Holy Toledo - A New Track Record At The Gardens

New Ladbrokes Gardens track record holder Vencedor will be aimed at the upcoming heats of the inaugural rich The Thunderbolt at Grafton.

Michael Cowley

16 May 2022

New Ladbrokes Gardens track record holder Vencedor will be aimed at the upcoming heats of The Thunderbolt, but before then trainer Chrystal Hensing is hoping to snatch a feature race this Friday with the flying sprinter.

Following his slashing 22.29s record breaking performance in the heats of the Ladbrokes Toledo last Friday night, Vencedor will go into this week’s $10,000 final as favourite.

The 400m record at the Newcastle venue had previously stood at 22.32s, set back more than eight years ago by Hunter Hummer in 2014.

“It was a bit of a surprise,” Chrystal said of breaking the mark. “He’s going well. He’s just starting to mature a bit now and get it all together.

“The week before when he came out in 22.44s, I was sitting in the grandstand and I was looking at the track record time, and I said to my friend next to me, you know what I reckon this dog will go close to beating the track record pretty soon.

“It was ironic the following we he comes out and does it. It (the record) stood for a long time, so it clearly wasn’t an easy record to break.”

Vencedor’s kennelmate Take Two also qualified for the final, winning his heat in 22.61s after gaining a run as the first reserve.

Second fastest qualifier was the Michelle Sultana-trained Space Girl who raced in the TAB Million Dollar Chase series, finishing fourth in the semi-finals behind Victorian Photo Man. She clocked 22.52s in winning her heat of the Toledo.

Vencedor has now won four of his six starts over the 400m at LADBROKES GARDENS, off a variety of box draws.

“He doesn’t mind the outside either. Either way, inside or out, I’m not really worried. If he comes out cleanly I don’t think it matters what box he’s going to be in,” she said.

“If he comes out like he came out last week I feel confident, but then again it’s greyhound racing and anything can happen, especially in these corner starts. You need to begin well and stay out of trouble.”

Chrystal said she will soon step both Take Two and Vencedor up to the 500m, but for the time being she will keep them over the shorter trips and Chase the big money on offer.

Heats of The Thunderbolt – the world’s richest short-course event – commence on May 27 at Wagga Wagga, leading into semi-finals at Grafton on June 11 and the $75,000 to the winner final at Grafton on June 19.

“I think we’ll go to Gosford for The Thunderbolt heats. He likes Gosford and he goes pretty well there,” she said of the heats on June 7.

The box draw for the Ladbrokes Toledo will be out on Tuesday morning.

Photo: Kent Strongman (handler) with Vencedor after breaking the track record over the 400m last Friday.