After Invictus Jaxson sped around Sandown Park in the heats of the rich GRV Vic Bred Maiden series (515m) last Sunday afternoon, race caller James Van de Maat commented that nobody would have expected his scorching 29.42s performance.
However, the performance came as absolutely no surprise to his delighted Devon Meadows trainer Jihad Talgi.
“I was stoked; the dog went super,” said Talgi.
“On the times he’s run in trials I knew he could run that.
“I trialled him post-to-post the previous Saturday morning and he went 23.03s, which showed me he’d taken a liking to the track.
“If he’d gone straight to the front in his heat he probably would’ve run around 29.20s.”
WATCH: Invictus Jaxson win his Maiden heat from box seven at Sandown.
Invictus Jaxson came into the rich maiden series, the final of which will be run on Melbourne Cup night, next Friday, after three minor placings.
Those defeats included a narrow and what could well turn out to be a fateful second at the hands of unbeaten litter brother and kennelmate Invictus Benson at Shepparton.
Drawn in box seven in the last of five heats, the son of 2017 Melbourne Cup hero Aston Dee Bee could not have been more impressive in his runaway five-length victory, shading Andrea Dailly’s Shima Jake (29.43s) for qualifying honours.
Invictus Jaxson will have to contend with box five in one of two semi-finals being held on Sunday afternoon but the awkward alley has done little to dampen Talgi’s confidence.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said.
“The final is worth $21,000 ($15,000 to-the-winner) and he’s good enough to win it.
“We’re coming up against Jason Thompson (29.64s heat winner Major Sacrifice) but I’m not really worried because I know the dog is good enough.
“The query is what Jason’s dog can do second-up but I think my dog is very well suited in the race and can be very, very competitive.
“It would be sensational to have a runner on Melbourne Cup night. I’m a hobbyist and I only do it because I love the dogs.”
Invictus Jaxson’s auspicious breakthrough capped a memorable weekend for Talgi, who celebrated his birthday in style on the Friday night when Invictus Benson improved his perfect record to three from three at Geelong.
“I’ve always bred and trained my own but after I sold up my pizza shop in June George and Sharon Zogoulas – they have the Invictus dogs – approached me to train Invictus Benson,” Talgi explained.
“To cut a long story short, then they asked me if I was interested in training Invictus Jaxson too.
“The thing about both these dogs is that they’re hard chasing dogs. They grow another leg when they’re checked. They just don’t want to be beaten.”
Zipping Benson will take aim at his fourth straight victory at Geelong on Thursday night in the Parker Pumps Mixed Final – race 4 to jump at 8.04pm.