If a week’s a long time in football, then a year is an eternity in greyhound racing. No dog’s story can prove this more than South Australian legend Ernie Bung Arrow.
Ernie was the hero of Angle Park in 2013 and his group race assault at Angle Park kicked off with the 2013 Group Three SA Derby in September. Next on the radar was the 2013 Group One Adelaide Cup, a title that Ernie will be trying to defend this year, starting with tonight’s heat. The final group win for Ernie was the 2013 Group Three Brian Johnstone Memorial.
After the win in the Brian Johnstone memorial the freak sprinter went on to win his next four starts. But from there it was all bad news. Ernie had his first serious injury early in 2014.
“I was just getting him ready to go back to Kel Greenough for the Temlee and he injured his his wrist. He had two chips and a crack in the wrist. We removed the two chips and had to plaster the crack, which put him out for a long time”, explained trainer Ken Gill.
“He was out for months and then when we were bringing him back he hit a fence and hurt himself again.”
“Then he hurt a monkey muscle at Kim’s and got kennel cough, it’s been one thing after another.”
With one run over the 388m at Angle Park since January the obvious question is how will the champion go in his return to big time racing.
“He can’t be 100% but will go ok. He won’t disgrace himself and I think he can just about lead. We just don’t know how far off his best he is though. We haven’t had him over the 500 in those periods, but his box to box and post to post efforts have been good with excellent sectionals on his own.”
“The dog is a couple of run’s short and the last 50m might tell tonight. Another two to three weeks and we would have been right. I wouldn’t have got him this far and he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of Kim Johnstone however. Although she didn’t race him, she has played a huge part. I definitely wouldn’t have him in this series tonight without all the hard work that Kim put in.”
Tonight and the future will be a waiting game for Ernie’s connections, but they are still hoping that he can reach the level of his past glory.
“We are on the list for the Topgun and it’s a possibility. But I think we will have a crack at the Melbourne Cup if he stay’s sound and we can get him back to the level he was at before.”