She may be small, but Hightan has a big personality and a motor to match which she will need when she faces her toughest challenge in her 45-start career – a heat of Spolly’s Syndication Cranbourne Cup (520m).
Trainer Michelle Nolan believes that with confidence comes constancy and consistency is exactly what Hightan is showcasing with five consecutive victories in her past five starts.
“I am gobsmacked with what she has been able to do. Five wins in a row is a huge effort, she tries 100 percent and we couldn’t be any prouder,” Nolan said.
“She is in great form at the moment and a lot of it has to do with her consistent early speed.”
“We knew she had the ability to run the 500 metres out well, but it takes more than a couple of starts over the distance to really perform.”
The daughter of High Earner and Tantrum, who was bred in conjunction with Peter Presutto, started her career with a 24.23sec win at Bendigo over the 425 metres, but it was during her first two months of racing that Nolan discovered a game changing trick that would almost guarantee consistency out of a box – foot placement.
“We realised that she was so well behaved in the boxes that she wouldn’t move from where we placed her in. So, if she was standing awkwardly in the boxes she wouldn’t jump well,” Nolan said.
“Now we make sure that we place her feet in a comfortable position which seems to be working well.”
The decision to place Hightan in the Cranbourne Cup heats against Group class greyhounds wasn’t an easy one. Nolan prides herself on the smart placement of Hightan to ensure her confidence doesn’t get knocked around.
“We know that the Group class greyhounds have five to six lengths on her, but her advantage is her consistently fast early pace and the fact that she gives 100 percent,” Nolan said.
A training method that Nolan has used with Hightan involves a game of fetch with a squeaky toy.
“We use exercise runs to help with her fitness, but she really enjoys fetch with a squeaky toy to maintain her interest.”
Hightan has drawn box three in the opening Cranbourne Cup heat on Saturday night. A Cup heat which sees Sale Cup runner up, Dyna Chancer ideally drawn in box one. To add to that, the Thompson trained Azkaban being the Watchdog elect from box five.
Group 1 Sale Cup winner Neo Cleo, who owns a breathtaking 29.91sec personal best at the track and distance, finds herself up against Group 1 winner Poke The Bear in heat two.
Hasten Slowly headlines the third Spolly’s Syndication Cranbourne Cup despite drawing box five.
Orson Allen will look to be the punters favourite in the fourth and final heat, off the back of his Group Listed Australian Sprint win at Sandown Park last start over Blue Striker who finds himself in heat three.
All winners and second place getters will make up the $67,00 Group 2 Spolly’s Syndication Cranbourne Cup field, which will conclude the TRFM Gippsland Carnival on Saturday 9 February.