Brilliant frontrunner Fernando Bluey will put his unblemished Sandown Park record on the line when he resumes from injury in Thursday night’s heats of the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson (515m).
Trained by Pearcedale teenager Kayla Cottrell, Fernando Bluey hasn’t raced since the semi-finals of the G1 Golden Easter Egg on April 3, where he started $1.70 after an airborne 29.47sec heat victory but uncharacteristically missed the start.
“He knuckled at the start – which was a shame because he never misses it – and then was checked at the first turn,” Cottrell explained.
“He went amiss down the back straight; you could see him change his action.
“It wasn’t anything major and he just needed a couple of weeks off. The break did him the world of good because he’d been up for a while.
“He’s had a few trials back and he’s ready to go on Thursday. We wouldn’t have put him in if he wasn’t and with speed dogs like him you want them to be fresh.”
The winner of 18 from 33, including 10 of his last 13, and runner-up in the G1 Australian Cup, Fernando Bluey is TAB’s $2.10 favourite from box four in the third of four Harrison-Dawson heats.
The $3.80 second elect Catch The Thief (Box 8) and last start Warrnambool Cup finalist Mepunga Warrior (Box 2) at $7 are the only other runners at single figures.
The son of 2015 Harrison-Dawson winner Fernando Bale and Naughty Cazza is on the third line of ‘All In’ betting at $8, behind $4.50 favourite Sunset Spitfire and Shima Shine at $5.
WATCH: Flying Fernando Bluey (5) leads from go to whoa in a G1 Australian Cup heat, clocking a sizzling 29.77sec, on February 20.
Fernando Bluey is undefeated in four starts at Sandown Park, boasting a scintillating 29.14sec PB, while his other three victories have come in 29.22sec, 29.23sec and 29.42sec.
Box four also holds no fears, with Fernando Bluey’s faultless box manners and blistering early speed enabling him to win four of his six career starts from the ‘blue’.
“He loves Sandown,” Cottrell said.
“I think early days with Alan (Hunter, owner/breeder) he was schooled there so he knows the joint back to front.
“He’s drawn box four, but boxes don’t really matter with him and Dad (G1-winning trainer Dave Knocker) actually wanted to get box four.
“He’s up against the 32 best dogs but we know what he can do. He just needs to leave the lids cleanly.”
Fernando Bluey’s kennel and littermate Fernando Cazz, winner of the G1 Rookie Rebel (600m) and runner-up in the G1 Association Cup (720m) has also been sidelined since April 15.
“After she came home from Sydney she was in at Sandown and was four in front but she ran fourth and was lame the next day,” Cottrell explained.
“We got her X-rayed and she’d pulled a ligament off the back of her hock. She’ll probably be sitting out for another week and then we’ll get her going again.”
With her two stars out of action, Cottrell has been working with Naughty Cazza’s next litter, by Aston Dee Bee, with Big Fonzie runner-up at his two starts, while Lisa Be Naughty and Miss Martina have both won one from two.
“Big Fonzie is a nice dog but he’s very green and seems to find trouble while I don’t think the two little girls will get ‘500’ but they’ll be good country dogs.”
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