• Thursday, 02 Sep, 2021,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Tears’ timely Top Cat return

If Here’s Tears wasn’t trained by master distance conditioner Robert Britton, it would be very difficult to make a case for the G1-winning stayer heading into Saturday’s heats of the G3 Top Cat Video Cup (725m) at The Meadows.

Last Sunday at Sandown Park, Here’s Tears made a victorious return to the track, scoring over 595m at his first appearance since finishing third in the G3 Lizrene Speed Star (715m) at the same venue on June 2.

The 34.35sec (Best) performance was Here’s Tears’ first win since scoring at Albion Park in Brisbane on January 28, with injury restricting him to only four appearances since April 10, with his overall record standing at 23 from 74.

“He had a hairline crack of a hock,” Britton explained.

“His trials had been thereabouts but certainly not scintillating, so I just didn’t know where he was at.

“When I saw this race was coming up in two weeks, I decided to put him in last Sunday and how he went would determine whether we’d move forward or tread water for a while. He went okay so we’ll move forward.

“With another dog you probably wouldn’t do it but he’s a natural stayer and he can run it out; that’s not a concern.”

Here’s Tears, a superbly bred son of Fernando Bale and Tears Siam, started $2.80 second elect in last year’s Top Cat Video Cup final, when fifth to his champion older full brother and former kennelmate Tornado Tears.

Sent out at $12, one of only three times in his illustrious 69-start career he started at double figures, Tornado Tears upset odds-on favourite Houdini Boy to win the race for the second time, having also been successful in 2018.

Despite Here’s Tears’ unorthodox preparation for his second tilt at the Cup, he’s on the third line of TAB betting at $4.60 in the last of three heats, Race 5 at 5.43pm.

Rising star Mepunga Ruby, trained by Britton’s brother Jeff, is $2.40 favourite.

“He’s not getting any younger and he’s in a decent heat, so to be honest I’d be very happy to qualify and I’d like to think he’ll improve the following week with the run under his belt.”

Keeping things in the family, Britton has Empress Tears, a member of the third Fernando Bale x Tears Siam mating, engaged in the opening heat, where she’s a $16 outsider, with Hank The Hustler, also prepared by Jeff Britton, the $2.60 favourite.

WATCH: Here’s Tears (4) makes a winning return over 595m at Sandown last Sunday at his first start since June 2.

Empress Tears, which ran fourth in the G3 Speed Star (725m) at The Meadows last Wednesday, has won 10 from 43 but just once in 10 starts since relocating to Victoria and Britton concedes she’s been a source of some frustration.

“She is a fast dog and she’s a genuine stayer too but she has a few problems,” said Britton diplomatically.

“She’s been racing well without winning but in saying that, I’d like to see her put another win on the board.

“I’ve decided to put her in the best possible races and even if she runs a place in those better races it’ll be worthwhile.”

Britton’s son Tim has an interesting runner in heat two in up-and-comer Nikephoros, a well-bred son of Fernando Bale and Esparza that’s won six from 19.

Facing by far his toughest test to date, Nikephoros is a $7.50 chance, with Paul Abela’s G3 Lizrene Speed Star and Pink Diamond Champion Distance winner Five Star the $2.60 favourite.

“He’s ready as far as staying goes but we’re just not sure if he’s ready for the jump in class,” Britton explained.

“Whatever he does, he’s going to be a better stayer in three months.

“Here’s Tears is my best chance, by far, but more hoping to sneak into the final and be a better chance the following week.”

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

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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