Jason Thompson knows what it takes to win a Group 1 Silver Chief. He’s won five of them!
He’s saluted with Light Of Fire (1994), Awesome Assassin (1996), Ben’s Fury (2005), Fedex (2009) and Godsend (2012). (His wife, Seona, won the 2018 Silver Chief with Out Of Range in 2018.)
And a sixth could be headed towards his silverware-laden trophy cabinet.
Thompson lines up with ‘seven wonders’ in the Silver Chief heats (525m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
But it’s three in particular – Aussie Secret (R10 B1), Pirate Pete (R3 B5) and Mr. America (R2 B2) – who Thompson rates as his prime contenders.
Aussie Secret has won 13 races from 22 starts and is unbeaten in two starts over 525m at The Meadows – including a 29.84sec PB.
While Pirate Pete has won eight races from 19 starts – including five of his past six. He also holds Ballarat’s 450m track record (24.70sec).
And Mr. America is unbeaten from six starts. He clocked a smart 29.85sec win on metropolitan debut last week at The Meadows.
“It’s probably the strongest contingent I’ve had in a Silver Chief series,” Thompson said. “But I’ve singled out Aussie Secret, Pirate Pete and Mr. America due to experience, natural brilliance and X-factor respectively.”
Here’s Thompson’s assessment on his sensational septet.
Mr. America – Heat 1 (Race 2 Box 2) – 6.47pm
“He’s a very good young dog; he’s only 20 months old… It’s his toughest test, but he’s drawn where he wants to be as he’s a mad railer… However, he’ll need to lead to win.”
Pirate Pete – Heat 2 (Race 3 Box 5) – 7.09pm
“He’s drawn well as he needs middle to wide… An early race will also help because he can be a bit ‘fizzy’ in the kennels… But I can’t fault the way he’s going.”
Recall – Heat 3 (Race 4 Box 8) – 7.28pm
“I’ve only had him a couple of weeks and I don’t know how he’ll be suited from the ‘pink’ alley… It’s a very good heat and I’m hoping he runs a forward race.”
Wild Card – Heat 4 (Race 5 Box 4) – 7.47pm
“The ‘blue’ trap is no real disadvantage for him… He’s broken 30.00sec twice here and has contested some good races.”
Memphis Keeping – Heat 6 (Race 7 Box 5) – 8.27pm
“He had no luck in his first race for me at Ballarat… But I really like the dog, he’s a more than capable sprinter… I know he’s got really good ability, but the start is going to be crucial for him”
Equalizer – Heat 7 (Race 9 Box 1) – 9.05pm
“He’s got a lot of ability and a big motor… However, he lets himself down coming out of the boxes… But he’s perfectly drawn in the ‘red’ alley, which gives him a really good chance.”
Aussie Secret – Heat 8 (Race 10 Box 1) – 9.25pm
“He puts in 100 per cent and gives his all… I’m happy enough being drawn in the ‘red’ trap, even though he prefers middle to wide… And he’s got a very good middle section.”
However, Thompson says WA wunderkind Sunset Spitfire, who is unbeaten in 12 starts, is the one they all need to beat after clocking a sizzling 29.52sec in a trial between races at The Meadows last week. His time was around two and half lengths off the 29.38sec track record, set by Allen Deed in January 2015.