Caption: The gripping finish of the Chief Havoc Cup shows Lucky Lance (2) grabbing first place from Murphey (inside) and It’s a Rush (centre).
By TERRY WILSON
TRAINER Robert Ayres does not mind getting behind the wheel for some long-distance driving in the search for success with his dogs.
Ayres is based at Glass House Mountains in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, where he runs a small team of greyhounds. Two of those chasers earned the trainer and his owners a tidy sum of prizemoney over what was a two-weekends sortie around New South Wales last month.
It started when Ayres plotted a journey that would cover Sydney, across to Gunnedah then back to Glasshouse with two of his performers, Boscano and Lucky Lance.
The idea was for Boscano to have a go at a Masters event at Wentworth Park in Sydney on a Saturday, hop back into the car for a drive out to Gunnedah for a heat of the Listed Chief Havoc Cup on Sunday, then head home back to Queensland.
That entailed a round trip covering 2114 kilometres.
But what happened next was that Ayres and his two greyhounds were back doing the same the following weekend, bringing speedo readings to more than a combined 4200 km.
What was so good about the exercise was that on sojourn number two Boscano (My Bro Fabio-Beauty Bale) won again at Wenty in another Masters event, then it was out to Gunnedah where Lucky Lance (Barcia Bale-Nana Road) scored in the Chief Havoc Cup final.
That same Sunday Ayres had a runner at Capalaba. There is no guessing what happened there. The Ayres streak continued when Life’s Good scored in a Maiden.
All the travel resulted in Ayres landing a financial windfall. The two Wenty races were worth $5000 each for the winners, the Gunnedah classic carried $15,000 for first and $1700 for the heat and the Capalaba success put a further $1050 into the kennel account.
And the chance for Boscano to return to Wentworth Park hinged on whether Lucky Lance made it through to the Chief Havoc final.
“I had planned to do the trip again with Boscano, provided Lucky Lance qualified for the Chief Havoc final,’” said Ayres.
“I thought why not have a crack at Wenty again and do the trip again.”
Boscano was afforded a second trip from Sydney to Gunnedah and was put up in the Gunnedah club’s kennel block while Lucky Lance strutted his stuff in the final.
Asked why he looked around for a race such as the Chief Havoc, Ayres said it was regular practice for him to seek out suitable races that would not attract high-quality chasers.
“I just thought it’d be nice to get back to Gunnedah,” he said. “I had been there years when it was a grass track and when I heard about the Cup I thought it was ideal.
“I do scout around looking for suitable events because I reckon little fish are sweet and this one (the Cup) is not so little.”
Ayres said the win at Gunnedah was his biggest since he started training in 1972.
But there were some anxious moments awaiting for the judge’s verdict in the final.
In a blanket finish a tick more than five lengths separated first from last after the 527m scamper.
Lucky Lance (box two) survived in the desperate finish, just ahead of Murphey (4) and It’s A Rush (1). The Queenslander started at $3 and clocked 30.70s.