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Cottrells claim back-to-back Rookie Rebels

Victorian middle-distance revelation Fernando Cazz provided Pearcedale’s Cottrell family with back-to-back Group 1 Rookie Rebel (600m) wins at The Meadows tonight.

Trained by one of the sport’s young rising stars, Kayla Cottrell, 18, Fernando Cazz ($3.80F) came out well from Box 3 and positioned second behind leader Mepunga Isla in the initial stages.

And over the concluding stages, she staved off the determined finish of NSW star Cawborne Footrot ($10.40) to score by one and a quarter lengths, with Mepunga Isla ($3.90) a further ‘whisker’ away third in 34.23sec.

Fernando Cazz notched her sixth win from her past eight starts – and a $75,000 first prize. And it was a feeling of déjà vu as Kayla’s mother, Janet, won last year’s Rookie Rebel with Perfect Marshall, who was handled by Kayla on the night.

Owned by the Hunter racing syndicate, managed by Alan Hunter, Fernando Cazz (May ’19 Fernando Bale x Naughty Cazza) registered her 10th win, with six seconds and two thirds, from 28 starts and her stakes spiralled to $123,340.

A more than capable sprinter in the early stages of her career, Fernando Cazz contested last year’s G3 GRV Vic Bred Series Maiden final (525m) at The Meadows. She only switched to middle-distance racing in late December and since then has won five races from six starts.

“She’s a consistent chaser, and to be a young trainer coming through the ranks it’s pretty special,” Kayla said.

Fernando Cazz is the seventh female greyhound to win a Rookie Rebel since the race’s inception in 2003. And she’s only the second to win from Box 3 – the other being the great Fanta Bale in 2017.

Fernando Cazz takes out the Rookie Rebel over Cawborne Footrot and Mepunga Isla (rail).

Pawnote: Kayla is a cousin of budding AFL star Matt Cottrell, 20, who plays for Carlton.

WATCH: MEPUNGA ISLA (2) set the early pace but it was FERNANDO CAZZ (3) who played the swooper role to perfection in the Rookie Rebel, while NSW star CAWBORNE FOOTROT (9) slipped into 2nd place. Time: 34.26sec.

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Peter Quilty
About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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