Graeme Jose has two sporting loves – football and greyhound racing – and he’s planning to win grand finals in both these sporting arenas.
Jose is the non-playing firsts coach of the Longwarry Football Club, which is affiliated with the Ellinbank & District Football League.
He is also the trainer of Australia’s No. 1 staying greyhound – Mantra Lad.
The Catani-based Jose is coaching Mantra Lad towards successive Group 1 National Distance Championship grand finals – a feat only achieved by Queensland distance diva Boronia Blossom (1995-96).
“It’ll be like winning an AFL grand final if he (Mantra Lad) goes back-to-back,” Jose said.
Mantra Lad, who has won stakes of $336,920, commences his second NDC campaign in state heats at Sandown Park on Thursday night. But the ultimate mission is the grand final at Cannington, Perth, on September 5.
He hasn’t raced for six weeks, but Mantra Lad clocked a sensational 34.15sec – around one length off the 600-metre track record – in a trial between races at The Meadows on Saturday night.
“He had done a lot of travelling, so I gave him a let-up after he won the Superstayers (Albion Park, Brisbane) on July 2… I didn’t want to burn him out,” Jose said.
“But during the past few weeks I’ve had to start getting some miles into his legs… I think I’m a week behind where I’d like to be with him, so I’m hoping his heat is not a gut-buster.”
There isn’t any doubting that Jose will be in there shouting – for Mantra Lad and Longwarry Football Club – come that one day in September.