As Tracey Scruse walked from the 520m starting boxes back to the Wentworth Park catching pen on Saturday night, you could visibly see a look of relief on her face.
Tracey owns and trains just one dog out of her Chifley kennels in Eastern Sydney, a dog which has garnered more hype than most in its brief 18 run career.
The dog, Pindari Express, has abundant talent, breaking track records at both Bulli and Maitland, and winning the Group 2, Cyril Rowe Bulli Gold Cup earlier this year, but unfortunately for Tracey, bad luck has also followed him throughout his career.
Injuries at inopportune times with big races approaching, and bad luck in running, have been a regular occurrence for Pindari Express. Even 10 days earlier, he had made his Wentworth Park debut, and struck plenty of bother before finishing fourth in a fifth grade event.
But, on Saturday night in the heats of the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg, it all clicked.
“Relief? Oh yeah there was,” Tracey said. “I have known he can get around here. He did all his early days (trialling) around here, but you just don’t know what they are going to do in a field.
“Because he doesn’t always come out, the worry was - especially with the seven who crashes to the left - the run to the first turn.
“I was looking from behind the boxes and I thought he had come out good, and I thought he was up there with them, and then I saw he was second, and I thought …. that’s good.”
Good indeed. Pindari Express reeled in Victorian speedster Crimson Vixen on the turn out of the back straight and raced away to win by 4 ¼ lengths in 29.41s, just 0.01s outside the fastest qualifier from the heats Fernando Blaster.
“I know she (Crimson Vixen) is a lid pinger and I know she is very quick, but you’re never too confident …. I was just relieved.
“It certainly is a nice feeling.”
Pindari Express has rocketed up the betting charts for the Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg final following the heats.
Fernando Blaster and Victorian Black Opium are equal favourites with Ladbrokes at $4.60, ahead of Miss Splendamiro at $5.50, with Pindari Express next on $7.00.
The box draw for the semi-finals will be conducted on Tuesday, with four semis to be run next Saturday evening at Wentworth Park.