This remarkable journey started due to the expertise of Tim Richards, a retired professional fisherman in country South Australia.
It was Richards who mapped out a path for He’s On Fire to go on and beat the $1.75 favourite and defending MDC champion, She’s A Pearl, last week.
And it all started from an act of goodwill.
Richards could not afford the $5000 each that breeders Cameron and Yvonne Butcher were asking for two puppies early in 2020.
But they agreed to let him have one for no cost if he reared the other one on their behalf.
It was a move the breeders certainly did not regret.
After starting his racing career under Richards in Menindee, South Australia, and racking up an impressive 15 wins from 33 starts, He’s On Fire was then sent to Queensland trainer Kev Murnane.
Murnane then suggested the dog get shipped down to Nowra trainer Allan Manwaring.
Manwaring prepared him for the National Straight Track Championship at Richmond on August 27, where he finished a respectable third.
But in a matter of just three weeks, the Manwarings now have a one-in-eight chance of winning $1 million.
“I never thought I’d be in this spot, but this is just a great opportunity,” said Allan’s wife, Elle Manwaring.
“I’m really thankful to the owner Tim in South Australia.
“If it wasn’t for him sending us this dog, we wouldn’t be in this spot.
“Mutual friend Kevin Murnane trained him up in Queensland for a race.
“And when it came to the Richmond straight-track final he (Richards) said ‘you’ve got to send him to our great mate Allan Manwaring’.
“And that’s how we ended up with him.”
Million Dollar Chase semi-final replay | He’s On Fire (1st)
After turning the tables on champion chaser She’s A Pearl – following a runner-up finish to her in the MDC fourth qualifier on September 10 – a win on Saturday night would be the last piece in a remarkable puzzle.
“It’s just amazing. It’s all hard work paid off,” Elle Manwaring said.
“It’s six o’clock starts and 10 o’clock at night getting dogs out.
“It’s very rewarding.”
Manwaring said she believed He’s On Fire could come back and beat the incredible She’s A Pearl on Friday night, but on one condition.
“Only because he is so good early. We were just hoping for a bit of carnage behind him,” she said after the race.
“We knew he could improve, and we’re just dreaming.
“I don’t think we’re going to sleep for eight nights.”