Every now and then you come across a greyhound that touches your heart, Zelemar Fever is one of those dogs.
From the moment she stepped paw into Linda Britton’s kennels she made an impact. It wasn’t just her jet-black coat, or the fact that she has her very own party trick (rolling around on the grass), it was the fact that she was very much aware of her talent. The strut she puts on whilst walking to and from the kennel says it all.
The 27 kilo bitch has earned over $99,000 from just 46 starts and is in career best form, only losing one of her past eight races.
Her first venture to WA was back in June for Cannington Oaks and she failed to run a place in final after jumping from box four and finding trouble throughout. In Zelemar Fever’s four starts in WA she caught the eyes of owners Gary and Craig Weston.
“We asked Linda if Rob Crawford (previous breeder and owner) would be interested in selling her. After making several phone calls to Linda, she finally agreed to contact Rob Crawford to see if he would sell her.” Gary Weston explained.
“Rob had received several offers for Zelemar Fever previously but had refused to sell. However, as he has so much respect for Linda and Chris and the way they train and look after their dogs, Rob agreed that racing in Perth would be good for Zelemar Fever and he agreed to sell.”
Since making the permanent move to WA, Zelemar Fever has been almost unstoppable. She became one of a select few greyhounds to break the 30 second barrier over Cannington’s 530 metre trip, clocking 29.99 seconds on the 23rd of November. Although she has been unable to recreate this performance, she’s running times that prove she means business, clocking nothing slower then 30.23 in her victories.
“We all dream of a greyhound that can break the 30 seconds barrier, but we never expected her to achieve this milestone.”
“We were aware of her preference for inside boxes and hoped she would be a 30.20 greyhound over the 530 metres, with the option of moving her to the 600 metres plus at a later date.”
“She has exceeded all our expectations by a huge amount!”
It is not just Zelemar Fever’s blistering speed that excites people when they watch her race. Her head to head battles with WA’s fastest greyhound On Coin make for extra spectacular viewing. Both are amazing greyhounds, with attributes that have punters questioning who to put their money on. Zelemar Fever has impeccable box manners and early pace that puts her lengths in front of the field, making it very hard for the field to run her down. Whilst John Crossley’s On Coin is strong, and fast enough to find himself in last position and still rattle home to snatch the victory.
“On Coin is a great greyhound and the battles with Zelemar Fever are exciting but very nerve wracking!”
“The Crossley’s are very good friends so that makes the situation more difficult. As long as both the greyhounds get around safely each week, we are all happy.”
In Zelemar Fever’s Anniversary Cup win last week she found herself in unfamiliar territory heading into the first corner sitting third. She ran around the outside of the railing Sveta Monelli, with On Coin hot on her tail as she took the lead. She even pulled away from On Coin as she hit the finishing post.
“We thought she would box on and run a place after being 3rd on the first turn, but she is such a fantastic chaser that she never gives up.We were very excited when she won the race, and after several checks in running, she still managed to run a great time.”
With the Perth Cup just around the corner, it’s hard not to give Zelemar Fever a fighting chance against the interstate greyhounds that come to showcase their talent on Greyhounds WA’s biggest night.
“We are very hopeful that she will stay sound and be in good form for the Perth Cup. If she is fit and draws well, she has the ability to be competitive with the interstate greyhounds. We are very lucky to have our greyhounds trained by Linda, Chris and the team – this is a huge advantage to us!”
It is almost hard to believe at just 18 weeks old Zelemar Fever was fighting to keep herself alive. One morning she was found listless and hot by one of breeders Leeanne and Robert Crawford’s workers. Robert took her to Sandown Vet to find that she had a fever of 41 degrees, which is when the brain starts to cook and the body begins to shut down. Vets believed it was a bite of some sort. She stayed at the vets for three days; most of her time there was spent on a drip. The vet had very little confidence that Zelemar Fever would recover.
Little Zelemar Fever improved enough for Robert and Leeanne to take her home after she had been on the drip. She spent the next four weeks resting in their race kennels. All she has to show for her pain and suffering is a mark on her front leg from where she was on the drip. The rest is history.
Naming Zelemar Fever was a meaningful process for breeders Leeanne and Robert Crawford. Zelemar is a prefix created out of the Leeanne, Robert and their children’s names. The second part to her name was easy for the Crawford’s to name. Fever came from her high fever when she was sick. Her Kennel name is Ivy, because her ear brand ends with I and it was the first name that Robert through of.
The daughter of Bombastic Shiraz – Noaki will have litters of her own after her racing career comes to an end in hope of producing offspring that hold as much talent and personality as she does.
“It was important to us that Zelemar Fever was kept at the Britton kennels for future breeding. It is so difficult to buy a good greyhound from over east. Dave Hobby and the Quincy’s have shown what can be done by breeding in Western Australia.”
“Linda is a great breeder of greyhounds and the strike rate of pups bred at the Britton’s is fantastic. If we can have a couple of good brood bitches, like Zelemar Fever, this is the way of the future for racing in Western Australia.”
Zelemar Fever is set to race at Cannington again on Saturday night, jumping from box two at 8.07pm Perth time. On Coin lines up against her from box three. Can Zelemar Fever win yet another one of their head to head battles? Or will On Coin decide that it’s his week to shine.