COLIN Graham is hoping his exciting sprinter Elusive Desire can make it four on the trot this Thursday night when he contests a heat of the Group 1 Winter Cup at Albion Park (520 metres).
The son of Cold Fusion and Elusive Desire, currently $4 with Bet365, has drawn box six in heat three and will be having his first start in two weeks after winning the Listed Flying Amy Classic at his last racetrack appearance.
“He is feeling good and is ready to go,” Graham told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“He missed a little bit of work as he got a touch of the cough after his win in the Flying Amy, but he was alright after a few days.”
Elusive Desire, which boasts a slick 29.81 personal best at Albion Park will meet a tough lineup including the winner of last year’s Cup, Flash Reality (box four – $3.65), and emerging Victorian talent Armed and Ready (box three – $2.25).
“I think he could go a lot better than 29.81 if everything right for him.
“He is going to need to jump because Flash Reality wants to get off on the first turn and I think that will give Brooke Ennis’ dog, Armed and Ready, a good run.
“If he doesn’t begin he will probably end up in trouble, so I am just hoping for the best.
“But he will be giving it all he has got – he just tries so hard all the time. His box manners are the only thing that let him down, but the ability is there and he is very honest.”
A winner of 11 from 27, the keen railer has become known for his tendency to miss the kick and charge home, as he has done in his last three wins.
“He is so crazy, he barks in the boxes and he is very over the top,” Graham explained.
“If he began well there wouldn’t be too many dogs that would be able to beat him.
“But, he has had to learn to come from behind because of his box manners. Its not that he hasn’t got any early speed, he has got plenty of that, but because he plays up in the boxes he misses the start a lot.”
Graham, who trains in the Northern NSW town of Wiangaree with his wife Marilyn, considered selling the talented chaser as a youngster, but a touch of fate intervened and now they are enjoying the ride of their lives with ‘the best dog we have ever had’.
“I owned his mother Elusive Angel and I wasn’t going to breed any more litters but I decided to lend her to Neil Falls to breed a litter of pups with his dog Cold Fusion.
“I got two pups out of the deal and this bloke was one of them as well as his sister, Elusive Sparkle, and she is a very good little dog too.
“I was going to sell him early on because he is very hard to handle – he is so over the top, so I put him in a performance trial at Lismore.
“I thought I would be able to sell him after that performance trial because he trialled 30.07 there the week before and that was only his second run over 520 so I thought he would break 30 for sure, but the lids didn’t open and he ended up getting caught upside down in the boxes.
“I think that’s whats caused some of the problems with his bad box manners and it took him a while to get going after that, although he has never really begun well since.
“It probably turned out to be a blessing in disguise because he has won around $68,000 in prize money and he is only 30 months old so he has got plenty of racing left in him, barring injury.”
Despite having never trained a Group 1 winner, Graham is no stranger to breeding success. He has previously bred an array of top dogs, including Melbourne Cup runner-up Hanify’s Impact and Group 1 Association Cup winner Seek And Destroy.
Nevertheless, winning that elusive Group 1 is still the ultimate goal.
“It was the best feeling in the world to win the Flying Amy, it was the biggest race we have ever won. It really was unbelievable, just a dream come true to win a race like that.
“Now it would be fantastic to finally win a Group 1 – I just hope we don’t run out of time first!”
Elusive Desire will jump from box six in the third of five Winter Cup heats on Thursday. You can check out his win in the Listed Flying Amy Classic from box three below.