Adele Powell is scaling the staying summit as caretaker trainer of What About It in a heat of the Group 1 Sandown Cup (715m) on Thursday night.
What About It, who normally hails from Iluka on the NSW North Coast, has a solid reputation up north.
However, she was assessed as an $18 chance by expert form analyst The Watchdog in a race that also comprises Sandown’s 715m track record holder Here’s Tears, who was rated at $1.80.
But Powell has a ‘what about it’ attitude, if you’ll excuse the pun, and gives her ‘great white hope’ an undeniable chance.
“She didn’t arrive fully fit, but I’ve had her now for around six weeks… I give her a fair chance,” Powell said.
“I’ve just got it in my mind that she’s going to get out and lead… I’ll just be holding my breath over the last 50 metres.”
Powell’s quiet confidence stems from the fact What About It was runner-up (beaten three-quarters of a length) to True Detective in the Gold Cup (710m) at Albion Park and is also one of the fastest 600-metre winners there this year.
A winner of 11 races from 35 starts, What About It was also a finalist in the 2019 Group 2 Queensland Futurity (520m) at Albion Park.
What About It was transferred to Powell, having won three races in a row (Albion Park, Wentworth Park and Casino) prior to trekking south.
Since then, she has had three 595-metre starts at Sandown for Powell – finishing second, third and sixth respectively.
“She’s down here because NSW greyhound racing adopted a regional model due to the coronavirus pandemic,” Powell said. “Her owner-trainer, Michael Patterson, drove 17 hours and dropped her off to me in Seymour.”
Patterson and Powell still share a close bond. “We go back a long way… We were neighbours as children and he used to walk me to school,” Powell said.
Powell has had greyhound racing coursing in her veins for half a century.
And she says her late father, George, “has a lot to answer for” – albeit tongue-in-cheek.
“In the late 1960s, dad bought a couple of puppies while I was growing up in Lakemba, in the Western Suburbs of Sydney,” Powell said. “And it’s been non-stop ever since.”
Powell added that her father was also a “best friend”. “We were always at the races together… Sometimes I think he’s ‘up there’ helping me along with the greyhounds.”
Roll on five decades and Powell has had a distinguished career as a greyhound breeder, owner and trainer. She’s also well known for starting the “Outrageous” greyhound naming prefix.
Pawnote: What About It will line up in Race 2, Box 2 at 6.27pm.
Powell has been associated with greyhounds the calibre of Here Comes Kenny, My Asuncion, Outrageous Claim, My Friend Mitch, Total Blonde and My Material.
“I also whelped down a litter comprising Cindeen Shelby and raced her dam, Proper Shelby,” Powell said.
Powell also bred eight-time group race staying finalist Just Friends, who won the Group 1 Gleeson & Tonta Stayers Trophy (725m) at The Meadows and also contested a heat of the 2008 Group 1 Sandown Cup, finishing fourth to Fallen Zorro.
Just Friends was owned by her late partner Peter Acers, who passed away in December last year following a battle with cancer.
Powell relocated from Bargo in NSW’s Southern Highlands to the dairy farming community of Stanhope around four years ago.
Since then, she’ trained Victorian city winners Wet And Wild and One Plus Two. Powell is hoping What About It ‘equals three’.