It’s now close to 18 months ago that local sporting identity Kevin “KD” Douglas was out at trainer David Peckham’s Bourne Kennels at Allendale East where he stumbled across a young black dog that took his fancy.
As it turns out the pup was by Worm Burner x Thanks Tubby, Peckham training the dam for 57 starts and 20 wins at Tara Raceway. Also, there had been a three-year period when she held the 512 metres track record at 29.60 seconds.
“I’d once been told that the only way I’d ever get a good dog would be to take a punt on a pup. I didn’t mind the look of this one so I sounded out David to see if he was interested in selling him.
“He was the only one left that hadn’t been sold and David, when the time came, had intended to race the pup himself. But he was quite happy to race him in partnership with me,” said Douglas, who refused to confirm that his half-share had cost him a couple of crays.
Later, Peckham, who has been involved with greyhounds since his short pants days – and we’re not talking about those infamous GRSA shorts he was pictured in at Tara Raceway last summer – broke the dog in himself at Tara Raceway.
“I have to admit, I actually got a bit excited about this dog when I was breaking him in. One morning I trialled him post to post and his time was more than comparable to that of Dyna Carnie who had gone around a couple of trials earlier,” the trainer said.
“But after he’d been inoculated prior to naming he seemed to go off the boil a bit. That could simply be a coincidence, I really don’t know. But by the time he was ready for his first start last Thursday we were pretty confident that he would run a big race, especially from box one.”
Racing as Bourne Burner, the black dog was always on the pace and never left the rails. Taking the lead on the home turn, he then went on to a one length win over Compton Peggy in 30.25 seconds.
In his 40-odd years’ involvement in the racing game, Douglas reckoned he’d never been associated with a double. Midnight Daisy, a $2.40 favourite in the JB Irrigation Stake (400 m), looked a fair chance of finally turning things around for her part-owner who races the daughter of Fernando Bale x Midnight News in partnership with the Nineofus Syndicate.
It has to be said, though, Portland trainer Andy Graham had made no secret of the fact he believed his $26 chance Rose Bay would be right in the mix.
And when Rose Bay turned for home in front with the Peckham-trained Midnight Daisy doing the chasing those who had listened to Graham were starting to become a little excited.
But on the line the favourite had a head to spare. Douglas finally got his double while Graham and his followers were left to ponder what might have been.
Meanwhile, Jason Newman found it hard to contain his excitement after Solid Bling won the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m). And probably fair enough given the 39 kilogram dog’s chequered past.
Solid Bling is the son of Dyna Double One x Lady Bling who found his way to Mount Gambier from Victoria in April this year after having been off the scene for nine months.
Not that there had ever been any doubting his ability – runs of 29.55 seconds (515 m) at Sandown Park and 29.93 seconds (525 m) at The Meadows both pretty solid – but by the time Newman had Solid Bling in a race at Tara Raceway over 400 metres in September he was a fair way off that form.
Last Thursday was his seventh start for Newman, the black dog lining up from box two on the back of a 20 lengths finish behind Aston Hayato at Angle Park over 388 metres several nights’ earlier.
Once settling in second spot behind Fernando Deeds it was then a case of Newman daring to dream that perhaps this was going to be the day when he was rewarded for all the effort that had been put in just to get Solid Bling to the track.
And in the run home the giant of a dog was able to win his first race in 17 months when holding out Galactic Horizon to win by three-quarters of a length in 23.36 seconds.
For Newman, who obtained his owner-trainer licence earlier this year, the win was his seventh and no doubt the most satisfying up until this point.