ll give you him all every time,” Burman said.
“We don’t do anything special with him to make him so versatile I think it’s just a continuation of the Bizarre Barbie line that’s produced so many similar dogs over the years for us.
“Champagne Sally is obviously in a league of her own, but you’d probably have to put him up there right behind her as our most successful dogs.”
Litter mate, Dynamite Lucy, missed out on the Group 2 Gold Cup Final in a photo and gets a run in the Consolation which Burman thinks is a tougher race than her heat.
“As close as she got to making the final Dynamite Lucy probably didn’t deserve it in the end, she had her chance early to go clear and really put a gap on them, but she just didn’t capitalise,” she said.
“She’s in a really tough consolation box four doesn’t do her any favours, but the one thing in her favour she often delivers when you’re not expecting it.
“It’s certainly frustrating the amount of placings she runs behind some really good dogs, but you wouldn’t trade her for the world either she’s so consistent.”