Baa Man wins Group 3 Brian Johnstone in brilliant style

Baa Man bolts clear to win the Brian Johnstone. PIC: Kurt Donsberg Greyhound Photography.

BAA Man (Dyna Tron x Just Crazy Nov ’15) justified his even money favouritism with an emphatic victory in Thursday’s Group 3 Brian Johnstone Memorial Classic (515m) at Angle Park.

Owned by the Black Sheep Syndicate and trained at Lewiston by Karen Wittholz, Baa Man jumped well off box six but was shuffled back to third spot through the first turn.

Down the back the brindle dog began working into the race, hooking three-wide around the leaders approaching the home turn and bolting clear to win by five and three quarter lengths in 29.99.

Libby Raider (Kc And All x Long Gully Libby Aug ’15) and Emerley Storm (Nolen x Emerley Charmer Dec ’15) rounded out the placings in second and third respectively.

“He didn’t do everything right, a couple of them got away from him early, but he lobbed third down the back and once he balanced up I thought he was going to go close,” Wittholz told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“I didn’t want to get too confident and jinx him, so I waited until the home turn to start cheering and he really started to pull away from them at the end.

“It’s been a long time between drinks for us and these type of races are very hard to come by so it was definitely a big thrill.”

Baa Man has now won nine of his 16 starts with three minor placings and almost $35,000 in prize money earnings.

Wittholz, who bred the powerhouse performer with her husband Michael, says Baa Man has plenty of quirks, but mentioned she couldn’t be happier with his progress so far.

“He is a bit of a stress head – he is standoffish and seems to worry about everything,” she said.

“But he is a lovely dog and he is very easy to do anything with – when the lure takes off he switches on and becomes a different dog.

“I couldn’t ask anything more from him than what he is doing at the moment – he is doing everything right at this stage so hopefully he stays sound and we can have a bit of fun with him.”

Karen and Michael got a double on Thursday night when Baa Baa Ra (Lochinvar Marlow x Classic Ice Dec ’14) also saluted over the 515m trip. Stopping the clock in 30.46, it was her second win from her past three starts.

“My husband is part of the syndicate and there are five of them in it together – they are the Black Sheep Syndicate so all of their dogs have ‘Baa’ in the name.

“One of the blokes in the Syndicate went to the dogs last night and it was the first time he’d ever been – he has had racehorses so it’s a bit different but he was very excited by it all.

“They got a double so it was drinks all round and they all had a great time which was fantastic.”

Baa Man with connections after winning the Brian Johnstone. PIC: Kurt Donsberg Greyhound Photography.

Baa Man will now head towards the heats of the 2017 Gawler Classic over 531m which will be run on Sunday December 17.

“He’ll probably just trial in between and I expect him to go well,” Wittholz said.

“He seems to like Gawler more [than Angle Park] – it’s the track where we break all of ours in and start them out so he has plenty of experience around there and he has gone 30.85 there.”

It will be a busy month for Wittholz who is expecting Just Crazy to whelp her next litter, to Dyna Villa, in a few weeks’ time.

Early scans have shown eight pups – the perfect Christmas present – and Wittholz already has the perfect racetrack moniker picked out for the Black Sheep boys.

“I told them they’ll have to call one of these pups Baa Humbug.”

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