For The Love of The Dogs – The Stuhmcke Story

In times of disaster individuals can still find hope. And so it was on 11th of January 2011 – on a day when friends and family lost four of their houses, Tammy Stuhmcke had just whelped her first litter of pups. A litter of 8 by champion race dog Dashing Corsair out of lightly raced bitch Razolin Bond.

“It was January 2011 and the peak of the Ipswich floods. I was parked up the end of the street watching Mum’s house go under water. I had the pups in the car with me and I knew then that even with tragedy all around that these pups were going to be special.” Tammy told Australian Racing Greyhound after her biggest thrill in greyhound racing.

It was 9 years ago that Tammy and her childhood sweetheart and husband Jason, starting running the Ipswich Pet Food Shop – West Moreland Pet Supplies. Being located in a greyhound region, dog people would come by and the racing bug would eventually take hold and sink in. Through the pet food store they made their first greyhound contacts and naturally they acquired their first couple of greyhounds. The Stuhmcke’s bought some cheap race dogs and tasted limited success. Like most, it’s this limited success that starts the passion and life changes forever.

“We battled along for a number of years until finally we thought we had the knowledge and experience to breed a litter of our own” Tammy said. Through their involvement in the industry they had met Ray Nelson. “Unfortunately Ray passed away around the same time we bought his ex-racing bitch, Razolin Bond. We purchased her with a decision made that we would give her a litter and breed with her.”

Razolin Bond (Bond – Razolin) was a very lightly raced bitch who retired undefeated. Two starts for two wins over the 431m at Ipswich, albeit in moderate times. Looking through the family line, there were lots of named pups who never raced; lots of non-starters. Hayley as she is affectionately known around home showed Tammy something – the breeding gamble that they had to take.

Breeding decision time; how do you choose a sire? For the Stuhmcke’s it was easy. “We wanted a dog that could both sprint and stay. He had to have been an iron dog. He had to have raced consistently, and had to have had more than only a handful a starts. Who else but Harry!”

Harry, who Tammy now calls a friend; is the champion greyhound Dashing Corsair. The Queensland champ raced by Desley Williams and Paddy Fitch. The 2010 Queensland Greyhound of the Year, the only greyhound to have won both the National Sprint (2009) and National Distance (2011) finals. A remarkable fawn chaser who started 124 times for 57 wins, 16 seconds and 14 thirds. 18 group finals and a bank balance in excess of $455,000 dollars.

Harry was still racing when he served Razolin Bond, and in January 2011, 8 healthy pups were whelped. Tammy and Jason did it all on their own. Immediately, the pups became part of the family and they were reared that way too. “They were always given the best of everything!”

On the night of his final race start – the 2011 National Distance Final, Tammy bought the pups into the lounge room to watch and cheer on their dad. Harry, like his entire career before then had never let anyone down and for his final race start it would be the same. He would retire on top winning the Group 1 National Distance Final at Albion Park – a track where he would salute 33 times eclipsing the long standing record of champion Winged Runner. At the time of Dashing Corsais’s final victory Tammy took a moment and looked at her litter of pups, walking around the lounge room making themselves at home – again she had a thought much like she did the day they were born – Tammy believed that she had something special.

The pups would continue to be reared at the Stuhmcke property, and when the time came Jason and Tammy broke them in themselves. “It didn’t matter what they showed, I wasn’t nervous during the break-in. They would be loved no matter what they did on the race track and would have homes for life.” Tammy said. For the Stuhmcke’s – race wins are the icing on the cake – their thrill is the love of their dogs that has them involved.

The slowest of the break-in’s was a brindle dog affectionately known as Manu – Tammy had a soft spot for him and taught him some tricks. “I had taught him to high 5 me after he had trialed. He would come into the catching pen and I would stick out my hand and he would high 5 me” laughed Tammy. He was named like the remainder of the litter and would grace the track as Dashing Man.

Dashing Man set the race track alight with his best of day debut win at Ipswich in 30.68. A wonderful time for any class of greyhound let alone a maiden. The Stuhmcke’s knew then they had a dog with potential. The excitement of his first win was soured at his second start when he finished a distant second. It wasn’t the result that worried Tammy more the time. “He went a lot slower than he was capable of. I knew then that I didn’t have the ability to train a greyhound of his potential. He needed a trainer who could give him the time and attention that he deserved.” It was this realisation that would set Dashing Man on to bigger and better things.

Tammy was given the names of up and coming Victorian trainers Jamie and Brooke Ennis. They operated a small team from their Lara base and it sounded ideal – Manu wouldn’t suit a big kennel. Contact was made and Jamie told Tammy to put Dashing Man straight onto the plane. After a handful of Queensland starts Manu was leaving the only home he had ever known. Little did anyone know what would happen next.

Dashing Man started his Victorian career with aplomb, running a solid second for his Victorian debut at Geelong before having luck in the final the following week when he would finish 6th. He was then taken to town where the big stages make or break a dog – it made him. He would soon salute at The Meadows, Sandown and Cranbourne. He was finishing off his races like his dad, strong and full of running. In August 2013 he was stepped up to middle distance and he hasn’t looked back since, becoming one of Victoria’s and Australia’s most consistent chasers.

Fast BOD wins at The Meadows, Sandown and Ballarat – he was flying and he was consistent. He had no luck in the Hume Cup heats at the Meadows but was invited to contest the recent invitation only Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial at Sandown. A race worth $25,000 to the winner. The Stuhmcke’s first group finalists, their biggest thrill to date. Dashing Man’s biggest test, and the first Dashing Corsair offspring to contest a group final.

By now Harry’s trainer Desley Williams and Tammy were great friends, speaking regularly and keeping in touch via social media. Tammy knew the closeness and relationship that Desley had with her champion chaser. This race would be a big night for everyone involved with Dashing Man and Dashing Corsair – everyone who believed that good things should happen to good people.

In the final, the race favourite was the inform recent Meadows track record breaker Bookkeeper who was drawn in box 8 but Manu would have his supporters despite drawing awkwardly in box 4. As the boxes opened, Manu surprised all and came out full of running, quickly settling in second behind the front running Gambo Girl – it was a good position because he loves to rail. Bookkeeper had moved to third and was close enough if good enough. It was a thrilling race and as Tammy had always believed about this litter, something special was about to happen. Dashing Man ran down a gallant Gambo Girl to win by half a head. Rob Testa called it and Tammy knew despite the judge calling for the photo. “I was so excited, I told Jason that he had won. I was yelling at Jason… Rob Testa never gets it wrong, Rob Testa never gets it wrong!” And so he didn’t – Dashing Man would claim the group 3 title, his first group win and Harry’s first pup to win a group race. It was also the first group win for exciting young trainer Brooke Ennis.

Manu registered his 9th win from just the 28 career starts, a group 3 victory and took his career prizemoney to $71,000. It was the Stuhmcke’s biggest thrill. “It’s exciting – I love the racing game whether it winning a race like this or winning a maiden at Ipswich. Every win is a thrill and I just love seeing the dogs perform to their full potential. Win or lose I love them just the same – they are family.”

When Razolin Bond came on season again, the decision on a sire was an easy one. “How could we not go back to Harry?” And so they did, with 12 pups whelped in July 2013. Like the litter racing now, every one of these pups will be loved and given every opportunity to reach its full potential. The Stuhmcke’s wouldn’t have it any other way.

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