Highland Chief To Rule In Devonport Chase Classic

DAVID Crosswell and Sid Holland are no strangers to Devonport Cup success and on Tuesday the pair combine eyeing victory with Highland Chief.

Adam Dobbin

23 November 2020

TRAINER David Crosswell and owner Sid Holland are no strangers to Devonport Cup success and on Tuesday the pair combine eyeing victory in the group 3 feature with their star youngster Highland Chief.

Back in 1994, Holland landed the Devonport feature with his prized chaser Jim Bowie while in 1996 Crosswell guided his prolific winning sprinter Ginger’s Charm to victory in the race now dubbed the Devonport Chase.

DEVONPORT CHASE FIELDS & FORM

“It’s been a while between wins for both of us so hopefully we can land one together all these years later,” Holland said.

“And I think we’ve got the dog to do it as well. You can’t go into big races being over confident but he’s not badly drawn in box six – the whole litter like it wide.

“He’s got tremendous early speed once he hits the ground; if he comes out and gets room to move they’ll know he’s there.”

Last Tuesday, Highland Chief, from the outstanding Aston Dee Bee x She’s All Class litter, stormed into Devonport Chase contention with a breathtaking 25.48 heat win.

The performance extended the fawn flyer’s Devonport record to eight starts for five wins and three seconds, his personal best time at the circuit a flying 25.29.

“If you watch his heat closely you’ll see he was coming away on the line again from the second dog (Run And Carry),” Holland said.

“The whole litter would chase a rat up a drainpipe if they could. They give their all every start and are giving us heaps of fun.

“I’ve been lucky enough to be in some very good dogs over the years, including Bell Haven, but these pups are right up there ability wise.”

In an interesting subplot to Tuesday’s $25,000-to-the-winner decider, Highland Chief’s littermate Wynburn Sheean steps out from box eight for trainer Ben Englund as the race favourite.

“Would you believe I owned him! For about 48 hours – aren’t I genius,” Holland joked.

“The story goes he put in a bad trial for his breeder-owner David Booth and he wanted to sell him.

“I gave David $4000 and bought him. I was going to give him to David (Crosswell) to train but he had six in the litter already and only six spots in his trailer.

“A few days after buying him I was talking to Tom Englund and he asked why I don’t just sell him the dog. So I did – for the $4,000 I bought him for.

“But don’t get me wrong there’s no sour grapes. Tom’s a good friend and I’m getting a big kick out of the success they’re having with him as well.”

Holland struggles to articulate the joy he gains from watching Highland Chief and his equally talented littermates go through their paces at a time that the 68-year-old is fighting a second bout of cancer.

“I’ll beat it again – we’ll throw the book at it like we did the first time,” Holland said.

“Watching these dogs race gives me a great distraction from it all. I’ve had a fantastic life up until now and I’m not complaining at all … but I’m in for the fight that’s for sure.”

Tuesday’s Devonport card will see all six dogs from the Aston Dee Bee x She’s All Class litter go about their business looking to improve on their already glowing records.

So far they have amassed a remarkable 37 wins from 110 starts at a winning strike-rate of 34 percent.

“You know each and every one of She’s All Class’s pups have won races,” Holland said.

“And I think they’re coming up to 200 race wins in total. And this litter is just two so the best is definitely ahead of them.

“We’re looking forward to a big six to 12 months and David is doing a fantastic job with them.”

Such is the wide open nature of Tuesday’s Group 3 Devonport Chase, favouritism for the race is being held by Wynburn Sheean (box 8) at $3.70.

Second elect is the Paul Abela-trained Zevatron from box one at $5.00 while Highland Chief is quoted a $6.00 chance.

Debbie Cannan’s pair of Siberia (box 2) and Kintyre (box 5) are $6 and $8 respectively.