‘Kid’ Loves Townsville lifestyle

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By Mike Hill

ONE of Townsville\’s \’new kids of the block\’, Akashi Kid, is definitely not the loner type.

\”He needs company and thrives attention,\” said trainer Michael Hickmott. \”That\’s how I got him in the first place. He just wasn\’t settling in for (owner-trainer) Michael Fusco.

\”As the only dog in Fusco\’s kennels, he was barking, whining all the time – just playing up. He apparently wanted company. Michael asked me if I could take him and I said okay.\”

Akashi Kid arrived at Fusco\’s kennels in late May after an impressive career in Victoria, which included wins at Bendigo, Shepparton, Horsham and Healesville and placings at Sandown Park.

\”Michael bought the dog through friends,\” said the Bluewater-based trainer.

And for a dog craving companionship, it would have come as a complete surprise – it did to Hickmott – that he\’d clash with a litter brother in his first race in the North.

And the litter brother – the Henry Parker-trained Make A Sound – proved too strong beating Akashi Kid by two-and-three-quarter lengths.

\”I didn\’t know the winner was his brother until after the race,\” said Hickmott.

\”Akashi Kid had gone into the race without a run on the track. He hadn\’t seen the track. It was a good effort to run second first-up.\”

The trainer didn\’t have to wait long for success. It came two starts later in one of the club\’s big features – the $7875 Townsville Grand Prix (498m) in late June.

The brindle son of Goodesy and Every Sound – a $4.40 hope – beat the Scott Atkinson-trained Go Molly Go ($16) by half a length in the $5250-to-the-winner final with Robert Thomson\’s Yuken Sunshine ($14) a quarter of a length away third.

The winner clocked 28.88s after running 29.05s in his heat seven nights earlier.

The win also gave Hickmott his fourth success in the race – his previous GP winners were Savior (2014), Post Box (2015) and Asa Extreme (2016).

Hickmott said Akashi Kid\’s heat run, in which he finished third, was his first effort over the 498m trip.

\”He really needed that run,\” he said. \”In the final they were running him down in the straight but luckily he was able to hang on after opening up a handy three-length advantage down the back straight.\”

Hickmott believes there is still more improvement to come from the brindle sprinter.

\”If I can get him down into the low 70s, he could even be a Cup chance,\” he said.

Akashi Kid has chalked up another two wins – over 498m and 380m – and a second since his GP victory.

CRAIG\’S Regret is the giveaway that keeps giving.

One of the most improved sprinters racing in Central Queensland, the Dallas Beckett-trained black chaser (SH Avatar-Sweet Shine) showed his potential with an impressive win in the $5250 Sandal Welding Rockhampton Young Guns (407m).

Starting a $6 chance – and not the most favoured of the Beckett trio in the final –  Craig\’s Regret grabbed the lead down the back straight and raced to a length-and-three-quarter victory over the Warren Nicholls-trained Dig Deep ($8.50).

Another Beckett runner, the $15 hope Due To Sizzle, finished three-and-a-quarter lengths away third.

Since the victory Craig\’s Regret has reinforced his status with another three victories, running best of night times on two occasions.

The black sprinter has reduced his time for the 407m from 24.86s to 23.71s since his first run over the Rocky distance in mid-March.

His record now stands at eight wins and seven placings from just 19 starts with prizemoney just over $15,000 – not bad for a giveaway.

Several months back Beckett recalled how he obtained the sprinter from Victorian owner-breeder Craig Davis.

\”First they couldn\’t get the young dog out of the bull ring cage, then he wouldn\’t go around the bull ring and finally he just jumped out of the ring,\” said the Gracemere-based trainer.

\”It was then that Craig offered me the dog.

\”SH Avatar pups seem to crave attention and he has settled in well to my way of training.\”

Beckett admitted he had put plenty of work into the young dog – work that is now paying off.

He said after the youngster started to show him something he decided to name him Craig\’s Regret.

\”I have a feeling Craig may now be regretting giving him away,\” he said.

\”He\’s developed into a nice dog and a good sprinter.\”

Beckett obviously likes the breed, he has another two members of Craig\’s Regret\’s litter – Erratic George and Belly – in his kennels.

(Photo: Louise Partland)

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