By Mike Hill
THE Steve Kavanagh polish was there for all to see as talented young sprinter Rumble Ranger charged to a brilliant victory in the $58,125 Group 3 Vince Curry Memorial Maiden (520m) at Ipswich in February.
Kavanagh had just one wish before the final – that Rumble Ranger would jump to the lead and stay there.
And the regally-bred Fernando Bale-Joyce Rumble youngster didn\’t let his trainer down.
A hot $2 favourite, Rumble Ranger began fast from box four and, after getting the better of the Wayne Scott-trained Canaveral (inside box), led the field into the back straight.
The red brindle sprinter maintained his momentum in front, showing strength in the run home to beat the gallant Tony Apap-prepared Manfred ($31) by two-and-three-quarter lengths with Canaveral ($4.20) another one-and-three-quarter lengths away third.
Running Express (Cole Sherwood) – the baby of the field at just 17 months – ran a courageous fourth.
The winner clocked a smart 30.63s, .30s slower than his stunning heat victory two weeks earlier in which he ran an explosive first section record of 5.16s.
\”I\’m real happy with him so far,\” said Kavanagh soon after the victory.
However, he admitted he wasn\’t confident going into the $40,000-to-the-winner final.
\”These are young dogs and anything can happen, but at least we\’re all in it together,\” the trainer said. \”They\’re young dogs having three races in three weeks.
\”It\’s not an easy task. I knew he had to jump and led.
\”That\’s the key to winning … get to the front and stay there.\”
Unlike many recent Vince Curry winners that had gone into the series unraced, Rumble Ranger had previously raced in two big maidens at Casino and Lismore.
Both were over shorter distances and from corner starts, Kavanagh said.
After Rumble Ranger was narrowly beaten in the Ladbrokes Maiden Series Silver Consolation at Lismore in late December he decided to target the Vince Curry.
\”I thought he\’d be better suited to the straight run start and the longer trip,\” the trainer said.
\”He\’s always been a relatively good box dog. I gave him a trial at the track … he seemed to go all right.\”
It gave Kavanagh the confidence to press on.
Rumble Ranger stunned punters with his gut-busting 30.33s runaway heat victory in late January.
The trainer admitted the run had taken heaps out of the youngster, but he was still talented enough to narrowly win his semi-final a week later.
However, he was a different dog in the final and Kavanagh believes the young sprinter has more good wins in him.
\”I think he is a group-potential dog,\” the trainer said.
\”He\’ll have a couple of weeks off now before I freshen him up.\”
For the man who has owned and trained some of Australia\’s greats of the track, including \’his best\’ Brother Fox, it was his first Vince Curry success.
He admitted he had tried to win the Ipswich feature once before.
\”It was many years ago and we did no good,\” said the Pottsville-based trainer, who has been in the sport since the early 1970s.
\”This is only the second time I\’ve had a dog to run in the series.
\”Races have to come along at the right stage in a youngster\’s preparation.\”
Kavanagh said he only races dogs he breeds and litters don\’t always fall in time for certain races.
Rumble Ranger is one of three dogs he has racing at present, but he said he has eight pups in the process of breaking in.