Over the next three weeks, everyone in the greyhound game will have an opinion on which dog to follow, back or lay over the Golden Easter Egg series. In most cases, WA chaser Hot Irish will not be readily mentioned in those conversations, however before dismissing her as just an interstate visitor on another miracle mission, allow yourself to consider the following;
The Golden Easter Egg brings together the very best from all over the land, however there are few dogs engaged which can boast the overall record that this bitch brings to the table. She’s notched up 39 wins in a 70 start career, giving her a 55% winning strike rate, with 19 placings to go with them. Now the logical argument is that the quality and depth of opposition she generally faces week-to-week at home may be inferior to those in the Eastern states, which is the common opinion, however still quite hard to judge. One thing that isn’t hard to judge is career prizemoney, and at $314,735 Hot Irish has earned more dosh than 77 of the other Easter Egg runners; third only behind Glen Gallon and Spud Regis.
Change of Trainer
Formerly under the care of Ben Abercrombie, she has transferred to the kennels of David Righetti for the purposes of an Egg campaign. While the bitch has forged her career with Ben, the kennel change will allow Hot Irish to remain in NSW, and avoid the taxing travel across the country. Having raced at The Meadows the past three weeks, it would appear logical that giving the dog time to settle into a new environment would do her the world of good. Furthermore, the Righetti Kennel isn’t exactly a bad place to be, with a strike rate of 35% for 2013 and the former home of NSW State Sprint Champion, Exclusive One
It’s time to analyse what the dog has done lately, as to win an Golden Easter Egg, you have to be at top form. Her last month on paper appears only fair, with two wins from his past five starts. However, those that have seen her past four runs will know how close this chaser is to a big race win. She had won nine out of her past ten when she made the final of her home Group 1, the Perth Cup. She ran third in that event after beginning well and being absolutely skittled on the first corner. She came from the second half of the field, and finished better than anything else in the race, including favourite Glen Gallon
From there it was off to Victoria for the invitation-only event, the Temlee. Drawing box two, it was a carbon copy of the Perth Cup where she begins well and gets knocked from pillar-to-post along the front straight and sent back to last. From there she ran on to finish fifth, beaten seven lengths against the best field possible, a mighty effort for a greyhound accustomed to leading in her races.
She remained in Victoria for the Australian Cup series, and proving that her luck was due to change, she won the event in 30.03 over Allen Dion. Amazingly, she had to come from behind again when Kevin Bale checked her run and sent her backwards early on. In a compete reverse of her usual racing style, she made it three Group 1’s on the trot by taking a split between runners and grabbing the win on the post.
Then last start was obviously the Aussie Cup final and does anyone want to take a guess what happened? That’s right, she jumped well again, got squeezed again from the dreaded five box and flew home to finish third behind Spud Regis and El Brooklyn, running past Cintiarna, Oomoo and Linden Magpie on her way.
Wentworth Park & Her Golden Easter Egg Heat
So we come to Saturday night and the start of NSW’s biggest series. Again Hot Irish has drawn poorly in six, but there are factors in her favour. For one, the race is at Wentworth Park. That’s important simply because the greyhound has seen this track before. In fact, she’s been in this series before, and not surprisingly, she made the final, running seventh behind Don’t Knocka Him in 2012.
With this knowledge of the track, there is every chance Saturday night that she will begin at his best, and with any luck whatsoever, she will cross the field and lead all the way. The heat isn’t overly tough, with Jagger Swagger and Streetbike Tommy looking the obvious dangers from box eight and two respectively with respect given to Mr Clydesdale from four.
Even if this trend of finding bother continues, her runs at The Meadows suggest she’ll be strong enough to qualify for the semi-finals regardless, and with a good draw from there on, expect to be hearing a lot more about this ultra-consistent, underrated raider from the West making it four Group 1 finals on the trot.