Golden Ticket On The Cards For Tommy Shelby

TOMMY Shelby will press on to the heats of the Golden Ticket on Thursday despite a "disappointing" first-up trial at Albion Park last week.

David Brasch

11 January 2021

WA Group 1 star Tommy Shelby will press on to the heats of the Group 3 Golden Ticket (520m) at Albion Park on Thursday night despite what trainer Steve Withers described as a disappointing first-up trial on the track last week.

The son of Fernando Bale-Serena Fly High trialled 30.02 last Thursday night in preparation for the Golden Ticket this week.

Withers is staying at Ipswich with local trainer Brent Kline and admits last Friday was “a very confusing time considering what the Queensland Premier was planning”.

That included the three-day lockdown of Brisbane and surrounding shires and it threw Steve Withers and his plans for Tommy Shelby into confusion.

“Queensland was probably forced onto us because we could get into NSW, but not out,” he said.

Withers said Tommy Shelby is a “one on one” dog and handles his race assignments best when accompanied by someone he knows.

And that is Steve Withers.

Tommy Shelby has not raced since winning the Group 1 Hobart Thousand on December 17 and Steve believes this too could have affected his 30.02 trial time.

“He had not gone 500 metres for six weeks and the track was heavy so that was some relief for me after what appeared a disappointing first-up trial,” he said.

“But as the race meeting went on last Thursday night, the times the locals ran showed his second and third sections were pretty good after all.”

But Withers had a word of warning.

“He did not settle in too well when he first arrived in Ipswich especially trying to cope with the humidity,” he said.

“If the dog takes any step backwards in his preparation at all, we will pack up and go home.

“There is no point taking on the locals who can run 29.60s and 29.70s every week when we are not 100 percent on our game.

“He went off his food when he arrived, but he has done well since the trial and we are pressing on to this week’s heats.”

Tommy Shelby has raced 34 times for 23 wins and earned $404,000.

He was second in the Vic Peters, third in the MDC and Melbourne Cup and a finalist in the Topgun.

Withers said there are already strong feelers out from studmasters to stand the dog.

“Knowing his constitution and his fabulous chase instincts, there is every reason to say he will be a success at stud,” said Withers.