Hugo Setting New Heights

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Jeff Collerson

10 Oct 2017

Written By Jeff Collerson

LOCHINVAR Hugo won his seventh successive race and took his recent tally to 10 wins and two seconds from 12 starts when he registered another rousing "come from behind" victory at Wentworth Park yesterday week.

But the dog is unlikely to be seen in action again over 520m at WP any time soon.

"We got away with this race tonight but that was a fifth grade and as he gets up in class it is going to be harder for Lochinvar Hugo to win 520m races in town,'' trainer Robert Smith said later.

"The forthcoming Newcastle Cup, over 715m at Ladbrokes Gardens, is his immediate mission.

"I'm convinced Lochinvar Hugo will stay because when he won in 31.58sec over 565m at Maitland on September 28, he broke his own run-home record.

"He had set that when he broke No Donuts' 565m record running 31.34sec earlier in his career.''

Lochinvar Hugo is certainly bred to stay as Smith trained his dam, Lochinvar Vogue, to win 13 of 39 races in 2009 and 2010.|
She won a string of WP 720m events and went as fast as 42.20sec in beating National Distance Championship winner Blue Lorian while also chasing home Mantra Lad in the 2010 final of the group 1 Association Cup.

The quietly spoken, unassuming Smith, trains for businessman Kevin Gordon and his family, and has had a wonderful grounding the sport.

"As a teenager I used to go to the races and assist with the dogs of Charlie 'Chicka' Morris,'' Smith recalled.

"Chicka was from Swansea, a Newcastle suburb which was full of top line greyhound trainers, people like Jimmy Lysaght and Lennie Tonks, who trained the champion sprinter Red Zero.

"But I learned a lot from Chicka, whose real name was Charlie Ashton, and he was a member of the famous Ashton circus family.

"Chicka had been a successful boxer before turning his attention to the greyhounds.''

Morris is believed to have trained over 6,000 winners during a long career.

In the 50s and early 60s, when weight of nominations saw few trainers able to get more than two greyhounds drawn at city meetings, Morris would load a caravan with dogs.

He raced up and down the east coast, including Tasmania, and would often bob up at NSW bush fixtures, which sometimes tended to be short of entries.

Morris would have up to six starters at as many as three country meetings a week, hence his remarkable string of winners.

Pawnote: Lochinvar Hugo continued on his winning way at Bulli on Saturday night over the 515 metres, overcoming early trouble before storming home for a comfortable 6 1/4 lengths in 28.73.

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