Norm Rinaldi now faces one of those headaches as he battles with the decision of whether or not to retire his five-time Group One winner Destini Fireball.
Heading into Saturday night’s Super Stayers at The Meadows, Rinaldi had planned for the race to be the big white and black dogs swan song. However, after the son of Where’s Pedro and Greys Destiny won the race for the second year in a row, Rinaldi is toying with the idea of keeping the rising four-year-old racing for a little bit longer.
Right now Rinaldi is just savouring the win, one which he says was quite emotional.
“It was pretty special, he is a fantastic dog, it was a pretty strong field against some young dogs,” Rinaldi said.
“He showed some pace and actually got in underneath a dog. It is normally them getting in underneath him. He saw a bit of an opening when Dyna Kayla went wide and got straight in under there, it was a pretty good run.”
The win was a popular one with the fans trackside, with the big Meadows crowd raising the roof as the 36kg chaser crossed the line.
“We celebrated, it was a pretty popular win, everyone was yelling their heads off when he came over the line. They all got behind him, he is pretty popular the big boy.”
Rinaldi says that his gamble on importing American brood bitches Greys Destiny and Greys Lemon Ice has panned out better than he could have ever dreamed it to.
“I couldn’t have ever imagined something like this, you just don’t. We just thought we’d put the process in place, I loved the strength of the American bitches, I just thought we’d mate them to the Australian dogs. The Australian dogs are the best in the world, there’s no better dogs in the world. I thought we’d mate them and just see what comes out, but I never thought we’d have the success that we have with that litter, we have been very lucky.”
The win was the 25th of Destini Fireball’s career and took him over the $600,000 mark in career earnings. Rinaldi says it was right up there with some of his best performances.
“I would have to rate that as one of his best wins. When you look at the selections and the betting, he wasn’t in it. We thought he was well and truly in it, but the rest of them didn’t think he could do it again. He’s a pretty hard dog to keep down.”
When it comes to retirement, Rinaldi is finding it a tricky decision to make, especially with the recent form of his kennel star being close to some of the best of his career.
“It’s a difficult decision now because that was a pretty handy time he ran. At the moment he’s really hitting his straps, it is a hard decision.”
“I really don’t know what I will do, I’m just sort of thinking about it at the moment. I’ll have a few days to try and clear my head and give it a bit of thought.”
If there is anything that will sway Rinaldi’s decision, it may well be the lack of races available for Destini Fireball.
“There’s not that many races around for him and they don’t race that regularly, the stayers, that’s the problem. You have got to go to Sydney and that sort of thing, it is just a lot harder with stayers, trying to chase races.”
One decision that Rinaldi is sure of, is the retirement of Destini Fireballs’s brother General Destini. After falling in the race after his brothers big win, Rinaldi decided that the veteran of 79 starts had earned a rest.
“That was definitely the General’s last race. He’s done enough.”
“He’s ok after the fall, he’s good, he bounced back up. He has competed in so many races that dog and he’s never been knocked off his feet. It’s a rotten start on that bend, you’ve really got to get on the inside or get clear of them.”
With both dogs destined for the breeding barn, the inevitable question of a possible stud fee came up.
“We haven’t gone that far yet. I’m concentrating on my racing dogs, this business of retiring and going to stud has been far off my mind. Then you’ve got to start thinking about drawing straws and putting a price on them and that sort of thing, it’s a whole new chapter.”
Rinaldi will now turn his attention to the second generation of race dogs from his American broods.
“We have a couple of young dogs coming through now, we will be starting them off at Horsham. They are only very young these dogs, but they are showing pretty good results at the moment. I’ve got a couple in on Tuesday again.”
“Hopefully they turn out well, they’ve got a big hole to fill if these two boys retire. I’ll be looking for my next two to come up, but I think it will be a while.”