A brutally honest Steve White believes his Group 1 TAB Australian Cup prospects were torpedoed when star South Australian imports Sennachie and Fabwik were both allocated box eight for Saturday night’s heats.
Sennachie, runner-up to Barooga Brett in the Group 1 Silver Chief (525m) at The Meadows in January, is the $3.30 second elect in TAB’s market on the first of eight Cup heats, behind Black Opium ($1.85).
Melbourne Cup runner-up Black Opium is also the $6 all-in favourite.
Fabwik, the winner of 21 from 36, will make her Victorian debut in the star-studded third heat, where she’s an $8.50 chance behind superstar Poke The Bear ($2.30 favourite) and Miss Splendamiro ($4).
“They’ve got no chance,” was White’s frank assessment. “You’ve got to draw in the first three against these class dogs in these races, especially at The Meadows and giving away so much experience.
“Sennachie has broken 30 seconds every time I’ve trialled or raced him at The Meadows but he’s only had eight starts and he’s never been out in box eight before. He’s going to have to run 4.95 or 5 ‘dead’ to get across.
“Fabwik is older and more experienced but she’s never raced at The Meadows before. I’ve given her a couple of trials there and while her first section hasn’t been overly good, she’s run 17.70sec up the back.”
White has first-hand knowledge of just how difficult the outside alley can be at The Meadows, with his champion sprinter Paua To Burn beaten at $1.70 from the pink in a heat of the 2005 Australian Cup.
“Even Paua To Burn couldn’t get across,” White quipped. “The only thing that might be in their favour is that the seven in both heats looks like they want to get to the fence.”
Surprisingly, White is much more bullish about the chances of Boom Down when the recent NSW acquisition tackles champion Tornado Tears in Saturday’s heats of the Group 1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers (725m).
A runaway last start winner of the Victoria Cup (699m) on Cranbourne Cup night, Boom Down is a $19 outsider in heat three, where Tornado Tears, brilliant winner of the Group 1 Zoom Top (725m) on the opening night of the Carnival, first-up after five months on the sidelines, is a prohibitive $1.33 favourite.
“He’s going to be a good stayer,” White said of Boom Down. “If he gets clear running, he’s the strongest dog in Victoria, I’m telling you. He just winds up and he’s as strong as a Mallee bull. He’ll be charging.
“I really think he would have won both the other heats but it’s a good test because Tornado Tears is probably the best dog in Australia and I’m really looking forward to it. I reckon he’s my best chance on the night.”
Sennachie and Fabwik found their way to White’s Buln Buln East base via a relatively recent association with successful SA breeder/trainer Kirin Corby, who has also sent Gwydion, a litter sister to Sennachie, and Querencia to Victoria.
Red Rock, another litter mate to Sennachie, is also likely to head to Victoria after running third in the SA St Leger on Thursday.
“I’ve always trained for Ray Fewings (SA trainer) and Ray told me that Kirin was thinking about sending some dogs over to Melbourne,” White explained.
“I gave Kirin a ring after Sennachie had won his first three starts. We had instant success and we’ve become really good friends. Kirin’s a lovely lady and I’m very grateful to her for sending these dogs over.
“We weren’t really going for the Australian Cup with Sennachie until he got an invite for the Temlee. I was putting him out for a spell but then we decided to get him ready for the Temlee in case he got a run.
“Sennachie’s going towards the Launching Pad while Fabwik’s main goal is probably the Sapphire Crown.”