Worm Burner: lose weight and win (a lot of) races

THERE really must be something in the South Australian water table. Reigning National Sprint Champion Worm Burner resumed racing on June 6 after a two-month break and in 13 starts since then, all at Angle Park and all over 515 metres the brindle son of Oaks Road and Little Looper has carried all before him for trainer Cameron Butcher.

With 30 wins and nine placings from just 45 career outings and 13 consecutive victories to his credit, Worm Burner is now looking to scale the last few inches of the winning streak Everest, with the jointly-held Australian all-TAB win record of 16 in his sights.

The pair who hold that esteemed record are the NSW speedster Miss Elly Mint, who established the mark in 2008-2009, and the great Fernando Bale, who equalled it only last year.

First, of course, Worm Burner has to try and eclipse the South Australian successive wins record, which is held by former 1981 National Sprint Championship winner Kate’s A Scandal at 15 on end.

As well, Worm Burner will be attempting to equal two other South Australian greyhounds, namely Pinot Noir (1999) and Time Machine (1988), who both registered 14 consecutive wins during their careers.

Of the 13 greyhounds who have won 14 or more races on end in Australian racing history, South Australia has supplied three. Only NSW has as many: the aforementioned Miss Elly Mint as well as National Lass (1985) and Promises Free (1981-1982).

So whatever they drink in South Australia, maybe someone should start thinking about bottling it.

There are plenty of form students who like to look at a greyhound’s racing weight, and if it varies by too much then they may reconsider its chances.

What’s interesting with regard to Worm Burner is that since resuming from that two-month break his racing weight has varied from 32.4 down to 31.4 kilograms. Prior to his break the greyhound had raced 32 times for 17 wins, with his weight for the first 28 of those varying from 31.8 to 33.0 kilograms.

At his last four starts before the break he weighed in at 32.8 (second), 33.0 (second), 32.8 (eighth) and 32.7 (fifth).

Indeed, when he has weighed in between 32.7 to 33.0 his form reads four wins, four seconds, two thirds, two fourths, one fifth and one eighth. So, 14 starts for four wins and six placings. Pretty good by any measure, but when those runs are taken away Worm Burner’s career record starts to look like the South Australian equivalent of Fernando Bale: 31 starts, 26 wins and three placings.

The takeaway: I am quite sure Cameron Butcher is well aware of all this, now we just have to hope the brindle flyer can keep his sleek and slender frame focussed and fit enough to ‘climb’ those last few inches towards the Australian successive win record. That would be a real fillip for the cause of South Australian greyhound racing.