It would be a remarkable feat given only two greyhounds to have won the Paws of Thunder (formerly known as the NSW St. Ledger), have gone on to produce a winner – with Black Top (1962) siring Another Glitter (1967), Zoom Top (1968) and Romantic Top (1971) and Modern Assassin siring 2006 winner Suave Fella.
Blabba Mouth is trained in the NSW Hunter Valley by Cheryl and Michael Murray and comes into Saturday’s race as the winner of six of his 16 starts, including a 30.34 victory in his heat last weekend.
The Murrays’ 19-year-old-daughter Josie is captain of the kennel’s cheer squad and says her family is elated to be in the showpiece.
Odds comparison for Paws of Thunder night
“We never could have dreamt of being in a group 1 final – it is very surreal,” Murray told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“We didn’t think he was going to win his heat last week because he was a fair way behind the leader, Mainline Osti, back in second.
“Mainline Osti had beaten him there the week before and she is a pretty good greyhound – so it was a huge effort to win his heat.
“I was very happy and mum was standing behind the boxes and said it was the most excited she has ever been.”
Cheryl and Michael have been training greyhounds together for 35 years and decided to buy a pup out of Cindeen Shelby’s second litter, to Brett Lee, in 2011.
“Mum and dad are friends with Cindeen Shelby’s breeder, Deen Parkinson, so they decided to buy a pup out of her,” Murray said.
“She was such a good racer and she is a nice bitch so they were hoping she would throw on.
“The first pup we had out of her was Quite Ready and he won two races in town so he paid his way and they decided to buy some more pups out of her next litters.
“We also had Mean Mr Mustard who was lucky not to win in town and his sister Sandy Freckle who won four races at Wentworth Park.
“Now we have another two out of her Magic Sprite litter – Blabba Mouth and Swift Yarn and they have both won in town as well.”
Also accompanying the family to the track will be Luke’s wife Renee, Lani’s husband Mick, Emma’s husband Frank and six of Cheryl and Michael’s grandchildren; Jake, Stephanie, Zac, Lillie, Evie and Layla.
Josie says team Murray are happy with box three and Blabba Mouth’s preparation heading into the $75,000-to-the-winner final, while his main threats appear to be Shima Bar (box one), Striker Light (box two) and Falcon’s Fury (box seven).
“He has won three of his four starts from box eight, but I was very happy to see him draw closer to the rails for the final.
“I think he is well boxed and he is going well at the moment – he hasn’t missed a place at his past four starts which is the type of form you want to see heading into a group 1 final.
“He is feeling good within himself – he has just had a normal week with a couple of free gallops so we haven’t changed anything with him.
“Hopefully he goes well – we certainly aren’t expecting anything of him going into the race but we would be over the moon if he happened to win.”
The Group 1 Paws of Thunder is race eight at Wentworth Park this Saturday night and is set to jump at 9:50pm AEDT.