It is remarkable when you sit back and consider how much effort goes into preparing one individual greyhound for the racetrack. Not only is it about owning and training, it is the breeding, whelping, rearing, and breaking-in that all form a valuable piece of the puzzle. Each litter and each greyhound has a story of their history and the people who have helped to shape them into the superb athletes we see on the track. Many of these people play the role of a silent spectator later on as they watch a greyhound’s career unfold, however it does not diminish the pride and pleasure of seeing your efforts and passion emulated into four powerful paws of speed and tenacity.
Victorian breeders Maureen and Mick Barry know this feeling well. With ten years of breeding experience, the husband and wife duo have done a remarkable job working with just a small number of broodbitches at any given time.
“We breed about two litters a year, sometimes three…We do ok when you compare it with the mass numbers that others breed”, explained Mick, who works full time and credits Maureen for much of their success.
The Barry’s are quickly making their presence felt in Victoria with the help of their star broodbitch Girl Aloud. With only one litter to have raced, Girl Aloud has done what many other broodbitches fail to achieve with 100% of her pups to have raced being winners.
The unraced bitch was bred by Mick and Maureen with the sole intention of her becoming a mum, “We brought her mother as a pup and she had an accident when breaking so we kept her for breeding”
“She (Girl Aloud) wasn’t going to be a world-beater so there was no point racing her when the goal was to breed”.
The proud Irishman also follows the rule of the Droopy’s Stud that are established with racing bitches and breeding bitches, with the two groups always kept separate. The decision to follow their principals has been a masterstroke with all nine pups from Girl Aloud’s first litter turning into fantastic little money spinners for their various connections.
Maureen still owns Zoenah’s Entity, Marley Girl and Loud One with all three bitches looking highly promising pups with Zoenah’s Entity a winner of seven from 23 and Marley Girl a winner of six from ten.
Also from the litter is the handy Gambo Girl who is owned and trained in the Hunter Valley by Corey O’Donnell with his wife Lynise training litter brother Hez Aloud. As a recent Wentworth Park winner Gambo Girl has won four races from a mere nine starts and will line up this Tuesday at Gosford in a 600 metre event where she looks suited over the middle distance being a winner at The Meadows in a nippy 34.97 seconds
The best performed pup out of Girl Aloud to date is the brilliant bitch Evie’s Entity. The powerful 29 kilogram speedster is a highly talented type and will line up this Thursday night at Sandown for a crack at the $100,000 to the winner group one Sapphire Crown. The chaser is part owned by race caller James Van de Maat and trained by Lyn Smith from Devon Meadows (around 50 kms South East of Melbourne’s business district). Evie’s Entity has blossomed since joining the astute kennels under her new ownership in March winning four of her five starts for Smith with a second in a heat of the Bendigo Cup.
A winner of ten races overall from just twenty starts, Evie’s Entity went into last Thursday’s Sapphire Crown heats paying the lucrative odds of $7.60. After a moderate getaway from box four the black chaser showed an excellent turn of foot to push her way into third on the first turn before railing underneath early leader Cailyn Bale down the back stretching out to win impressively by four lengths in a blistering 29.48 seconds- the second fastest heat behind Punch One Out (29.32 seconds).
Smith was understandably elated with her classy performer, “We knew she had plenty of ability, but I wasn’t expecting it off box four in a field like that but you just don’t know what they will do against those kinds of dogs until they are there”.
“I went to the boxes thinking she had no chance whatsoever and I wasn’t nervous because I had no expectations but I got nervous when she was third on the first turn because I knew she had a great chance from there”.
This week will certainly be the youngster’s acid test with seven other sensational competitors lining up for the prize- all with a realistic chance of snaring victory. Despite drawing awkwardly in five Evie’s Entity is boxed to get a run into the race on the outside of lid pinger El Brooklyn.
“I gave her no chance from box four so I would probably give her less from five”, Smith said, “But every time I seem to doubt her she keeps raising the bar”.
“If she comes out running she is good as any of them”.
“She gives 110%, she is a professional and she knows what job she has to do and she gets it done”.
“It would be great (to win) but as long as she gets around in one piece”.
It is not just her syndicate of owners and Smith who will be cheering her on this week, with the Barry’s still watching intently and admitting that they would be over the moon for her owners if ‘Evie’ can pull off a big win this week, “We are wrapped”, Mick commented, “Even though we sold her we still bred her”.
“It would be a super effort if she could win but she is up against the best bitches in the country from a bad box- but you have to be in it!”
In reality both Smith and the Barry’s are small industry participants in the grand scheme of things, yet there is no doubt their efforts on both sides of this story is making a definitive impact with a group one victory now in sight.
“It gives everyone hope that if one small trainer can do it, we all can do it”, Smith enthused.
This is a feeling also shared by Mick, “It keeps the dream alive that smaller people can achieve it with a bit of luck”.
No matter what happens this week, both parties can be pleased with the role they have played in getting this super little bitch with the heart of a lion to race at the elite level and it goes to show everyone within the industry- no matter how small your team is, with hard work and dedication you can achieve big things.