WHEN four mates got together to buy their first greyhound pup in 2014 they were just hoping for a dog which could win a couple of races and give them an opportunity to get together for a drink.
Now, less than two years later, there is just 26 seconds standing between them and a $40,000 winner’s cheque, with that pup growing up to be Barking Bad which has drawn box one in Friday night’s Group 2 Cyril Rowe Cup (472m).
Bradley Crawford, who owns the dog with his friends Phillip Meehan, Ben Wilson and Scott Keebers, said it is a dream come true to have made such a lucrative final with the first dog they have purchased.
“It is very exciting, he has certainly exceeded all of our expectations,” Crawford told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“We are all over the moon, we can’t believe our luck and we are just enjoying the ride so far, its fantastic.”
The 30-year-old purchased the dog as a pup from breeder Michael Eberand, who now trains the son of Bella Infrared and Ebby Miss, after many years of wanting to get into greyhound ownership.
“I have always wanted to own greyhounds but I never knew how as I wasn’t connected to the industry in any way and to be honest I thought the industry was a bit of a closed shop,” he said.
“I met Michael through business and he mentioned he had a litter of pups for sale and it sounded like a really good opportunity to get into the sport.
“My mates were really happy to get involved too — it started off as an opportunity to have a bit of a social club more than anything else.
“All we were hoping for was to have a competitive pup which gave us a bit of an excuse for us to catch up and have a bit of fun.
“Now he goes into a Bulli Cup having won his last four races – it is outstanding.”
Barking Bad has proven to be a handy chaser throughout his limited starts to date, winning five of 11 including a slick 26.26 heat victory at Bulli last week.
Exploding from box seven, the black powerhouse was never headed as he charged clear to score by two-and-one-quarter lengths over the talented Nangar Flash, with La Grand Logie finishing third.
Barking Bad moves into the coveted rails alley for this week’s decider, but faces a quantum rise in class against some quality opposition.
The current favourite for the event is the Mark Gatt-trained Ritza Lenny which recorded the fastest heat win last week, 26.15, over the 472m trip. The son of Barcia Bale and Lagoon Lowanna will jump from box eight in the final, with Bet365 offering $3.20 for him to score.
Also well in contention around the $4.50 mark is Black Bear Lee which has drawn well in box three in between two steady beginners. The black dog has won two of his past three starts including a 29.99 Wentworth Park win as well as last Friday’s 26.21 victory in his qualifier.
You can read our in-depth form preview of the Group 2 Cyril Rowe Cup.
After saluting at 20-1 in his heat last week, bookmakers aren’t risking getting stung by Barking Bad in the final, with the best price available currently being $6 with Crownbet.
However, despite having a strong chance, Crawford said he isn’t getting too ahead of himself and is just looking forward to being a part of the atmosphere on Friday.
“I haven’t even thought about winning yet — we are all just excited to be in the final — but if he does get up there will be massive celebrations at Bulli that’s for sure.
“We can’t wait for Friday night- we have got special Barking Bad t-shirts which we will be wearing with pride while we are cheering him on.”
“We all really appreciate how lucky we have been to get a dog like him, but a lot of the credit also has to go to Michael — he has done a really good job training the dog and I couldn’t be happier with how he is going.”
Watch Barking Bad (7) winning his heat of the Group 2 Cyril Rowe Cup last Friday.