Caption: Trainer Harold Hovi and his wife Desma with Excitable Jack, winner of last month\’s $5250 Keyflo Townsville Young Guns (380m) (Photo: Louise Partland)
Qld Country roundup by MIKE HILL
GUMLU (North Qld) based trainer Harold Hovi has always had a high opinion of his smart chaser Excitable Jack.
And that opinion was justified when the talented sprinter impressively won the $5250 Keyflo Townsville Young Guns (380m) last month.
\”He\’s getting better as he gets older, he\’s just maturing a bit,\” said a happy Hovi.
He purchased Excitable Jack (Head Bound-Bella\’s Fancy) as \’a 12-month-old pup off the internet\’.
\”He had just been broken in and he was the type of dog I was willing to take a chance on,\” Hovi said.
And he hasn\’t been disappointed.
\”I\’ve liked him from day one and every time I trialled him his times were getting better,\” he said.
\”He\’s a real good dog in the kennels and has a good temperament. He\’s no trouble.
\”Kids could lead him anywhere, he\’s so placid.\”
Hovi admitted he went into the Young Guns final feeling quietly confident.
\”Excitable Jack\’s been getting out of the boxes a lot better in recent starts and the favourite (Major Gibson) was in box six,\” he said.
\”But he missed the start and I thought \’well that\’s it\’.\”
However, with severe interference in the leading group in which Major Gibson ($2.60 fav) took a nasty tumble and other runners lost momentum, Excitable Jack ($3.80) was able to scoot through and challenge leader Mali\’s Missile on the corner.
The Hovi sprinter powered home in the straight to beat the Heath Ardle-trained Mali\’s Missile ($5.50) by three-quarters of a length, with Henry Parker\’s Editor ($6.50) one-and-a-half lengths away third.
The win took Excitable Jack\’s career record to eight wins and six seconds from 21 starts and lifted his prizemoney to $13,000 and at the same time boosted Hovi\’s reputation as the \’Magic Man\’.
Last month his winning strike rate for the year was sitting at a high 33.33 per cent – almost 10 per cent better than his nearest rival.
With five dogs in his kennels, but only two racing at present, Hovi rarely goes home without at least one winner.
LEADING Central Queensland trainer Darren Taylor had a night to remember in late October.
No stranger to leading in multiple winners at his home track Rockhampton, Taylor rugged up a winning treble at an Albion Park Thursday night meeting.
\”It was truly a night to remember,\” he said. \”It was my first treble in town.
\”And I was lucky enough to be able to share it with my son Jordan.
\”He loves the dogs and he\’s in to them heavily. His girlfriend also had a nice little win.\”
Taylor had taken three dogs – Pitch Black Gaga ($26), Are Jay Lochie ($6.50) and Rose Ali ($3.70) – south from his Bouldercombe base and they all won.
\”It\’ll be something to remember for a while,\” he said, adding that it was also a big win for country trainers.
\”It showed that we have some handy dogs in country regions and that we can match it with the metropolitan runners.\”
Taylor also admitted that he had been warmly congratulated by many of the trainers on track.
AGEING sprinter Are Jay Lochie has finally shown Brisbane punters what he is capable of.
The Darren Taylor kennel star and Rockhampton GOTY winner in 2019 strung together three successive wins at Albion Park in October.
\”Finally he has taken his Rocky form to Brisbane,\” the proud trainer said.
And the victories have boosted his career record to 33 wins and 28 placings from 85 starts and lifted his prizemoney to just under $95,000.
\”I hope he can eventually top the $100,000 mark,\” Taylor said. \”I\’ve always thought he was a $100,000 dog.
\”Not many dogs have done that from this region. He\’s a funny little dog, he\’s all about confidence.
\”He ran a 29.94s in a trial at Albion Park as a pup, so I knew he could run.\”
But the trainer believes a fall at the track early in his career damaged his confidence.
\”He\’s now worked out how to get around the first corner,\” he said.
\”I\’ll take him back to Brisbane again but, in the meantime, we\’re just keeping him ticking along.
\”I haven\’t any plans on retiring him just yet but if he says he\’s had enough that will be it.\”
EYES will be focused on Townsville early this month for the final of the rich North Queensland Cup (498m).
Leading trainers have been targeting the $17,800 final (December 1) for weeks.
The race is restricted to greyhounds trained in the regions north of post code 4570 (Gympie).
Rockhampton\’s Darren Taylor last month said he was taking a four-dog team – Are Jay Lochie, Rose Ali, Over Time and On The Buses – north for the Cup while top Townsville trainers, including Brad Belford and Rhonda Essery, are certain to have leading contenders in the series.
Connections of the winner will pocket $11,200.
SOME Mal Cuneo\’s sprinters obviously like the wet.
The former Northern Rivers trainer, now based at Churchable, headed to Ipswich in late October with nine runners and left the meeting with three winners and a second.
His trio of winners – Twango Focus ($10), My Purple Rain ($5.50) and Liberty Belle ($16) – all greeted the judge in pouring rain.