Brilliant young sprinter Mr. Beets celebrated back-to-back Derby victories with a dominant all-the-way win in the $29,920 Listed Western Districts Derby Final (450m) at Ballarat on Friday night.
Owner/trainer Gary Peach’s Midas touch has continued, with Mr. Beets winning 10 of his 13 starts, his past four in a row, also including last month’s Warrnambool Derby.
With Mr. Beets emerging as perhaps Victorian greyhound racing’s next big thing, Cape Clear-based Peach’s last four starters have all won.
Australian Cup-bound Action Girl (31 wins from 45 starts) was victorious at Bendigo on Saturday night, while Silver Brute (30 from 50) scored at Warrnambool last Thursday, both Best Of Night performances.
Mr. Beets’ already strong Western Districts Derby prospects were enhanced dramatically with the race morning late scratching of odds-on favourite Rejuvenate, a near-record 24.80sec heat winner.
In Rejuvenate’s absence, recent Shepparton 385m record breaker Blue Tungsten started $2.60 favourite from box eight, ahead of Mr. Beets, the $3.20 second elect from box six after a 24.98sec heat victory at his Ballarat debut.
In race caller James Van de Maat’s words, Mr. Beets was “out like a shot”, and dictated terms in a dazzling display of sustained speed, defeating Blue Tungsten by 1.29 lengths in a Best Of Night 24.95sec in wintry conditions.
“He’s a pretty smart pup,” Peach said modestly.
“He’s just getting better and stronger all the time. That’s why I bumped him up to the 450m.
“They were all top dogs in the race. Before Rejuvenate was scratched, I thought he was the danger, although when you watch his replays, he does want to get off the track.
“‘The eight’ (Blue Tungsten) made a bit of ground on him going into the home turn but he held it in the end.
WATCH: “MR. BEETS has gone like a Lear jet!” MR. BEETS (B6) competed the Warrnambool – Ballarat Derby double when leading all-the-way 24.95sec (BON) in the Western Districts Derby (450m).
“I was very pleased with his time because the curator told me the track was four or five lengths off, with 20 millimetres of rain and the cold conditions.
“There’s another Derby-type race coming up at Shepparton in two or three weeks (Shepparton Classic, heats February 27), so I’d say he’ll go there next. He’ll definitely run ‘500’, but there’s also country cups coming up to think about.”
The $20,000 winner’s purse took Mr. Beets earnings past $55,000.
Ominously, Peach says Mr. Beets, a November ’20 son of Bernardo and Mother Hannah, is superior to prolific Aston Dee Bee x Weeping Lass littermates Action Girl and Silver Brute at the same stage, with his greater strength offering huge upside.
“They all trialled quick, but Mr. Beets is quicker at the same stage, for the preparation he’s had, and he’s always had the better run-home times,” he said.
“Action Girl and Silver Brute are both going really well too. Action Girl has silenced the knockers who said she wouldn’t run ‘500’, so I’ll probably give her a crack at the Australian Cup.”
Meanwhile, disappointed owner/trainer Paul Brown explained Rejuvenate was withdrawn from the Derby due to a strained groin.
The injury has placed Rejuvenate, which occupies the second line of Sportsbet’s pre-nominations Australian Cup market at $9, behind only superstar co-favourites Wow She’s Fast and Amron Boy at $7.50, in serious doubt for the Cup heats on Saturday, February 18.
“It will be touch and go, but we won’t be taking any chances with him. He won’t be running unless he’s 100 per cent fit,” Brown offered.
There was a thrilling finish to the ‘one off’ $14,960 Lil Dickie Oaks Final (450m) at Ballarat on Friday, with $2.80 favourite Baby Jaycee, trained by Bob Douglas, and Stephen Elsum’s $22.60 outsider Spaghetti Legs, dead-heating in 25.58sec.