In greyhound racing there is no such thing as a Rite of Passage. If there was, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who could begrudge the owners of Tonight Tonight their maiden Group victory in the final of the 2014 Dapto Puppy Classic on Thursday night.
Wollongong locals Brett Margerison and Brian Young have been long term supporters of the sport and pour a large part of their “hard earned” towards it. Their passion is undeniable and indicative of the type of owner that is a part of the fabric of greyhound racing.
ARG caught up with Margerison during his nervous wait at a crack at Group Glory and an alluring $75,000 pay day.
“We are always looking at potential brood bitches and the (Dennis) Barnes line fit the bill,” he said
“Being out of an unraced sister to Fancy Dean and similar breeding to Zulu Zeus and Zulu Zircon, who were scorching around Bulli and Richmond at the time, we thought she was quite good value. Now its up to her to prove she is worth breeding with.”
Margerison and Young are both long term supporters of the auction concept and have often purchased multiple dogs, as fate would have it, that was not the case with Tonight Tonight.
“We only purchased one at this auction so to make the final alone is a feat in itself. In the past I think we’ve purchased around 6 or 7 with our best finish being 2nd in the consolation with a bitch called Dawn Glory. We have two currently at the breakers from the April auction just gone so fingers crossed.”
The 25kg blue fawn bitch, who is the only finalist yet to break their maiden status, surprised plenty last week when she took up a handy position early before finishing second to Rare Pearl. She has drawn the visitors box for the big final (box four) and Margerison is the first to admit that she is far from an odds on hope.
“She is a genuine 200/1 pop. It is a horrible draw outside Tommy’s (Tzouvelis) wide running bitch. The best we can probably hope for is to tuck in behind the one, two & three and hope the three causes carnage. She hasn’t got the class of the two, six or eight.”
While the glitz and glam of Group finals and big prize-money attached to it lures many to greyhound racing, it has been a long road to this point for Margerison who told of his first foray in to the fastest sport on legs.
“Our first dog was a pup we bought from an advertisement in the Greyhound Recorder by Captain Standby x Tango Tears making him a three-quarter brother to Bravest Tears and Cold As Ice. Unfortunately his biggest claim to fame was a gymkhana win at Dapto in 18.49, not 17.49,18.49! Needless to say he never made the track.”
Margerison now has greyhounds spread far and wide with chasers he owns or part owns racing in three states as well as a plethora of pups coming through.
“At the moment i have six in work, the best one I currently own is one that I race in partnership with Brian and my former neighbour Shane Fernie. It was his father Gaz that got us into the sport. The greyhound’s name is Gustavo Fring, he has won three from five in Victoria.”
“Brian and I are in partnership for Tonight Tonight and we own several together including Everlasting Gaze and Doomsday Clock, it is pretty obvious we’re Smashing Pumpkins fans.”
Young and Margerison have also had a lengthy association with South Coast mentor Garry Edwards, a man who is no stranger to top class bitches, including the ilk of More Space and Double Twist.
“We first raced a bitch with Garry called Midnight Curfew who I bought at the auction with Brian and his father George. George and Garry have been mates for years so George contacted Garry to train this bitch for us. She was handy and won four from 13 but was retired early with a toe problem. She is now a pet at George’s. It would be nice to get another major win for Garry, He is a terrific trainer and an even better bloke, but she’s no Double Twist.”
Margerison managed to encapsulate the angst and excitement of owning a runner in such a big race in seven simple words.
“I wish it would just hurry up.”
The 2014 Dapto Puppy Auction in Race Six on the card this Thursday night and is scheduled to jump at 9:14pm.