Above Average By Name And Nature

GREG Stella concedes he didn’t know what to think the first time Lenny Antonio told him he’d named a young pup in his care Above Average, a moniker that heightens expectations if ever you’ve seen one.

Adam Dobbin

18 March 2019

GREG Stella concedes he didn’t know what to think the first time Lenny Antonio told him he’d named a young pup in his care Above Average, a moniker that heightens expectations if ever you’ve seen one.

“I said to Lenny early on I wasn’t too sure about the name but it’s so far so good,” said Stella after Above Average made it two-from-two winning the Bob Vernon Memorial Maiden Final (366m) at Capalaba on Sunday in a sizzling 19.75.

“It looked an ideal series to start him off in and the time he ran didn’t really surprise me.

“His trials and slips up the straight have been very good and the improvement in the final from the heat, where he went 19.90, was at box rise mainly, he came out a lot cleaner.”

A son of Fabregas and Reshuffle, Above Average was purchased by Antonio as a pup off breeders Jeff and Jane Crawford, the dam a flying 29.81 Albion Park maiden winner in a career restricted to just three starts.

“At break-in this pup was showing ability but he was sidelined with an injury to his fibula for about three months so we’ve had to bring him on nice and slowly, he’s still very inexperienced,” added Stella of the rising two-year-old galloper.

“He’s always shown raw ability but as we know there’s a big gap between potential at break-in and turning that into performances on the race track but he’s definitely a dog heading the right away.

“He’s had a few circle trials which I’ve been happy with but I’ll keep him away from the bend starts. The plan for now will be to work him up and look for a 520m novice at Albion Park on a Monday night. I don’t think the 520m will be a worry, he’s bred to run it, but until you get them over it you’re never 100% sure.”

The exciting Above Average is one of about 20 chasers currently being raced by leading Queensland owner Len Antonio, the owner of former mighty galloper Thirty Talks, trained by Tony Brett.

“Len has spread his wings a bit these days,” added Stella.

“He’s got a couple down in Victoria going really well with Brooke and Jamie Ennis and some nice pups here in Queensland as well. Things are going well in south-east Queensland, prizemoney has been increased so now we just need a one-turn track.

“But as they say you need to make the best of what you’ve got!”