When Drouin West trainer Eddie Lieshout rugs up his 30-month-old bitch Bailey Rose for Saturday night’s Group Three Chairman’s Cup at Wentworth Park, he may not be oozing confidence or be overly high on expectation. One thing that he will be exuding is pride.
Lieshout’s lightly raced conveyance will be stepping out for just her 18th career start and only her fifth attempt at the “half-mile” trip and the diminutive 24kg black bitch continues to impress the seasoned mentor.
“She has only had three or four goes over the 700 and she just keeps on improving,” Lieshout told ARG.
“She surprised me again last week in her heat, she got flattened not long after the start and just kept coming and kept trying. Once she found her feet, no one made any ground on her.”
The very fact that Bailey Rose is even in the Group Three final is a story in itself.
“The owner lives up in Sydney and he had asked me if I would ever bring her up that way so he could see her race,” Lieshout explained.
“I thought why not. When I seen the fields I thought bloody hell, I thought I was going to be in a fifth grade heat and final, but I said there is no way that I am going to scratch her, now she is a Group Three finalist!”
The heat in question saw the daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Spanky (Bit Chili – Good Signing) finish third to Australia’s greatest ever prize-money earner, Xylia Allen. It was quite a baptism of fire for a greyhound that had rarely raced any higher than fifth grade company prior to that.
“She had never been to the track, never been that far from home, never raced in that sort of class.”
“We drove straight up, raced and drove straight home, it’s about an 11 hour drive. I had a good co-pilot to help me out so it wasn’t too bad.”
“She just lays down in the back of the car. She is a true professional, nothing worries her at all, she just goes about her business.”
It is that nature, coupled with a tireless work ethic that has endeared Bailey Rose to Lieshout.
“She is a very honest dog, in fact she is the most honest I have had in 40 years. I’d much prefer to have a greyhound who tries as hard as her than these ones that run a track record one week and then do nothing the next.”
“When she broke in, some other trainers didn’t want her because she was too slow. The owner asked me if I would take her, I said send her up. I certainly didn’t think she was going to be this good.”
When it comes to Saturday night’s $25,000 to-the-winner race, Lieshout is not expecting a miracle, he is just content in the knowledge that he has a dog that he knows will give her best.
“What can you really say about the race? She is racing against two of the best stayers in the world. You might say I’d be better off buying a TattsLotto ticket than hoping to win but, really, I’ll be over the moon if she runs a place. We know she is always going to give us 101%, I’m just glad she got box one, luck’s a fortune.”
The Chairman’s Cup Final is the eighth race on the Wentworth Park card on Saturday night and is scheduled to jump at 9:57pm.