Superbly-bred sprinter Fantastic Raven (pictured above, courtesy Kurt Donsberg Photography) has certainly done her fair share of ‘migrating’ over the course of her 33-start career, starting her career in NSW, before ‘winging’ it to South Australia, Western Australia and now Victoria.
A daughter of the great Fernando Bale and Fantastic Dotty, which holds the Dapto 520m record, Fantastic Raven has found her way to Briagolong trainer Matt Clark and the G1-winning mentor is excited to have the ‘frequent flier’’.
After relocating from WA, Fantastic Raven was beaten at her first start for Clark, when unplaced at Sandown Park on July 25, but then proceeded to reel off four straight wins at Sale, Warragul, Shepparton and Ballarat.
The blueblood was then beaten at odds-on at her next two at Warragul and Shepparton, before making an impressive debut at The Meadows last Saturday, coming from last to run an unlucky and strong-finishing third.
Fantastic Raven returns to The Meadows on Saturday, where Clark is supremely confident she can claim her first Victorian city success in race 9, a Grade 5 event at 7.04pm, with one proviso, she needs to navigate a path from Box 5.
“If she steps on Saturday, I think she’ll brain them,” said Clark bullishly.
“I’m very keen on her chances, but I’m not keen on the box. She wants the inside but I can’t draw a box with her.
“She’s only a small thing; she’s a real pocket rocket. Everywhere she trials she trials sensational and after her run at The Meadows last Saturday, I really think the 500m will be right down her alley.
“It was out of character for her to miss the kick last week. It was a monster run and she really surprised me because I thought she would be a front-running hit-and-miss 500m dog but she really stood up and showed us what she can do.
WATCH: Well-travelled sprinter Fantastic Raven (6) made an eye-catching Meadows debut last Saturday (September 11) when coming from last to finish third over 525m.
“I’m expecting her to go a couple better on Saturday!”
In her 13 wins, Fantastic Raven has scored in all four states she has resided in but Clark believes it will be in Victoria where she really makes her mark.
“When she was in Perth she was owned by Gavin Crook and he sold her to a friend of his in Victoria, David Jolley, who does quite a bit of breeding and selling pups,” Clark explained.
“She’s probably the best dog David has had and I think he’s going to have a lot of fun with her.
“I trialled her at each city track before I started her and I actually thought she’d be more suited at Sandown. But I took her there for her first start for me and she went terrible, but she hasn’t put a foot wrong since.
“I thought she might be a nice little country cups dog and she could even develop into a Melbourne Cup dog if she keeps progressing the way she is.”
After enjoying feature race success with star sprinter Catch The Thief, his G1-winning litter brother Playlist and G3 Launching Pad victor Kuro Kismet in recent times, Clark knows what’s required to measure up in elite company and his enthusiasm about Fantastic Raven suggests this ‘bird’ is well worth ‘watching’ in coming weeks.
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