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Surprise, surprise!

Diminutive sprinter Surprising – which tips the scales at 29kg ‘soaking wet’ – has displayed ‘courage under fire’ in returning to the racetrack.

But it’s hardly surprising to her Longwarry trainer, Nicole Lund.

Back on May 24, Surprising (Nov ’19 Worm Burner x Rapanui Surprise) – bred and owned by Carole Brown of Cardinia – sustained a laceration to the saphenous vein in her right hind leg when inadvertently galloped on from behind during a race at Sandown Park.

Not to be deterred, and as a measure of her fearlessness, Surprising kept her mind on the job to finish a narrow second.

However, as she arrived in the catching pen, it was evident Surprising required urgent attention.

“She’s as honest as the day is long… She tries her heart out and would run through a brick wall.”

“The on-track vet couldn’t ‘catch the vein’ to clamp it off,” Lund said. “So, it was just bandages and pressure until we got to a 24-hour vet in Fountain Gate, where she underwent immediate surgery.”

And testament to her unwavering mental make-up, Surprising made a brave comeback – following a nine-week hiatus – when fifth last week in a Grade 5 heat (595m) at Sandown Park.

“I wasn’t disappointed with her run,” Lund added. “It was just a pleasure to have her back racing.

“She’d been trialling well enough, and I don’t put a lead and collar on them if I don’t think they can run a place.

“She’s as honest as the day is long… She tries her heart out and would run through a brick wall.”

But Lund, who trains from the same property as Kelvin Isles, concedes it would be a “big surprise” if Surprising (Box 3) takes out the $12,600 Grade 5 final (595m) – Race 5, 7.40pm – which carries an $8400 first prize, at Sandown Park on Thursday night.

“I’d be ecstatic if she finished ‘top five’, but there’s no way in hell she can beat Levitation (Box 1) and Chic (Box 6).

“She’s drawn well enough to put herself in the race, but whether she backs up from her heat last Sunday is a bit of an unknown – it will be a tell-tale,” Lund said.

Surprising has won four races, including two of her past four, from 16 starts. She’s collected $9010 in prizemoney, so an unlikely victory would almost double her earnings.

Her only win at Sandown Park was during a Monday meeting on October 25 last year when she clocked 29.93sec in a Maiden heat (515m) prior to finishing fourth to Jungle Panther in the final.

Nicole Lund with her ‘fearless femme’, SURPRISING.

Lund says she’s been a close friend of Carole and Graham Brown for around 20 years.

“Graham is my canine chiropractor. I would not be where I am today without their moral guidance and support.

“From basic dietary advice to whatever, I’d be lost without them.”

Meanwhile, Surprising will be one of the bolters in her biggest assignment. Expert form analyst The Watchdog rates her a $16 chance.

But, let it be said, nothing surprises Lund about Surprising!

WATCH: SURPRISING (B5) proves too resilient at her most recent win, at Sale on May 22.

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About 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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