Dixon in Saddle Drivers Seat

PARKES trainer Graham Dixon says he’s heading into Monday afternoon’s Bathurst RSL Soldier Saddle Final (520m) with a degree of optimism with talented performer Bogan Villa – most impressive landing her heat and semi-final of the time-honoured feature in recent weeks.

Adam Dobbin

7 December 2018

PARKES trainer Graham Dixon says he’s heading into Monday afternoon’s Bathurst RSL Soldier Saddle Final (520m) with a degree of optimism with talented performer Bogan Villa – most impressive landing her heat and semi-final of the time-honoured feature in recent weeks.

“She’s a bit underrated in my eyes, I give her a real good chance on Monday,” declared the Parkes hobby trainer who shares his passion for greyhound racing with full-time work as a concreter.

“I couldn’t be happier with how she’s gone the past two weeks, I trialled her there before the series and she went 29.90 and they really don’t go better than that. If you go through her form its very good, she finished third to Little Digger in the Dubbo Regional Final of the Million Dollar Chase not long back and her overall record is very good.”

Winner of her heat in 30.48, Bogan Villa – a daughter of Spring Gun and Dixon’s terrific producer Agni -was dominant landing her semi-final last Monday in a slick 30.15, just a fraction slower than the 30.11 posted by fastest qualifier Motor City Gem in the other semi-final for Sam Sultana.

“Three starts back I backed her in a race at Dubbo at $17.00 and let’s just say she threw the race away and because she had the five wins the Soldiers Saddle looked a nice race for her so I put her away for a few weeks and everything has gone to plan so far.”

Involved in the industry for 22 years, breeding, rearing and breaking-in all his own stock, Dixon struck up a friendship with leading Yass trainer Neil Staines around 10-11 years ago, a move Dixon attributes to much of his success in recent times.

“I might be biased by Neil is one of the best trainers going around no question,” said Dixon.

“I have a mark at Dubbo they need to run and if they do then they go to Neil. Bogan Villa was with Neil until June but she’s a bitch that really is suited by a more laid back environment and we thought she’d be better suited back home and that’s how it’s worked out.

“Agni has been a great producer for me – she was a very good bitch herself but we really never saw the best of her on the track. I had four goes to win a maiden with her and then gave her to Neil and she won her maiden for him first up at Canberra by 10 lengths in 17.70. She could run you anything in trials.

“Her two litters to race by Barcia Bale and Spring Gun have won over 80 races now. I’ve got a litter to Buck Fever that are 19 months taking some time to come to hand and then there is a litter of seven to Fernando Bale that are 11 months and just recently she had her final litter to Fabregas but would you believe it had just the one (pup)!

“I think the kindest way to describe her pups is that they can be a bit different. You can’t have too many of them at any the one time or they’ll send you crazy but she’s just been a wonderful producer. I say to people it’s almost like they have brain damage – in a good way, of course, they can be a bit to handle.

“Bogan Doonie ran third in the Goulburn Cup on Tuesday and is in a heat of the Christmas Gift at Wentworth Park on Saturday night for Neil and when she comes on season that will be her racing over – I’m thinking of going to Collision with her. I’ll breed with Bogan Villa when she finishes up as well.”

Whilst Dixon’s attention is firmly on Monday’s Soldiers Saddle Final with Bogan Villa, he plans to head to headquarters Saturday week for a graded race with the brindle flyer, searching for his maiden city win as a trainer.

“To win a race as a trainer in town would be pretty special,” added Dixon.

“The Soldiers Saddle is by far the biggest race I’ve been in as a trainer and to win it on Monday would be unbelievable. The box draw looks to suit her, the two (Vansittart) should lead and if my bitch doesn’t get touched in the first 10-15 metres and gets things her own way, I’d expect her to look the winner at some stage. The one to beat is definitely Motor City Gem but it’s all up to her now, she’s pulled up great and is ready to go, now we just need a bit of luck.”

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