Fire Cloud’s owner Simon Marsigalia believes he has unlocked the secret to his two-year-old’s recent run of form – and it involves no trackwork.
But there is also a unique preparation method which Marsigalia believes has worked wonders.
“We don’t run him anymore – we just swim him,” he told AustralianRacingGreyhound.com.
“We used to work him with a quad bike. We don’t do that anymore just because of the stress on his muscles.
“It’s a funny one – people say don’t swim them, but he’s been going all right since we’ve been swimming him.”
Marsigalia is the son of Fire Cloud’s trainer, Colleen Pierson, and both have been delighted with his recent form which has seen him win two of his past four starts since returning from injury.
His last race before that injury layoff was back on November 6 last year.
That was after a previously undetected hip problem prevented him from being competitive – as expected – in the $57,000 Greyhounds WA All Stars Sprint (520m) on October 23.
From box one, he still fought hard with plenty of courage to finish sixth.
“Fire Cloud had nearly six months off. He had a major tear to his hip muscle,” Marsigalia said.
“A week before he raced in the All Star Final, Fire Cloud drew inside box two and he won in 29.86 seconds.
“We believe he might’ve got a knock to the hip in the catching pen which we weren’t aware of at the time.
“We didn’t know but in the final he did more damage. He drew box one for the final and we were up and about thinking he’d be a chance to win the All Stars; however, he came out struggling, and I thought ‘that doesn’t look right’.
“As Mum was in between moving house between the heat and final we didn’t really have time to check him properly and do what we needed to do make sure he was spot on for the final.
“We thought as he had a pretty uninterrupted run in the heat he should be right, so we just chucked him into the final and he got beaten.
”It just didn’t look like him – he had no early muster and Fire Cloud’s strength is his early speed.”
Marsigalia had no shortage of support from the Western Australian greyhound industry, all helping Fire Cloud recover and bounce back to the form he is now displaying.
“We don’t like to single individuals out who have helped us, but those people know who they are,” he said.
“When we finally got to the bottom of his injury we had to give him close to six months off.”
Pierson then decided she would start taking Fire Cloud to a hydrotherapist to rehabilitate the hip injury.
That woman is the respected Johanne Plows at Holistic Paws = Waggy Tails, an animal wellness centre in the Perth suburb of High Wycombe.
“She’s working pretty much just on his hip,” Marsigalia said.
“We just went there one day and saw he was really enjoying it.
“We don’t run him anymore – we just swim him. He looks an absolute beast now and he’s rock-hard fit.
“So we are now taking the other dogs there and they all started going better.
“The swimming is working. People say don’t take them swimming because dogs are supposed to run.
“But it’s working for us. He’s looking amazing at the moment.”
Despite rediscovering his form and now boasting nine wins from 28 starts, Marsigalia said Fire Cloud would still have his work cut out in an effort to beat Momentum – a fellow two-year-old for Cosi Dagostino – on Saturday night.
“Momentum is his biggest danger and will likely get the sit on him. Momentum is the best dog in WA at the moment,” Marsigalia said.
“If Fire Cloud can get a clear run and hold Momentum out of the first turn, I reckon he’ll run 29.70s. I know that’s what he can run.
“He just needs to get a clear run early because he’s pretty much back to his best now.
“Since Fire Cloud has returned from injury only Manzu has lowered his colours. His past four starts have been for two wins and two seconds to Manzu.”