Back in the 1970s, Graeme Bate was forging what has become a legendary career in greyhound racing.
And staying queen Ibrox was one of the catalysts behind Bate’s burgeoning training success.
Bate was only 30 years old when Ibrox – named after Ibrox Stadium, the Glasgow-based home of Scottish Premier League side Rangers FC – won the 1977 Victorian Greyhound of the Year award.
“Ibrox was a superstar… She made an immediate impact in staying ranks,” Bate recalls.
“We even flew her to Sydney seven times and Adelaide twice in a Piper Navaho for the perfect score.
Three decades later, Bate says he has an “Ibrox clone” – Amity Bale.
“There are a lot of similarities… Amity Bale also has burst onto the staying scene and has a real V-eight motor,” Bate said.
“I always knew Amity Bale would stay… She can do it at both ends; she really hits overdrive over the last 200 metres.”
A finalist in last year’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup over the sprint trip, Amity Bale has not tasted defeat in three distance starts – including a stunning 41.96sec win at Sandown Park on June 4, the equal third fastest time on record over 715 metres on that track.
Trained at Lara, Amity Bale is a $2.60 pre-post favourite for the $25,000-to-the-winner Group 2 McKenna Memorial at Sandown Park on Thursday night.