Kennel mates step up as Worm Burner fights for his life

TALENTED litter mates On Fire, Buzz Box and Purpose Driven lifted the spirits of their trainer, Cameron Butcher, when running the trifecta in Thursday night’s Group 3 Brian Johnstone (515m) at Angle Park.

Stepping from box three, On Fire was able to roll straight to the early lead, giving nothing else a look-in as he strode to the line to score by nine-and-three-quarter lengths in 29.52.

Buzz Box (box four) crossed the line in second, with Purpose Driven (box five) finishing a further one-and-three-quarter lengths back in third spot.

Butcher says it was a great feeling to win the feature event for SA-bred greyhounds and he is now hoping On Fire can emulate the feats of his star performer Worm Burner (pictured – blue rug) who won the event in 2015.

“It is always thrilling to win these types of races,” Butcher told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“I knew there were a lot of good dogs in the field and I thought whoever went around the first turn in front would be in with a fairly good chance and thankfully that was us.

“On Fire is probably showing the same potential as Worm Burner at the same age, but who knows if he will ever turn out as good – it is a big ask.”

The Brian Johnstone trifecta couldn’t have come at a better time for Butcher, whose spirits are currently low as Worm Burner continues to fight for his life after being bitten by a spider last weekend.

“On Sunday morning I got him out of the kennel and he looked a bit lame, but I thought I might have been imagining it.

“That night he had some swelling around his elbow so I gave him some amoxicillin and anti-inflammatories, but by the next morning it was bigger again.

“I took him to John Katakasi at Two Wells and he was at the vets for four days, but we got him home last night (Thursday) and we are hoping he is on the mend.”

A winner of 35 races including the Group 1 National Sprint Championship, Butcher says he is hopeful the brindle dog will make it back to the track, but says the dog’s welfare is paramount.

“He looks like he is recovering, but I suppose we will know in about a week whether he is going to get over it or not,” he said.

“These things can be pretty serious, so I am hoping he makes it back to the track, but the main thing at this stage is that he is ok.

“You never know when things like this are going to happen, it’s certainly not what we were expecting.

“You definitely have your good and bad times in this game.”

Watch On Fire (3) defeat kennel mates Buzz Box (4) and Purpose Driven (5) in the Group 3 Brian Johnstone Memorial.