Rob Camilleri’s road warrior Slingshot Hammer will continue his quest for an elusive interstate feature trophy in Saturday night’s Bob Payne Sprint Final (520m) in Sydney.
Lara-based Camilleri and partner Deb Coleman are taking aim at their second Group 3 victory in NSW in successive weeks after snaring the Nowra Puppy Classic with outsider Zipping Leroy last Saturday.
“It was a terrific night,” Coleman explained.
“It was very emotional because I was involved with Nowra for a long time when I lived in NSW and three of my four children (Kayla, Rachael and Ricky) grew up there.
“I was at Wentworth Park with Slingshot Hammer because someone had to be there but I would have preferred to be at Nowra.
“There was only about 18 minutes between Zipping Leroy winning at Nowra and Slingshot Hammer winning at Wentworth Park. I let out one big scream after Zipping Leroy won at Nowra and then I had to focus on Slingshot Hammer and he did the job too. Hopefully he can do it again on Saturday!”
Eight of Slingshot Hammer’s last ten starts have been in NSW or South Australia, with his best result a second in the Listed Mount Gambier Cup, while he was also runner-up in a heat of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg.
He also made the final of the Group 2 Richmond Derby and ran third in a heat of the Group 2 Maitland Cup.
“If you have a look at his form since we bought him in January he basically hasn’t raced in Victoria but he’s a terrific traveller,” Coleman said.
Going into last Saturday’s Bob Payne heats, Slingshot Hammer hadn’t saluted at Wentworth Park in four previous attempts, although he was edged out by fellow Victorian Miss Splendamiro in the opening round of the Easter Egg in a fast 29.54sec.
The son of the great Fernando Bale was sent out favourite in his heat and opened his account at the track in impressive style, dominating from in front in 29.64sec to share qualifying honours with local Jamella Jet.
After drawing box one for the $25,000 to-the-winner sprint, Jamella Jet is the $2.90 favourite with TAB, shading Slingshot Hammer, the $3.50 second elect from box four, from where he’s won three of four career starts.
“He deserves to win a race like this,” Coleman said.
“His heat run was terrific and while box four isn’t great, if he can jump and do what he did last week he’s hard to beat but with good dogs all around you it’s hard to predict.
“We know he’ll do the best he can because he always does.
“He’s no champion but he’s a damn good dog for us. We don’t get a lot of good dogs – they’re very hard to find – so we need a dog that can feed the rest of the crew and Slingshot Hammer and She’s Gifted have been doing that.”