By Mike Hill
SEVERAL smart sprinters are expected to clash in the rich $60,000 Alan Price Memorial Auction Series (520m) at Ipswich in September.
The $40,000-to-the-winner series was postponed in April due the COVID-19 outbreak.
The big final will now be run on Saturday, September 19, with heats on September 5 and semi-finals on September 12.
Club manager Merv Page said it had been a long wait for many trainers after the $21,250 Auction Series Sprint over 431m was run and won – by the Robert Jacobsen-trained He\’s A Minstrel – in early March.
Page said the club had received a total of 122 final acceptors for the Auction Series earlier in the year, which qualified runners for both the 431m sprint and the 520m feature.
He agreed the postponement would have impacted some kennels.
Certainly some trainers would have had their runners primed for the April series while those battling injuries would have welcomed the delay.
One who falls into the latter category is leading trainer Tony Brett.
In April, his rising star Wolf Racketeer was a definite non-starter after suffering a serious leg injury.
The sprinter\’s future was uncertain, but things look a little different now.
\”He suffered a serious stopper tendon injury in early January,\” Brett said.
The Barcia Bale-Cincinnati Juice blue fawn sprinter copped a bad check in a heat of the Group 1 Gold Bullion (520m) at Albion Park, finishing unplaced behind the brilliant Feral Franky.
\”Before the injury I was considering him my next Group dog, that\’s how much talent he was showing,\” the trainer said. \”It\’s a serious injury and it can end a career.\”
But Brett is upbeat about Wolf Racketeer\’s chances of returning to the track.
\”He\’s galloping again and he\’s on the way back,\” he said.
The Grandchester-based trainer said he had time on his side to have the talented sprinter back firing for the Auction Series.
Before his unplaced run, Wolf Racketeer had a record of four wins, including a 29.90s effort at Albion Park, and four seconds from eight starts.
His main rival in the Auction Series should be the Selena Zammit-trained Sequana, already a dual Group finalist with a record of 10 wins and 10 placings from 24 starts with prizemoney totalling almost $63,000.
They have already clashed twice over the Ipswich 520m journey with Sequana the victor both times.
Other sprinters in the final acceptors list with winning form include another Brett sprinter Messy Man, Peter O\’Reilly\’s Flying Jet, Serena Lawrence\’s trio Ringbark Reign, We Get It and Bonus Only, Greg Brennan\’s Barcol Boy and Colbar Boy and the Trevor Wilson-trained Go Emmy Go.
Meanwhile, the club has announced a new date for this year\’s Ipswich Puppy Auction.
Page said the auction, open to pups whelped between October 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020, would be staged on Sunday, October 11, with nominations closing on August 14.
Pups sold will be eligible for a series of rich races in 2022, headed by the $40,000-to-the-winner Auction Series (520m) with the runner-up collecting $10,000, and $5000 going to connections of the third placegetter.
The club will also stage a Series Consolation, carrying $7000 for winning connections, as well as a $14,000-to-the-winner Series over 431m.
A $2000 bonus will also go to the breeder of the winner of each final.