Caption: Brisbane trainer Robert Jacobsen and son Dale with Crazy Cool after the ‘home-town bolter’ secured a berth in the Group 1 Gold Bullion (520m) coming up at Albion Park on February 4 (Photo: Box 1 Photography)
By TERRY WILSON
A GREYHOUND originally purchased for her breeding potential instead now has the potential to earn her Queensland connections a significant windfall out on the track.
Home-town bolter Crazy Cool qualified for a crack at one of the state’s major greyhound prizes after she clinched a place in the final of the Group 1 Gold Bullion (520m) coming up at Albion Park on February 4.
The Bullion carries prizemoney of $225,000 and is Queensland’s second richest greyhound race, second only to the Brisbane Cup held in winter.
Crazy Cool earned the right to face off against some of the nation’s best after she won the Group 3 Golden Ticket qualifier at Albion Park in late January.
The black bitch (Barcia Bale-Crazy Sexy) won her match-race against Cheap Wine in the fastest time (29.61 seconds) of the four match-race series. She was a $15 chance in the Golden Ticket.
Fancied pair Tommy Shelby and Sentenced were just off the pace which left them facing starts in heats of the Bullion to get into the February 4 final.
Now it is all systems go for Crazy Cool’s trainer Robert Jacobsen, who is based at Moorooka in Brisbane’s south-western suburbs.
It is something of a fairytale that Crazy Cool will match it with Group 1 performers given she was originally put up for sale by Victorian connections who believed she would not run out a strong 500 metres.
But since being moved north to Jacobsen the bitch has improved in leaps and bounds, racing well over distances from 311m up to 600m and winning nine times from 22 starts.
“I was looking for a brook bitch and I thought she might be a sprinter when I first got her to race,” said Jacobsen
“She was very fast and I thought she might not run out 500 metres, but since I’ve had her she has run 600 metres – and in good time.”
Jacobsen said he is not going to be intimidated by what lies ahead in the Bullion final, believing if his charge can draw well she can run a time good enough to win.
But the draw could be a problem.
“One hundred percent she can handle the rise in class, but she’s a dead-set railer,” said Jacobsen.
“She’s fast enough, so if she gets the breaks she can definitely win.”
Jacobsen and his son Dale headed to Sydney soon after Crazy Cool’s match-race vistory, where their charge Rowdy Roddy ran third in the G1 National Derby final at Wentworth Park.
The results of the Golden Ticket races underlined the uncertainty of match-races.
The Ticket series this year comprised heats, then the four semi-finals with fastest heat winner going up against second fastest heat winner and then 3 v 4, 5 v 6 and 7 v 8.
The match-race formula appears to have been well accepted by stakeholders.
Leading local trainers Tony Brett (who had Sentenced and What A Debacle in the match-races) and Mick Zammit both love the format, as does Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club boss Luke Gatehouse.
The concept is a modern-day development and has been used at several interstate venues leading into major races.
Last year the brilliant Sennachie lit up match-racing when it took the Golden Ticket, then the Gold Bullion in swashbuckling style.
Sennachie won the Bullion for Steve White in 29.41s, bolting in by 11 lengths and beating two very smart chasers in litter brothers Good Odds Harada, the 2019 Million Dollar Chase winner, and Feral Franky.
Brett and Zammit are fans of the Golden Ticket structure.
“It’s a good concept and it attracts a lot of talk,” said Zammit who, unfortunately, had to retire his champion Oh Mickey because of injury just after Christmas.
“It’s a good idea,” added Brett. “It adds a bit of intrigue to the whole thing and it’s a bonus if you win it.”
Gatehouse describes match-racing for automatic entry into big events as a great idea, particularly after the Ticket heats left only two lengths (time-wise) between seven qualifiers.
“Actually, it’s now my favourite race series,” he said.
“It is so different and innovative when you’re going from heats which are four-dog shootouts, into a final which is two-dog match-races and one of those dogs emerges with the free hit into a Group 1 final.
“And the way we have structured the match-races in terms of matching them up makes for really even races.
“Rather than have fastest against slowest the Ticket puts fastest against second fastest, third fastest against fourth fastest and so on.
“It makes them even contests.
“Really you don’t want to have uneven contests from a wagering perspective or a viewing perspective, you want the dogs as close as possible.”
Flying machine Sennachie set the standard for the Ticket last year.
The Steve White-trainer superstar won the qualifier then stormed home to win the Gold Bullion, bolting in by 11 lengths and beating two very smart chasers in litter brothers Good Odds Harada, the 2019 Million Dollar Chase winner, and Feral Franky.