YOU could be mistaken for thinking Hoppy Rogan had won a Group race the way her fans were screaming at Maitland on Wednesday afternoon. The pint-sized speedster showed plenty of tenacity when winning the third event on the card, a maiden event over 400-metres, on a hot and steamy day in the Hunter Valley.
The reason little ‘Hoppy’ had such a passionate cheer squad is she is a very special greyhound to her trainer Ron Herbert and his family, particularly his 17-year-old son Jesse, with the daughter of Super Burst and Ginger Rogan never expected to make the track after a freak accident as a puppy.
“She was about four weeks old and we put her out in the puppy yard from inside the kennels,” Herbert said.
“My son Jess went in there and the next minute we heard one of the pups squealing, she had got under his foot and he stepped on her and broke her back leg.”
Not only was her leg broken, it had completely snapped in two separate places.
Desperate to save her life, the Herberts rushed the black bitch to the vets.
“It was bent like a banana. We took her to the vets and tried to get her fixed up, but even Peter Yore said that she would never be any good and that she couldn’t run with a back leg like that.
“When she broke her leg we used to bring her in and let her sleep inside. Because of her being so young we had to keep re-strapping that leg every couple of days, but she was very happy coming inside and sleeping with Jess.”
Eventually, Hoppy’s leg started to correct itself.
“She started to run around and as she started to get older it started going straight and now you wouldn’t even know what leg it was, but she didn’t come good until she was 12 or 14 months old.”
Fittingly, Jesse handled his little star on Wednesday, for the first time throughout her nine start career.
Beginning well from box eight, Hoppy Rogan joined the early leader Magic Man in the run to the turn and, despite bumping with him several times, was able to prevail to score by six lengths in a steady 23.27.
Herbert said that what Hoppy lacks in ability, she makes up for in determination.
“She doesn’t have a lot of speed, but she really gets out and tries hard, she gives it 110% and she is all heart.”
Herbert also collected a second on Wednesday with Hoppy Rogan’s talented sister Foxy Rogan which was beaten just a neck by the promising Lollipop Ollie in good time. Foxy Rogan has already had two wins from just a handful of starts including a sizzling 22.51 personal best at The Gardens.
“She had four starts for four placings at The Gardens and she started getting knocked around down there and didn’t want to come out, so I brought her to Maitland for a confidence boost ,” Herbert said.
“They all have got ability — Hoppy Rogan’s ability is 400 metres, she won’t go past that, I always thought Spike (Dabreco- litter brother) would run 500, and Foxy Rogan is a special to run 500 — she will run time when I get her right.”
The litter is certainly bred to run, with their mother Ginger Rogan hailing from one of the most successful lines in the sport.
“This litter go all the way back through the Mint line. Their mother was Ginger Rogan and her mother was Miss Nosey which was a Placard x Mint Royale bitch — the heart and soul of the whole Mint line.
“Ginger Rogan was a very good bitch, she was very strong. She couldn’t get out of a box and she would take 300 metres to get going but when she did she would run all over the top of them.
“She won two in a row at Wenty and then did her toe, she just seemed to struggle to come back completely after that.”