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Hennessey ‘horsepower’ in Warragul St Leger?

Nilma North trainer Ashlee Terry, 30, is hoping for a ‘high-performance’ display from Hennessey in the Group 3 Warragul St Leger final (460m) on Saturday.

And she realises he’ll need to be at his ‘supercharged’ best to claim the $25,000 winner’s cheque.

Hennessey – named after a Texas-based company that modifies late-model high-performance sports cars – tasted his first defeat in six starts at Logan Park when third in a St Leger heat last week.

He finished 3.4L astern of ‘next big thing’ Koblenz (25.65sec) who notched his 17th win from 24 starts, including 12 of his past 14.

Owned by Shane Pulbrook from Tahmoor in NSW, Hennessey is quoted at $26 on for the age-restricted final. Koblenz, at $2.30, is the top elect followed by dual G1-winning sprint queen Qwara Bale and fastest heat winner Aston Fastnet (25.39sec) – both at $4.60.

Hennessey (Apr ’19 Barcia Bale x Tigress Ally) was transferred to Ashlee in mid-January after his fourth start.

A three-month hiatus followed before he won first up for her by 7L in a handy 25.84sec at Warragul. Hennessey has now won seven races from 15 starts, including six from 11 under Ashlee’s tutelage.

“I let Hennessey settle in and mature as he was only 21 months old when Shane gave me the opportunity to train him,” Ashlee said. “Previously, I trained Out Of Sprite for Shane and the friendship has developed. I trust his judgement with greyhounds.”

Ashlee adds she was thrilled with Hennessey’s heat run as it was a big test for him.

“He drew pretty poorly in his heat (Box 5) and he got dragged down which cost him some momentum. But realistically I don’t think he would have beaten Koblenz, who I rate as one of the better dogs in Australia.”

WATCH: Hennessey (1) clocks a 25.67sec PB at Warragul on May 25.

Ashlee is also keeping an open-minded and pragmatic approach in relation to the final.

“I’m not optimistic, his chances aren’t great from box six. He would have been a place chance if he had drawn ‘one’ or ‘two.

“But I know he can run time and he’s going better now; he’s fitter and stronger.

“I think he can run 25.60sec, but that won’t be quick enough. Most of the finalists have had a lot of experience at the top level.”

A ‘$30,000 payday’ awaits Ashlee if Hennessey ‘powers’ away with the St Leger and kennelmate Pyrocumulus goes like ‘lightning’ in the Simon Benson Memorial (460m), which carries a $5000 first prize.

The G1-bred Pyrocumulus – meaning ‘fire cloud’ – finished third, beaten 7.2L, to Derry Express (25.72sec) in a Memorial heat last week.

Pyrocumulus (Sep ’18 El Grand Senor x Maja Mahi Mahi) won 11 races, with eight seconds and seven thirds, from 36 starts – including six of her past 14. And she boasts a 25.84sec PB over this track/distance.

She won the Warrnambool Oaks in January and finished third in the Lil Dickie Oaks in February.

“She broke a metatarsal bone at Warragul and I didn’t think she’d race again,” Ashlee said. “She’s come back okay but not with as much speed and not at the level she was at.

“I think she’ll improve on her heat run but she needs to lead to have a chance.”

Pawnote: Ashlee trained Nervous An Weird who finished sixth in the 2018 Warragul St Leger final.  

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About Peter Quilty - 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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