Imagine this…a 16 year old rugby league player is plucked from his High School team to play a Test match for Australia – or a 15 year old girl, who has only ever represented her region in age-restricted Netball matches, gets a call up to play for the Opals.
Hard to believe?
Well, it probably is, so consider the challenge that faces up and coming sprinter, Fantastic Dotty, in the Group 1 Megastar to be held at Dapto on Friday night.
The unique concept of the Megastar see’s five greyhounds issued with invitations by the club (Fantastic Dotty, Keybow, Flash Reality, Bessy Boo and Rude De Kahn); while the remaining three spots are filled by greyhounds that finished in the first three placings in the Megastar Prelude conducted last week (Aphorism, Whittaker and Fantastic Spiral).
The ‘veteran’ of just three race starts, Dotty will be taking on seasoned, and far better credentialed performers, in the race for the $67,500 first prize at the self-proclaimed, ‘world famous’ Dapto dogs.
But, before you scoff at her chances, it would be wise to consider the following facts.
She has drawn box 1 in the Megastar and is currently the $3.30 favourite with TAB.com.au Fixed Odds; she has registered three wins from three starts including an amazing victory in the Group 3 Dean Industrial Maiden at her last start; and in two of her wins to date, she has broken the track record over the 520m at Dapto.
“I remember trialling her with Fantastic Spiral (her older half-brother who is also engaged in the Megastar) when she was about 16 months of age,” recalled trainer, Jason Fletcher.
“Spiral was flying at the time and she gave him a decent old touch up beating him by about 2 lengths – I immediately took Spiral to the vet and told him, ‘there’s something seriously wrong with this dog because an un-raced kennelmate has just beaten him easily in a trial’ – low and behold there was not a thing wrong with Spiral and it was then that I realised that Fantastic Dotty was something very special,” said Fletcher.
At her first ever race start, she ‘scraped’ home by a mere 15 ½ lengths, taking 1/100th off Double Twist’s (the 2013 NSW Greyhound of the Year) track record when clocking 29.43 – one week later, she smashed the record, registering 29.34 when winning by 12 ¼ lengths, before running 29.85 to score by a nose in the very last stride in the G3 final, after spotting the leader nearly six lengths on the top turn.
The Group 1 Dapto Megastar is set to jump at 8:58pm (AEST)! Check out the full TAB.com.au market here.
There are plenty of ‘experts’ who think that Fletcher is throwing Fantastic Dotty at the ‘deep end’ and that she is too inexperienced to take on seasoned Group 1 performers but the trainer (and myself for that matter) thinks otherwise.
“She has no idea as to the credentials of the other dogs she is racing against and she has the time on the board and the perfect box,” stated Fletcher. “There’s no way I’d be risking her if I didn’t think she was up to it.”
And the credentials of the other dogs are quite formidable.
Keybow ($3.50) who will jump from box 5 is the winner of two Group 1 events; has won 25 races from 53 starts; and has earned in excess of $556,000 in prizemoney.
Bessy Boo ($5.50) will wear the blue rug from box 4 and won the 2014 G1 Peter Mosman Classic; ran 2nd at his last start behind the champion sprinter Fernando Bale in the G1 National Sprint Championship final at Wentworth Park (Keybow finished 3rd); and to date, has accumulated $245,991 in earnings.
Of the other contenders, Flash Reality also has a Group 1 victory in his resume; Fantastic Spiral is a Group 3 winner; Aphorism has contested G2 and G3 finals; Whittaker has clocked sizzling times in some of his 11 wins from just 26 starts; and 1st reserve Miss Sueko, who will start from box 8, is a multiple winner at the track and distance.
Fantastic Dotty cannot afford to ‘bomb’ the start which she did at her last race but if she comes out running and is able to hold the rail in the run to the first turn, I think she can claim what will be a memorable Group 1 victory.
Keybow is obviously a massive chance given his superb race record to date and a strong 29.50 trial last Thursday night when he was having his first look at the track; Bessy Boo can never ever be underestimated in any race and will be powering home; while I also think Fantastic Spiral and Whittaker (both $13) are genuine chances at big odds.
I’ll be trackside at Dapto on Friday night on Sky Racing 1 (Channel 519) with all the Late Mail tips on what is shaping up to be a ‘Megastar’ of a race.
Good luck and good punting.
G2 - Prix Maurice De Folleville
G2 - Prix Philippe Du Rozier
G2 - Breeders' Cup
G3 - Colonial Chief Stakes
G1 - Japan Autumn Internationa - Lchampions Cup