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Sydney in my Sights

A road-weary Commodore will be Gerry Kleeven’s secret weapon when Australian Cup hero Luca Neveelk makes his first interstate appearance in Saturday night’s heats of the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park.

Kleeven and Luca Neveelk will both be entering uncharted territory when they lead an imposing Victorian assault on the opening round of the $250,000 to-the-winner Golden Easter Egg, NSW’s richest race.

Luca Neveelk will be ‘first up’ at Wentworth Park without the benefit of a trial, while Gerry Kleeven, 72,  will have his first ever interstate starter in more than 40 years in the sport when his homebred speed sensation exits box seven in the fifth of ten star-studded Easter Egg heats.

Early on Saturday morning Kleeven and Luca Neveelk will embark on their long drive to Sydney and that’s where the well-travelled Commodore comes into play.

“We bought a new Toyota four wheel drive late last year and took Luca Neveelk to the Melbourne Cup heats in it but he was up and down and puffing and panting and wouldn’t settle at all,” Kleeven explained.

“I’m not sure whether it was because he couldn’t see properly or what it was but I said we’re not doing that again, even though he won that night. So we got the old Commodore serviced and that’s what we’ll be driving up to Sydney in.

“He absolutely loves the old car. He’ll just jump in and go to sleep so the travelling won’t worry him at all.

“It’s a bloody long way and I did think about flying but I was worried about him getting stuck on the tarmac in a crate so we’ll drive up and see how we go.

“I’m sorry I never took Luca Neveelk’s grandfather Nitro Neveelk up to Sydney – he was a very good dog too – but we’re looking forward to getting there this time.”

Kleeven says Luca Neveelk came through his Australian Cup triumph in great order and he isn’t concerned about the son of Talk’s Cheap and It’s A Neveelk debuting at Wentworth Park sight unseen.

“I was really pleased with the way he pulled up after the Australian Cup. I gave him a run at Sale over the 520m on Sunday night to blow out a few cobwebs and he went great,” Kleeven said.

“I’m not worried about him not trialling at Wentworth Park because I’ve never trialled him anywhere. I didn’t trial him at Sandown, Ballarat or Geelong and he’s always won and he’s always improved the second time so that’s what I’m hoping for. But I’ll be happy if he can run a place and get through to the semi-finals.

“Whatever will be will be but I think box seven should suit him and I know he’ll do his best. He just hates being beaten and you know you’re going to get 100 per cent every time he goes to the track.”

The first three placegetters and two fastest fourths from each of Saturday’s heats will progress through to one of four Golden Easter Egg semi-finals at Wentworth Park on Saturday week.
Wentworth Park Formguide: Click Here

Watch: Luca Neveelk (4) wins the Group 1 ATC Insurance Australian Cup at his last start at The Meadows on March 7.

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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