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Places in the Heart

Unbridled emotion is invariably a by-product of any big-race win in greyhound racing. But Anakie trainer Angela Langton’s heart strings will be pulled even tighter if Western Envoy wins the Group 2 VW Ballarat Cup (450m) on Saturday night.

Langton won the 2015 Ballarat Cup with Shared Equity – the dam of Western Envoy – and her close bond with the pair is an affair of the heart. She also bred Western Envoy in partnership with her mother, Susanne Smith.

It seems ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’ as Western Envoy reveals similar traits to his ‘mum’ – both in ability and temperament.

“Both are a bit quirky and stubborn,” Langton said. “Shared Equity was a gifted speedster and she’s passed on these attributes to Western Envoy. Genetics is an amazing thing in all walks of life.”

For the record, Shared Equity reached 13 group finals (including four G1s) and notched 31 wins from 78 starts.

Western Envoy has some leeway to make on his mother, but he’s heading in the right direction. He’s already contested three G1s (including finishing runner-up at $30.80, beaten a whisker, to Whiskey Riot in the Melbourne Cup) and has registered 11 wins from 31 starts.

However, those lucrative odds are not being bandied about for Western Envoy ($4) in the Ballarat Cup. He’s third in the line of fixed odds betting behind La Grand Quality ($2.80F) and Whiskey Riot ($3.50).

Western Envoy has drawn box one in the $47,000-to-the-winner final, but Langton would have preferred box eight – ironically the draw Shared Equity exited from in her Ballarat Cup win.

“Just like his mum, he probably jumps better from an outside draw,” Langton said.

Western Envoy finished second to Crimson Vixen in his heat, but Langton says he should derive a lot of benefit from the run.

“That was his first look at Ballarat, and his first run on a ‘horse-shoe’ track in Victoria,” she said.

Langton also has outsider Keeper Of Keys (Box 5) – $41 on the TAB Fixed Odds market – in the final.

“It may sound strange, but I think he’s a place chance,” Langton said. “The greyhounds in boxes two, three and four all have early speed and will push towards the rails while the greyhound in box six is a wide runner.”

She added that Keeper Of Keys, who is contesting his first group final, will improve with race conditioning as he’s only recently resumed after sustaining a dew claw bone injury.

Langton has now prepared five Ballarat Cup finalists. She finished second with Chardy (2017) and fourth with Auf Wiedersehen (2005).

Pawnote: Western Envoy’s litter brother, Premium Share, won this year’s G1 National Sprint Championship and G2 WA Derby.

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