Forty years of friendship combines for Paws of Thunder win

SHIMA Bar gave owner-breeder partners Bob Cummings and David Gleeson their second group 1 triumph on Saturday night when taking out the final of the Paws of Thunder (520m) at Wentworth Park.

Trained by Andrea Dailly, Shima Bar was fairly away from box one and was able to balance up in second spot through the first turn before unleashing down the back straight, defeating Clock’s Ticking in 29.92.

The Victorian friends had previously bred and raced In The Frame, trained by Eric Castle, which won the 2002 National Sprint Championship, with Gleeson expecting a bold performance from Shima Bar on Saturday night.

“We have been very excited [about the win], but we are starting to settle down now,” Gleeson said.

“My daughter got married two weeks ago and that was a very exciting day, but nothing compares to the adrenaline rush I felt the other night.

“We were hoping Striker Light would come out quick and create a bit of room for him, but as it turns out she missed it and bumped with the three dog (Blabba Mouth).

“Clock’s Ticking began like a rocket which we weren’t expecting, although we thought it would be competitive into the first turn.

“Fortunately, our dog was able to hold his running and once he got balanced up through the first turn I knew he would be very hard to hold out.”

Shima Bar took his record to nine wins and two minor placings from 13 starts, with his earnings now sitting above $98,000.

A son of Barcia Bale and Gleeson and Cumming’s former star Shimaguni, it was only by fate that the duo retained ownership of their gun chaser, having intended to sell him as a youngster.

“There were nine in his litter and we actually advertised them for sale because Bob had to have a hip replacement. It would have been too much for me to drive to his place seven days a week to feed and clean up after the pups, so we made the decision to sell.

“One lady bought four, another one went to NSW, one went to Ballarat and two others went to a bloke who was a member of Shimaguni’s syndicate of owners.

“After all of that we only had one pup left – Shima Bar – no one wanted him and when I started breaking them all in he was a bit of a dope.

“When we started trialling them at Cranbourne he was more than a second slower than the others, but then all of a sudden the penny dropped.

“He has turned into a very nice dog and he is very relaxed– but he is very determined in what he does – he is a good chaser.”

It was a rewarding victory for Gleeson and Cummings, who have invested plenty of blood, sweat and tears into their successful line over the years.

“Bob and I met in the early 1970s and he was interested in the dogs so I gave him a couple. We ended up breeding together and we used to breed each litter and if we had a litter of eight he’d take four and I’d take four to rear on each of our farms.

“We still owned them all in partnership and once a month we would swap them over so that they could experience different environments.”

Gleeson says the hard work continues to this day, with all of the pair’s pups given the best chance to succeed from day one.

“We are very hands on – we start them behind the drag lure when they are 14 weeks’ old, they are all introduced to the bull-ring at five months and they start going into the boxes from six months.

“By doing all this it gets them used to everything and it takes the fear out of it for them later on.

“Bob currently has four Fernando Bale x Shimaguni pups at his place and on a hot day like today they can be found laying in their air-conditioned kennels.

“Bob is fantastic with pups and our normal procedure is to kennel them from four months onwards – he has them in and out of the kennels multiple times a day to run around but it also means they get used to being handled and being in kennels from a young age.

“The rewards, if any, come when they hit the track but we just love pups – it’s amazing to see the behaviour patterns with different pups and to recognise that and nurture each and every one of them.”

Gleeson says he is hoping Shima Bar will return to Sydney for a crack at the upcoming Group 1 National Derby series, but says he will leave that decision up to team Dailly whom he also thanked for their hard work.

“Because it is so hot here I believe he is just having a couple of days to get over the run because he does try very hard.

“I am hoping he will go back for the National Derby, but I have full confidence that Tom [Dailly] will make the right decision for the dog and whether he goes back.

“The Daillys have done an unbelievable job – I have never dealt with people as good as them – they are just so professional and everything is so straight and honest.

“We are very thankful for everything they have done with the dog to get him to where he is today.”