Whilst updating the ARG prizemoney page I came across the glaring omission of “The Iron Dog”. Tonight Garry Selkrig’s grand campaigner Stagger turns up at Ballarat for his chance at history. Earlier this month Stagger won at Warragul to notch up win 61, which equalled the record held by Tasmanian star Rewind for wins at a TAB meeting.
A look at Stagger’s career record of 61 wins from 120 starts leaves you wondering how long the dog can keep on going. When will this warrior of the track finish his career?
“We retired him after he won his 50th start at Healesville. I really wanted him to get to 50 wins and the Healesville Club celebrated the end of his career with a nice BBQ, but we didn’t explain it clearly to the dog. He just doesn’t know how to stop, he is healthy and just wants to race. He is currently injury free and loves it. My old mate has had 11 more wins since that retirement day”, Garry explains.
“When he wants to retire he will tell me and that hasn’t happened yet. He is keen still, he pulls me out to the car and pulls me out to the boxes. That tells me that he enjoys it all and whilst that is the case I will continue on with him.”
Stagger is one of the very few dogs that has managed to continue racing well whilst having a stud career, which is a testament to his chase and honesty.
“He has served over 30 bitches and his oldest are 19 months old and flying at the moment. It’s really exciting and we cant wait till they hit the track. He mixes business and pleasure perfectly, not many can handle stud duties and racing, but he has kept his mind on the job. There is a chance now that he could be racing against his own, which would be exciting and rare.”
Garry tells a story with such enthusiasm of the day a Chinese buyer enquired about buying Stagger.
“We had a Chinese tycoon in the Iron Ore business that rang wanting to pay 60 thousand for him to take him to China. He loved the dog because he had heard him referred to as “The Iron Dog” and he wanted to buy him being in Iron Ore. We never considered selling the dog though, he is part of the family. Once we retire him he will spend the rest of his life at home, we are just enjoying the ride week to week with him.”
In a lot of interviews conducted on ARG we ask the trainer what the career highlight is for a dog and the trainer normally refers to a victory in a group race. In the case of Stagger that group win is the Warragul Cup, but the response from Garry when I asked this question sums up Stagger and his trainer perfectly.
“The honesty is what i think is the main highlight. They don’t make them more honest than him and he just puts in so hard every start. Whenever he won heats for country cups he would struggle to back up in finals four days after, it just didn’t suit him at all. He could have won more cups if they were spaced a week apart. He gave 110 percent every start and he then struggled with quick back-ups.”
When asked if tonight would be the night for Stagger to etch his name in history, Selkrig put it very simply.
“He’s always a chance because he just tries so hard. They don’t make them anymore honest and 61 wins tells the story. He always stands up to racing and there isn’t any that are more durable. That’s why they call him “The Iron Dog.”