Buddy’s ‘Paua-Packed’ Traralgon Return

TRAINER Steve White is adopting a circumspect approach ahead of Paua Of Buddy’s much-anticipated return in Friday night’s Traralgon Cup heats.

Gerard Guthrie

19 January 2022

TRAINER Steve White is adopting a circumspect approach ahead of Bendigo Cup hero Paua Of Buddy’s much-anticipated return from injury in Friday night’s Group 2 SEN Track Traralgon Cup heats (395m).

Paua Of Buddy hasn’t raced since brilliantly winning the G2 Bendigo Cup final on October 16, where he ran a near-record 23.29sec, only .01sec outside the 425m benchmark set in the heats by Typhoon Sammy.

An untimely cut to a pastern forced Paua Of Buddy out of Melbourne Cup contention and the great-grandson of White’s champion Paua To Burn will come back in the sixth of eight ‘sudden death’ Cup heats (Race 9 at 9.48pm) being held on Traralgon’s newly-opened ‘J-curve’ track.

FIELDS AND FORM TRARALGON FRIDAY NIGHT

Drawn in Box 1, Paua Of Buddy is $1.35 favourite with TAB, while he occupies the second line of the ‘All In’ market at $5.50, behind Bendigo Cup placegetter Typhoon Sammy at $5.

“He was out with the cut and then I decided to get his tonsils out as well,” explained White, who’s based at nearby Buln Buln East.

“He’s going alright, he’s trialling alright, he’s had a look at Traralgon and gone okay and I’ve got to start him off somewhere, so it might as well be in the Traralgon Cup.

“It’s his first time back at the races for a while and I’ve got bigger plans for him. 

“I’ve been getting him ready at Healesville and he was only about a tenth off what he was running there at his best at his last trial.”

Sparingly raced winner of eight from 11, including Warragul’s 400m track record, Paua Of Buddy, a son of 2017 Traralgon Cup finalist Aston Dee Bee, is unbeaten in two starts from ‘the red’, including his last start Bendigo Cup triumph.

“The two (Earn The Answers) is a bit of a worry because it comes out in a hurry and wants the fence,” White said.

“That’s a bit of a hiccup but he’s 34.5 kilos and Earn The Answers is 30 kilos, so I’m hoping he’ll barge his way through.

“It’s a good starting point and I’m not going to be too disappointed if he gets beaten. Whatever he does on Friday night he’s going to improve on.”

White also has a second Traralgon Cup contender in Paua Of Buddy’s litter sister Paua Of Janie, winner of nine of her 15 starts, which is the $2.90 second elect in the second heat (Race 5 at 8.28pm) from Box 6.

“Paua Of Janie is a bit hit and miss,” said White.

“She’s very fast when she comes out but if she misses it she can look second rate.”

White enjoyed success at last Saturday’s return to racing at Traralgon on the world-first ‘J-curve’ track with Paua Of Oscar, an older half-brother to Paua Of Buddy, an impressive winner over 500m.

“I like what I’ve seen so far. The racing seemed to be very clean,” White said.

“I reckon it’s probably 300m to the first corner and that’s going to suit dogs like Paua Of Oscar that are a bit slow early but have an abundance of pace.

“Paua Of Oscar loves the straight at Healesville. He’s not the best of beginners but once he hits the ground he takes off and he was in front after 200m on Saturday. The 450m and 500m at Traralgon will suit dogs like him to a tee.”