Superstars Set For Epic Battle Of The West

ON the score of fitness and experience, Tommy Shelby holds trump cards in his enticing clash with Dave Hobby’s Sunset Spitfire at Cannington on Saturday.

Peter Davis

30 April 2021

ON the score of fitness and experience, Golden Easter Egg winner Tommy Shelby holds trump cards in his enticing clash with Dave Hobby’s star Sunset Spitfire at Cannington on Saturday night.

Boasting 29 wins from just 44 starts and more than $1 million in earnings, Tommy Shelby’s star status is writ large but he’ll need to be on his mettle to thwart Sunset Spitfire.


Sunset Spitfire defends an unbeaten nine-race record at Cannington yet he’s raced just 14 times while Tommy Shelby boasts 17 wins on his home track alone.

More experienced, tick. Seasoned, tick.

In form, tick. Durable, tough, never-say-die – tick, tick and tick. That’s Tommy Shelby.

For all the right reasons, Tommy Shelby will start favourite in the eight dog line-up but there will be solid support for Sunset Spitfire.

Injured when beaten for the first time in a heat of the Group 1 Silver Chief at The Meadows on Boxing Day, Sunset Spitfire’s PB at Cannington (29.39 seconds) is .12 secs or 1 ¾ lengths quicker than Tommy Shelby’s best.

At Mandurah on April 13, Sunset Spitfire returned after wrist surgery and was untroubled to score over 405m in a fast 22.34 – a mere .09 outside his best at the track.

A fitness edge at the end of 520m is certainly with Tommy Shelby yet this clash for the ages will come down to a faultless start for both boys.

While the sprinters hold most attention, Dave Hobby also has the brilliant Zack Monelli ready to defend his unbeaten record at Cannington over 600m.

This middle distance essay for Zack Monelli is an ideal ‘tick over’ outing as he readies for a trip east for the Sandown Cup heats in two weeks.

Sunset Spitfire may tag along for a tilt at the $100,000 to-the-winner Harrison-Dawson at Sandown.

Thereafter an Albion Park campaign (Flying Amy and Brisbane Cup for Sunset Spitfire and $100,000 to-the-winner Queensland Cup for Zack Monelli) is being considered.

Away from racing commitments, Zack Monelli will continue preparation for a stud career.

He already has a litter of seven on the ground (out of the smart Frida Monelli) while Camelia Monelli was inseminated at the end of March.

If performance and pedigree is a rule of thumb for first season sires, Zack Monelli will make his mark yet, for now, he’s got some serious racing to do.