Mepunga Ranger ready to step up

CAMPERDOWN greyhound trainer Steve Elsum is confident chaser Mepunga Ranger has what it takes to be competitive in Melbourne.

Mepunga Ranger was among the most convincing winners on night two of the Warrnambool Seaside Carnival at Wannon Park on Saturday.

The seven-and-a-quarter-length win in a grade 5 race over 450 metres gave the Where’s Pedro-Mepunga Diva dog a 2-0-2 record from six starts.

He beat the Brian Weis-trained In This Way, with Anita Courts’ Bad Boy Bobby a further two-and-a-half lengths further back.

“He’s always showed it but he’s been getting in a little bit of trouble his first couple of starts. But he ran super yesterday,” Elsum said yesterday.

“He should step up. He will go to Melbourne but we’ll run him around the country a little bit first, give him a bit more experience before we head to town.”

Elsum, who has 11 dogs in work at his property, said Mepunga Ranger was “up there with some of the good youngsters I’ve got in the kennel”.

“He’ll definitely get to 500 metres. Whether he gets any further we don’t know,” he said.

“I expected him to win last night. It’s the first time he’s drawn near the fence. There’s probably a bit more weight on the dog and he jumped a bit better.”

Mepunga Ranger was one of two dogs Elsum had at Wannon Park on Saturday.

His other chaser, Mepunga Locky, ran seventh in a free-for-all race over 450 metres won by the David Geall-trained Michu.

“He’s a little bit too keen.He’s been blowing the start in his races ... we’ll take him back and do a bit more box work with him,” Elsum said.

Elsum will return to Wannon Park on Thursday where Seabrook Sam and Seabrook Snow will contest semi-finals of the VBIS maiden series.

Other winners at the track on Saturday night included Best Perfume, trained by Tina Womann, in a free-for-all sprint over 390 metres.

De Shi Von, trained by Chris Johannsen at Devon Meadows, won a grade 4/5 distance race over 650 metres.

n The Warrnambool Seaside Carnival continues at Wannon Park tonight with a 12-race night meeting.

The meeting includes heats of the Flying Star Sprint Series for dogs with one or two wins. Race one is at 7.08pm.

afawkes@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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