Young gun Victorian trainer Correy Grenfell expects Tiggerlong Tonk to take a major step towards emulating his 2018/19 Australian Greyhound of the Year Orson Allen in Saturday night’s Group 1 Perth Cup heats (520m).
Grenfell celebrated his first G1 victory when Orson Allen won the 2019 Perth Cup.
That was Orson Allen’s fourth appearance at racing’s highest level and Grenfell is hoping Tiggerlong Tonk can break a frustrating G1 hoodoo in the Perth Cup series after nine misses, including five frustrating minor placings.
“If Tiggerlong Tonk retires without winning a Group 1 I wouldn’t be disappointed in the dog but it would be disappointing because he could have won one if not a couple, but they’re not easy to win,” Grenfell said.
First, Tiggerlong Tonk, a son of Dyna Double One, which won the G3 Perth Cup Consolation in 2015, has to make the final and he’s $2 favourite to do just that in the first of Saturday’s seven heats (race 1 to jump at 9.10pm AEST).
At $8 in TAB’s ‘All In’ market, Tiggerlong Tonk is one of only two contenders at single figures.
Fellow Victorian superstar Shima Shine, which finds himself in Perth after being a shock elimination from the Golden Easter Egg and Ballarat Cup series in consecutive weeks, is overall favourite at $4 and dominates betting on heat two at $1.85.
The winner of 34 races from 73 starts, Tiggerlong Tonk, which is based in WA with Kira Withers, wife of Steve, who’s in Sydney with Saturday’s G1 Golden Easter Egg finalist Tommy Shelby, made his Cannington debut in last weekend’s Perth Cup Prelude.
WATCH: Tiggerlong Tonk’s (3) most recent win – an Australian Cup heat at The Meadows on February 20.
Tiggerlong Tonk started $2.70 favourite and while he was run down late by local Chimera Monelli in 29.69sec, Grenfell was far from disappointed with the performance.
“I never like getting beaten but I was rapt with his run because of the fact he wasn’t ready for 500m,” he offered.
“We were going to trial him but I saw the Prelude, worth $8000, and thought why not.
“He’s experienced enough and goes better with other dogs and he earned $2400 for running second, which has paid for his trip!
“He needed a ‘500’ under his belt to be ready for the heats and I expected him to get tired.
“It was exciting to see him back in front. At his last couple of starts in Victoria he hasn’t jumped that well.
“It’s fair to say I would expect him to run 29.50sec this week and if you’re running 29.50sec you should be winning.”
While Tiggerlong Tonk has only won one of his last 11 starts, Grenfell says that statistic is misleading.
“He could be going better than he is but his form is all Group-related and if you look at each run on its own it’s not as bad as it looks,” Grenfell said.
“The dog will tell us when he’s had enough. The end is getting nearer – don’t get me wrong – but I want to get him ready for the (G1) Harrison-Dawson next month at his favourite track (Sandown Park).
“Orson Allen won the Perth Cup followed by the Harrison-Dawson and there’s no reason this dog can’t go bang, bang too now that his confidence is up.”
While Andrea Dailly has the Perth Cup favourite in Shima Shine, she also has the $4.50 second elect for the G1 Galaxy (715m) in Sunset Bourbski, which is $1.40 favourite in the third of four heats.
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