Leading Western Australian trainer David Hobby will fire the first shot in what he’s hoping will be a lucrative Victorian campaign when Zack Monelli contests Sunday night’s Group 1 Gold 98.3 FM Sale Cup heats (650m).
One night earlier at The Meadows, Hobby will unveil the unbeaten Sunset Spitfire for the first time in the eastern states when he trials in preparation for next weekend’s Group 1 Silver Chief heats.
Hobby admits Zack Monelli, runner-up to Simon Told Helen in the Perth Cup, wasn’t his number one contender for the Sale Cup but he’ll fly the flag after number one seed Flake Monelli came on season.
Zack Monelli, which won his only previous 600m start at Cannington in June, is $5 with TAB after drawing box seven in the fourth and arguably toughest heat.
“He’s drawn a tough heat and he’s far better drawn inside, so he might be up against it,” said Hobby.
“It’s his first hit-out in a race over 600m since June but I trialled him at Sale last Sunday and he went 37.29s.
“Flake Monelli was the main one for the Cup but when Zack Monelli went well at Cannington last start (29.39s) I decided to bring him over too.
“Ideally, I’d like to see him in front but he’d need to lob second or third and be running along the rail to be a chance.”
On Saturday night there’ll be huge interest when Hobby’s boom homebred prospect Sunset Spitfire, a son of former Victorian star Mepunga Blazer that boasts a perfect 12 from 12 record, trials in preparation for the Silver Chief series.
“He can run,” said Hobby, understating the obvious.
“At his very first trial he broke the Mandurah 400m record so we always knew he could run.
“He’s gone on with the job so far but until they take on this better class of dog you don’t know what they’re capable of. Realistically, until his last run (Listed Anniversary Cup Final) he hadn’t raced against better dogs.
“He hasn’t seen many tracks either – we’ve only got Cannington and Mandurah in WA – and he’s used to the hoop arm back home as well.
“On the times he’s run back in WA he’s competitive with other dogs that have come across to Victoria and done well.
“He’s not a quick beginner; he just musters, so he’s going to need a bit of room.”
Sunset Spitfire will trial after race two, with littermate Sunset Toxic, which has won nine from 17 and was runner-up to his brother in the Group 3 Young Stars Classic, albeit beaten 8.5 lengths, to trial after the third.
“Sunset Toxic is obviously a bit behind Sunset Spitfire but you might as well bring two over,” said Hobby.
“It’s been a good litter but Sunset Spitfire is by far the best.
“The mother (Sunset Jessie) had a lot of early toe. She only had 18 starts and I decided to breed with her and this is her first litter.”
Silver Chief exhibition trials at The Meadows Saturday night
- Flying Ricciardo – after race one
- Sunset Spitfire – after race two
- Sunset Toxic – after race three
Replays and times will be available through The Meadows facebook page following the trials on Saturday night.