Unlawful Entry will on Thursday night be aiming to become just the second greyhound to win two Hobart Thousands, the last being Ophir Doll way back in 1961-62.
The Brett Bravo-trained greyhound is one of three Victorian-trained greyhounds in tonight’s final, the others being American Monster (Ashlee Terry) and the versatile Zipping Bruiser (Matthew Lanigan).
Lanigan, of Swan Hill, has been training a team of four dogs in Swan Hill since obtaining his trainers license in September, and he admits to being overcome with excitement heading into his first Group 1 final.
“I think I’ve had about three hours sleep in the past three nights,” said Lanigan, 24.
“I’m extremely nervous and have ran the race over in my head about a hundred times.”
Victorian-trained greyhounds have won the past seven Hobart Thousands, and Lanigan has reason to enter the race with some confidence, as Zipping Bruiser trialled at Hobart recently, breaking Mogambo’s long-standing run-home time over the 461 metres by almost two lengths.
Lanigan and father Gerald (pictured) have experienced success as greyhound owners, particularly on the coursing circuit, while Matt has had a great start to his training career having the third placegetter in the Group 3 Gawler Cup (Zipping Quinsee) on October 30.
He credits much of his success to Zipping Bruiser’s former trainer, Jason Mackay.
“We bought Zipping Bruiser from the Hallinan family for a very reasonable price, and Jason was the first person to message me after the dog won his (Hobart Thousand) heat. I’m on the phone to him for advice nearly every day, and I’ve developed a really good relationship with him and Cam Hallinan.”
Lanigan said the greyhounds to beat for the $75,000 first prize were local star El Grand Amigo, who has won six of his eight career starts, Unlawful Entry and American Monster.
“I expect El Grand Amigo to lead, which should bring Unlawful entry into the race, while American Monster is also a very classy greyhound. Zipping Bruiser is very strong, and has raced over 720 metres before. If he is left alone in the first 50 metres and is within four lengths of the lead I think he is a chance to run them down,” he said.
Zipping Bruiser won his heat in 26.30sec, while Count Baroque was the quickest heat winner in 25.93sec.
GROUP 1 HOBART THOUSAND
1. EL GRAND AMIGO, Patrick Ryan, $3.00
2. UNLAWFUL ENTRY, Brett Bravo, $3.10
3. COUNT BAROQUE, Ted Medhurst, $8.00
4. FIFTEEN TWO, Dale Hammersley, $18.00
5. AMERICAN MONSTER, Ashlee Terry, $3.60
6. ZIPPING BRUISER, Matthew Lanigan, $15.00
7. CELTIC KID, Shirley Sutcliffe, $21.00
8. CHIEF JETPILOT, Ted Medhurst, $11.00