Thursday, September 7, 2017
Rising five-year-old greyhound Old Jock will be chasing back-to-back titles when he lines up in the opening round of the Metal Worx Iron Dog series over 600 metres at Tara Raceway on Sunday.
The Iron Dog is a three-distance series – the same greyhounds contesting rounds over 600 metres and 400 metres prior to the leading eight point scorers fighting out a 512 metre final on Sunday, September 24.
Old Jock, trained throughout his 123-start career by Nicole Stanley for the Jock Middleton-managed Jock’s Lot Syndicate, won last year’s Iron Dog with a 600 metre win and a fifth-placing over 400 metres before defeating Roarsome and Glenville Jester in the 512 metre final.
By Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze, Old Jock, who has won 22 races and run 46 minor placings, continues to race well, running second to Frac Geek in Free For All company at last Sunday’s meeting.
The Iron Dog concept at Tara Raceway goes back to 2012, a time when 600 metre racing had yet to be introduced, and when the series was made up of 400 metre and 512 metre rounds and a 400 metre final.
Winning what was then known as the Berringa Park Iron Dog was Kiss Me Donkey who had created a great deal of interest when taking more than 50 starts to eventually win her maiden and then another 22 starts to win the 512 metre round and 400 metre final of the Iron Dog.
Kiss Me Donkey, who won just those three races in what turned out to be a 90-start career, was raced by the Blake brothers, Calum and Aaron, with the latter back on Sunday for another crack at the Iron Dog with Good Boy Oscar, Etched In Black, Tuscan Flex and Power Sensation.
By the time the Iron Dog was back on the racing calendar in 2014, middle-distance racing had been introduced at Tara Raceway but with the order of running that year starting at the shortest distance and concluding with a 600 metre final, the Cap Abbott trained Manila Express had failed to accumulate sufficient points.
A city winning stayer, Manila Express ended up as a reserve although as luck would have it she gained a start and had no trouble running out a winner over a distance that suited her down to the ground.
And then in 2015, with the final round still being run over 600 metres, Richard Clayfield’s Upset Boy and the Monty Wilson trained Boolite Bruiser slogged it out in atrocious conditions, going over the line together with the judge ultimately unable to split the pair.
Horsham trainer Jeff Guy will also have a runner in each heat, Frac Geek returning, along with Brazen Blue and two former 600 metre record holders Brazen Bomber and Paraphernalia.