For those who’ve never heard of the greyhound Dream Collector, here’s a quick summary of his past:
– The son of Talk’s Cheap and Shall She received a ticket for failing to chase at his second start at Sandown Park
– Successfully completed a clearance trial at Warragul on 7 November 2013
– Won his maiden in impressive fashion by fourteen lengths at Cranbourne over the 520m, clocking 30.59
– Went on to win two of his next three starts including a 29.60 performance at Traralgon
– Received a second failure to chase ticket after finishing sixth at Cranbourne on 1 January 2014
– Successfully passed a clearance trial at Warragul on 11 January 2014
– Won his next start at Warragul over the 460m in a time of 26.00
– On 20 February 2014 at Sandown Park, received a third offence for failing to pursue the lure with due commitment in a 515m event, where he finished second. From box two, Dream Collector loomed up on the outside of the leader and looked certain to pass, before turning his head in an attempt to act in a ‘playful’ manner towards the other greyhound. This resulted in a three month suspension at all tracks and requirement of a Satisfactory Trial. (See video below).
Dream Collector – Box Two
Vision courtesy of grv.org.au
It’s a less than impressive rap sheet for an incredibly talented greyhound and as a result Dream Collector was sent to leading New Zealand trainer David Fahey to compete behind the controversial finish on lure. Seven starts later and this greyhound has developed into one of the brightest stars in racing, notching up six wins from seven attempts. He demolished his rivals from box five on Friday night in claiming the Group Two South Island Championship Final at Christchurch’s Addington Raceway. A sizzling run home of 12.07 over the 520m distance was described as one of the fastest of all time by commentary experts. Dream Collector severely dwelt at the start and showed blinding speed to round up the early leaders in a come from behind performance that left those experts stunned.
Dream Collector – Box Five
Vision courtesy of thedogs.co.nz
It became well publicised that many Australian trainers were against the finish on lure when it was first introduced at Albion Park in Queensland and Angle Park and Gawler in South Australia in early 2009. After continuous debate between trainers and administrators, Albion Park scrapped the finish on lure in 2011. It was determined that the catching pen was the safer option after a report comparing injuries between the two lure styles.
Angle Park also reverted back to the catching pen system on 1 July 2014, with Gawler retaining the finish on lure. This decision by GRSA resulted in heated debate between the trainers in SA.
Valid arguments can be made for both types of lures, however the important question is how many greyhounds are retired early in Australia because they fail to chase the traditional catching pen style lure? Dream Collector’s remarkable turnaround is just one greyhound of many that got given a second chance at racing in New Zealand and has flourished under the finish on style lure. Without this system the likely scenario is Dream Collector would have been retired from racing in Australia due to his three indiscretions. There are many other dogs retired due to not chasing that would chase the finish on lure.
It’s vital for Australian greyhound racing moving forward to continue developing an assertive and successful animal welfare system. A vital part of this strategy should be to provide greyhounds that aren’t consistent chasers with the option of a finish on lure in Australia. Although Gawler has still got the finish on lure, prizemoney is extremely limited, as are the amount of meetings conducted at the track. An increase in prizemoney and meeting numbers would provide these types of greyhounds with every opportunity to showcase their talents. A numerous amount of greyhounds have illustrated what Dream Collector has achieved and developed into Group winning greyhounds in New Zealand, largely thanks to the finish on lure.
Another fantastic local example in recent times has been Cairnlea Layla in SA. Her trainer summed it up perfectly in a past article, “Cairnlea Layla has two marring convictions in Victoria, and she is racing superbly and has done everything perfectly over here. She is keeping her head straight and she has found a home and another option after Victoria that she might not have got.”