One time “Nationals King” as dubbed by his mates in the media; Jason MacKay didn’t even have a greyhound worthy or eligible of starting in this years News South Wales National Sprint or Distance Championships heats, but an aptly named son of an import confirmed his training comeback at Richmond greyhounds tonight.
Jason MacKay enjoyed a purple patch of form as a trainer as lead trainer for his uncle Barry Gibbons, that catalysed in to a sensational career as a greyhound trainer in his own right when the ‘Nationals King’ took a historic four Nationals Championships.
Mackay enjoyed the pinnacle of his career as a trainer with a record second to none at The Nationals, winning three successive titles – Classy Customer in the 2004 National Distance Championship Final in Perth, Texas Gold’s 2005 record breaking performance in the National Distance Championship Final on his home track, Wentworth Park and his breakthrough Group 1 sprint victory, a win in the Tasmanian hosted 2006 National Sprint Championship series with Immortal Love.
But the last few years have been quiet by Mackay’s illustrious standards.
No longer a major force at New South Wales metropolitan tracks, Mackay has managed just 57 and 56 annual wins at all New South Wales tracks in the past two years, down of a career high of 81 wins and 239 starters in 2006.
Although this year Mackay seems to be intent on the comeback trail with the power of the pre-potent Ivers’ line, among others, behind him.
So far this year Mackay has “road tested’ several from the Ivers liine without success and those greyhounds have found their way to other kennels including Pickle Mickle, despite the huge early wraps.
However tonight Mackay started another of the Ivers line greyhounds and another of the import sire runners being a litter mate to Pickle Mickle in Sand Burner; who prior to tonight had seen the son of Flying Penske~Classy Creek win 7 of 12 starts including good wins of 30.17 at Wentworth Park, 32.74 at Maitland, 35.79 at Richmond and 42.54 at Wentworth Park.
Like Pickle Mickle, Sand Burner had been pegged as a stayer much like his dams more prolific half-sisters and brothers in Texas Gold (trained by Mackay), Lucy’s Light and Quidame. But unlike the Flying Penske~ Sheza Swifty litter that produced those three runners, Sand Burner’s dam Classy Creek (Rapid Journey~Sheza Swifty) never even won a maiden race from 10 attempts.
Thats said, the form of Sand Burner’s three quarter blood relations in Texas Gold, Quidame and Lucy’s Light; would be enough to convice anyone that provided Sand Burner can run, he would be a moral to run extremely quick times over the distance.
In keeping with that thinking Sand Burner has so far had the five starts over staying trips for two wins and 2 placings and his staying future looks extremely bright to say the least.
But tonight at Richmond over a relatively unsuitable sprint distance of 535m, Sand Burner made light of his last start 30.17 Wentworth Park run a week and a half ago by positioning up early back in third spot off a tardy beginning to be a dominant threat in the run.
From there, Sand Burner was always going to get past early leaders Mark Foy and Spring Lee, and a sensational last sectional record run saw Sand Burner go down to the post by 9.5 lengths in a new track record run of 30.17 for the Richmond 535m journey,which annihilates the previous track record of 30.26 set by another stayer in Western Land back in February 2008.
When Western Land ran the track record he had already made the Group 1 NCA Derby at Wentworth Park and the Group 2 Richmond Derby for original trainer Frank Hardman and was lining up at start twenty six. From there Western Land, enjoyed a prolific staying career including a second to Fallen Zorro’s Group 2 Hume Cup, a last to Fallen Zorro’s 2008 Group 2 Bold Trease Carnival Cup at Sandown, a fifth to Gunnadoo Magic’s Group 3 West End Distance Championship, seventh to Gunnadoo Magic in the 2009 Group 3 Stayers Challenge at Cannington, and a slashing win in the Group 1 2009 Sky Channel Galaxy Final at Cannington. He will also go around in this years West Australian National Distance Championship Heats at Cannington tomorrow night.
Given what Western Land has been able to acheive and the fact that Sand Burner is a greyhound of similar dourness and has acheived a better performance at a younger, more inexperienced stage; it’s safe to say Mackay will certainly enjoy the rise of what should become one of Australia’s best stayers and the “Nationals King” will be back with the best of chances come this time next year with new found star Sand Burner.
Sand Burner gets a chance to run two track records within three days when he starts in Race 5 at Richmond on Monday afternoon over the far more suitable 618m middle distance.