A LAST minute decision by WA trainer Tim Mullany and some of his owners to buy a greyhound from Tasmania could earn the group a massive $140,000 if Lorus Time can salute in Saturday night’s Group 1 Perth Cup (520m) at Cannington.
The son of Magic Sprite and Wongawillilesley, $17 to win the final with Sportsbet.com.au, joined Mullany’s Nambeelup kennel less than a fortnight ago, but proved to be well and truly settled into his new home when taking out his heat of the Cup in 30.11 last weekend.
Stepping well from box four, Lorus Time defeated a sensational field including the likes of Above All, Snakebite Bale and Weblec Belle to win his way into the final at odds of over 20-1.
Mullany said he had been following the progress of Lorus Time, who was originally trained by Ted Medhurst, back in the Apple Isle.
“It was a last minute decision to get him over here and put him in the Cup so to pull it off was a bit of a whirlwind experience,” Mullany told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I had been eyeing him off for a little while – he had been in brilliant form – especially at Launceston as he absolutely loves the two turn tracks.
“We more or less put him in the heats thinking we would just see how he went, but in saying that I knew he was coming over in top form and I also knew coming from Ted that he would be in top condition too.
“I went into the heats thinking if he could begin well he would be a chance – his first section times at Launceston were always good – so we thought that if he could find the front he would be very hard to run down despite the fact that there were some very good dogs in the race.”
Lorus Time, a winner of 17 of his 53 starts, is the first group 1 finalist for Mullany, who has only been in the greyhound racing industry for around five years, with his background revolving around wildlife before he picked up the collar and lead.
“My wife and I run a wildlife park over here in WA and I used to work with Steve Irwin at Australia Zoo back in 2004,” Mullany explained.
“I didn’t mind having a little bit of a punt growing up and I was down at the track one day and a friend and I started chatting to a guy and he was telling me about a dog he had racing.
“He told me about how she had fractured her leg and that he had spent a heap of time bringing her back and that she was having her first start back there that day.
“We decided to have a bit of a bet on her and she came out and won the race.
“With the winnings we decided to put it on a dog in the next race called Quick Huns – and it won – before we knew it we had a couple of thousand dollars so we went and bought a pup.
“We sent the pup to a trainer and I took interest in watching what they did to get it ready for a race.
“With my background in wildlife I thought there wasn’t really much to it that I couldn’t do so I decided to have a go for myself.
“I started off with one and two dogs, next minute I had eight and now I have 70.”
While Mullany is still involved and has a passion for saving and showcasing wildlife, he says there is a special kind of satisfaction that comes with preparing a greyhound to win a race.
“You can sit there and feed koalas for 15 years and all they will do is look at you and then go to sleep, but when you train a greyhound to win a race – it’s just an amazing thrill.
“It’s nothing to do with money – I would probably make more money off having the wildlife park – but I get a real kick out of seeing my dogs go well and coming out and doing something like what Lorus Time did last Saturday.”
Lorus Time has drawn box four in the Perth Cup final this Saturday night, with speed likely to be coming from Ima Wagtail (box one) and Ramifications (box two). The latter is the current favourite with Sportsbet.com.au, rated a $2.30 chance to take out the final ahead of Victorian campaigner Blazin’ Bomber (box three) at $3.
“He is mad for the fence, but if he didn’t draw box one I said all along that I would be happy with box four.
“Watching the heats and racing at Cannington over the last few weeks it seems, unless you have a mad crasher on your outside, box four generally gets a pretty good run into the race.
“The one and the two look the likely leaders and the way the track has been playing out since the opening it appears the leaders are generally winning.
“If we can lob behind them we will just be hoping he can hold his spot and to be honest it would be a dream come true just to run in the top four, that would be brilliant.”
While admitting his charge faces a tough task, Mullany says Lorus Time had shown his owners that he was capable of matching it with some of the best dogs in the country.
“It wasn’t like a Steven Bradbury story – it’s not like everyone else fell over and he just got a dream run – he did very well to win with dogs like Above All and Weblec Belle right behind him so he definitely deserves his spot in the final,” he said.
“He can improve off his time, but looking at the box draw there are probably going to be a few dogs in the race which are in front of him early and honestly it is just exciting to be a part of it and to experience the atmosphere of it all.
“[Making a group 1 final] is what everyone strives to get to and a lot of people have been in the industry for a long time and haven’t been able to get there.
“It makes you take a step back and realise what you have got.”