Little known sire Falcon, was a local dog whelped in 1995 and started 110 times for 16 wins and 31 placings over its three-year career. Having never started in a Group final, Falcon stood at stud for a mere $300 and was mated to Karen Bearpark’s bitch, Liza Brown, who herself only had a single victory from twelve starts.
In a remarkable story, these two unlikely heroes have produced a dog whose strength and determination to win cannot be questioned, and with a feature under his belt, Tercel has now converted a service worth $300 into a $37,000 return. With the superstar sires that breeders’ now have at their disposal, there is still proof that one doesn’t have to spend much to make plenty in the unpredictable game of greyhounds.
While South Australia isn’t traditionally known as having a plethora of great 600m dogs, those that saw the final of the Shane Mcqueen Memorial last Thursday night would agree it compared to any middle-distance event seen this year.
The eight runners had a combined total of 47 tries around Angle Park’s corner start, with 24 wins and 16 further placings, and considering that Tercel, who is now a winner of 24 races, was sent out at odds of $10.70 displays just how tough it was.
While Tercel has always been a promising sprinter, Karen Bearpark’s black chaser did it the hard way coming from midfield to beat his highly regarded opponents, in one of the best finishes seen at the course for some time.
Race favourite Cousin Callum was given the benefit of the inside draw, and was expected to position itself towards the front of the field. But when the lids were raised, the Todd Kelly- trained, Tasmanian-bred runner, Fair Change was the first to show and darted to the rail from box two and took up the early running. Kalden Komoto, who was uncharacteristically run down seven days earlier was exiting box five and settled midfield, along with Tercel who sat outside it from box six.
With a lap to go, Fair Change was doing it easy out in front. Cousin Callum’s large stride was operating three lengths behind it, with Kalden Komoto along the fence still keeping Tercel out wider on the course. The remainder of the field was headed by Max A Zillion, who was unable to repeat his great start this time around but was still in touch with those ahead of it.
Heading towards the top corner, there were no signs of weakness from the leader, but plenty was happening behind it. Cousin Callum rolled off the fence momentarily, which allowed Kalden Komoto to rail up and draw level. Tercel was still full of running and appeared to now have a wall of dogs to navigate. However, not deterred by the challenges that lay ahead, Tercel decided to go between runners to make them three abreast with 150 metres to go.
With its’ competitors scrapping, Fair Change appeared to have enough juice in the tank as they swung into the home straight. But with the click of switch, it was Tercel that burst from the chasing brigade and started to put in the giant bounds. Time appeared to be against it though, as the post loomed large and still the obstacle of getting past the leader was required. But with a stroke of genius, Tercel switched back to the rails and drove hard for one last attempt at stealing the prize from Fair Change.
The judges’ camera flashed, but the result remained unknown as the two black dogs were locked together at the front. Kalden Komoto had finished the better to grab third place from Cousin Callum, however all eyes were still on the semaphore board awaiting the final numbers. As the lure rolled to a stop and the runners were being caught, the number six appeared in yellow lights for all to see, and Tercel had officially taken the McQueen Memorial by the bob of head.
Having already posted times such as 29.79 around Angle Park’s 515 metres and 30.94 around Gawler’s 531 metres it comes as no surprise that Tercel can get close to breaking 35 seconds for the 600m, with 35.05 being the winning time on this occasion.
Falcon’s fairytale prodigy should be around for some time to come with the dog only 34 months old, but it does raises the question of whether Tercel will attract more than $300 once it’s racing time has ended?