Astute breeder Alan Hunter subscribes to the theory that when you’re on a good thing, stick to it.
And then stick to it again.
While repeat matings are often frowned upon, Hunter has gone against the grain and visited super sire Fernando Bale on three occasions with his grand producer Naughty Cazza and he has two finalists in Friday night’s $1.175m Pink Diamond extravaganza to show for it.
2021 Group 1 Australian Cup runner-up Fernando Bluey, prepared by Lyn Smith, will continue his comeback from retirement in the $42,840 Veterans final (390m), where he’s TAB’s $2.20 favourite to claim his fourth win from five starts since returning to action.
“As long as Fernando Bluey doesn’t miss the start, he’ll win for sure!”
Younger full-brother Commander Tommy, which Hunter also trains, is a $9.50 chance in the $42,840 Maiden Short Course final (390m).
“It’s a big night,” said Hunter, who hails from Botanic Ridge, near Cranbourne.
“We’ve got an entry in the Veterans and the Maiden, so we’ve got one at each end of the spectrum.
“Fernando Bluey is our best chance of winning obviously. As long as he doesn’t miss the start, he’ll win for sure!
Naughty Cazza’s breeder Sue Trim supplied this image of the prolific producer enjoying retirement.
“When we brought him back, the first thing we set him for was the Pink Diamond over ‘400’. It was a clear plan. He’ll keep racing as long as Lyn (Smith) thinks he’s competitive.
“Commander Tommy is bred to be a 500m dog, so if he can win on Friday over 390m it will be an absolute bonus.
“He’s still a big chance, don’t get me wrong. If he gets a clear run, I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t run into a place.”
It’s not hard to see why Hunter chose to return to Fernando Bale after the phenomenal success he enjoyed with Naughty Cazza’s first mating with the champion Hall Of Fame sprinter.
WATCH: FERNANDO BLUEY (7) continued his impressive return from retirement when winning his Pink Diamond Veterans heat at Warragul last Thursday, running 22.64sec.
In addition to Fernando Bluey (26 wins from 48 starts), the litter also featured G1 Rookie Rebel winner Fernando Cazz (12 wins), multiple Group finalist Fernando Frank (13 wins), Mighty Marvin (16 wins) and ill-fated G1 finalist Big Jo.
“All of the first litter won at city tracks, and they earned more than $500,000 prizemoney,” Hunter explained.
“When you talk about repeat matings, the secret, from my point of view, is the first litter was very even.
“In most litters the difference between the best dog and the worst dog might be eight or ten lengths but that wasn’t the case with this litter. There was only about two lengths between them.”
Success with Fernando Bluey or Commander Tommy, or both, on Friday night would erase Hunter’s disappointment from last year’s inaugural Pink Diamond series.
Off And Gone, another son of Naughty Cazza, by Aston Dee Bee, was a brilliant winner of the two Maiden Short Course qualifying rounds but was scratched from the final due to injury.
“Off And Gone won his semi-final at Warragul in 22.22sec – that’s FFA time – and he would’ve won the final by five lengths,” Hunter said.
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“The Pink Diamond is a magical concept for Victorian breeders.
“We (breeders) haven’t had a whole lot of recognition in the past and this puts our names up in lights.
“It’s a tremendous promotion and it’s free advertising for all the brood bitches that produce a winner on Friday night. It will make it so much easier to sell their pups.”
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