Wednesday, November 28, 2018
In the space of 14 months Rusty Sprocket has come a fair way for Cape Bridgewater trainer Scott Blacksell who celebrated his 55th birthday on Wednesday.
And he still remembers the day back in late September last year when he fronted at Tara Raceway with the 17-month-old black bitch for her first race start in a maiden 400 metre event at a Friday afternoon time-graded meeting.
“Originally she was a reserve but gained a start from box eight,” recalled Blacksell. “She made a real mess of the start, though, and I thought from there on that she would be no hope of even running a place.
“However, down the back she took over the running, eventually going on to an easy win in 24.05 seconds. Even though the time was nothing flash, I was pretty happy with the effort especially considering she came off the track favouring a toe.”
It would be another nine months before Rusty Sprocket won her second race, this time over 400 metres in 23.47 seconds in June – two more 512 metres wins following the next month, the second one in a more than handy 30.00 seconds.
Blacksell conceded there had been some fair efforts in the interim, but last Sunday’s win in the Trackside Meats Stake (512 m), when she never really looked like losing after finding the front going out of the first turn, had been her first win – again in a smart 30.01 seconds – since July.
“I thought her runs leading up to last Sunday had been pretty handy,” he said. “Really, though, I think she’s just needed time to mature. Also, she is now racing three kilograms lighter than when she won her maiden.”
Purchased by Blacksell as a four-month-old pup from Portland breeder Robert Halliday, Rusty Sprocket is by Fabregas out of Guru Doll, an Angle Park and Sandown Park winner, and a litter sister to SA Oaks winner Kokoda Spirit, the dam of last Sunday’s Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) winner Midnight Rage, trained by Halliday.
Meanwhile, Rusty Sprocket will face her toughest test to date when she jumps from box four in this Sunday’s Greyhound-Data.com Stake (512 m), an Open event that includes Jeff Guy’s Paraphernalia, fresh from a 29.66 seconds run last Sunday.
The race also sees the return of the Halliday-trained Hutch – back from an injury break – who, along with Paraphernalia, represented the Mount Gambier club in last month’s SA Country Cup final at Angle Park.
And the introduction of $50 for unplaced runners at Category 3 meetings appears to have given Sunday’s meeting a much-needed boost with several Victorian trainers who have greyhounds engaged at Friday’s time-graded meeting back for the club’s main fixture.