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Magri’s sights on Meadows ‘Jackpot’

Young Avalon trainer Ben Magri has made a big impression in his short training career, already having a Group success on his resume courtesy of Aston Gwen winning the G2 Sandown Laurels last December.

The 20-year-old is poised to continue on his winning way at The Meadows on Saturday night, boasting two chances in the GRV Vic Bred Series Grade 5 final (525m) – Race 5 at 8.00pm.

Lightly raced youngster Jackpot (Box 1) is chasing his fourth straight victory, having won his last three at The Meadows since resuming from a spell, clocking almost identical times of 30.03sec, 29.97sec and a 30.00sec last start heat victory. The winner of five from 12, Jackpot is TAB’s $2.25 favourite.

“He has been going super since we brought him back,” Magri explained.

“He’s won three straight now and has really turned the corner. Something’s clicked with him; whether it’s age or some time off.

“He wants to be on the rail so he’s drawn perfectly.”

Magri’s second finalist Jax Star (Box 4), which has won five from 20, is a $21 outsider but has also returned to form in his last two starts, a 30.33sec win at The Meadows followed by a narrow heat defeat.

“Jax Star is going well too,” Magri said.

“He was a bit unlucky in his heat and came home very hard.

“He tends to run off and the ‘five’ (Kasemi) does too, so that might help him get a clear run.

“Jackpot is definitely the better of our two; it just depends on who gets the clear run.

“I think the ‘six’ (Time For Peace) is our danger. It’s a very quick dog and hopefully isn’t sitting right on our hammer.”

Magri’s Laurels heroine Aston Gwen will also be in action (Race 8 at 9.09pm), and he hopes the step up to 600m will spark a return to form after she finished unplaced in a G1 Sapphire Crown heat at Sandown.

Aston Gwen has only won twice in 16 starts since landing the Laurels, albeit during that period she has contested the G1 Rookie Rebel and qualified for finals of the Ballarat, Shepparton and Warragul Cups at G2 level.

“She slipped out of the boxes in the Sapphire heats last week and we decided to step her up to the ‘600’,” Magri said.

“She’s bred to run 600m and she’s had a couple of goes at it before but hasn’t had any luck, getting into trouble on the first corner.

“She’s been in all the big races and has been getting knocked around so hopefully this will help her get some confidence back. She just hates trialling. Earlier in the year she trialled over 450m at Geelong and ran 26.30sec but five days later won a heat of the Warragul Cup!”

WATCH: In-form youngster Jackpot (3) ‘banks’ a third straight win in a GRV Vic Bred Grade 5 Series heat at The Meadows on May 12.

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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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