Growing up we are often reminded how important it is to have good manners. In the greyhound racing world, they can be just as important. Astute mentor Tony Brett proved just how important manners are when a little bit of attention turned his bitch Velocity Zoe from a maiden, to a winner of over $20,000 in two starts.
Velocity Zoe landed the $20,000 Northern Rivers Vet K9 Reproductions Maiden final at Lismore on Tuesday night, leading from pillar to post in a sizzling 23.98. But it was the culmination of some hard work and attention to detail that yielded the results.
“It was just her box manners that had been letting her down, that's why she'd had a few starts, she paws at the lids, so it's been an ongoing problem that we've been trying to fix. After her last lot of starts, she'd run a couple of seconds at Ipswich and they were good seconds. That's when I made the choice to pull her out for a month and see if we could fix those box manners for the Lismore series.”
It paid dividends for Brett with the daughter of Premier Fantasy and Velocity Thunder (Flying Penske – Subjective Lee). She had been showing plenty of promise on the trial track but had failed to convert it to results in her first six starts.
“Before the series started, I took her down to the track to trial and she went 24.09 and I knew then that we were in this up to our ears. We knew she had the ability it was just a matter of getting her box manners right, our race is sort of won or done in the first ten metres with her. If she's pawing at the lids, which she hasn't been doing as bad in the last couple of starts, it's a worry.”
But there was little to worry about when Velocity Zoe found the front early in the final. Interestingly, Velocity Zoe wasn't Brett's first choice for the Lismore series, but as it turned out, she was the perfect fit.
“Once she came out nice, I knew she would run around the twenty four mark, and that's always gonna be hard to beat. I had another little bitch who I was sort of setting for the race, I thought if I'm taking one, I may as well pull this girl out and see if I can fix her manners up and take the two of them. As it happened the other bitch came on season so as it turned out she was our only chance. She came out in the quali and missed it a bit but ran real nice, then she jumped good in the semi, jumped good in the final and as they say, the rest is history.”
It seems that racing isn't the only thing that Velocity Zoe does at a frenetic pace, with the 28kg black bitch proving to be a bit of a menace around the kennels. Despite that, it's clear that her improvement and results have endeared her to Brett.
“Her only real problem, which is why she probably paws at the lids, is that she's way over the top. When we did the presentation after the race, I forgot her muzzle and left it at the presentation area. So I put her away for the swab, she was in the swab kennels for twenty minutes and when I came back she'd ripped her bed to a million pieces and that's the sort of dog she is. She's a bit highly strung but I'll buy her a new bed for Christmas, she's earned it for sure.”
Brett also trains Velocity Zoe's brother, Chant. He too is showing his share of promise and shares a few cheeky traits with his sister. But Brett's enthusiasm is obvious when it comes to the pairs futures.
“He's the same and a bit like her. He's learning all the time and is a bit full on too. But in saying that he ran second in the big Grafton maiden behind Lady Jasmin and she's gone right on with it and he's run 30.08 at Albion Park. He's a nice dog, he's probably still a few lengths of being a really good dog but they're only young and they've got a bit to learn. It will be interesting in six months time, with a bit of maturity, to see how good they are.”
There may be more in store for the breed too with Velocity Zoe's dam (Velocity Thunder) having some pups on the ground to another of Brett's former stars, Glen Gallon.
“That was one of the main reasons we put him to stud while he was still racing. She was due on and a couple of other girls were due on. Steve (Williams) said I'd really like to use the boy (Glen Gallon) on these girls because they are good producers so far. So yeah, they're over there and they look great and time will tell with those.”
Velocity Zoe's success could now go onto the bigger tracks in Queensland with Brett buoyant about her future.
“We don't have a lot of choice up here, but she has trialled well everywhere. I don't think she'll have too much trouble stepping up, she might take a little bit to get a really strong five hundred but I think she will run it for sure. If she can keep getting the start right she is a good little chaser.”
Brett will be taking it step by step with his 25 month old chaser, but should she keep improving, there may be an even bigger stage in her future plans.
“She will go to a Thursday night novice at Albion Park. If she happens to put in a couple of nice runs at Albion Park, I'll be heading to the Gardens for the National Futurity with a couple and she's sort of in the back of my mind too. If she can settle her ways, a race on a track like that against bitches should suit her.”
There's no doubt that while ever Velocity Zoe continues to exhibit such impeccable manners, the sky is the limit and, if needed, Tony Brett will gladly keep buying her new beds.