Ashlee Terry has welcomed the decision to leave NSW import Out Of Sprite in Victoria after the classy speedster initially ventured south to target the Healesville Cup last month.
Out Of Sprite has barely put a paw wrong since relocating, winning four of his five starts for Terry, the only defeat coming in the Group 3 Healesville Cup Final, and he’ll be striving to continue his purple patch at Warragul on Sunday evening.
“His trainer in NSW (Shane Pulbrook) rang and asked if I would take him for the Healesville Cup,” said Terry.
“It was sort of late notice but I was happy to give him a go and after I trialled him I thought this dog is a genuine chance.
“He made the Cup Final but unfortunately had zero luck. Everywhere he went he got knocked over. After the Cup I touched base about whether or not he would be staying here and I was happy to keep him.
“Sometimes when dogs come from interstate you don’t know what to expect.
“It’s a different type of racing in Victoria and I didn’t know how he would handle the circle until I trialled him. But I had an open mind and he’s turned out to be a nice surprise.”
The winner of 12 from 19, Out Of Sprite had his first Victorian start away from Healesville in the heats of a Grade 5 series at Warragul over 400m.
He couldn’t have been more impressive in a runaway 10-length success, clocking a best of night 22.27s, stamping himself as the testing material in Sunday’s final, despite moving from box one to four for the fifth event on the card.
“I trialled him at Warragul on a very wet track so I thought he would go a lot better on race night and he did!” Terry said.
“He began good in the heat but I think he can begin a touch better.
“He had box one last week and he’s drawn four on Sunday but as long as he gets clear running he should be very competitive.
“I think he’ll take the next step and I do think he’ll run further. I think he’ll get at least 450m, even if he gets a bit tired, and that will give us a lot more options.
“The Geelong Cup has been changed to 520m, so it’s out of the question, which is unfortunate because I think Geelong’s 460m would have suited him.”
Terry has another winning chance at Warragul in Pyrocumulus, a well-bred daughter of Terry’s 2017 Group 1 Sapphire heroine Maja Mahi Mahi, which will exit the rails in race 4, the Paua Kennels Damsels Dash.
“My partner Nathan Rooney and I have both had success with dogs with fire-related names, such as Burn Like Fire and Arsonist, so we googled one-word fire names and came up with Pyrocumulus, which means fire cloud,” Terry explained.
“She’s from Maja Mahi Mahi’s first litter. I whelped them down and had to have a pup but I only wanted the tiny runty one! I honestly don’t know why and everyone laughed at me but it’s turned out pretty well.
“She’s always shown potential and she’s slowly figuring it out.
“She’s beginning a lot better now and I’m happy with the red but she’s only a baby so I’d say that Out Of Sprite is the better chance.”
Photo by Jason Mckeown Photography