A sea change is being credited for a purple patch of form that has earned roughie Jay Bird an unlikely crack at Group 1 glory in Saturday night’s heats of the KCR Pet Transport Maturity Classic (525m).
Jay Bird, which is a $51 outsider in heat two of the Maturity, had won just four of her 37 starts before being purchased by Paul Groves, who famously coached the Western Bulldogs to the 2018 AFLW premiership.
Groves then pulled another masterstroke when asking Heath McAdam to take the training reins and the move to Ocean Grove has obviously agreed with Jay Bird, which comes into the star-studded Maturity heats off a winning hat-trick.
“She’s really humming at the moment,” said McAdam.
“I’d trained dogs for Paul (Groves) before and after he bought Jay Bird he asked me to train her.
“She’d run 29.67s at Sandown previously so I knew she had ability but her last few runs had been a bit ordinary.
“I just think she loves where we are. We’re right next to the beach, she loves walking in the bush and the change has given her a new lease of life.”
Jay Bird has won three of her five starts for McAdam, the most recent a slick 29.87s success at Sandown; however the Maturity heats and a date with $1.95 favourite Catch The Thief at her Meadows debut represents a whole new kettle of fish.
“Saturday night is going to be a bit tricky but she’s going so well she deserves a crack at it,” McAdam offered.
“She only made the cut-off date for the Maturity by about a week so it was meant to be. She’ll be one of the most experienced dogs in the heats so hopefully that will help.
“I haven’t taken her to The Meadows because she flies at her first look at a track. I deliberately avoided that because I didn’t want to waste that good run in a trial.
“It won’t be easy from out there (box seven). She would have to do everything right and some of the good dogs would have to find trouble but she can ping the lids and if she gets to the front and there’s trouble behind her who knows?
“She’s full of confidence, she’s feeling good and looking great and you can’t win sitting at home so we’ll just see where the cards fall.”
McAdam trains a team of just two but with the resurgent Jay Bird leading the way he’s been enjoying a great run recently.
“Jay Bird and the other dog I train, Mr Attitude, both won at Warrnambool a couple of weeks ago and the next week Jay Bird won again and Mr Attitude just got nutted,” McAdam said.
“I nearly got a double two weeks in a row with the only two dogs I train. I was pretty proud of that.”
No doubt McAdam will be even prouder on Saturday night if Jay Bird can spring what would be an unforgettable upset.