Once in while a young dog appears on the scene and instantly captures the imagination of all who aspire to the pinnacle of our sport. One such greyhound is Shot To Bits, who broke the Bendigo track record over 500 metres at just his third start last Friday in a maiden final.
Trainer Paul Ryder has only two greyhounds in work, so for one to break a track record is no mean feat. It also reinforces the belief that hobby breeders and trainers can still compete with the professional full time trainers, in what is a super competitive racing environment.
The “buzz” about Shot To Bits’ talent saw him start a pronounced favourite at all three outings, and on this occasion it was to be on show for all to witness.
After a slow start, the son of Bekim Bale was second last after the first 50 or so metres, but then quickly found the rail and began to charge strongly through the field. He found the front past the short (320m) boxes and quickly increased his margin as the field travelled towards the home turn.
However, it was to be Shot To Bits’ last section which really had the tongues wagging after the event. While a run home of around 13.00 seconds is considered good over the 500m trip, to finish off in 12.54 seconds is simply unheard of. The overall time recorded by Shot To Bits was an electric 27.66 seconds, eclipsing the previous mark of 27.76 seconds held by Corridor, set in December last year.
Indicating his strength, Shot To Bits final winning margin was over 18 lengths. Second home was Kandy Kid with Fearsome Mint finishing third.
The pedigree of this potential top liner is also worth delving into a little deeper.
By Bekim Bale, who is really starting to make a name for himself as a sire, out of a bitch called Eye The Tiger (Surf Lorian-Bogie Benz), Shot To Bits has blue bloods on both sides of his ancestry.
His Dam finished her race career with only a moderate race record, winning 4 from 25 starts in Queensland. As a brood, Eye The Tiger has produced a couple of handy types in her first litter to Collision, including Kenso Karoo and Fyre Out, while Shot To Bits is from her second litter.
Eye The Tiger has a strong family tree as she is a full sister to Bogie Blaze, who made a number of Group Finals in Queensland and finished runner up in a Lismore Cup Final. While her litter sister, Bogie Skye, has been an outstanding brood bitch, producing a number of Group finalists including Bogie King, Bogie Beltah and Withcott Warrior to name a few.
ARG spoke to trainer Paul Ryder and asked him about his involvement in greyhound racing and his thoughts on his kennel star Shot To Bits.
“I have only held a trainers licence since August last year”, Paul explained.
“My brother and father had been involved in greyhound racing, and had enjoyed some success, being able to get a greyhound into the Sandown Sapphire Final, and I thought I might try my hand at the sport as well. I haven’t been able to wipe the smile off my face since Friday”, he said, when speaking about the track record effort of Shot To Bits.
“He has pure desperation for the rail and I am confident he will get a good 600 metres, any further than that is an unknown at this stage.”
When queried about the fall of his potential star on debut at Sandown, Ryder was frank in his assessment.
“I thought at the time that he may have to be put down, as he fell so heavily, but he came through without any major damage. Rob Tartaglia has been fantastic in helping me getting Shot To Bits back to the track and racing well, I cannot thank him enough.”
“He has never shown brilliant speed from the boxes, but I think there is some improvement there, as he can begin a lot better than he did on Friday. I have had a couple of offers for Shot To Bits, when he broke in, however nothing of recent times.”
“I whelped the litter and had Shot To Bits and his brother Volksjager Blue since birth and I am not all that interested in parting with either of them.”
When asked about future race plans, the rookie trainer said he had nothing in particular set out for Shot To Bits, other than to keep working his way through the grades, and hopefully on to bigger and better things.
If having a track record to your credit after only three starts is anything to go by, we should be hearing a lot more about Shot To Bits as he continues on his racing journey.