Kiss Me Ketut staked his claim as a genuine superstar of Victorian sprinting after taking out the $20,000 Cranbourne Puppy Classic on Wednesday night.
While there were many big names trainers engaged – Thompson, Britton, Dailly – it was the Marcus Hill kennel of David Burnett which put the lead and collar on this exciting son of Bombastic Shiraz and Spiral Siyan.
After a comprehensive lead-all-the-way 30.47 heat win, Kiss Me Ketut would again be given the pink vest for the rich final. While fastest qualifier, Hawk Alone, would start the $3.80 popular pick, there were many others given chances by punters, with five dogs starting under double figures by the time the lids opened.
Once it was indeed race time, Iona Seven was first to show itself setting a first split of 5.39, with Innocent Til and Kiss Me Ketut coming across sharply from wide draws. Kiss Me Ketut was soon to take over the front running however, and looked awfully hard to run down from that point onwards.
With over four lengths to spare, Kiss Me Ketut gallivanted away from his rivals and took care of the final in style, improving greatly from his previous run by stopping the clock at 29.99. It was definitely a race where the wider draws were suited, with Hawk Alone, Allen Makoto, Heidi Go Seek and Velocemente all finding bother from the inside boxes and failing to impact the event.
This landmark victory takes Kiss Me Ketut’s record to 13 wins from 26 starts and over $71,000 in the bank. It also takes the pup to the top of the Ready-to-Race standings, with the top eight point-earners competing on November 7 (Shootout Night) for an additional $20,000.
The 2013 version of the Ready-to-Race auction is scheduled to be held on November 23, with all lots being trialled publicly on November 18 and again on auction day.
Back to news on the track, and another feature final occurred at Cranbourne Wednesday night, with the $5000-to-the-winner El Galo Sprint Series coming to a head over the 311-metre scamper. These types of races are always keenly contested, and this version was no different with just over seven lengths covering the entire field.
At the pointy end of the judges’ photo however, was the William McMahon trained Dr. Ezechiel. Starting the race at double figure odds, the black son of Aston Galilee speared out of boxed seven and tipped out the $1.80 favourite, Zambora Storm.
Stopping the clock at 17.75, it was the first win over the track and trip for this greyhound, with the majority of his previous successes coming across a variety of provincial tracks including Healesville, Warragul, Warrnambool, Sale and Horsham.
Placed in 25 of his 42 career starts, Dr Ezechiel provides good reward for effort for The Doctors Kennels syndicate, who have a solid working relationship with the Darriman-based McMahon.
Moving on later in the week, where Geelong provided the highlight of Friday Night’s card of racing, with its Oaks and Derby finals taking place.
The Beckley Centre Geelong Oaks was the first to go being race six on the program, with Crackerjack Lil from the Peter Hunt kennel starting unbackable favourite from box one. Expected to lead all the way, Crackjack Lil was unable to show the same speed early in the race as Purcell Bale, who had sped out from box two.
With those two runners dominating the market, it came down to which dog could set the fastest time over 520m, and Purcell Bale was able to do so, winning by just over a length in 30.08. Karise’s Voice for Jeff Galea ran on well to take ground off the leading duo and finished in third place, well clear of the fourth placed dog.
Purcell Bale moves his tally to 15 wins from 35 starts, bringing up his fourth straight victory in the Oaks Final.
Less than an hour later and it was the boys’ turn in the Geelong Derby, and this time the Hunt kennel got revenge with Hoover Jack runner out the victor.
Using the inside draw to full advantage, the highly talented son of Go Wild Teddy and Lil’s Memory began perfectly, and was leading clearly by the time they left the straight. Hoover Jack has always been a dog that loves being on the bunny, and once he landed in front it was going to take a herculean effort to stop him.
Despite the likes of Schroder Bale and Marcus Joe amongst the chasing brigade, Hoover Jack was still too strong, and took out the $7000 cheque in emphatic fashion. Winning by over four lengths in a very smart 29.69, it tips his career earning over the $50,000 barrier.
St Albans trainer Charles Mercieca would have been happy with the efforts of his runner, Tonk, to run second in such a smart field from the awkward six alley, and went home with a couple of grand for his game defeat also.