STEVE White’s dream of winning a second Group 1 Golden Easter Egg was shattered on Saturday night when his ultra consistent chaser Rare Pearl went amiss in the $250,000-to-the-winner event won by Jason Thompson’s Moreira.
White trained champion bitch Paua To Burn to win the prestigious event in 2005 and was hoping Rare Pearl could emulate that feat 11 years later.
Jumping fairly from box three, the striking black dog copped a few checks in the run to the first turn, relegating him towards the back of the pack.
Tragedy stuck just through the catching pen, with another greyhound clipping Rare Pearl’s heels, causing him to lose his balance, breaking a hock as the result.
White, who had trained the son of Bekim Bale and La Pearl to win 17 of his 49 career starts, said he was devastated by the injury which has forced Rare Pearl into an early retirement.
“It was a very sad night – he has been a good dog to us and it was upsetting to see him go out like that,” White told Australian Racing Greyhound.
Rare Pearl had been a more than handy greyhound for connections, finishing second in the 2016 Listed Australian Sprint and third in both the Group 2 Cranbourne Cup and the Group 2 Dapto Puppy Classic.
Rare Pearl, affectionately known as Bex, has been taken home by his breeder and part owner Alan Tutt, who was crushed to see his pride and joy finish his career in such a way.
“I ran on to the track because to be honest I was more worried about the dog than the race and I definitely had a few tears in my eyes,” Tutt said.
“It was very disappointing, but it is a part of greyhound racing, our priority now is making sure he is happy.
“He is going to see Linda Corney on Tuesday morning – she’ll have a look at him and then we will do whatever it takes to ensure he has a full life after racing.”
Tutt, who syndicated the greyhound amongst 18 of his friends and family, said there will be no trouble when it comes time for Rare Pearl to find his forever home.
“I spoke to the other owners the other night and I told them they don’t know how good they had it – they were living the dream with him – to have a dog in the Easter Egg – it’s the Holy Grail.
“After the race the guys showed a lot of compassion regarding the dog’s welfare – there is no doubt he is going to have a very happy retirement.
“About four or five people from the syndicate have put their hand up today to take him as a pet, but we will have to get him right first.”
Tutt also commended the crowd at Wentworth Park following the race, with many people worried about the dog’s wellbeing.
“I was very touched that a few of the top trainers and people at the track showed a lot of concern and compassion for the dog.
“There were a lot of emotions floating around after the race, so I also have to mention Steve, he has done a terrific job with the dog throughout his career.
“While it is sad that his career has come to an end like this, he will be fine, we will make sure we do the right thing by him.”