The first litter Greg Neocleous ever bred was out by sire Mister Twink and the unraced Sharon Lee. On Thursday night Kayo Marciarno, a member of this introductory litter; will line up from box one in the Group 1 Gold 1242 Sale Cup final.
Kayo Marciarno has eight career wins and won his heat last week, defeating Destini Fireball. His career wins include three wins at Sale and three at Sandown; he has run 17 seconds. Kayo Marciarno is by the unraced Sharon Lee (Big Daddy- Thimble) and the Mister Twink mating resulted in the bitch’s first litter. Many would remember Scull Murphy. He won over 40 races and was South Australian greyhound of the year in 2007 and runner up in the Adelaide Cup in 2009. Scull Murphy was the result of the 2005 mating of Big Daddy Cool-Thimble while the repeat mating, which resulted in 2007, produced Sharon Lee. The Mister Twink-Sharon Lee litter has won a collective total of 43 races.
“She (Sharon Lee) was unraced. It was at the time that Scull Murphy was racing. He was one of my favourites. The breeder lived in Tooradin and had an ad in the paper of a repeat mating so I bought a dog and a bitch. The dog was going really good and he broke his leg and he’s a pet now and then the little bitch, she was 23kg, the runt of the litter. I only paid $1500 for her and she dislocated her toe just before I was about to race her and she lost all her early speed so I thought I’d breed a litter with her and this is what I got, Kayo Marciarno. A bloke reared them one for one and it’s been a 100% winning litter. It’s the first litter I’ve ever bred. I’m wrapped with them. They’ve all won races and he’s probably the best of them, Kayo Marciarno. They’ve been a good litter. I’m lucky.”
Sharon Lee has had one more litter since, with pups from the Vee Man Vane litter just starting to race. “She’s had one more litter, cause I had trouble selling them (Mister Twink litter), I didn’t want to have too many dogs. I had to more or less keep them all but it’s turned out alright as they’ve all won races. She had a Vee Man Vane litter, they’re just starting to race now. One won a Vic Breeders at Traralgon. One dog that’s really smart, probably the quickest dog I’ve ever had, keeps breaking down, he just did his monkey muscle. I haven’t raced him yet. I’ve had some bad luck there. He tries that hard, he’s a really good dog but I just can’t get him to the track. His names is Kayo Graziano. Graziano was a middleweight boxing champion.”
If you haven’t already figured it out, Kayo Marciarno is named after Rocky Marciarno, one of Neocleous’ favourite boxers. “Rocky Marciarno one of my favourite boxers. He had 49 fights for 49 victories and 43 were knockouts.” Interestingly, Kayo Marciarno’s kennel name isn’t Rocky. Instead, the white and fawn dog bears the moniker ‘Barney’ around the kennels. “It should be Rocky but when he was a pup we didn’t name him and he was called Barney and it stuck.” The 32kg dog has a beautiful nature and a future as a pet. “He’s got a beautiful nature. He’s a highly strung dog kind of, if you go in there he does jump up sometimes, but other than that he’s going to make a good pet one day, he’s got a good nature that way.”
Kayo Marciarno represents not only the first litter Neocleous has bred but is also his first group race finalist. “People have been in it for 20-30 years and never get into a group race. I trained in the 80’s for about 3-4 years, I had a couple of dogs but they weren’t any good then I got out of them and just got back into it. It’s the first time I’ve been in a group race.”
Like any trainer having his first group finalist, the week leading up to the final has been a bit of a nerve wracking one. “I’ve been wrapping him up in cotton wool this week, I’ve been looking after him, making sure he gets there.”
When the clock strikes 9:49pm, Kayo Marciarno will step into the ring with seven other combatants to battle it out for the $75,000 title prize. Neocleous will be hoping his dog is the one that lands the knockout blow.