By Ben Caluzzi
Adam Chambers is not a name the average Friday night punter would be familiar with, but the 32-year-old Warrnambool trainer is really beginning to make tracks in the big smoke after acquiring speedy mare Lady Solly.
Chambers has had just over 200 race starts in his short training career to date but striking at a commendable 14% he has been able to produce 31 winners.
His boutique stable consists of just six horses, and prior to Lady Solly his best talent included honest seven-year-old veteran Tough Vic and highly untapped filly Kev’s Girl.
He has only had Lady Solly since October of 2020, but already his newly appointed stable star is making an impression in the metro sprinting ranks after recording back-to-back city wins here at The Valley.
Purchased for just $800 as a yearling, the now five-year-old mare took her career earnings to $176,605 winning Heat 13 of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge on February 12.
An incredible return on investment for her owners, the victory was also her second straight success in the 955m series after she took out Heat 10 on January 15.
That ownership group comprises of just two and Jacquie Hogan and Chris Guthrie will be glad they pressed on with the mare after it wasn’t always smooth sailing to begin with.
From humble beginnings to back-to-back city wins, Chambers pointed out why the daughter of O’lonhro might have been overlooked in her early years.
“She had a few injuries as a younger horse before she went to the yearling sales.
“When she went to the sales, she had a few battle scars on her, and I think that played a part in why she was so cheap.
“She had a scar and she still does on her chest, and also she had a bad injury on the heel of her front foot.”
With no signs of those early injuries slowing her down, Lady Solly was able to reel off the fastest sectional of the February 12 meeting, running a sizzling 200m split of 10.13 between the 800m and 600m, before hitting the front 200m from home.
“That impressed me. Not many horses can run that 10.13 early in a race and then maintain a gallop at the end of a race.
“A lot of horses that would run those sectionals would drop off at the end.
“It shows how gritty and determined she is.”
With starting prices of $31 and $19 respectively at her past two starts, Lady Solly hasn’t been the punter’s pal, but coming off a dominant 4 length win here in January, those disappointed punters wouldn’t have been alone in leaving her out of their quaddie.
“I’m a no-name trainer and Dean’s not a high-profile jockey.
“I think if it was ridden by a top-liner and trained by one of the top trainers I think she would’ve been single figures.”
Stepping up from benchmark 58 grade to benchmark 84 grade is a sizeable jump by anyone’s standards, but that is exactly what Adam Chambers has been able to achieve with Lady Solly in only three runs this prepration.
Dean Holland, who has ridden Lady Solly to victory in her past two starts, summed up her latest success to perfection out of the gates and Chambers had few reasons to be concerned in the run.
“She was drawn wide and there was a lot of speed inside us, so we were hoping to get across.
“But once we sat outside the leader, I became very confident.”
The time of 55.57 was well short of Meteorite’s course/season record, but with Chambers indicating she would be saved for the $125,000 final here on March 19, the hunt for Valley riches is still well and truly alive.
“She’s an on-speed runner, she’s very quick and she’s got good gate speed.
“She makes her own luck and the tight corners just suit her. She can kick off those bends and keep running.”
With a hat-trick of successes in sight all eyes will be on the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge Final, and with an imposing record starting to build, Lady Solly is sure to be kept safe by punters and bookmakers this time around.