Bill Skipper’s love and affection has paid off, yet again, with his sprinter Special Pup, making it through to his second finals campaign, this time the Group 3 Solo Mandurah Cup.
An abundance of talent made its way down to Mandurah for the heats on Friday evening. It was a night where favourites went down and long shots stepped up.
In the opening heat of the night, Special Pup jumped from box eight and flew around the outside to take the lead before the field even hit the 405 metre boxes. From then on it was a matter of how far the 31 kilogram dog was going to win by.
Talent was evenly matched with Uno Reltub, Sam’s Sionara and Rerod Rose battling it out for the minor placing’s. The wining margin was just over 5 lengths to the Corey White-trained Rerod Rose in a time of 27.46.
“It was a very good run,” Trainer Bill Skipper said.
“I thought box eight would suit him because he has nothing on his outside and he would just cart along”.
“He gave Uno Reltub whip burn in the race, he just couldn’t keep up. He got along side him on the bend and he just said see you later”.
Youngster Te Amo also made it into the final after going head to head with Kylie McLeannan’s Hosley Bale, who finished third behind a strong finishing Gomes.
Linda Britton produced her second quinella of the night in the third heat with Zelemar Fever taking out first prize.
Bill Skipper had Special Pup’s litter brother, Special Maestro, in the third heat. Unfortunately he found trouble early and was unable to find his way through the field. Zelemar Fever produced her first win at the Mandurah track, while the favourite, On Coin, never found himself in the mix after jumping badly.
Perth Cup winner Dyna Nalin qualified in the fastest winning time (27.34), putting together yet another come from behind victory when running down Linda Britton’s returnee, Rumbling Rick.
Mandurah specialist De Wade took out the fifth heat, over Nick Minutillo’s Lochinvar Sass in the second fastest heat time of 27.39.
Paul Stuart finished off his night with his third entrant, Flip Bale, stealing the race on the line from Saving Bundles.
Linda Britton also put through three chasers of her own, after Oh So Smooth took the last rug in the final heat.
Drawing box six in the final, Bill Skipper believes that the box could have been worse.
“He actually has a good box, it’s all in the jump though”.
“I am never confident going into races, I always get staggered on what they do. It’s because I believe bad luck normally causes most of it”.
Special Pup is lovingly kennel named Pup, after he was found to have a calcium deficiency and needed to be booked into a vet at just four months old.
“They asked what the pups name was and I said just call him pup, so that’s how he got his name”.
Although simple, Pup’s personality is certainly not.
“He is very playful and affectionate. They are all a bit stubborn on the lead because they want you to muck with them. They don’t want to go into their kennels because they want to stay out and play”.
“You can’t blame them can you?”
Bill Skipper chose Velocette to sire his litter of Barry’s Special pups because he was looking for more strength.
“The first litter I went to Give Me Five, and that was just really picked out of the hat. The next one was really much the same thing, but this time I thought I would go up a little bit stronger”.
“I was looking at Bombastic Shiraz but I didn’t think I could get a straw for him, so I went for the offspring, which is Velocette”.
“I’m not a real guru with the breeding, that has all come from Barry’s Special really. I think you could have crossed anything over her”.
Barry’s Special raced around Wentworth Park before dropping a back muscle and making the move west into Dean Starkie’s kennels.
“When she first came over she wouldn’t break 28 (seconds) over the 490, Dean then asked if I wanted to train her”.
“We turned her around to be a bit of a speed machine”.
Turing nine years old on the first of December, Barry’s Special is very special to Bill Skipper.
“Barry’s Special sleeps in the lounge, she is human. When people ring up I tell them that she is listening”.
“All mine make pets, I have the old girls lying here on a rug at the moment. So I have three in the house and they virtually have free run”.
Sadly, Bill lost one of his beloved brood bitches in Lethal Lisa not too long ago.
“I bred a litter from her, she had only dropped the pups three weeks (before) and I had to put her down because she had bone cancer”.
Bill knew there was something wrong when she wouldn’t lie down to feed her puppies.
“She would just walk around in a circle because she couldn’t lay herself down to feed them. I had to lift her up and drop her down”.
“Racing can be a horrible business you know”.
Special Pup’s first feature victory came in the Mandurah Mail Winter Sprint.
“Friday the 26th of July and we still need to get his name engraved on it!”
“Pup seems to be all happy with Mandurah, he has won so many races there. He did win his maiden at Cannington, but apart from that I don’t think he has won another race there”.
Pup has raced around Mandurah 15 times for a staggering 11 wins and one minor placing, producing his best time of 27.32 in August of this year.
“He is racing well and he likes Mandurah, he has gone the good times there”.
Bill Skipper rates Dyna Nalin in the final because of his explosive speed, but like all short distance races the jump from the boxes means everything.
“You just got to sit back and wait for the lids to open and see what happens”.