It’s been a bit over 12 months since Glencoe greyhound General Max was beating smart types such as Sweet On Me and Perseverance in quick times over 400 metres at Tara Raceway.
In fact, by July the brindle dog had won 11 races. But that’s when the rot set in, trainer Dean Fennell saying a frustrating run of injuries resulted in General Max being off the scene for something like four months.
By Worm Burner out of Miss Hodge, he’s the dog that Fennell’s son Hayden purchased as a pup from Ecklin South breeder Peter Fulton. With the dam unplaced at her only three starts, Fennell jnr was the first to admit there was no science applied in the selection process.
“No, there was certainly no poring over pedigrees; all I wanted was a pup by Worm Burner,” he said.
When General Max lined up at Tara Raceway’s Thursday time-graded meeting from box one in the Bourne Kennels Stake, a 5+ wins event 400 metres, it had been on the back of two runs this month.
Dean Fennell’s patience finally paid off when General Max took up the early running with a 10.66 seconds first split. From then on he never looked like being beaten as he careered away to his first win since July 2.
The 5½ lengths win over Wild Slammer in 23.07 seconds was pretty handy and now has Fennell contemplating a third Formula 400 win at next month’s Mount Gambier Cup carnival after previously being successful in 2019 with Whatta Knocka and in 2016 with Cerrone.
And Hayden Fennell’s choice of sire was spot on with General Max one of three winners on the day for Worm Burner – currently in second spot on the local leading sires’ list behind Fernando Bale – after littermates Alpaca Delilah and Chloe Burner were also successful.
Meanwhile, Mediation, owned and trained in Mount Gambier by Noel Perry, also found winning form again when leading all the way in the Klaassens Contractors 1-4 wins Stake (400 m) to effortlessly defeat Revved Up Rocket by 9¼ lengths in a personal best 23.16 seconds.
The son of SH Avatar and the unraced Cairnlea Shadow had won two races at Tara Raceway in September last year before a back leg muscle injury sustained the following month saw him sidelined until early this year.
Thursday had been his sixth run back, the black dog seemingly responding to a change of tactics instigated by Perry who currently is recovering from a knee operation.
“He’s certainly needed a few runs to get him back into some sort of shape,” he said. “But prior to Thursday’s race I decided to give him a bit of extra work behind my drag lure at the slipping track and he did go a lot better.”