Edgeworth mentor Corey O’ Donnell experienced the biggest thrill of his short training career on Friday night when he put the polish on his promising pup Gambo Girl who took out race ten- The Centrebet Fire Up Stakes over 520 metres at Wentworth Park. The victory was the thirty six year olds first taste of success in the big smoke, with his powerful little bitch making a huge impression at what was her track debut.
Beginning flawlessly from the awkward box five, the pint sized speedster showed plenty of heart and determination, pushing her way underneath challenger Crazy Rascal to rail through and take the lead on the first turn before kicking away down the back to claim the event by three and three quarter lengths in an impressive 30.09 seconds. Chasing her home in second position was At Liberty for Londonderry trainer David Griffiths whilst Thomas Pullman rounded up the trifecta with his charge Crazy Rascal.
The triumph was Gambo Girl’s fourth from a mere eight racetrack appearances with her three prior wins occurring at Ballarat over 450 metres in a nippy 25.76 seconds followed by two wins at the Meadows over the 600 metres when trained by Victorian mentor Wayne Wrought. Fridays success was at her first start since joining O’Donnell’s kennel just a week prior.
“ We flew her up last Thursday and had her checked on Friday morning by my muscle man and mate Ian Hilditch who said she was right to go, then took her down to Wentworth Park and trialled her after the last on Friday night and she went 30.04” O’Donnell said.
Gambo Girl was then nominated for Fridays card with O’Donnell admitting that he is still on cloud nine after the victory and whilst he was confident going into the event, it wasn’t until she landed in front that reality struck.
“I knew once she got out in front that she had a huge chance, and I thought hey I have my first city winner here!” said O’Donnell.
O’Donnell brought the daughter of Mogambo and Girl Aloud from breeder Michael Barry after previously purchasing litter brother Hez Aloud who had been sent to NSW to be trained by John Harris. When Hez Aloud joined the kennels, O’Donnell and his wife Lynise were so impressed with his temperament and the dog as a whole that he contacted Barry to purchase a bitch as a means of keeping the line going. That purchase has turned out to be a very fruitful one indeed with Gambo Girl shaping up to have a very bright future ahead of her; both as a racer and a brood bitch.
“We knew what we were looking for, Hez Aloud has been our benchmark as the best dog we have had so far, although I think we now have a new benchmark”, stated Lynise, who trains Hez Aloud.
Corey and Lynise started training greyhounds about four years ago when Corey’s dad Brian, a former greyhound trainer himself, fell ill as a means of inspiration for him to recover.
“I got into the dogs to give him a bit of an interest and we have never looked back”, Corey said, “I took him down on Friday night and he was buzzing just as much as me- he had never trained a Wentworth Park winner in his career so he was tickled pink about it”.
The win was also sentimental for Corey and his father after the tragic loss of his mother Yvonne in 2012, with Corey wishing very dearly that she could have been there to join in with the family celebrations; however there is no doubt that she would have been very proud of his fantastic achievement and would have been watching over the night with a wide smile.
With such a short stint within the industry, O’Donnell has done extremely well to have come so far in such limited time. Working with only a small team from their residential property, it took Corey two years to train his first winner; however it did not take long for the winners to flow in thereafter, as he trained a total of seventeen winners throughout the following year. His success has lead the Novocastrian to make this hobby into a serious adventure, with five dogs now in the kennels with a further four being broken in at present.
Whilst Corey may have landed the first city winner, he gives his wife praise for everything she does, “If I didn’t have Lynise I would be lost, it’s a team effort”.
Lynise herself has already turned into quite the accomplished trainer, as the trainer of Hez Aloud, who took a shining to her instantaneously and who the husband and wife team admit is a definite ‘ladies man’. Hez Aloud has won two races from thirteen starts with four placings to his name, including a personal best of 22.87 seconds at Unibet Gardens over the 400 metre trip.
Lynise can also claim some credit for the successful pair and bloodline they have introduced to the family kennels, joking that she allowed the purchase of the red fawn dynamo “We had a red fawn dog that passed away whilst he way being broken in and the only reason we brought him (Hez Aloud) was because he looked like the other dog”.
With the dynamic duo looking to have promising careers ahead of them, the Edgeworth couple and their children Amy and Cameron can enjoy the wonderful ride that their talented chasers are about to take them on, with Gambo Girl in particular looking to have a very exciting career ahead of her.
“So long as you have a decent TAB dog you think it’s alright, but to have a Wentworth Park quality dog it’s such a buzz and really special”, Lynise said.
As for what comes next for their kennel star, Corey suggests that she will be nominated and likely line up for the Group Three Ladies Bracelet Heats at Wentworth Park, where the NSW newcomer is sure to shave a few lengths off last week’s effort. With an inside draw in her heat, the versatile young speedster would be capable of giving some of Sydney’s best local hopes a scare. As an accomplished middle distance chaser, Gambo Girl will then be aimed at a stint at the middle distance trips before a potential staying career.
However for now the O’Donnell’s can sit back and enjoy the recent success with their plucky little powerhouse and look forward to what should definitely be an exhilarating escapade both on the track over the next couple of years, and into retirement where motherhood will certainly beckon.