Puleio’s ‘Fully Loaded’ Friday night

Friday is shaping as a massive night for owner/breeder Darren Puleio and his high-flying Fernando Bale – Nicki Fields litter, with two Group trophies in his sights.

Puleio and father Michael race the $3 TAB favourite for the Group 1 Feikuai Greyhounds Silver Chief, which has been brought forward from Saturday, in Out Of Range, which has drawn the coveted rails alley and boasts six wins from eight appearances at The Meadows.

The Puleios are also sweating on a scratching to elevate first reserve, fastest heat winner Poke The Bear, into the $100,000 to-the-winner Silver Chief.

WATCH: Out Of Range finish second to Immen Bale from box seven, to make it through to the Group 1 Silver Chief.

Also on Friday evening, a third litter brother, Fully Loaded, the winner of 12 from 18, will face his biggest test to date when he tackles the all-conquering Aston Dee Bee in a heat of the Group 2 TAB Warragul Cup.

Out Of Range and Poke The Bear are both trained by Seona Thompson, while Fully Loaded is prepared by Neville Wakefield (pictured).

“A double would be lovely!” Darren Puleio laughed.

“I’ve got my fingers crossed that our first win will be a scratching in the Silver Chief so Poke The Bear gets a run, but I don’t like our chances.

“It’s a major, major thrill having a runner in the Silver Chief and I think Out Of Range is a good chance. I’ve been involved with a few Group dogs – I bred Boris Fields and Xtreme Knocka, which is Nicki Fields’ litter brother – but this would be the biggest win I’ve had.

“Drawing the red is definitely a plus and it might be compensation for putting Out Of Range and Poke The Bear in the same semi-final, which still strikes a raw nerve.

“Obviously, the other bloke (Poke The Bear) is faster, but Out Of Range has run 29.90 at The Meadows, so he can run. He’s run 5.06 early at The Meadows, which will probably lead seven out of ten races there.”

Just eight minutes after the Silver Chief is run and won, Puleio’s attention will shift to Warragul, where Fully Loaded faces the unenviable task of bringing Melbourne Cup hero Aston Dee Bee’s seven-race winning streak to an end.

“We’ve thrown Fully Loaded in the deep end, especially against Aston Dee Bee,” Puleio offered ruefully.

“But if he’s going to take the next step, he’s got to be competitive at this level.

“At his last start Fully Loaded won the Gippsland Carnival Launch Final at Sale, where he beat Chardy, which finished second in the Ballarat Cup, Jesaulenko, which is a Sale specialist, and Monster Fish, so he knocked off a pretty handy field.

“I thought why not run in the Cup heats? You’ve got to be in it to win it. Aston Dee Bee went great in the Shootout, but Fully Loaded will be fresh and hopefully he’ll be out in front. He’s not overly strong, but he’s getting stronger each week.”

While Puleio has met with great success in the breeding barn, he doesn’t hesitate in lauding the December ’15 Fernando Bale – Nicki Fields litter as his crowning glory, thus far.

“I was looking at the litter’s stats and from 100 starts they’ve only been unplaced about 18 times, which is a phenomenal strike rate,” Puleio said.

“I was looking at the litter’s stats and from 100 starts they’ve only been unplaced about 18 times, which is a phenomenal strike rate,” Puleio said.

“It was Nicki Fields’ first litter and she had her second, to Barcia Bale, a fortnight ago.

“Where I’m at now is where I set out to be ten years ago. The line comes from Paul Hogan’s Famous Portrait line. Paul said to me to go to an Irish stud dog to rejuvenate the line and then to come back to an Australian sire, so I went to an Irish sire, Droopys Kewell, with Nicki Fields’ grandmother, Barbie’s Shiraz.

“Paul told me that it wouldn’t be that bitch that throws, but it would be that bitch’s daughters and that’s exactly what’s happened with Nicki Fields, so I owe a lot of the success we’re having to Paul’s advice.”

Warragul Cup


Gerard Guthrie
About Gerard Guthrie - Chief Journalist The Greyhound Recorder Chief Journalist with The Greyhound Recorder newspaper since 2001, member Topgun selection panel, Dapto Megastar selection panel and Australian and NSW Greyhound of the Year judging panels, compere Dapto Puppy Auction, previously contributed to Sky Racing's The Catching Pen, Sky Sports Radio's Going Greyhounds and www.thedogs.com.au website. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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