One year ago, Wheely Smart's career looked in doubt after suffering heavy interference in a dangerous incident at Maitland at only his second career start. The incident caused the explosive youngster, who clocked an impressive 25.31 in his performance trial at Maitland over the 450 metres; to develop an uncharacteristic shyness amongst other dogs.
The newly developed habit was a cause of great concern for 2008 New South Wales trainer of the year Majella Ferguson, “I was concerned that he wouldn't get his confidence back, he was involved in two bad incidents back to back, that worried me, we had to work hard, each win he was slowly getting confident again”.
The last thing Ferguson would have expected was for her young gun to smash the Mandurah track record over the new distance of 490 metres recording an amazing 27.18 and put him in pole position for this week's Group 3 The Schweppes Final ,worth $22,500 to the winner with a favourable outside draw of box 7.
“I'm very happy with box 7, he runs wide and he doesn't like being crowded so the box is perfect for him.” If he begins like he did last Friday it's hard to see the youngster not notch up his first group victory.
Ferguson was wrapped with his victory last week after a strong trial the previous week. “He trialled really well, he only just missed the record so I was confident if he could do that in his race he would be competitive but it was a very tough heat so I was very nervous”.
The black son of Brett Lee and Wheely Wrapped was always bound to show promise on the race track with his dam, Wheely Wrapped beautifully bred by Spiral Nikita out of the legendary dam, Leprechaun Yap.
Leprechaun Yap unfortunately has passed away but not before she made a name for herself in the breeding ranks, producing the likes of Betty's Angel, who notched up 20 wins and 10 minor placings from just 43 starts including the Group One Melbourne Cup and Sapphire Crown in 2006 and the Perth Cup in 2007; Leprechaun Pace, who won the 2007 Paws of Thunder and multiple group winners and finalists including Talk's Cheap, Bo Frazier and Global Warming.
Ferguson said the bloodlines were too good to resist, “We had a choice between him and another really well bred dog, but he comes from a proven producer with so many good dogs so it was an easy choice”. Ferguson purchased the pup at three months old, reared and broke him in with obvious pleasing results.
Majella Ferguson who has only been training greyhounds full time for three years, has made her mark on the industry as one of the most successful in such a short period of time.
Her first litter by Brett Lee out of her now proven producer Stylish Scene gave Ferguson the ultimate welcome to the sport with Irreplaceable winning the 2008 South Australian Oaks, Dazzle You blowing away the opposition in 2009 in winning the famous Tweed Heads Galaxy and Smashing Amy, who is by Collide out of Amy Grace, who is out of the hall of famer Flying Amy, took out the 2009 New South Wales Distance Championship at Wentworth Park.
Although every group win is special to the Ferguson family, Majella recalls her first with Irreplaceable claiming the South Australian Oaks at Angle Park as her greatest. “It was so special because it was my first litter that I had bred and trained myself and I was there, boxing her so it was just an amazing feeling”.
Stylish Scene has had two litters since to Hallucinate and Bombastic Shiraz with glowing reports.
I've had the pleasure of being a part of Majella's life for the last two years and she is an inspirational person to our sport, who treats her dogs like children and is happy to offer advice to any young greyhound enthusiast.
I'm sure come Friday night at 11.27pm (Eastern Time), we will all be hoping for another Wheely awesome victory.