Couch Surfer riding wave of form into Middle Distance Challenge

Justin Warwick
Former horse trainer and now greyhound breeder with Quilista, alongside breeder Ellie Giles, after she sold for $1 million at the 2021 Magic Millions National Sale. (Picture: Thoroughbred Breeders WA)

Couch Surfer's owner, Justin Warwick, believes his young gun will not be deterred from the four box in the Mandurah on night.

The emerging chaser – who turns two next Tuesday – has started from that lane just twice in his 15 career races.

But he finished runner-up from there in his heat over 520m on November 5, before winning over 600m at on January 4.

Warwick believes Couch Surfer has already shown good racing nous and often finds the rail.

He would like to see him use a similar tactic in the $28,500 open-grade race over 647m on Friday night.

“He's drawn box four, which is good,” Warwick told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“He seems to have great race manners with a great racing brain.

“He loves taking the short-cut, so hopefully he can keep that up.”

Finding the lead on the back straight, Couch Surfer held on well to win last Friday night's lead-up event, the $1.90 favourite crossing the line in 36.85 seconds and winning by 1 ¼ lengths.

But in an ominous warning to opponents, Warwick and trainer believe he has still got some improvement in him.

“It probably wasn't as dominant a win as previously, but it was a new track,” Warwick said of Couch Surfer's first start at Mandurah.

“Chris Halse and who look after him weren't as concerned as I was.

“They said the lighting was different and it's a new track.

“That can often happen with them with their first gallop around there.”

Mandurah R5 replay | 10/2/2023 | Couch Surfer (1st)

Warwick said Couch Surfer's next target was a likely shot at the , with the heats at Cannington on March 11.

The former horse trainer, who part-owns Peter and Paul Snowden's star three-year-old filly Sheeza Belter, has enjoyed his switch to greyhounds.

A cattle farmer, Warwick also breeds greyhounds.

“I've made some good friends. It's a great outlet and new avenue to meet new people,” he said.

“I love the dogs. I breed dogs.

“I've got 500 acres. I farm cattle now I've retired from horse racing.

“I fenced off five acres for the dogs, and I'm just raising one litter at a time.

“It's been good. It's something I'll continue to do.

“It happens very quickly compared to raising horses.”

Warwick is already enjoying success as a greyhound breeder.

“I've bred two litters. I got 11 out of the first litter and sold a few – that was Couch Surfer's litter,” he said.

is out of that litter as well – Linda's got him.

“There are a couple of others who show a bit of promise, but I think Couch Surfer is in front by a mile.

“And in the next litter I think I've got the oldest pups, with a bitch called West On Pilot, who Linda and Gary Weston own.

“They leased it to me, so I bred a litter out of them and got eight pups, and they're just about to get named.”

Warwick said Halse and Britton have been excellent guides to help him get through his early stages as a greyhound breeder.

“I got introduced to Linda, and no one could do any more for me than what her and Chris have done,” he said.

“They held my hand and walked me through it.

“We've become good friends, and I'm sure we'll breed more litter and hopefully they can keep training them for me.”

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