Lake Macquarie trainer Geoff Sattler enjoyed a winning return to Wentworth Park last week and with the benefit of some on the job training, the veteran conditioner expects talented littermates Bigtime Fernando and Pocket Rocket to be competitive in their respective races tonight.
Last Wednesday, Sattler made the trip to Sydney for the bright lights of Wentworth Park for the first time in about 18 months, landing an all-the-way 30.33s victory with Pocket Rocket, while Bigtime Fernando (pictured) made up good ground late to finish third at his city debut in the Gosford to City Final (520m).
“Neither had seen Wentworth Park before last week so it was very good experience for them,” declared Sattler.
“Pocket Rocket’s best asset is her first section; she can really ping and run. She broke in exceptional but cracked a bone in her leg at Richmond last July so I’ve had to be very patient with her. I brought her back before Christmas but she didn’t come up at all, I turned her out again and then started a lot of straight work with her, thankfully she’s on song now. The time and patience was definitely worth it.
“She’ll need to lead the favourite Zipper Shoes tonight but if she can she’ll be hard to beat. I think she can find a bit off last week as she did get off a bit through the pen, which you’d expect at her first go there.”
While Sattler is confident Pocket Rocket can run a forward race, box six, and the presence of Tyson Tanga, has the Marks Point trainer cautiously optimistic in race four with his nine race winner Bigtime Fernando.
“I didn’t mind his run last week from box eight, he copped it a bit early but still got home good,” added Sattler.
“He’s desperate for the fence so the six isn’t great but the vacant draw inside him will help. He can really ping early when he gets the start right, he’s run 4.80 odd early at The Gardens which is flying and the dog is racing well.
“If he begins like he can he’ll be hard to beat but the favourite (Tyson Tanga) is a very good dog and probably a bit stronger at the finish.”
Bigtime Fernando and Pocket Rocket are littermates by Fernando Bale out of Sattler’s Group 1 Paws Of Thunder runner-up Cavendish Flyer, her progeny responsible for almost $250,000 in prizemoney and 160 race wins.
“She’s been a great producer, her race career was cut short just when it was taking off to injury but she’s thrown some very good dogs over the years,” added Sattler.
Another trainer eyeing success at headquarters tonight is Wellington-based Brad O’Neill, lining up Myrniong Master (race four) and Aunty Jabby Jaws (race seven) from box one draws.
With just the three greyhounds in training, O’Neill has been riding the crest of a winning wave of late, including a recent winning treble at Bathurst with his kennel trio.
“We’ve been having a good run, I’ve only got the three in work so I’ve just been trying to place them well in their right grades,” said O’Neill.
“The time’s right to head to town the way they’re going. Box one suits Myrniong Master down to the ground but Aunty Jabby Jaws does like to race three or so dogs off the fence so I’d rather her wider.
“Myrniong Master is having his first look at Wenty but that won’t worry him; he can be tardy early but he’s very strong and would chase through an iron wall. The small field suits, I give him a good chance.
“Aunty Jabby Jaws led at The Gardens on Saturday before finishing second to Zipping Garth in near track record time. If she can lead clearly she’ll give the favourite (Pandemonium) plenty to catch, she’s not without a chance at odds either.
“It’s funny, I said to my daughter we are heading to town and probably finding easier races than we did at the provincials last week. Both dogs ran very good races at The Gardens on Saturday and if they bring that form to town they’ll go well.
“The old boy Myrniong Rocket is in at Dubbo on Friday night. He’s been an unbelievable dog for me; he’s won 25 races and is still going as good as ever. It’ll be a while before I find another one like him, he’s special.”
Best Bet: Race 3 Number 6 Burning Fuel
Best Value: Race 6 Number 5 Blinken Gone
Quaddie: 2/3, 2/5/7, 2/7/8, 2/4/7