In a training career exceeding a decade, no dog has come close in quality to current kennel star Tonk for St Albans based trainer Charlie Mercieca.
“I’ve had Casey Jones win a few in city, both at Sandown and The Meadows, and she was lucky enough to win a couple of the 2k added Go Distance Racing events. I’ve currently got an unraced dog that goes ok, although he seems like more of a short courser at this stage and I’ve also got Devil’s Own coming back shortly. We only have three dogs in the kennel, so to have Tonk as part of the team is really exciting for us.”
After watching the son of Bartrim Bale demolish his rivals in a blistering 26.88 at Horsham, you couldn’t help but wonder what he could have done at the Ballarat Cup,
“I’m not disappointed we went the way that we did. If he hadn’t fallen at The Meadows we would have tackled Ballarat, but our main priority has been about getting the dogs confidence back. We feel that the last few wins have done that, which will really help him for the Silver Chief, which is the main target for the dog at this stage.”
“There was no benefit in getting the dog knocked about and taking two steps backwards. So we will look for another race in the country next, possibly a Grade 5 at Geelong, before going to the Meadows next Saturday night full of confidence.”
“We intend on chasing country cups and group races after the Silver Chief, form and injury permitting. He was very lucky to get through his fall relatively unscathed with only some minor scratches.”
In just sixteen career starts Tonk has won seven races and been placed a further eight times, which posed the question of what has been his best run in his young career, “I actually think his best run was in the SA Derby when he ran second to Ernie Bung Arrow, who is something special. Although his run at Horsham was his best against the clock, there is a big difference between racing in Grade 5’s and coming up against group class dogs”, explained Charlie.
“Because I’ve never had a dog with his ability before, it’s hard to know how far the dog can go. I think he has the attributes to win a feature race, he has early pace and is strong at the end. I’m sure that the dog will run a strong 595 at Sandown and 600 at The Meadows, which will open up more possibilities down the track.”
The exciting part about the last three wins for Tonk is that they have come on one-bend tracks, which adds another dimension to the greyhound’s future, with many lucrative country cups now on offer. “Early doors we definitely thought that he was a better dog around the circle tracks, but his recent form around the horseshoes have been phenomenal. He has run 25.29 at Ballarat prior to this, but the Horsham run was amazing, very few dogs can go that time.”
With the prospects of a group race win down the track, one can’t help but wonder about a possible stud career for the regally bred sprinter, “That would be the ultimate. He has great bloodlines with Bartrim Bale, who has a great strike rate, but is now based in China. His mum Coulta Gold is also a fantastic producer, so there is no doubt he is bred in the purple. But he will have to win a really good race to get noticed.”
Tonk’s 26.88 Horsham Replay