Buln Buln East trainer Steve White will be hoping Paua Of Oscar ultimately proves a hometown hero in the Group 2 Evans Petroleum Warragul Cup series.
The lightly raced speed sensation boasts an enviable record on his home track, including an equal track record over 400 metres and a sizzling personal best over 460 metres.
Paua Of Oscar emerged as a genuine ‘power broker’ equalling former champion Aston Bolero’s 22.07sec mark at only his third start on March 24 last year. It was a record that stood alone for just over three and a half years.
And on November 24 last year, Paua Of Oscar clocked a 25.47sec win over the Warragul Cup trip – only two lengths off the 25.34sec track record, set by Aston Dee Bee on December 6, 2016.
Once hailed the sport’s “next big thing”, Paua Of Oscar lines up in Heat 2 – Race 5 Box 2 at 8.16pm – on Friday night.
Quoted at $6 on TAB, he faces a star-studded field including G2 Ballarat and G2 Bendigo Cup winner Yozo Bale (Box 3), last week’s G1 Silver Chief finalists Equalizer (Box 8) and Earn The Answers (Box 4), along with NSW star Ebby Infrared (Box 1) and another local hopeful, Out Of Sprite (Box 5).
“He’s definitely got the ability, but we’ve had a few issues with him –particularly toe injuries,” White said. “It’s cost him many months off the racing scene and restricted him to one-turn tracks.”
White added “you can’t run without feet’” and that a wise trainer once told him, ‘the first thing you look at are their toes’. “He’s not pushing out of the boxes; if he could get out, he’d be a world-beater.”
Runner-up in last year’s G3 Healesville Cup, Paua Of Oscar (Nov ’17 My Bro Fabio x Paua To Admit) has notched 11 wins, with five seconds and one third, from 20 starts and $36,973 in prizemoney.
White also paid tribute to his son, Mitchell, 26, who returned to the family home almost two years ago.
“He was boxing dogs for me as a 12-year-old when we lived in New South Wales… He had a break from the sport as a teenager but has caught the ‘greyhound bug’ again,” White said.
“He’s now the backbone of the kennel, and has a keen eye… He’s been taking the dogs trialling and our stud dog Sennachie to the vet for semen collection.”
White added Paua To Admit has a 20-month-old litter, by Aston Dee Bee, that has broken-in quicker than Paua Of Oscar’s litter.
And she also has a four-month-old litter (2 dogs, 5 bitches) by his retired sprinting superstar Sennachie.
Paua Of Oscar’s maternal great granddam is one of the all-time greats, Paua To Burn, who White trained while based in NSW.
Paua To Burn contested 17 group race finals, with her biggest victories being the 2004 G1 Laurels, 2004 & 2005 Sapphire Crown Classic and 2004 G1 Golden Easter Egg.
She won 28 races from 59 starts and almost $243,000 in stakes. In 2007, Paua To Burn was inducted into the AGRA Hall of Fame.
The Warragul Cup series is the second leg of Gippsland’s ‘Festival of Racing’. The $47,000-to-the-winner final will be staged on Saturday (Night), January 16.