Caption: Shipwreck (Ned Snow) claims his heat of the Group 2 $150,000 Flying Amy Classic at Albion Park (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

By Pat McLeod

Veteran South-East Queensland trainer Keith ‘Ned’ Snow sat quietly with friends at the ‘Table of Knowledge’ on Thursday night at Albion Park as a powerhouse platoon of interstate raiders assembled to steal the Group 2 $150,000 Flying Amy Classic final away from the Sunshine State.

Thursday night’s heats were billed as the ‘strongest’ ever, and that’s how they panned out – with the quality of the final field best portrayed by those who missed out.

Snow, and his fawn flyer Shipwreck, are through, winning one of the five heats. But the remainder of the final boxes will be filled with ‘invaders’, drawn to ‘The Creek’ by the prestige and boosted prizemoney of the Flying Amy. (Greg Stella, from Park Ridge, in SE Qld, has Black Comanche as the First Reserve.)

The Box Draw for the G2 Flying Amy Classic: 1 Photo Man (Gavin Clifton Vic), 2 Pazienza (Gavin Clifton Vic), 3 Black Magic Rose (Fred Swain, NSW), 4 Shipwreck (‘Ned’ Snow, Qld), 5 Amron Boy (Brooke Ennis, Vic), 6 Good Odds Emma (Frank Hurst, NSW), 7 Panama Pepper (Steve Withers, WA), 8 French Martini (Peter Lagogiane, NSW). Res: 9 Black Comanche (Greg Stella,Qld), 10 Kelsey Bale (Dan Gibbons, Vic).

With his daughter Tanya’s partner Dave Eisel handling Shipwreck in the heat, Snow looked on unfazed from the far end of the Pacers & Chasers Bar and Bistro, an area commonly referred to as ‘The Table of Knowledge’ because of the wealth of experience and greyhound knowhow that assembles in that space.

“That run didn’t surprise me at all,” he said, after Shipwreck (29.70) had left the likes of Good Odds Emma (second), McKeon Bale (third), Big Opal Rocks (fourth) and Litigate (fifth) in his wake.

“He has been underdone and I thought this run tonight would top him off. He had kennel cough and then a bout of diarrhoea ran through the kennel and I couldn’t work him. But … I thought there are no excuses tonight and that he would be right in it.

“It was a tough field, but he is a good pup, don’t you worry about that. He has been unlucky a few times. Next week’s final will be very interesting and he will improve on that run.”

Snow has history on his side.

Earlier this year Snow and Shipwreck also won the $72,250 Group 3 Vince Curry Memorial Maiden (520m) at Ipswich.

Back in 2003 Snow followed the same path, winning both the Vince Curry and the Flying Amy with Woops A Daisy.

Snow acknowledges that history, and respects the prestige of the Flying Amy, a race for dogs 30 months and younger, but admits to not getting carried away with sentiment around the race.

“It is always great to win big finals, like this race … but ‘extra special’, not really. However, the prizemoney certainly is.”

John Dart’s very impressive Gypsy Del, who was a scratching from Thursday night’s heats because of injury, was just one of several highly fancied youngsters who will not figure in the June 16 Flying Amy Final.

Falling short on Thursday night were Greg Stella’s Black Comanche (first reserve), Tony Brett’s Milligan, Mick Patterson’s Respectability, Mario Briganti’s Big Opal Rocks and Rapaki Rocks, Scott Board’s Spring Patriot and Jason Thompson’s Decimate.

This is what other Flying Amy heat-winning trainers had to say:

Gavin Clifton (Nilma North, Vic) – Pazienza and Photo Man: “That is unbelievable! That’s gold to have two runners in the final. I was very happy with the run of Photo Man. He is a very good dog, a very fast dog and the best we have had for sure. Pazienza’s run didn’t surprise at all. We gave him every chance. He is a fast beginner and is very underrated. We hope that the Flying Amy is the tip of the Iceberg for us in this carnival. But, of course next week will determine if we are back in July. We are fortunate to have the dogs with Graham Hall and his wife Leanne. They are fantastic people and really look after us and our dogs.”

Peter Lagogiane (Llandilo, Sydney) – French Martini: “I was really happy with that run. When I saw the box draw (7 for the heat) I wasn’t as happy. She is a quality bitch and she beat a quality field out there tonight. We eyed this carnival off a couple of months ago. We were uncertain as to whether put her in the Million Dollar Chase (a race that Lagogiane has won twice), but decided not to.”

Steve Withers (Casuarina, Perth) – Panama Pepper: “He is a very fast dog and I don’t know if people realise that. He is an equal track record holder at Mandurah with Zack Monelli, a dog that can run a little bit. (But) people have underrated dogs from the west in the past such as Tommy Shelby, and (if they did that tonight) then they just have to keep taking their medicine. But I just let the dogs do the talking. I look after them, and they look after me.”

Caboolture trainer Rusty Dillon is quietly confident of Dundee Ember’s chances in the Group 3 710m Dashing Corsair Final next Thursday night after the chaser’s solid win in Thursday night’s heat.

“That was excellent,” Dillon said after Dundee Ember’s 42.40 best of the two heats salute. “She has a tendency to drop out 10 lengths last in races, but after we found a couple of things during the week, a bit of swelling, and that has been the difference.

“So hopefully we can see the best from the dog now.”

Victorian (Avalon) trainer Dan Gibbons was also buoyed by the opening heat win to Rohan Bale (42.44).

“I was a little bit worried about him because he just flew up today,” said Gibbons.

Box Draw for the G3 The Dashing Corsair: 1 Rohan Bale, 2 Pokie Payout, 3 Mere Magic, 4 Farmor Alfa’s, 5 Magic Miss, 6 Bedrock Fred, 7 No Regrets, 8 Dundee Ember. Res: 9 Me And You, 10 Stanton Warrior.