Kouta Mayhem connections hoping for career highlight in Cup

Kouta Mayhem winning his heat of the Melbourne Cup. PIC: Paul Munt.

KOUTA Mayhem (Fabregas x Belle’s Melody Ma ’15) will give his connections their biggest thrill in greyhound racing when he lines up to take his place in Friday night’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park.

The black dog is trained by husband and wife training team Jason and Jessica Sharp and is owned and bred by father and son duo Andrew and Arthur Lazos.

The boom youngster qualified for the world’s richest greyhound race with a determined win in the opening heat of the series last Friday night, leading throughout to triumph in 29.57.

Lazos, who only owns a handful of greyhounds at any given time, says he is still pinching himself after the thrilling victory.

“I was shaking after the race – I couldn’t believe it,” Lazos told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“Words can’t explain the feeling. People spend 50 years trying to get a dog good enough to compete in the Melbourne Cup series, so to get one through to the final is in-credible and a dream come true.”

Kouta Mayhem has drawn ideally in box two for the $600,000 feature and has been installed as a $7 elect with leading online bookmaker Sportsbet.

The favourite for the race which stops the canine nation is Seona Thompson’s Aston Dee Dee (Barcia Bale x Aston Ell Apr ’15) which recorded a breathtaking 29.12 win in his heat of the series.

Joint second favourites are Bewildering (Black Magic Opal x Outlandish Feb ’15) and Raw Ability (Barcia Bale x Bugatti Flyer Mar ’15) which ran 29.35 and 29.20 respectively.

Kouta Mayhem’s effort to make the Melbourne Cup final was particularly impressive given he only won his first race over ‘500’ the week prior to the heats when taking out a Melbourne Cup prelude in 29.53.

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Lazos said the black powerhouse, which tips the scales at close to 35-kilograms, has surprised him with just how far he has come.

“He has always looked like being a smart dog – we knew we had something decent when he went through the Vic Bred maiden series at Shepparton, but at that stage we had no idea he’d make it this far.

“He kept improving and he has already made a couple of big finals, but he is getting better as he gets older and he is now starting to run out the 500 which we didn’t think he would at first.

“He has certainly proved me wrong and I couldn’t be happier about that.”

Lazos said a win in the final, worth $420,000 to the winner, would be a life changing thrill and the clear pinnacle of his time in greyhound racing which dates back to when he was a kid.

“I started with greyhounds when I was 14 and living with my paren-ts. I used to help an old gentleman and he had a dog called Kojak which was a group 1 winner at Olympic Park.

“I got out of the dogs when I got married and had kids, but as time went on I decided I wanted to get back into the industry.

“Now my son and I own and breed greyhounds together which is pretty special – we have been doing it now for around 10 years.

“We got Belle’s Melody on a pup deal from Natasha and Michael Benhard and we went halves in the litter. I would like to thank them immensely for giving me the opportunity to breed with her.

“Obviously a lot of thanks also has to go to Jason and Jessica – they are great trainers and they are the best people you could possibly hope to have dogs with.”

As for his verdict on the final, Lazos knows it will be a tough challenge, but is hopeful Kouta Mayhem is capable of some improvement if he can find the front early.

“One thing I took from the heats is that the track seemed to get faster as the night went on as there was a bit of rain earlier in the evening.

“Who knows what that means for him heading into the final, but you have got to be in it to win it and we are over the moon to be there.”

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