Tuesday, October 15, 2019
As far as the new owners of the unusually-named greyhound Squishy Pea – winner of last Sunday’s Fairthorne Forestry grade five final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway – were concerned it was a case of never looking a gift horse in the mouth.
How Squishy Pea found his way down to leading local trainer David Peckham’s Allendale East kennels at the end of August goes back to previous owner Peter Sutcliffe of Devon Meadows who had been looking to move on the black dog in order to make room for some new arrivals.
Sutcliffe had rung a contact in Adelaide to see if he was interested in taking Squishy Pea but he too had no empty kennels. What the contact did do, though, was to ring Ross Schurgott, manager of the Nineofus Syndicate, to see if he was looking for another dog, in this case a giveaway.
And Schurgott couldn’t get on the phone quickly enough to run the offer past Peckham, who had won a Fairthorne Forestry heat the previous week with the Nineofus Syndicate owned Silent Jacko.
“It didn’t seem like a bad offer, considering at a bit over three years of age he should still have plenty of racing in him,” Peckham said. “And he’s a beautifully-bred dog, being by Fernando Bale out of Secret Spell, a winner of 23 races and $276,000 in stakemoney.
“Apparently he was a good kennel dog and with 10 wins on Victorian tracks I said to Ross that the syndicate probably couldn’t go far wrong with a deal like this. He should get him down here as quickly as possible, I suggested.
“Later, when I trialled Squishy Pea post to post at Tara Raceway he ran 25.30 seconds which made him the quickest giveaway I’ve ever had.”
As luck would have it, Silent Jacko was scratched from last Sunday’s final due to injury, the Nineofus Syndicate then having to rely on Squishy Pea who had qualified after running fourth in his heat at what had been his first race start on the track.
But he was obviously all the better for the run the previous week, leading all the way from box four in the final to defeat another more than handy giveaway in Lektra Phyliss by 2¾ lengths in a best of day 29.75 seconds.
On track last Sunday and keen to catch up with Squishy Pea after the race were members of the Inter Soccer Club, including Tony D’Agostino, senior coach and Coach of the Year.
“We’ve had a really enjoyable afternoon out here,” he said. “We’ll most certainly be back but next time with considerably more of our club supporters.”
Meanwhile, Squishy Pea will jump from box six on Thursday night in a grade five stake over 450 metres at Warrnambool where one of the toughest to beat looks to be Canya Hurricane.