Trainer Darren McDonald isn’t buying into the favouritism that surrounds his star stayer Sweet It Is in Saturday night’s Group 1 AGRA National Distance Championship in Perth.
Victoria is set to claim its first NDC title since 2009 as Sweet It Is will be joined by fellow staying sweetheart Xylia Allen in representing the Big V.
TAB’s fixed odds market currently has Sweet It Is as the $2.40 favourite ahead of Xylia Allen at $3.00, and McDonald believes the latter represents excellent value.
“In my mind Xylia Allen deserves to be favourite, without a doubt. She’s a champion, she’s now a seasoned stayer, and she beat Sweet It Is in the Victorian final,” McDonald said.
“Sweet It Is is sound, but this is only her third race after having 10 weeks off, so in terms of actual race fitness she’s only about 85 per cent fit.”
“I’m reasonably confident she’ll finish somewhere in the top three, but she really needs another two or three runs under her belt before she is back to her best.”
Although beaten in the Victorian final, Sweet It Is has gained a start as the Wildcard in the NDC Grand Final because she is Australia’s top ranked stayer following wins in the 2014 Group 1 Sandown Cup and Group 1 Association Cup.
She has wowed greyhound enthusiasts with her come-from-behind wins this year, and she is likely to again have to make up some ground on Xylia Allen, who races in a forward position over the staying trips.
Meanwhile, Victoria’s sole representative in the Group 1 National Sprint Championship, Crackerjack Dak, is equal fourth in the line of betting at $6.50 behind Queenslander Flash Reality ($2.80).
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