• Wednesday, 26 Jan, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

‘The Sentimental Bloke’

‘Prodigal son’ Jason Thompson returns with a chance to win his second Traralgon Cup, 28 years after champion Light Of Fire’s 1994 victory.

Based at Pearcedale, Thompson will rug race favourite Typhoon Sammy (Box 7) in tonight’s $47,000 to-the-winner Group 2 SEN Track Traralgon Cup final (395m).

A former NSW provincial star, Typhoon Sammy was the fastest qualifier (21.53sec) from eight heats last Friday night. Subsequently, he’s $2.50 on TAB’s fixed odds market.

Typhoon Sammy was transferred to the all-powerful Thompson kennel in mid-August last year.

“I like it (J-curve track) for the simple reason it provides safer racing.”

He was formerly prepared at Dulguigan by Glenda Dart, wife of highly respected trainer John Dart, and is owned by their son Samuel who turned 31 on Monday.

Typhoon Sammy won 11 from 18 for the Darts and set a new Grafton 450m track record (25.10sec) on July 5 last year.

And since relocating south of the border, Typhoon Sammy (Jan ’19 Aston Dee Bee x Zabaleta) has won 11 from 15 – including his first five – for Thompson. In fact, he’s only missed a place once during this period.

Typhoon Sammy established a new 425m track record (23.28sec) in a G2 Bendigo Cup heat on October 9 last year prior to finishing third in the final. He was also first reserve for the 2021 G1 Melbourne Cup.

Wednesday, Race 7, 8.51pm

1 LALA KIWI (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
2 HILL TOP JONAH (David Geall, Lara VIC)
3 INDY HONEY (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
4 EARN THE ANSWERS (Lyn Smith, Nambrok VIC)
5 FERDINAND BOY (David Geall, Lara VIC)
6 PAUA OF JANIE (Steven White, Buln Buln East VIC)
7 TYPHOON SAMMY (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale VIC)
8 MORE SAUCE (Michelle Lill, Greta NSW)
9 PAUA OF BUDDY (Steven White, Buln Buln East VIC)
10 MR. FIX IT (Jeffrey Britton, Anakie VIC)

In all, he’s raced on 33 occasions for 22 wins, one second and five thirds with $75,435 in prizemoney. And he’s started as favourite 28 times!

His dam, Zabaleta, was a short-course star with 25 wins, six seconds and eight thirds from 53 starts between January 2015 and May 2016. Trained by Samuel Dart, she racked up wins at Albion Park, Lismore, Grafton and Casino.

“Johnny (Dart) thought Typhoon Sammy would have much more opportunity on the ‘half-circle’ tracks in Victoria,” Thompson said. “He’s really suited to that type of racing.”

Typhoon Sammy has exited box seven for three wins and two seconds from five starts and Thompson says, “I do reckon the dog prefers out wide”.

Typhoon Sammy was the fastest Traralgon Cup qualifier last week.

“He’ll run a straight line from there, but it’s going to come down to who boxes best.

“He’s going to have to begin similar to his heat performance and if he replicates that, he’ll put himself in the finish.”

Thompson, 52, spent most of his teenage years growing up in Traralgon and in fact ‘cut his teeth’ in the sport as a 14-year-old catching pen attendant at ‘Glenview Park’.

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So, it’s no surprise Thompson is a ‘sentimental bloke’ when it comes to Traralgon.

“That’s where I grew up, from 10 to 18 years old… It still holds fond memories, and in some ways it’s like a ‘home track’… I’m happy they’ve got a track up and running again.”

Ironically, Thompson’s wife Seona trained the most recent Traralgon Cup winner – Poke The Bear (2018) – prior to a major redevelopment of the complex featuring a world-first J-curve track.

WATCH: Typhoon Sammy (4) clocks a sizzling 21.53 (Best) Traralgon Cup heat win last Friday night.

“I like it (J-curve track) for the simple reason it provides safer racing,” Thompson said. “The early signs are obvious, there’s not as much interference.

And Thompson didn’t shy away from putting any ‘doubting Thomas’ back in their box.

“Anybody who wants to whinge about racing on a safer track shouldn’t be in the sport.”

A second Traralgon Cup win would be all the more ‘sentimental’ for Thompson, who initially prepared Typhoon Sammy’s sire – 2017 G1 Melbourne Cup winner Aston Dee Bee – prior to his wife Seona assuming training duties.

Aston Dee Bee contested 14 Group race finals, including five G1s, and won 35 from 65 with $809,185 in prizemoney. (He finished fifth in the 2017 Traralgon Cup.)

Pawnote: The G2 SEN Track Traralgon Cup – Race 7, 8.51pm – is the third and final leg of the 2021/22 Gippsland Festival of Racing.
Jarick Bale, trained by Mark Delbridge, won the G1 Sale Cup (650m) on Boxing Day and Robbie Rotten, prepared by Kayla Cottrell, took out the G2 Warragul Cup (460m) on January 14.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

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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