Queensland mentor Peter Young is pinching himself after Iva Vision, a greyhound which he bred and now trains, was able to take out last night’s Group Two Sandown Shootout final, giving the Sunshine State its first win in the race which was first run in 1998.
Young is still on cloud nine after the victory but said he and his father Brian, who travelled to Melbourne with the greyhound, were expecting him to go well in the four dog feature.
“It’s an honour to be the first Queensland greyhound to win it, it’s a big thrill. I’m still finding it hard to believe and I’m just soaking it up and enjoying it at the moment”, Young enthused.
“We were fairly confident and when Banjo Boy was scratched we were more confident because we knew we would lead and then it would be a matter of them trying to run us down.”
The race played out as they were expecting. Jumping well from box three, Iva Vision found the front in the early stages and railed beautifully through the first turn.
Allen Deed, the race favourite, began well but found trouble early when colliding with Awesome Project.
“I couldn’t believe Allen Deed jumped like he did, if he had of made it around the corner and found the front it would have been all over, he would have won.”
From that point, Oakvale Destiny, which gained a start from box one, loomed as Iva Vision’s only danger in the race. Young admits that he thought she had him covered swinging for home.
“We thought she (Oakvale Destiny) was the main danger going into the race and when they turned into the straight I thought she was going to run him down, but he cut back down to the fence and made her change her stride a little bit. That gave us a bit of a break on her.”
Iva Vision finished the event off strongly, sprinting to the line one and a quarter lengths clear of Oakvale Destiny in a fast 29.27. Awesome Project ran on for third with Allen Deed coming in at the tail of the field.
The son of Ivan Brown and Visualization, which was raced by Brian, has now won 12 races from 18 career outings with the Shootout adding to his Group Three SA Derby triumph from September.
Peter, who has only been training for around four years, says that Iva Vision is by far the best greyhound he has trained. While the dog was always fast from the start, Young says it wasn’t until one of the country’s leading conditioners commented on his speedy chaser that he realised just how special he may be.
“When he was a pup he was always trialling a lot better than the rest of the litter. One day Reg Kay pulled us aside and said ‘that’s a good dog you have got there, you really don’t know what you have got’. That was after his second or third run.”
Peter said that Iva Vision will remain in Melbourne with Brian where they are currently staying with leading Victorian trainer Kel Greenough. The budding star’s next mission will be the heats of the Group One Melbourne Cup which will be held next Thursday at Sandown.
Iva Vision, who ran 29.43 at his first race appearance at Sandown in a Cup Prelude, will have to win his heat next week to make it through the $420,000 to the winner final.
It is a big ask, especially because Iva Vision is not blessed with blistering speed, but Peter remains in awe of his tenacious chaser’s tremendous field sense.
“Obviously we are going to be in a different class of race and he is going to have to use his best box manners to get through to the final. I am hoping he draws either one, two or out wide to miss the trouble but we will have to wait and see.”
“When we go back through his races we always think ‘how the hell did he get up there’ and you just watch how he seems to know where the gaps are opening and then the speed he uses to accelerate through.”
It will be a nervous wait this week for Peter, who remains in Queensland with his other greyhounds.
All going to plan, Peter could be on a plane to Melbourne in a week and a half to cheer on his kennel star as he attempts to take his prize money earnings to over $530,000, not bad for a youngster that has only been racing for nine months!