SINCE March this year the performances of the intriguingly-named former Australian short-course sprinter Swimming Goat in New Zealand have made headlines not only in the greyhound press but have also spilled over into the general media.
In what has been a truly remarkable string of races, Swimming Goat has competed 40 times in his new homeland for an incredible 36 wins, three seconds and just one unplaced run.
That unplaced run, a fifth placing, occurred at the red fawn dog’s most recent outing, on December 22.
Every one of Swimming Goat’s starts has been conducted over the 295m journey at Christchurch, so a fast start is almost the only way to be assured of winning. Miss the kick and a greyhound virtually has no hope of making up the ground in a race which is over in about 17 seconds.
By El Grand Senor out of Kingsbrae Molly, Swimming Goat raced 11 times in Australia (at Coonamble, Grafton, Casino and Tweed Heads) for four wins, one second and two thirds.
Now trained by Calum Weir in New Zealand, Swimming Goat set a New Zealand record for the most number of wins in a row when he notched his 22nd consecutive victory on October 20 this year.
The previous record was 15 wins in a row held jointly by Tuggerah, who established the feat in 1962 and Rummo, who set that mark in 1995-96, although the first three wins were non-tote.
Swimming Goat had run second at his first start in New Zealand, then put together a sequence of seven wins in a row before again finishing second. Then, from May 19 until October 20 Swimming Goat recorded that incredible sequence of 22 wins on end. After again finishing second, he once more strung together seven victories in a row before that fifth placing.
So, in terms of consistency, Swimming Goat went 39 races on end without being unplaced. That is more than likely a New Zealand record.
While there’s little doubt Australian racing is far stronger than its New Zealand counterpart, it’s worth noting that the Australian record for successive wins stands at 24, to the credit of Tropical One, but all of these were non-TAB successes.
The all-TAB record is just 16 in a row, set by Miss Elly Mint in 2008-09 and equaled by the great Fernando Bale in 2015.
As far as Australian racing in 2016 is concerned, the only greyhounds which produced a lengthy sequence of successive wins were the Queensland sprinter Anja, who won her first 13 races (although the sequence began in 2015) and the South Australian sprinter Worm Burner, who also won 13 straight.
Marbo’s Magic, from NSW, managed 12 on end, although, like Anja, the sequence began in 2015.
Swimming Goat’s 39 consecutive wins and placings looks pretty good when you note that former Queensland star Toolibuk holds the Australian record for the most successive wins and placings at 40.
Behind Toolibuk are the likes of the previously-mentioned Tropical One, who collected 37 successive wins and places (but all non-TAB) and the great Fernando Bale who went 35 races before being unplaced.
This year, Fabregal, a South Australian sprinter, took his record to 34 races on end before being unplaced, although the sequence started in 2015.
Swimming Goat’s performances during 2016 have been sensational by any standards and what’s even better is that he now boasts career prize money of more than $73,000.
That’s a pretty good effort for a greyhound who is essentially a speedy squib and highlights how good earnings can be in New Zealand for the right greyhound.