Aptly named greyhound Fire Legend is showing no signs of slowing down after his 107th start last night at Grafton, where he took out the Sprinters Cup Final over the 450m.
Jumping from box four, the son of Fernando Bale and Tick Away Fire got a clean getaway and hunted up along the fence to sit second behind early leader Liar For Hire.
Coming the home turn, there were plenty of late challengers, including pre-race favourite Typhoon Sammy, but the red fawn flash was too strong, scoring by one and a half lengths at the finish in 25.31.
It was 45th career win, with the $10,000 winners’ purse taking his career earnings to $237,855.
His breeder, owner and trainer, Mark Moroney, isn’t surprised his star chaser is still producing this deep into his career.
“It’s no surprise really, he’s always been a real good dog,” he said after the race.
“We ended up getting some information from Coolmore Stud about a product called 4Cyte, which is made up of shark cartilage, abalone and green lipped muscle and you put it on their dinner and ever since I’ve been using it on him, which was the day after the Masters Meteor, within a week he had no soreness whatsoever.
“Chris Field who checks from dogs from Grafton was down at Coolmore and he said they swear buy it, so we thought we’ll give it a go.
“We were just patching him up from week to week and when you touched his wrist after a race, he would scream in pain.
“After the Masters final, he couldn’t put his wrist down.”
Since the Masters Meteor Final, in which he ran third, the 30kg chaser has won a remarkable eight of his past nine starts, including appearances at Grafton, Maitland and Wentworth Park.
“One of the most exciting things for me was getting selected in the G1 Temlee as one of the eight best dogs in Australia last year,” Moroney said.
“My wife and I were just sitting watching ‘The Catching Pen’ and when they put his picture up on the screen, I said to her, ‘wow that looks like Milo’ and they said ‘here’s Fire Legend’, I nearly fell off the chair.
“That gave me as big a thrill as winning a race, it was a fantastic feeling to be selected.
“He’s a ninth-generation breed, given I trained his mother and his grandmother and his great grandmother, it’s very special given he’s our own breed.”
Moroney was fortunate enough to learn his craft from legendary conditioner Graeme Bate in Victoria 25 years ago, which he says “changed his life”.
“I sent my dog Fire Capers to stud down to him and that’s how I met him,” he said.
“I went down and not long after I started working for him for a couple of years. It just changed everything for me, he’s a great man.
“Graeme invented free galloping, he let a dog out one day to empty out and realised they were improving when if he had two runs, he could put two out at a time. They stayed fit and got less injuries and we were getting dogs off people and they would all find lengths pretty much straight away.”
With Moroney’s knowledge and experience in the industry, it can be said his fire is still burning bright and will for many years to come, with Tick Away Fire’s most recent litter by Flying Ricciardo showing promising signs as they approach 13 months of age.