NSW visitor Ray Smith is hopeful rather than confident the real Brad Hill Billy (pictured at the Topgun with Smith) will stand up to be counted in Friday night’s hugely anticipated Group 2 Shootout at Sandown Park.
The well-travelled Brad Hill Billy – he started his career in Tasmania before relocating to NSW – has failed to fire in his last two appearances at The Meadows and most recently was never a factor when sixth to superstar Fernando Bale in the Topgun.
But prior to those below par efforts the dual Group 2 winner of the Launceston Cup and Bob Payne had been a model of consistency for Ray Smith, who hails from rural Forbes in the central west of NSW, winning nine from 20 after leaving the Apple Isle.
Notably, the strong-finisher clocked a low-flying 29.37 at Wentworth Park and also broke The Gardens 515m record when running second to Smart Missile in a heat of the Group 2 Black Top.
And while Smith was disappointed with Brad Hill Billy’s two Meadows defeats he’s optimistic the move to Sandown and the favourable conditions of the four-greyhound $50,000 winner-take-all Shootout will see his powerful son of Kinloch Brae bounce back to his best.
“Both his runs at The Meadows weren’t good enough to say I’m going to worry them on Friday night,” Smith offered candidly.
“There was nothing really wrong with his two runs at The Meadows but there was nothing to get excited about either. I was happy enough with his Topgun run because he was eight or ten behind Keybow and was only beaten 1 ½ lengths by him.
“He needs to find his Wentworth Park and Gardens form and there won’t be any excuses this week.”
Brad Hill Billy is the outsider of the Shootout field, with the TAB’s Fixed Odds market rating him at $7.50, with Topgun runner-up Kayda Shae, from the white hot Kelly Bravo kennel, the $2.25 favourite from box five.
“I think the red (Sulzanti) and the yellow (Kayda Shae) will be fighting out the lead and hopefully we’re going to find the fence straight away and he’ll get his chance,” Smith said.
“It’ll be a very interesting race but the Bravos can’t do anything wrong at the moment and I think their dog (Kayda Shae) is probably the one to beat. We’re up against the cream of the crop and Brad Hill Billy is entitled to be the outsider on his last couple of runs.
“I’m treating it like a Melbourne Cup Prelude. We were either going to be racing for $50,000 in the Shootout or $6000 in a Prelude so we’re very happy to be in the race. I just want him to be competitive and if he can produce his old form I’m sure he will be.”
Watch: Little separated Smart Missile (1) and Brad Hill Billy (7) when they both broke the 515m track record in a spectacular race at The Gardens in August.