Dubbo trainer Charmaine Roberts will have two of the eight runners in this Saturday’s Group 3 Sydney Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park, but she concedes she is probably running for minor prizemoney.
Roberts’ littermates Packey Keeping and Scott Keeping will line up in the prestigious race after qualifying through heats run last Saturday night.
Packey Keeping led all the way to win in 42.50s, while Scott Keeping ran the legendary stayer Fanta Bale to a length-and-a-quarter in one of the other heats.
Despite getting so close to the star, Roberts admits it will be hard for anything to beat Fanta Bale in the final.
“It’s like racing Winx. We’re going around for second and third hopefully,” she said.
“We gave Packey a bit of a chance in the heat the other night and he ran really well. Scott was only a reserve but one of our other dogs trained by Marty Hallinan had to be scratched so he got a run, and then he ran the race of his life.
“We’ll need some luck on Saturday because we’ve got boxes 1 and 8, and Fanta Bale has 2. If she leads she can run close to 42 even and I don’t know if our dogs can run that time.
Roberts owns and trains the Bekim Bale x Kim Keeping pups in conjunction with her partner, Dubbo club president Shayne Stiff
Stiff said he went into the races last Saturday night knowing Packey Keeping could produce a bold performance.
“I was very happy with the win,” Stiff told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He has gone 42.20 at Wentworth Park in the past and he has shown a fair bit of ability. We took him to The Meadows for something different a few weeks ago and he didn’t disgrace himself down there.
“He’s always looked like getting the distance and they are all improving with every start – we are rapt with them.”
In the second heat, Fanta Bale dominated with an emphatic front running display off box seven, stretching out to defeat a gallant Scott Keeping by one and one quarter lengths in a best of night 42.46.
It was a huge effort from Scott Keeping, a winner of just two races from 20 starts, finishing so close behind a champion greyhound whose prize money is rapidly closing in on $1 million.
“He started off in Perth, but he wasn’t firing at Cannington so we brought him home,” Stiff explained.
Roberts and Stiff currently have about 20 dogs in work at their property just south of Dubbo, a mixture of racing animals and some being pre-trained.
Fanta Bale is a $1.50 favourite with tab.com.au. Packey Keeping is rated a $6.00 chance while Scott Keeping is $12.00.