Young Guns start Ipswich features

\"\"Caption: Spring Cleo makes it seven wins in a row with an impressive victory in last month\’s $5250 Ipswich Past Members Trophy (520m). (Photo: Just Greyhound Photos)

By MIKE HILL

IPSWICH ramps up its feature racing next month, headed by the $17,800 Young Guns series over 520m and the $12,600 Grand Prix (732m).

It follows in the wake of Brisbane\’s massive Winter Carnival.

All the focus this month is on the Albion Park track, which will host the Group 1 $375,000 Brisbane Cup (520m) and the G1 $150,000 Queensland Cup (710m).

Then owners and trainers will turn their attention to Ipswich, which has a series of features programmed.

Master trainer Tony Brett, attempting to win his ninth Young Guns title at Ipswich, said last month it was \’still too early\’ to identify his runners for the event.

Brett said it would depend heavily on how his stars sprinters pulled up after the Albion Park carnival.

\”I\’ll aim some of my young dogs at the Ipswich feature,\” he said. \”Enthusiastic and Orchestrate are two I\’ll probably target for the Young Guns.

\”However, it will depend on the timing and how they are. The Ipswich Young Guns slots in nicely after the Brisbane carnival and it\’s a nice race for young dogs.\”

Brett\’s previous winners include Bogie Leigh (2003), Quidame (2005), Pinch Bar (2006), Velocity Force (2009), Regal Lauryn (2013), Aston Jadore (2016), Jury (2017) and Hara\’s Clyde (2020).

He admitted he had a couple of \’nice maidens\’ coming through, but they\’ll probably go to Grafton for that club\’s big relaunch.

Unlike the Young Guns, the Ipswich Grand Prix – for stayers – has yet to be dominated by a single trainer. The Brett-trained Benarkin won in 2013 when the race – runĀ  over 630m – was known as the Winter Cup.

However, the race was lengthened to 732m the following year and – with the new name Grand Prix – was won in track record time (43.56s) by the Christina Harman-trained Wag Tail for the A-Team.

The time still stands today highlighting the calibre of the grand chaser.

During her career Wag Tail clashed with some outstanding stayers, including the mighty Xylia Allen.

TALENTED sprinter Spring Cleo looks to be an early favourite to complete a winning double in the Past Members Trophy series.

The light fawn bitch (Fernando Bale-Derenger), trained by Pauline Byers, impressively won the 520m edition of the $5250 race last month and will be hard to toss in this month\’s series over 431m.

Spring Cleo, the hot $1.75 favourite in the $3500-to-the-winner feature, led all the way after an explosive start beating the fast finishing Serena Lawrance-trained Ringbark Reign ($9) by one-and-a-half lengths with Warren Nicholls\’ Sky\’s The Limit ($4.40) another length and a quarter back third.

The talented sprinter clocked a smart 30.69s – the best of the night.

A brilliant beginner, Spring Cleo is at home over both 431 and 520 metres and last month had a narrow advantage over kennelmate Spring Bowler in the club\’s Greyhound of the Year award after stringing together seven successive wins – four over 431m and three over 520m – with five BON times.

\”She\’s just firing at the moment,\” said Byers. \”She\’s going so well she\’s running herself out of races.

\”She\’s a best-8 dog and we can\’t always get a race for her.\”

Byers said she was thrilled to win the Past Members Trophy – her first.

She said her late husband – well-respected champion trainer ColĀ  Byers – was a past member of the club and to win it was an \’honour\’.

And it may not be her last.

Byers said she would now aim Spring Cleo at this month\’s $5250 PM Trophy over 431m (heats June 1, final June 8) and may even consider running the talented bitch in the 288m series next month (heats July 16, final July 24.)

\”We don\’t normally race over the 288m, but I\’ll think about it,\” she said.

Meanwhile, Byers will again be hard to toss in the female trainers premiership after winning her first title last year.

She\’s following in the footsteps of Col, who won the male trainers premiership 10 times between 2007 and 2019 – the last nine in succession.

Last month the Toowoomba-based trainer had a 70-point advantage over Serena Lawrance, while her principle owners Board Racing Syndicate were heading for their fourth straight victory in the top owners award.

In the greyhound-of-the-year title, the Boards have four dogs in the top 10 with Spring Cleo, on 45 points, just heading Spring Bowler (44) after Spring Rock was successful last year.

Spring Cleo\’s recent winning run has coincided with Spring Bowler being on the sidelines with a damaged tail.

\”He suffered the injury in his last race (March 30) and they had to take off the tip of the tail,\” Byers said.

\”He\’s back in work and should resume racing very soon.\”

Before the mishap, Spring Bowler had strung together nine wins and a second from 10 starts.

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