LEVIATHAN owner-breeder Paul Wheeler believes we still may not have seen the best of his superstar sprinter Dyna Villa after the black chaser’s dominant victory in the Group One Paws of Thunder at Wentworth Park.
The win took the reigning Melbourne Cup hero’s tally to 19 wins and nine minor placings from just 30 starts with a whopping $629,990 in prizemoney.
“As a rule, greyhounds don’t reach their peak until they are between two-and-a-half and three – by the time he gets to that stage it should be very exciting, he may have some improvement in him yet,” Wheeler said.
“[Trainer] Jenny [Hunt] and I laugh a bit and say he could be the dog to break the magical million dollars, but we will just wait and see because, with any racing animal, you don’t know what tomorrow brings.”
Beginning flawlessly from box eight in Saturday’s $100,000-to-the-winner event, the son of Collision and Roxio Bale crossed swiftly to the rails and shot clear to score by two-and-a-quarter lengths from Assertive Bella in a flying 29.69.
A true professional which rarely puts a paw wrong, Dyna Villa’s early toe was what set him apart from his competitors, Wheeler said.
“It is probably due to his early pace and the fact that he can get out of the pack and go,” he said.
“I don’t know if he likes the outside but he tends to have a lot of pace and he usually heads for the rail, squashing the field up before slipping away from them.”
Wheeler said the likely next target for his speedster was Saturday’s heats of the Group One National Derby, where he is hoping Dyna Villa can continue his meteoric rise to stardom.
“I think Jenny is going back for the Derby with the aim to give him a little bit more experience at Wentworth Park to prepare him for the Golden Easter Egg,” he said.
Despite the buzz surrounding Dyna Villa, which is less than $114,000 off becoming the greatest prizemoney earner, Wheeler refuses to get swept up in the excitement just yet.
“What has put his prizemoney up there has been the win in the Melbourne Cup,” he said. “Realistically he has stepped up a long way because of the prizemoney increases so, to be fair to everyone, I think he has to stand up to racing for a little bit longer. I just hope he doesn’t get any injuries.
“I never count my chickens before they hatch but he is certainly shaping up pretty good at the moment.”
The Wheeler dynasty has enjoyed a remarkable 12 months with stars Xylia Allen, Allen Deed and Ollie Bale winning Group One races in 2014 while Wheeler dogs made Group or Listed finals more than 60 times.
Although he is reluctant to label it as his best, the latest crop of Wheeler greyhounds on the track is nothing short of exceptional with Allen Deed, Dyna Villa, Dyna Double One and Lamia Bale four standouts.
Wheeler is equally as excited about his next lot of young pups coming through.
“We have some really handy ones breaking in at the moment that are by an American dog called Afleet Alex and we have got some by an Irish coursing dog called Kyle James,” he said.
“We have got a few different bloodlines coming through so it’ll be very interesting to see how they front up in the near future.”
Meanwhile, there is plenty happening at Wheeler’s breeding establishment in NSW with former top stayer Dyna Willow due to whelp her first litter to Magic Sprite in about a week’s time.
The champ Xylia Allen is still waiting to come on season.