Flying Ricciardo Flies At Bathurst Just Like Harada Did
By Michael Cowley
Sam Sultana has been involved in greyhound racing for a long time, and as such knows what it’s like to have a good dog. Sam is also a man of few words but his reaction to his daughter’s dog Flying Ricciardo, says so much about his opinion of the rising star.
Flying Ricciardo did exactly what everyone expected he would at Bathurst on Monday night, winning the Regional Final of the TAB Million Dollar Chase, and advancing to the semi-finals of the event at Wentworth Park on October 9. Coincidentally, it’s the identical path taken by Good Odds Harada 12 months ago, a path which culminated in victory and a cheque for $1 million for that dog’s connections.
But while Harada was the star then, Flying Ricciardo is the new ‘it’ dog on the racing scene and Monday’s success in a slick 29.58s took his record to 12 wins and two seconds from 14 starts.
“I'm just so glad that he's through and we can just relax a little bit for a couple of weeks,” said owner/trainer Kristy Sultana. “Tonight was all about qualifying.
“We want to get a couple of little things fixed on him ... he's just got a couple little niggling injuries but nothing serious, so we just want to get him 100% right, and then we'll get him ready (for the semi-finals).”
As the case normally is, Kristy’s father Sam boxed the dog at Bathurst, and while his years of experience might be expected to have a calming effect on his daughter, Sam is, also it seems, taken with Flying Ricciardo.
“I think he's getting a little bit nervous too, but he won't admit it. But I think he is,” Kristy said when asked if her father was a calming influence. Then asked if that said something about his thoughts and opinion of Flying Ricciardo, she replied: “Yeah, it definitely does. Definitely.”
While he was expected to win, there were some who had concerns about the very awkward box draw, as box eight at Bathurst over the 520m is not an ideal draw.
“We couldn't have drawn worse, but you know, he did everything right, he cut across in the first five or 10 metres and I was pretty happy where he was from then, and really what more can we ask tonight?” Kristy said
Flying Ricciardo is joined in the semi-final via the Bathurst Regional Final by Troy Vella’s Hartley Entry who produced a great run to finish second 3 ½ lengths behind the winner, and the third placed Zipping Truvy.
“We were happy with the box and we gave him a slight chance of hopefully running in the placings and he just lifted and did his job,” Vella said. “He loves his track. He was schooled around here from the owner at a young age and he just seems to run his best races here.
“It was a good effort (to hold off the likes of Zipping Truvy and Fernando Porche). He’s been freshened since last week's run because he had a little few niggles and he always seem to go well after a seven to 10 day break, so we’ll try and keep that going.
“He hasn’t had a lot of luck at Wentworth Park, he's always had bad boxes down there. His first run in a Free For All there, he went really well from the three (box), but ever since then he's been drawing six and seven and he likes to be a little bit closer to the rail.”
Troy said he will head to Wentworth Park before the semis for a run, and on gaining a ticket to the next stage of greyhound racing’s big dance: “Oh my, it's a joy. You’ve got to have a go don’t you.”