Melissa’s Pride takes out Listed Newcastle Cup at The Gardens

OWNER Lenny Morgan has had a whirlwind week with his bonny bitch Melissa’s Pride which took out the Listed Newcastle Cup (715m) at The Gardens on Friday afternoon.

Stepping well from box seven, the black bitch had to settle for second on the outside of Wing Fan (box two) in the early stages, taking the lead at the 600m boxes the second time around and sprinting clear.

In the run to the line the Michelle Shambler-trained stayer stretched out to score by three-and-a-half-lengths over Obi Kenobi (box six) and Madliena Girl (box three) in 42.48 on a boggy track.

Morgan was over the moon with the victory which came just six days after Melissa’s Pride dead-heated for first in the Group 3 Summer Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park.

“I thought she had a great chance but I was worried about the other dog (Wing Fan) leading her – which he did – but she reigned him in down the back,” Morgan told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“When she got to him I didn’t think anything else would get to her.

“I am very proud of the bitch – she has come ahead in leaps and bounds over the past few weeks.

“It has been a very good seven days – greyhound racing doesn’t get any better and if you think it does then you’re having yourself on.”

Melissa’s Pride is a daughter of Magic Sprite and champion race bitch Cindeen Shelby and has now won nine of her 27 starts. Friday’s winner’s cheque also elevated her career earnings above $68,000.

For Morgan, it is not the prize money or the accolades which makes racing greyhounds so special, it is having his dogs named after his late daughter Melissa.

“Melissa was born with spina bifida and struggled all her life, she only lived until she was 39,” Morgan said.

“When she died I bought my first dog and named her Melissa’s Memory – she was a good bitch but unfortunately she passed away.

“All my dogs are named after Melissa – as will the next two I have coming along – all the dogs that race in my name will always be named after Melissa.

“I have never got over my daughter’s death, so having the dogs race in her name makes me proud to think she would have loved to see the dogs racing so well and achieving what they have.”