Taylor holds fire on Bullet ‘best country sprinter’ tag

\"\"Caption: Trainer Darren Taylor with Barcia Bullet, winner of both the Rockhampton and Bundaberg Grand Prix features and Jordan Taylor with Off Break, third in both races.

Queensland Country round-up with MIKE HILL

LEADING Central Queensland trainer Darren Taylor was reluctant to give Barcia Bullet the tag \’best sprinter in country Queensland\’ after the sprinter\’s impressive win in last month\’s $7875 Rockhampton Grand Prix (510m).

\”I\’m not into that, but he\’s a strong little sprinter,\” said Taylor.

With success in the $5250-to-the-winner Rocky feature, the exceptionally well-bred black chaser (Barcia Bale-Mepunga Fame) popped star Townsville sprinter Stratford\’s long winning run.

The Rhonda Essery-prepared  brindle dog was chasing his 11th straight victory after  stringing together nine wins at his home track, including the Townsville Grand Prix (498m) in late June, as well as success over 510m at Rockhampton.

Barcia Bullet, a member of the inaugural 2018 national greyhound draft, went into the race on the back of three successive wins over the Bundaberg 550m journey, including victory in that club\’s Grand Prix series.

\”I won\’t say I went into the Rockhampton final confident but I did say to someone that Stratford needed to be more than four lengths in front of Barcia Bullet down the back straight to win,\” Taylor said.

\”My bloke gave him four lengths start and won by three.\”

Stratford, always favourite in betting before starting at $1.90, bounced quickly from his favoured box eight – five of his 10 recent wins had come from the outside alley.

He opened up a handy lead down the back straight before Barcia Bullet ($2.40) closed the gap on the corner, scooting  away for a dominant win.

Another Taylor runner Off Break ($7) finished third (five-and-a-quarter lengths away)  as he did in the Bundy GP a week earlier.

\”Barcia Bullet is enjoying his racing at present,\” said Taylor.

The Bouldercombe-based trainer said the sprinter\’s recent runs over the 550m journey on the Bundy grass had hardened him up for the Rocky assignment.

\”The Rocky track is quite heavy at the moment after it was resurfaced recently and my bloke was well-conditioned for the race,\” he said.

After failing at his first race start at Bendigo in mid-2020, Barcia Bullet has been a model of consistency since joining Taylor\’s kennels.

The Rocky Grand Prix victory took his record to 17 wins and 11 placings from 51 starts for prizemoney in excess of $41,000.

It came just over a week after the talented sprinter\’s powerful win in a similar series at Bundaberg in which he beat the Paul McIlveen-prepared front runner I\’m The Bill ($3.10 eq fav) by three-quarters of a length after also giving that runner a four-length start down the back straight.

Taylor said Barcia Bullet\’s current winning form \’just had to come\’.

\”He\’s a good sprinter. He made the Rocky Cup final (in late April) and won over 520m at Albion Park (in early May) but was going through a bit of a rough patch prior to his wins at Bundaberg,\” he said.

\”He was getting knocked over in his races and nothing was going his way.

\”His Bundy wins have helped his confidence.\”

Taylor said he would now embark on a city campaign with the promising son of super sire Barcia Bale, whose service fee has recently jumped to $12,000.

\”He\’s bred to go 700m,\” the trainer said.

\”Earlier in the year he put the writing on the wall when he took ground off Ninetymile King over 600m at Albion Park.\”

Barcia Bullet\’s dam Mepunga Fame, a dual Group finalist, was a multiple winner at both Sandown Park and The Meadows (515m-600m), while two of his litter mates – smart Victorian chaser Mepunga Felix (Sandown 595m, The Meadows 600m) and  Hairpin Trigger (Cannington 600m, 715m)  are showing exceptional form over the longer trips.

*******

DAVID Plummer\’s talented sprinter Fogelberg made a successful entry into FFA class with an impressive victory in the Valda Halter Memorial (460m) at Bundaberg last month.

Fogelberg (Sh Avatar-Rocket Banquet) has been super consistent from his very first start on the grass track back in early March when a good second in a 460m maiden.

The brindle sprinter broke through for his first win at his next start and he has only been out of the placings four times in 18 starts.

Starting the $2.80 favourite, his Memorial win, in which he defeated the Darren Taylor-trained  My Bro Beach ($6) by four-and-three-quarter lengths in a BOM 26.27s, took his record to six wins and eight placings.

Meanwhile, another smart Bundy winner last month was the George Clegg-prepared Viva Belle, winner of the Endeavour Foundation 5th Grade Final (460m).

The well-bred Dyna Double One-Bralyn Casey black bitch won her heat seven days earlier in 26.77s but improved sharply in the final for a runaway five-and-a-quarter lengths victory in a quick 26.11s.

The $3 favourite beat the David Plummer sprinter Little Ripper ($9.50) with Adam McIntosh\’s Celeana ($3.40) a close third.

*******

LEADING trainers Brad Belford and Paul Smith shared the honours with a winning treble each as Townsville returned to racing after its three-week show break.

Belford produced the smart youngster Midnight Frankie to win the opening maiden over 380m.

\”He\’s still learning his trade,\” the trainer said.

The well-bred black son of Zambora Brockie and Midnight Francis went into the race as the $2.50 favourite on the back of two seconds – at Townsville (380m) and Rockhampton (407m) – and he didn\’t let his supporters down with an impressive 21.96s run.

Belford also won the final two races with favourites Chance Your Arm ($2.25) and Cornholio ($3.10).

In contrast, Smith\’s trio of winners were Osmonds Wish ($7), Mason Rocks ($51) and Quinn Bale ($4).

*******

\’MAGIC Man\’ Harold Hovi was at it again last month … that is, leading in winners with his small, boutique team.

Hovi took three runners from his Gumlu base between Bowen and Ayr to a Townsville Saturday morning meeting and returned home with three winners.

The astute conditioner has been given the \’Magic Man\’ tag because of his exceptional winning strike rate at the north Queensland circuit.

Last month Hovi had the amazing winning strike rate for the year of 53 per cent (20 wins from 38 starts) from six runners although he only ever has three to four runners in his kennels at any one time.

And his recent treble with former Victorian/Tasmanian chaser On A High and highly talented litter brothers Redemption Day and Excuse Me Jack was exceptional.

On A High (Collision-Punk Star Lass) won over 498m in a slick 28.68s – only .35s off Zabdon Ferrari\’s track record of 28.33s, Redemption Day ran a smart 21.75s over 380m and in the following race Excuse Me Jack returned to his best with a super 21.52s – only .10s outside the 380m record he shares with brother Redemption Day and Tipsy Four (21.42s).

Excuse Me Jack had suffered his first defeat earlier in the week when he was unplaced at his first run back after a slight let-up.

His record now stands at seven wins from just eight starts, while Redemption Day has five wins and a third from six starts.

The super-talented brothers (My Redeemer-Fancy Dancer) are now being aimed at next month\’s rich Townsville Cup, although they still have to prove themselves over 498m, while Hovi has a definite Cup prospect in On A High.

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