There is very little that Paul Wheeler has not achieved when it comes to greyhound racing in Australia, but when you hear him speak about his newest staying star Xylia Allen, you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice.
On Saturday night, Xylia Allen obliterated the Wentworth Park 720 metre record, running a jaw-dropping 41.53 and shaving over two-tenths off the former record set by Dyna Willow in the recent Wentworth Park Gold Cup.
If the track record wasn’t enough, Xylia Allen also lowered the 280 metre record en route to her win, carving out a sizzling 15.84 early. The current record is 15.98 which was set by Ballerina Legend way back in 2003. This prompted legendary race-caller Paul Ambrosoli to emphasise the significance of the feat.
“I can’t remember anyone doing anything like that since Zoom Top and I think that was in the fog one night at Gosford or something like that.”
ARG was lucky enough to talk to Paul Wheeler straight after Xylia Allen’s feat, with Wheeler hinting the scary prediction that Xylia Allen may go even faster in the future.
Wheeler says Xylia Allen’s latest successes are largely due to having a full preparation aimed at the longer trips.
“When she first had a go at distance racing, she was plonked straight into seven-hundred against Miata,” he said.
“Everyone said they were very disappointed. What they didn’t take into account was that she hadn’t had a preparation and Graeme (Bate) had to do it that way when he was training her because the race just came up and he had to put her in or not have a go at it at all. So Graeme had a go and she was always up against it racing Miata and everyone sort of boo-hooed her at that stage.”
“But there has been a hell of a lot of preparation put in by Jenny this time and what they have done has been that they have been running her over six hundreds and everything and she has been winning and breaking track-records over six hundred. So the preparation for the distance has been totally different this time.”
With Saturday evenings run being Xylia Allen’s longest race to date, Wheeler sent out the ominous warning to competitors that she is likely to have some improvement in her.
“That is the furthest she has ever ran and my own personal opinion is that, in the last twenty or thirty metres, she was showing the effects of a 720 metre race. Given that that race was her first 720 in this preparation and she has broken the track record by a couple of tenths, give her another couple of runs and she could give the track record a shake again.”
Xylia Allen is by Turanza Bale out of Tayah Bale (Droopy’s Vieri – Francesca Bale) meaning that she is a product of two greyhounds that Wheeler bred himself, another factor that he is also particularly proud of.
“We have been having a colossal run with our own breed, Allen Deed for example, he won a $12,000 final on Thursday night and he is also by our own sire and our own bitch. We have got a few out there now that are bred 100% from our kennel that are going great guns.”
If Xylia Allen can continue in the same sort of form that she has shown over the long trips in this preparation, she could end up among some of the best we have seen.