It’s now been close to 23 years since a greyhound by the name of You Idiot arrived to race one Saturday afternoon at Tara Raceway – not in a dog trailer, mind you, but chauffeured in a white limousine.
Bred by the Lenehan family at Toolong, the son of Head Honcho x Hoppy’s Star was initially named Hoppy Dazzler before undergoing a name change. This was to work in with a Channel 9 Footy Show promotion along with headline act Sam Newman and his favourite saying “you idiot”.
When You Idiot raced at Tara Raceway on January 23, 1999 the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club got right behind the promotion with T-shirts and caps to celebrate the occasion.
And the red fawn dog made a grand entrance, travelling up the home straight in the limousine. Later, he did the right thing when defeating Risky Play by 3½ lengths in a Mixed 4/5 Stake (512 metres) in a best of day time of 30.62 seconds.
Fast forward to 2021 and Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott back in May produced a maiden performer that he had named Limousine. But after only a handful of starts, he had been looking to move on the son of Aston Kimetto and Ruby Spring.
As luck would have it, Kevin Patzel, right-hand man out at Compton for leading trainer Tracie Price, had been looking for a greyhound of his own to race.
“Cap was looking to give away Limousine. And as he had run a few minor placings I thought he would give me an added interest. With Tracie training him I could also keep an eye on him while I was out at the kennels,” said the 34-year-old Patzel.
Patzel, of course, is no stranger to greyhound racing. His father, Ralph, boasts a long-time involvement in the sport. He trained the first-ever winner on the track in Mount Gambier when Aqualair was successful over 289 metres at Glenburnie in 1979.
Meanwhile, while all this was going on, Jake Nicholson, a son of track photographers Todd and Bronny, had actually purchased the said white limousine, still in Mount Gambier and with close to a million kilometres on the clock still going strong – well, sort of.
So, all that was now required was for the greyhound Limousine to win a race and for the white limousine to be on track. Todd’s Photographics would do the rest as far as an after-race shot with a difference was concerned.
Nine minor placings would follow before Limousine opened his winning account. That was at start number 21 when he led all the way to defeat kennelmate Compton Banjo by a length in 17.94 seconds in the Produce Store Maiden (305 m).
“He’s my first dog and my first winner. It goes without saying, I’m absolutely delighted with the result,” Patzel said.
And Patzel entered into the spirit of the occasion, donning a “You Idiot” cap that for all those years had been in the possession of former chief steward Michael Robinson. He reckoned this was as good a time as any to dust it off.
Pictured above: Kevin Patzel with his greyhound Limousine and the limousine that transported You Idiot at Tara Raceway 23 years ago.