Stars are aligning for Perth Cup carnival

Caption: Michael Harders, Steve Withers, Kira Withers and Jodie Harders plus (in front) Mackenzie and Summah Withers with Mambo Monelli 

By JAMES BROADHURST

A change in trainer proved to be no problem for Mambo Monelli when he broke his own 600m track record at Cannington in February.

The classy black and white chaser, arguably the hottest racedog in WA at the present time, set a new mark of 34.11 on the way to an 11-length victory in a Grade 4/5.

The time lowered the one he set less than two months earlier on New Year’s Eve when clocked his first record of 34.20.

In between those two record runs Mambo Monelli transferred from the kennels of David Hobby into the care of Steve Withers.

Hobby, who was WA’s leading trainer in four of the past five years, was forced to relinquish his trainer’s license due to Covid vaccine requirements coming into force at the start of February.

Many of Hobby’s former greyhounds ended up interstate, but fortunately for chasing fans in the west, Mambo Monelli stayed with a local trainer. 

Mambo Monelli immediately won the Sandi’s Me Mum Memorial final over 520m for Withers before going to rewrite the 600m record.

His brilliance over a variety of distances has given Withers some options with Mambo Monelli as we head towards the Group 1 Perth Cup (520m) and Galaxy (715m) races in March.

Mambo Monelli would be a genuine threat in either series although at time of writing it did appear that Withers was favouring the stayer’s route as he had stepped the dog up to the 715m journey.

Speaking of Withers, he is in a race against the clock to give superstar chaser Tommy Shelby a fairytale finish to his racing career.

Tommy Shelby’s last race was in the heat of the Melbourne Cup in November and Withers had never completely closed the door on a return to the track despite the fact that the dog has been in high demand at stud.

A final send-off in the Perth Cup is a possibility and the dog has been trialing with the aim of having a crack at the race although Withers has been reluctant to declare that the reigning Australian Greyhound of the Year is certain to enter.

Given how protective he is of the greyhound and how meticulous he is with his preparation Withers won’t commit Tommy Shelby unless the dog is 100% fit and ready for the task.

By the time this edition of Chase comes out it’s conceivable that we’ll know the answer either way.

Vice Grip announced himself as a big player for the Perth Cup series when he made a successful return to the track in late February.    In what was his first run since the $1million Phoenix race in December the Adam Smithson-trained speedster held off a spirited challenge from fellow Perth Cup aspirant Serong to claim a 520m Free To All by a quarter of a length in 29.72.

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