Caption: To the top trio go the spoils … placegetters in the rich Townsville Cup (from left) Flying Jet (runner-up) with Rhonda Essery, winner Dulceria with Matt Heilbronn and his dad Des and third placegetter Excuse Me Jack (Harold Hovi). Also pictured are Racing Queensland representatives Dale Cartwright, Brenton Scott and Isaac Murphy. (Photo: Louise Partland)
By MIKE HILL
IPSWICH owner-breeder-trainer Matt Heilbronn knew he had something exceptional in Dulceria well before her slashing win in last month\’s $57,500 Group 3 Weseal Townsville Cup (498m).
\”She\’s been special from her very first trial,\” a still-thrilled Heibronn said a few days after the victory.
He\’d been talking up the Zambora Brockie-Cindy Rumble black bitch\’s chances to anyone who would listen for months.
He even declared her to Townsville club president Gary Heath back in June.
\”I told him we would be in Townsville to win his Cup,\” Heilbronn said.
And the talented young black sprinter – she doesn\’t turn two until next month – didn\’t let him down.
Not only did she secure the $40,000-to-the-winner feature final, her victory also gave Heilbronn his first taste of Group glory as a trainer.
Dulceria, starting at the surprisingly good odds of $11 after an impressive heat win seven nights earlier, jumped quickly from box three and although headed by the Peter O\’Reilly-trained Flying Jet ($26), Heilbronn said he was always confident his bitch would triumph.
The youngster made her move approaching the corner and finished powerfully to beat Flying Jet by a length with Harold Hovi\’s pride of Townsville Excuse Me Jack, the $3 favourite, a length-and-a-quarter back third.
\”In running, I always felt she\’d come home over the top of the leader,\” Heilbronn said.
\”She just needed to come out quickly and get a clear run.\”
She got both.
The trainer said the track had been watered just before the final making it \’safer but sloppy\’ resulting in a slower time (28.89s) than Stratford\’s 28.73s in the Cup Consolation two races earlier.
Heilbronn said he was always going to Townsville for the Cup, even though his sprinter Open My Mail was one of three runners to fall in last year\’s Cup Consolation.
\”I\’ve gone up most years,\” he said.
His confidence in Dulceria never waned even after she was forced to miss the $13,600 Publicans Cup final (520m) at Albion Park in late August with an offside pin muscle injury sustained while winning her heat a week earlier.
Heilbronn said his bitch had been \’dragged down\’ on the first corner in the heat and was lucky to stay on her feet.
Despite the setback Dulceria regained her balance, storming home for a brilliant win.
It was the type of run that would have boosted Team Heilbronn\’s hopes of victory in Townsville.
The last few years have been tough going for Heilbronn and his dad Des, who has had a long association with the sport.
Because of circumstances they hadn\’t bred a litter for five years, but Dulceria\’s success has helped to put them back on track.
Asked if Dulceria is the best of the litter, Heilbronn answered: \”I think there is a dog better than her, but at the moment he is a bit injury prone. He hasn\’t started yet.\”
He said the rest of the litter were taking a little longer to develop, but he expected them to hit the tracks in coming months.
The Townsville Cup success lifted Dulceria\’s record to six wins, a second and a third from just 10 starts and boosted her prizemoney to $59,390.
Heilbronn hasn\’t mapped out a definite program for his bitch going forward but has pencilled in the G2 Ipswich Cup and G2 Bogie Leigh Queensland Futurity at Albion Park later in the year as possible targets.
Meanwhile, leading NQ trainers Rhonda Essery and Brad Belford landed feature doubles on Cup night.
Essery was successful with Miss Priddle ($4.40) in the $15,120 TGOBTA North Queensland Sprint (380m) and Stratford in the $10,500 Cup Consolation (498m), while Belford rugged up Mahogany Row ($5) and Rondinella ($5) – winners of the $7560 Idol Eyes Stayers Challenge (643m) and the $3675 Judy Olsen Maiden Final (380m) respectively.
The Brett Hazelgrove $2.40 favourite Sea Daddy won the Taylor Family Colour Run (380m), Heath Ardle\’s Bye Clown Town ($6) won the Binks and Marlene Walker 4/5 Grade Final (380m) and the Robert Reid-trained Flying Tornado ($3.20 fav) just lasted to beat the Peter O\’Reilly-prepared Bailey in the Townsville Pet Taxi Best 8 (380m).