Avondale Porche returned from 11 months on the sidelines with a dominant display at The Meadows on Saturday night. Jumping well from box three, the daughter of Knocka Norris and Micro Lee managed to find the front in the early stages and was too strong for her opposition, scoring by just under sixth lengths in a handy 30.13.
12 months ago Avondale Porche was one of the most exciting sprinters in New South Wales. Owned by Newcastle businessman Mick Brown and trained by his nephew Beau Hedley, Avondale Porche won her first nine starts in fantastic fashion, recording slick times at The Gardens (29.50), Richmond (30.68) and Wentworth Park (29.75).
Her first defeat came in a semi-final of the Group One Vic Peters Classic where she ran second to Frosty Vintage. She jumped from box five in the following week’s $75,000 to the winner final, running third behind Belfast Johnny and Whata Good Size.
Avondale Porche had her final start for Hedley in December 2013. She finished seventh in a heat of the Group Three Christmas Gift at Wentworth Park, injuring her pin and fan muscles.
After recuperating from her injury, Avondale Porche was sent to Melbourne in April to be trained by Kel Greenough, with Saturday’s win her first start for her new conditioner. The leading Victorian mentor expressed a sense of relief after the victory, with a frustrating seasonal spell attributed to her lengthy absence from the racetrack.
“It’s nice to get them back and win. We’ve had our fair share of dramas, you might say. It hasn’t been so much injury, she has just a very strange seasonal (cycle), the milk wouldn’t go away”, Greenough explained.
Greenough said that he had the blue bitch ready to race in May, but had to scratch her when she first came on season.
“I got her off Beau (in April) and I just had her ready to race and she came on season. I thought it was unfortunate but in four months time I would have her back racing, the four months turned into six months because the milk wouldn’t go away.
“In all the years that I have been in dogs, it has never happened that I have had a problem like this.”
Although her time on Saturday (30.13) was nothing extraordinary, Greenough feels that she is slowly getting back to where she was this time last year.
“I feel as if she is starting to come right. Her last trial, which was last week at Sandown, was quite good.
“I would have loved to have started her at Sandown, I think she goes better at Sandown, but there was nothing on for us because of the Melbourne Cup preludes and that was a much more difficult task for her to tackle after all this time off.”
Greenough will be taking it one day at a time with Avondale Porche. Being a bitch that usually comes on season every sixth months, he isn’t going to get carried away with any major plans for her.
“I don’t think there is anything from stopping her getting back to her best form because she hasn’t been injured, but I haven’t got any great plans for her because it has taken me all this time just to win a race. I’m certainly not going to get ahead of myself.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if she comes on season and probably stops everything, but I would like to win a few more races with her before that.”
Greenough was quick to commend the patience shown by both Mick and Beau over the past few months.
“Their patience has been outstanding, they have never asked ‘what are you doing with that bitch’ even though that’s how I have felt. I was feeling bad for them, but they were feeling bad for me which just shows you their character. They have been fantastic.”
Greenough was also full of praise for Hedley, GRNSW’s Young Person of The Year, who he feels is one of the sport’s finest rising trainers. Hedley has already had his share of success throughout his career with his current kennel stars being Can Of and Avondale Al, who broke the Gosford track record at just his second start.
“He is really switched on for his age, he is way ahead of his experience and he has got the dedication and the right thought process to make it to the next level.
“You see a lot of dog trainers and it is all about them, Beau is not like that. He is more about learning and he blames himself whereas a lot of people blame the dog. That to me is an outstanding quality for a person to have.
“He is a great person. If he can stick to the game with all its highs and lows, he is going to turn into an outstanding dog trainer.”