Local trainers Ray and Dustin Drew are bullish about making their presence felt in Saturday’s bumper conclusion to Warrnambool’s Greyhound’s Seaside Festival.
The Dennington-based father-and-son team have live chances in three finals; Aston Minerva (pictured with Dustin’s daughter Evie) in the Summer Sizzle (390m), Aston Value in the GRV Vic Bred Maiden (450m) and Lektra Yoyo in the Warrnambool Fencing Specialist special event (450m).
“It’s a super night of racing. We try to have them right at this time of year,” said Dustin.
“All our dogs race well at Warrnambool but if I had to pick our best chance, I probably reckon Aston Minerva, because I know how much speed she’s got.
“If she gets out in front and there’s any trouble behind her she’ll be hard to catch but they’re all very good races.”
WATCH: Aston Minerva (box seven) finish second to Aston Titan (box six) in their Warrnambool Summer Sizzle heat.
Aston Minerva, is bred in the purple, being a daughter of Fernando Bale and Group 1 winner Oakvale Destiny, and the tiny blueblood has opened her career in fine style, winning four from eight and finishing close seconds, beaten less than a length, in her other four runs.
She opened up a handy lead in her Summer Sizzle heat before being run down late by another ‘Aston’ sprinter in Anthony Azzopardi’s Aston Titan.
“She’s got her quirks and she’s only 23 kilos but she’s got a motor,” Drew said.
“She equalled the sectional record at Warrnambool two starts ago (8.30s) and she’s the second quickest qualifier overall for the final.
“I reckon she’ll lead and if she does she’ll be running time.”
SUMMER SIZZLE 390M $14,250
1) DEEP DIVE STEFANO CASSAR
2) JULLISA BALE SAMANTHA GRENFELL
3) ASTON TITAN ANTHONY AZZOPARDI
4) GOLD DRILLER BROOKE ENNIS
5) REMNANTS BROOKE ENNIS
6) ASTON MINERVA RAYMOND DREW
7) ASTON SHINTARO NEVILLE LENEHAN
8) BRAEMAR PRINCE MARK STRAHAN
9) ASTON SANTANA PAUL ABELA
10) NICE AND EASY JASON PORTELLI
The Drews have another ‘Aston’ youngster, raced by leviathan South Australian owner/breeder Ray Borda, engaged in the Vic Bred Maiden Final, with Aston Value having her second start after running second on debut in her heat.
Dustin believes the daughter of Barcia Bale and Aston Tara, a half-sister to Melbourne Cup winner Aston Dee Bee, will be advantaged by drawing closer to the rails in three.
“She wants the inside but was out in the pink for her first start and had to work hard,” he offered.
“I don’t know if she can win on Saturday but I reckon going forward, in three months or so, she’s going to be a nice bitch.
“I can’t speak highly enough of Ray (Borda),” Dustin added.
“He’s been very good to us over the last four or five years. I think we had 50 winners last year just for Ray but we’re just happy to be a small part of a big operation.”
Lektra Yoyo, which is on the comeback trail after injury, completes the Drew kennel’s finals representation, having finished in the minor placings in three starts back after spending three months on the sidelines.
“He cracked a hock and Des Fegan (veterinary surgeon) was fantastic,” Drew explained.
“It took a bit longer to get him back than we thought it might. He’s done a lot of beach work; we’re lucky to have the beach in our backyard.
“He seems to have come back well and he pulled up really good after his heat run, which was his first 450m in about four months.
“He’ll improve from last week and is always a chance but it’s another really good race.”