JILLIBY mentor Lorraine Atchison celebrated her first Group win as an owner-trainer when her powerhouse performer Spacecraft scored an empathic victory in Friday night’s Group 2 Maitland Cup.
Starting from box seven against a top class field, the well-bred son of Brett Lee and Cristalle was only fairly away with Camacho (box two) taking up the early lead heading into the bend. Despite holding the lead, he was being closely followed by La Grand Logie (box six) with Spacecraft back in third after circling the field to find a nice spot.
Turning for home, Atchison’s gun speedster drifted wide on the track and started storming down the outside, dashing to the front in the shadows of the post to score by three-quarters-of-a-length in a hot 25.08.
It was a family affair, with Atchison’s sister and brother-in-law Carol and Jeff Eaton training the runner-up, La Grand Logie, with Camacho managing to hold on for third for Ron Bell. Interestingly, Bell also trained Spacecraft’s mother, Cristalle, throughout her career.
After the race, Atchison told Australian Racing Greyhound that she thought her charge would race well, but was concerned when he missed the kick.
“He is a dog that gives absolutely everything he has got and I believed that I had him as well as we have ever had him going into the race, so I was quietly confident, but naturally being a group race filled with good dogs there would have been a lot of people feeling the same way,” Atchison said.
“I thought he needed to jump well, but from the catching pen I saw him back in the field early and I thought he would be in trouble from there. But he hunted up hard and did really well.”
Atchison said the win was made even sweeter with her sister’s greyhound finishing second.
“It was wonderful for her to run second and I am so thankful. They absolutely idolise their dog, as we do ours, and he is a very very good dog as well. I think she is over the moon to have run second.”
Atchison also mentioned the win was even more rewarding as she had bred the dog who traces back from a potent damline which she has developed during her years in the sport.
“I trained his grandmother (Tarawi Tess) and she got beat a neck in the Group 1 Paws of Thunder, running second, she was an amazing animal and she has thrown a lot of good stock.”
“Its hard to explain the difference when you have a win like this when they are with another trainer compared to when you can take them home and cuddle them, get excited and have the one-on-one time with them. It is a different feeling. ”
Few families are as engrossed in the industry as Atchison’s. Her mother, Joan Singline, has had many handy greyhounds over the years while her other sisters Jenny Richards and Noelene Holloway are both successful trainers in their own rights. In particular, Holloway has enjoyed a terrific run over the past 24 months with her Lochinvar Marlow x Fascinate Marina litter, headed by star performer Queen Esther.
On top of that, Atchison’s son-in-law Troy MacDonald, who handled Spacecraft in the Maitland Cup, is actively involved in the the sport as a trainer.
Of course, no team is complete without a dedicated cheer squad and Atchison’s daughter Natalie MacDonald, Troy’s wife, is as committed and passionate as they come alongside her small children Bella, 5, and Lachlan, 3.
Atchison said the passion she has for the dogs is second to none.
“The dogs have been my whole life, I don’t think there is anyone out there more passionate than what I am about greyhounds so its amazing, I’m very excited.”