Former Test cricketer Darren Pattinson is hoping Hogganaught can emerge as the surprise packet of Saturday night’s semi-finals of the Group 1 Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic (525m) at The Meadows.
While the Maturity spotlight will be focused on Fernando Bale – and deservedly so with Andrea Dailly’s superstar chasing a record-breaking seventeenth straight TAB track victory this weekend – Hogganaught heads into the Classic semis boasting an impressive picket fence form-line of his own.
Hogganaught has enjoyed a career best patch of form since resuming from an injury-enforced spell, with improved box manners the key to five straight victories.
“He hurt a fibula and missed about two months but he’s grown a leg since he came back,” Darren Pattinson said.
“Earlier on he kept missing the start but his box manners have really improved. He’s been jumping really well and he’s racing with a lot of confidence.
“He turned the corner when we took him to Cranbourne. He won three in a row there and he hasn’t looked back since, winning 10 of his last 16.”
Hogganaught convinced Pattinson to tackle the Maturity with his impressive return from injury, which continued with an all-the-way 30.10sec heat victory.
With the advantage of box one in Saturday’s second semi-final Hogganaught should prove hard to catch and shapes as the main danger to boom Queenslander Pop The Cork, which was a flying 29.66sec heat winner at his Meadows debut.
“I wasn’t really thinking about the Maturity until Hogganaught came back so well so it would be a big surprise if he made the final,” explained Pattinson, pictured above with another of his star greyhounds, Express Pace.
“I brought him back at Ballarat and he won heat and final there and then he ran good time at Shepparton so I took him to town and he won at The Meadows the week before the Maturity heats. He was eligible for the Maturity and going so well so I decided to put him in.
“He ran 5.01 early in his heat – which is the best he’s gone – and box one should suit him. He’s not the strongest 500m dog but if he can jump like he did last week they’ve got to run him down.
“It would be a great thrill if he could make the final but I think Fernando Bale and Dyna Double One are in a different class. I haven’t seen many better than Fernando Bale – if any – and while he had a bit of luck last week he was probably due for it because he’s been doing everything right for a long time.”
The first two placegetters in Saturday night’s semi’s will make it through to next weekend’s $145,000 Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic final.
Pattinson played one Test match for England in 2008 and he’ll also be keeping an eye on the second Test of the Ashes series over the weekend.
“I watched a bit of the first Test and Australia were just outplayed,” Pattinson said.
“Those sorts of wickets don’t really suit Australia’s bowlers because they don’t have a lot of pace in them.”
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