This Jet is ready to fly
By MIKE HILL
“HE just keeps on surprising me.”
Those were the words uttered by Peter O’Reilly after talented sprinter Flying Jet had given the Yamanto-based trainer his first Ipswich Derby success last month.
And all things going well, the white and black chaser will target this month’s rich Group 2 $113,000 Ipswich Cup (520m), with heats on November 5 and the final on November 12.
“I think he’s up to Group level racing,” said an upbeat O’Reilly. “He won the Bundaberg Cup (See story Page 36) and he likes the Ipswich track.
“He’s getting better with every run and he’s a stronger dog.
“Three months ago I thought he was at his peak, but I have had to take that back.”
And while O’Reilly and Flying Jet are chasing the $75,000-to-the-winner Ipswich feature, last month’s brilliant Ipswich Futurity victor Micks Recall is not going to the Cup ‘at this stage’.
“We’re looking to go a little bit further in distance,” said a happy young trainer, Jamie Hosking.
“I think her future lies in staying races.”
The Ipswich Cup (520m) is shaping up as a massive series with several top northern NSW sprinters expected to cross the border to do battle with Queensland’s best.
Leading trainer Tony Brett, based at Grandchester, west of Brisbane, whose kennel is ‘a little light on Group dogs at present’, expects to have Valentino Fox and Hara’s Clyde, third to Flying Jet in last month’s Derby, in the series.
“The Derby is a nice lead-in race to the Cup,” said Brett, who has won the big Ipswich feature three times – with Octane Show (2010), Regal Lauryn (2013) and Thirty Talks (2016).
“I haven’t heard of any big-name southern sprinters coming for the Cup.”
However, he agreed that it should still be a wonderful final.
All going well, brilliant sprinter Farmor Beach is expected to head the local contingent.
The Wayne Scott-trained brindle dog hasn’t raced at Ipswich since going through the Group 3 Vince Curry Memorial Maiden series in February undefeated, winning the final in a super 30.33s.
His recent form at Albion Park has been stunning with six wins and a second from his last seven starts over 520m – all well under the 30s mark with a 29.59s best.
“He’s the best dog around at present,” said a rival trainer.
Scott said everything depended on how Farmor Beach (Fernando Bale-Kinloch Beach) pulled up after the Rising Stars at Albion Park (final, October 29).
“If he gets through that okay, we will go to Ipswich,” he said.
Michael Stephenson was another trainer hoping to survive the Rising Stars unscathed with his smart chaser, Hara’s Panda.
“He could go to the Ipswich Cup, but it will depend on how he goes in the Rising Stars,” the trainer said.
Hara’s Panda won the G3 Townsville Cup (498m) in late August and followed it up with victory in the Capalaba Young Guns (366m) two weeks later.
The white and black sprinter (Fernando Bale-Hara’s Annie) has been super consistent since late April, being unplaced only once in his last 21 starts with 12 wins, seven seconds and a third.
Meanwhile, O’Reilly said it was ‘a good feeling’ to finally win the Derby.
“I’ve had a few goes over the years with no luck,” he said.
“And I wasn’t confident this time. I thought the dog in box one (Frog’s Hollow) would be hard to beat – and the punters thought so, too. It was ($2.50) favourite.”
However, the Wayne Scott-trained $7.50 hope Fernando Beach (box 8) and Flying Jet (box 6) – a $4.40 chance – were best to begin with the Scott sprinter opening up a two-length lead down the back straight.
Flying Jet showed his strength in the straight to wear down the leader, grabbing the advantage just before the post.
“I thought the leader had too much on him at the corner but he’s getting stronger,” O’Reilly said. “It was a real good win.”
Hosking, too, is excited about the future with his outstanding Futurity winner Micks Recall.
The black bitch (Dyna Double One-Pauls Memory) staged a stunning finish to overhaul the leading pair after trailing by at least eight lengths approaching the turn.
Micks Recall ($3.60) landed the $8400-to-the-winner final, beating the Amber Boody-prepared Bow Baby ($7) by two lengths with the $3.50 favourite Mayoress (Wayne Scott) a length further back.
“This was her last chance at an age race,” said Hosking.
Although he wasn’t confident, the trainer knew he had the strongest runner in the race.
Micks Recall had entered the series on the back of two impressive wins over 600m at Albion Park.
“She lacks a bit of early pace. We raced her over the 600m to give her a bit of confidence heading into the Futurity,” he said.
“She was lucky, she got a nice passage through the first corner and was able to stretch out down the back straight.
“I knew she was the strongest dog in the race and she showed it at the finish. We’re hoping for some exciting times ahead.”
Hosking said the short-term plan was to run Micks Recall in a 600m fifth grade at Albion Park and then a similar race over 710m.
“If she can get 700m, and she has definitely shown us the right signs that she can, we’ll map out a few plans,” he said.
“There are some nice 700 races in January.”
Caption: Trainer Peter O’Reilly with Ipswich Derby winner Flying Jet (Photo: Just Greyhound Photos).