Fantastic Spike Striving To Shine In Shane McQueen

Racing News

Fantastic Spike Striving To Shine In Shane McQueen

The final of the 2024 Shane McQueen series will light up Angle Park on Thursday, with a terrific field assembled for the $10,000 to the winner final. 

The series is always a highly regarded event on the calendar, with strong fields always drawn for the final. In 2023, we saw Dash Of Blue take out the race ahead of fellow Greyhound of the Year finalists Could Be King and Ravers Army while Victa Grosso, Rushes and Sir Truculent are also on the list of past winners. 

While only two heats were run last week, there was plenty of depth and quality which showed up in the winning times with Fantastic Spike winning his heat in 34.21 while Magical Mystic claimed the second heat in 34.43. 

Unfortunately, Magical Mystic has been scratched from the final and has taken away a key influence in the early speed battle away from the race. 

Fantastic Spike will go into the race as the likely favourite, following an impressive heat win where he ran a fast 34.21 and overcame box eight in the process. 

Despite losing a couple of lengths in the run after checking off heels, he was still far too good and will be looking to repeat that effort in the final. The heat run was also the first for his caretaker trainer Barry Stewart, who is training him for a few weeks whilst regular trainer Liz Chegia is on holidays.

Stewart was pleased with his heat effort after seeing his chaser do some work in the run.

“I thought the run was good, because he had to use a bit of petrol early to get around Aston Jonas,” Stewart said. 

“I thought that he used a bit up and still ran home okay, his run home time wasn’t too bad.” 

With Fantastic Spike needing to jump quickly from the inside draw on Thursday, it’s been a standard week for the son of Superior Panama and Fantastic Flossy, with the black dog being kept fresh for the assignment.

“I’ve just kept him on the lead all week and haven’t given him a run in between.” said Stewart 

“It took a little bit out of him the run, but he recovered okay and pulled up fit. He’s good to go.”

The box gods were looking down on Fantastic Spike and he has drawn box one for the final, which could potentially be a race winning advantage. Stewart is hoping that Fantastic Spike jumps quickly as he concedes the box draw could quickly turn bad if he doesn’t start well.

“I’m happy with it (box one) because hopefully he doesn’t have to use the energy to get across because he’s already there on the fence,” Stewart said. 

“I know he runs a length off the rail or so, but I think he’s better there than out wide. If he doesn’t jump then could be in strife, because that 600m start is notorious in that if you don’t jump, you could get back quite a bit on the fence.

“You have to remember, Kai Bale in his heat, was about three lengths quicker to the back marker, but his (Fantastic Spike) run home was a little bit better than the second heat.”

“He’s just got to jump, if he misses it then they will come down on him and he will be in a bit of strife.”

And when asked who the main danger is…

“The field!” Steward joked

“I think you would have to put in Kai Bale, Dash Of Blue and potentially Rico Nismo.”

Following Thursday night's run, Fantastic Spike will back up next week if pulls up well from the run, before returning to Liz Chegia to continue his racing.

“He might have a ‘530’ next week depending on how he pulls up, otherwise he will just go back to Liz,” Stewart said.

The first race will jump at 6:30pm local time on Thursday.

Best Bets: 
Like Wildfire (Race 11, Number 1)
Ravers Army (Race 7, Number 1)