RAYMOND Drew celebrated the biggest success of his training career on Saturday night, taking out the Group 1 Maturity Classic (525m) at The Meadows with his exciting sprinter Kilty Express.
Starting from box six, the son of Kilty Lad and Bogie Jewel began well, but had to settle for second spot throughout the majority of the race behind Ultimate Magic (box five) before producing a powerful run down the centre of the track in the home straight, hitting the front to score in 30.18.
Drew said there were a few nervous moments throughout the run, but it was all worthwhile when his black speedster crossed the line in first position.
“It was very exciting as it was the first group 1 we have been in,” Drew told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Ultimate Magic boxed extremely well and led to the first turn which was a worry for us because we were under the impression that he [Kilty Express] would have to be the one in front.
“When he was four lengths behind the leader down the back I was praying that he would be able to run a place, but as he got closer to the line we started to get a bit more excited.
“When he got there in the last stride we were over the moon.”
Formerly trained by leading conditioners Kelly and Brett Bravo, Kilty Express made the move to Drew’s Dennington-based kennels in February in the belief that he would be better suited to a smaller kennel.
Since that time the 32.8 kilogram chaser has gone from strength to strength, with his career statistics now standing at 10 wins and nine minor placings from 26 career starts. Additionally, Kilty Express has also notched up over $130,000 in career earnings.
Drew, who lives 270 kilometres away from Melbourne, said it was a rewarding victory, with his whole family involved in the training of the greyhounds.
“We have always had greyhounds as a hobby for the past 40 years, but when I retired from work three years ago we got into the dogs more and we were able to devote more time to them.
“My son Dustin got interested at a young age because he was always around the greyhounds growing up and we get lots of help from my partner Jane and my daughter Amy as well – when we go away with the greyhounds she gets them out and helps feed them.
“It takes a lot of people to be able to get the results and it was tremendous because we are all involved in them together.”
Despite holding a very high opinion of Kilty Express, Drew said he has resisted the urge to target the upcoming Group 1 National Sprint Championship and will instead head interstate for something more appropriate.
“This time last year the race was won by Fernando Bale, whilst he is nowhere near him we believe he is an above average sprinter – he is a very good dog.
“We had set him for this race and the Nationals dogs had been set for that series so we decided not to go for both.
“We would like to take him to South Australia for the Derby next, so his next start will probably be at Angle Park in a couple of week’s time.”