POKE The Bear (Fernando Bale x Nicki Fields Dec ’15) continued the hot start to his career at The Meadows on Saturday night when recording a handy 30.13 win.
Trained by Gerry O’Keeffe, the white and fawn greyhound was only fairly into stride and had to work his way into second spot before chasing down the leader Helicopter Harry (Our Toyman x Chardonnay Doll Feb ’16) in the home straight to score by 0.86 lengths.
It was his third win at start six, having bounced back from the only unplaced run of his career the start prior when finishing sixth in a heat of the Group 3 SA Derby at Angle Park on September 14.
“We have a big opinion of him so we took him to the Derby heats without trialling around there,” O’Keefe explained.
“In hindsight he obviously needed the look – he missed the start and he didn’t handle the track – but we had decided to have a throw at the stumps and although it didn’t work out there was no harm done.”
O’Keeffe said he was extremely pleased with Saturday night’s win as Poke The Bear is still figuring out what racing is all about.
“He is still learning. You could see on Saturday night he took about 80 yards to decide whether to go inside or outside the dog he was chasing.
“Eventually he went to the outside and was too strong at the finish. Hopefully he has a bright future and goes on from here.
“He doesn’t have a lot of early speed but it looks like he may get a bit more ground in the future so that will be something we can work towards over the next six months or so.”
Poke The Bear is owned and bred by Darren and Michael Puleio and is from an exciting litter including Out Of Range, a winner of two from two, and Fully Loaded, which is unbeaten in seven starts to date.
O’Keeffe said it is great to see the litter racing so well, having also trained their dam, Nicki Fields (Knocka Norris x Misty Fields Sep ’12) throughout her career.
“She was a great little bitch for us – we raced her and she made the final of the Group 1 Super Stayers at The Meadows so she was a very handy little bitch.
“This is her first litter and it looks to be a cracker – so far six of the eight pups have raced and they have all won which is a great feat given they don’t turn two until December.”
The next target for Poke The Bear will be the Group 3 Great Chase series which is run between October 6 and 25 and brings together the greyhound racing sector and the disability sector.