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Lakeview Walter lands Ambrosoli

The Whelan family’s dream start to 2021 continued when their Silver Chief hero Lakeview Walter was a thrilling winner of the Group 3 The Ambrosoli (520m), the Golden Easter Egg Consolation, in Sydney on Saturday night.

When Lakeview Walter won the G1 Silver Chief in January it was the Whelans’ first runner in a Group event but they’re now at home on greyhound racing’s biggest stages, with feature races coming thick and fast since that fairy tale moment at The Meadows.

In addition to winning the Silver Chief and Ambrosoli, Lakeview Walter ran fourth in the G1 Temlee invitational, while his home-bred Fernando Bale – Lakeview Maisey litter brother, Lakeview Cruiser, ran third in the G1 Australian Cup and second in the G3 Easter Gift.

“It’s been a great start to the year,” said Luke Whelan, who’s joined in the family operation by parents Peter and Monique, brother Harley and sisters Lana, Christine and Brooke.

“It’s shocked us a bit because you never expect to win Group races. A lot of people just dream of making them.

“It’s good to win a big race on the road; it makes all the trips worth it!”

“I was talking to my brother Harley about it and the week leading into the Silver Chief you’re just thinking about going into a massive race and it’s a real thrill.

“But we’ve been lucky enough to be in a few of them now and it’s more about focusing on the dog and sticking to your routine.”

After finishing second in his Easter Egg heat and then fourth to fastest semi-final winner Wow, Lakeview Walter started $2.90 favourite from box one in the Ambrosoli, ahead of local Zulu Warlord ($3.30) and fellow Victorian Faithy Bale ($5).

Lakeview Walter utilised his rails draw to round the first turn in second place behind Zulu Warlord and he set out after the leader in the home straight, arriving in the final bounds to score by one length in a fast 29.62s.

“We liked him off the red and thought it should pan out exactly like the Silver Chief, when he was behind Papi Go Fast,” Luke explained.

“But not being his home track we weren’t 100 per cent sure how good he would run home.

“When I saw him sitting second I thought you’re going to be hard to beat but then coming around the home turn I was a bit worried he might have left it too late.

“He’s pretty strong and while it won’t happen for a while I think he’ll run 600m.

“It’s good to win a big race on the road; it makes all the trips worth it!”

Lakeview Walter has now won seven of his 14 starts, with the Ambrosoli’s $25,000 winner’s purse swelling his earnings to $156,874.

The Whelans, who hail from Metung, were hoping to finish another memorable night on a high note when Lakeview Cruiser made his Wentworth Park debut in Saturday’s final event, but after leading, the $3.10 second elect finished at the tail of the field.

“The main reason we took ‘Cruiser’ up on Saturday was to give him a run there looking ahead to races like the Million Dollar Chase,” said Luke.

“He’d had a box-to-box trial at Wentworth Park but that was six or seven weeks ago and it looked like he might’ve been a bit lost.

“The travelling was a good experience for them and you wouldn’t believe how well they handled it. Our closest track is Sale and it’s about an hour and fifteen minutes away so they really don’t have any choice about liking travelling!

“If you trial the two of them, their first split is exactly the same and their overall time is exactly the same but I think ‘Walter’ has more X factor and race smarts.”

Luke identified the G1 Harrison-Dawson and another mid-year interstate expedition to Queensland for the G2 Flying Amy followed by the G1 Brisbane Cup as likely targets for Lakeview Walter and Lakeview Cruiser.

Here’s some of the other highlights from Wentworth Park on Saturday night.

WATCH: WA superstar TOMMY SHELBY (8) won the Golden Easter Egg over NSW hero WOW (3), while Victorian DEVEL SIXTEEN (5) ran fourth.

WATCH: Victoria’s FERNANDO CAZZ (4) ran second to STANLEY ROAD (7) in the G1 Association Cup (720m).

WATCH: WA superstar TOMMY SHELBY (8) won the Golden Easter Egg over NSW hero WOW (3), while Victorian DEVEL SIXTEEN (5) ran fourth.

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Gerard Guthrie
About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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