Albion Park wrap By Isaac Murphy
Legendary Casino based trainer Frank Hancock has a weekly ritual each Wednesday.
He jumps in the car along with Apache Don and drives to Albion Park to watch his dog compete and often win in Best 8 company over the 395 metres.
It’s some sacrifice from a man who’s achieved a lot in the greyhound game, but he knows how good the son of Barcia Bale is and has loved watching him grow since his debut last November.
“He broke in pretty well and I thought he could make an impact in his first few starts. He did just that winning his maiden heat and final before going 22.48 in his novice,” Hancock said.
“He wasn’t even a two-year-old at that stage. I’ve raced a lot of dogs over the 395 metres at Albion Park and when they’re going sub 22.5 you know you’ve got a serious talent.
“Before we knew it, he was in Best 8 company at start ten, but that hasn’t bothered him. He’s won four races in top company and got his personal best down to 22.35.”
With only a handful of dogs in work, Hancock likes to ensure he’s keeping the best of the best and couldn’t be prouder of brood bitch Laverne throwing this gun litter.
“I bred him, reared him, broke him in and did the whole process myself. I’m not racing with big numbers anymore, so I make sure to keep a close eye on them and he always looked the goods,” Hancock said.
“I race his brother Beauregard down here on the Northern Rivers. He’s not as strong as Apache Don but is lightning out of the lids and has won eight of his eleven starts.”
“I raced their mother Laverne. She was a speed machine as well winning her first eight races over the sprint. Her last race win was The Casino Beef Week Cup and she’s continued to produce in the breeding barn.”
There are plenty of short course races on offer around Casino, but all twenty-one of Apache Don’s starts have come at Albion Park, Hancock determined to give the dog the best opportunity.
“I decided pretty early on I was going to make him a specialist over the 395 at Albion. He could probably stretch out to the five hundred down here at Lismore, but the prizemoney is so good in Queensland I’m happy to drive him up,” he said.
There are a select group of speedsters who seem to clash each Wednesday making for great viewing.
Hancock is hoping to make an unscheduled trip up on Brisbane Cup night in a few weeks’ time. Apache Don a big chance of qualifying for the Thunder final, a rare chance for the short course dogs to show out on a Thursday night.
Heilbronn Happy with Dulceria’s First Taste of Racing
Matt Heilbronn has recently unveiled the first of his seven Zambora Brockie/Cindy Rumble progeny and Dulceria has begun with a bang, undefeated with two wins over the 395 metres at Albion Park.
The trainer felt like a kid in the candy store when the bitch broke in a treat and hence named her Dulceria which is Spanish for candy shop, Heilbronn with a sweet tooth after her fast start.
“I’ve had a few pups that have lit up the trial track and not been able to put it together on race day, but this bitch has done both,” Heilbronn said.
“First look in a trial over the 395 she went 22.7, which they just don’t do. Now she’s come out and overcome a couple of tough box draws to secure back-to-back wins to start her career.
“I knew she could run time. The thing I was most impressed with was her field sense. She’s going to be a five hundred metre bitch and is not the quickest away from the 395, but she’s found a path to the fence early and scrapes the paint coming around the home turn.”
Heilbronn has Thursday night aspirations with the bitch and is dedicating the next month to getting her ready for what looks a suitable target.
“She needs to get a few more runs into her before a five hundred metre debut, but we started that process with her first post-to-post at Albion recently which she’ll only improve off,” he said.
“We’ll use the next few weeks to just gradually build her towards the five hundred, but we’re in no rush, she’s got a busy schedule starting in about a month.”
Heilbronn is a student of the breeding game and jumped at the chance to get involved with a proven line.
“She’s the first of the Zambora Brockie/Cindy Rumble litter to hit the track and there’s going to be plenty more in the next couple of months. I own seven pups and Clint Kratzmann has two,” he said.
“It’s a litter I’ve been exciting about for a long time and have been itching to get them racing. They’re directly related to a couple of stars going around at the moment in Pike and Louis Rumble. It’s a strong line.”
“Sometimes you have to be willing to put some good money down up front to buy into quality like this, with seven pups soon to be racing they look like they’ll pay us back in spades.”
Boan Boots home a Quartet of Winners in One Day
Kynnumboom (northern NSW) trainer Keith Boan is one of the more prolific winners over the 331 metres at Albion Park. The trainer has a rich history at the distance and by breeding his own dogs he’s found a recipe for success that led him to a quartet of winners on the Sunday June 6 card at Albion Park.
Four winners is a rare feet but it wasn’t new ground for Boan who’s had a similar day with some familiar names.
“I’ve only had four winners on a card once before in my career and two of those were Lady Olivia and Grand Rosie, who between them have gone on to breed the four who won on Sunday the 6th,” Boan said.
“Mr. Denzel, Double Ace, Sargent Voight and Nando Flyer were all good chances going into their respective races, but at twenty-three months you don’t think they’ll all execute it perfectly especially over the 331.
“In fairness I did take seven to the races that day, but you’ve got to be pretty proud when you get a third of the card home.”
Mr. Denzel, Double Ace and Sargent Voight were all Lady Olivia’s progeny, but it’s Nando Flyer the son of Grand Rosie who at this stage boasts the best record.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a couple of talented young Fernando Bale litters come to hand at the same time, the first with a bitch I raced Lady Olivia who won twenty-five races over the shorts and the other with her sister Grand Rosie, who was a good bitch in her own right,” Boan said.
“Lady Olivia was a star. You don’t find many that were able to do what she did at a high level over that length of time, so I was always looking to extend the line with her, and I can’t say I’m surprised she’s produced a few hot ones.
“Grand Rosie probably wasn’t up to her standard as a race bitch, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the case in the breeding barn. There’s not much between the two litters thus far.”
The foursome has plenty of wins to go if they want to match their dam’s, but Boan couldn’t be happier with how they’ve started.
“They’ve got big shoes to fill, but the four winners (Mr. Denzel, Double Ace, Sargent Voight and Nando Flyer) have done everything I’ve asked of them so far,” he said.
Daley Resurrects Where’s the Star
Where’s the Star wasn’t looking anything like a potential Thursday night winner when Jemma Daley took the reigns as trainer back in April, but the young trainer has a keen eye for talent and the bitch hasn’t run a bad race since joining the kennel.
“She came to me as a 10-start maiden. Gary Pearce had her before me and approached me at Capalaba one day about taking on another dog and I asked him about Where’s the Star and I picked her up a week or two later,” Daley said.
“I knew a bit about her. I’d seen her race and even though she wasn’t winning there was plenty to like and she was knocking on the door. It was the perfect project for me to fulfill her potential, which I was fairly confident would be over the five hundred at Albion Park.
“It was a bit of a shaky start when she fell at Ipswich, but there were no ill effects. I was able to get her to Albion Park a fortnight later and she won her Maiden.”
The bitch still wasn’t at her best and upon further investigation she’d managed to win despite a potentially serious ailment.
“I could tell something was still bothering her despite the win. It took us a while to figure it out, but she had a really deep ear infection which she’d somehow managed to race through,” Daley said.
“We got that sorted fairly quickly and without time for a lot of work we went back to Albion Park for her Novice, and she knocked it over at her first attempt.”