Fogelberg’s Bundy Cup run up in the air

Caption: Surgery to trainer David Plummer has left Fogelberg’s Bundaberg Cup campaign in doubt.

By MIKE HILL

TRAINER David Plummer is still undecided about a Bundaberg Cup campaign with his brilliant sprinter Fogelberg.

The Group 3 Cup (550m), carrying record prizemoney of $60,000, will be run later this month with heats on March 21 and the $40,000-to-the-winner final a week later.

Fogelberg – last year’s Bundy GOTY winner – is almost unstoppable over 460m but is yet to race over the longer Cup journey.

During 2021 the brindle son of SH Avatar and Rocket Banquet amassed an impressive 19-5-3 record from 34 starts over the shorter trip and already the talented chaser is four-from-four at the track in ’22.

Plummer stepped his star sprinter up in distance in early January with a Cup assault in mind.

“He’s had two runs over 520m at Albion Park and the plan was to push on to the Cup,” he said.

However, all that changed last month when the trainer was admitted to hospital.

He knew he was facing surgery this year but it came quicker than he expected.

“I’ve had the operation and I should be going home at the weekend,” Plummer said mid-month. “But I’ll be out of action for at least a month.”

His wife Nancy, who also has a trainer’s licence, has taken over their eight-dog team.

“She’s looking after them and they are all at home,” he said.

“We didn’t want any disruptions to their normal routine.

“Little Ripper and Durham will most likely be our Cup representatives, but I haven’t closed the door completely on Fogelberg.

“He may still yet get his chance.”

Plummer was impressed with his sprinter’s two efforts at Albion Park in January.

“There were a few excuses as well as we had changed his routine,” he said.

“In his debut run – it was his first time on sand, his first time under lights and he had never seen the track before.

“His second run was a big improvement and again I could find an excuse or two.”

Fogelberg has thrived since those runs.

He won the Bundy Australia Day Cup (460m) at his next start in late January in a scintillating 25.95s – just .01s outside the track record – and followed it up with slick victories (26.10s and 26.17s) in Open sprints last month.

The trainer also was impressed with Little Ripper’s second placing in last month’s Country Cup Final (520m) at Albion Park.

Little Ripper is a member of the very successful litter that includes Fogelberg and the Ron Brook-trained Easy Eddie, third behind Love You Peaches in the Country Cup.

“Although he had trialled there, he had never raced under lights. It was a great run,” Plummer said.

He said he would use the new $25,000 Bundaberg Wildcard in the hope of getting one of his runners an automatic entry into this month’s rich Cup.

Heats of the Wildcard, for ‘local dogs’, will be run on March 7 with the $15,000-to-the-winner final seven days later.

The victor goes straight into the Cup final.

The make-up of this year’s feature promises to be the best ever going on the class of last month’s Endeavour Foundation FFA (550m) in which several visiting trainers gave their Cup hopefuls an early look at the Bundy grass.

Group performer Lucky Lance ($8), prepared by Robert Ayres, won the Open sprint from Easy Eddie ($14) with Travis Elson’s Limited Edition ($3.70) third, while the Bianca Whitford-trained $1.85 favourite Ninetymile King finished fourth and track record holder It’s A Rush sixth.

The winner clocked a smart 31.38s.

A host of Brisbane-based sprinters are expected for the Cup series as well as runners from northern NSW.

Meanwhile, Rockhampton trainer Darren Taylor, a regular at Bundaberg, said he was planning to start his smart chasers Barcia Bullet and Off Break in the Wildcard series.

For the first time Racing Queensland has introduced the Wildcard concept for its three country cups.

An RQ spokesman said: “With increased prizemoney coming with Group status, it has been difficult for local trainers to get their dogs into their cup finals, let alone win it.

“We acknowledge that and hope the Wildcard concept can give the locals better representation in their finals.”

The three country cups – at Bundaberg (March 21 and 28), Rockhampton (April 22 and 29) and Townsville (later in the year) – will each carry prizemoney totalling $60,000. That’s an increase of $22,500 for both Bundaberg and Rockhampton.

Townsville’s big feature was boosted last year, although it still falls into RQ’s current financial year.

RQ says greyhounds will be eligible to nominate for a Wildcard event if they qualify under one of the following criteria:

  • The greyhound has been domiciled* in the local zone for 50 days or more before the date of the heats and has started at the track at least once.

(*The change of kennel notification form (or equivalent evidence) will be deemed as the commencement date of domiciliary.)

  • The greyhound is not domiciled within the local zone but has started at the track 10 times or more in the six months before the date of the Wildcard heats.
  • The greyhound is not domiciled within the local zone but has started at the track 20 times or more in its career before the date of the Wildcard heats.

The local zones for each Wildcard event will be defined as the following:

  • Bundaberg Wildcard – inclusive of post code 4570 (Gympie area) to 4678 (Agnes Water area);
  • Rockhampton Wildcard – inclusive of post code 4680 (Gladstone area) to 4799 (Mackay area); and
  • Townsville Wildcard – inclusive of post code 4800 (Proserpine area) to 4895 (Cooktown area). 

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