Mark Rodgers and the Dailly’s have had a long association, and on Saturday night the partnership claimed the Group One Rookie Rebel at The Meadows with Hawk Alone (Westmead Hawk- Glamorous Jade).
Rodgers owns Hawk Alone and trained him up until July 2013, before handing the training honours of the 34kg black dog over to the Dailly’s.
Hawk Alone hasn’t been an overnight success, with Rodgers acknowledging that the dog has improved with time.
“He took awhile to develop. He hasn’t been an overnight success. We’ve bought him along gradually and he’s one of those that keeps finding a little bit.”
Rodgers couldn’t be trackside on Saturday night, but he was still able to catch the race on TV.
“It was good. Unfortunately I couldn’t be there. I watched it on TV and it was fantastic. I didn’t think he could win due to the quality of some of the dogs in the race. Not saying he isn’t quality himself but when you’ve got dogs like Xylia Allen, it puts a bit of doubt in your mind whether you can beat them.
He got checked on the first turn and I thought, that’s not good, then he got into second and he was behind Rinaldi’s dog and I didn’t know if he would pick him up, and he did. Spirited Flame was flying home at the end. He’s done a fantastic job and I’m extremely proud.”
Andrea Dailly trains the dog for Rodgers and he and the Dailly’s have known each other for many years.
“Tom and Andrea have trained a lot of dogs for me. I’ve trained a lot of winners over the years as well, but I breed a lot of pups and unfortunately you just can’t do it all. When you should be trialling and all that, you are running around after brood bitches. The two don’t really go together; breeding and training. I’ve got 20 brood bitches.
I rear some. I’ve got six acres at Cressy and I select which ones I want to rear. The ones I don’t rear, Andrea and the boys will rear some and we work in pretty well together. I’ve got their broodbitches here as well.”
Hawk Alone emerged as a result of breeding Westmead Hawk with the Bartolo line.
“I wanted the Bartolo line. Now I’ve got six of those Bartolo lines here now.
The mating (to Westmead Hawk) was based on trial and error. There’s no steadfast rules to it. I wanted to get an outcross and Spiral Nikita worked with the Bartolo line and so I thought we would go to someone from Ireland. We’ve also crossed a few of our broodbitches to American sires.”
Hawk Alone’s win is not the first group success for Rodgers as a breeder. He also bred, amongst others, the likes of Kilty Lad, who is currently at stud and Spitfire Jet, who won the Western Australia Derby. He’s also bred numerous country cup winners in Victoria and feature race winners and left ARG readers with some important advice.
“We put a lot of work into selecting sires and rearing. The rearing is very important, you get what you put into them and what you put in, you get out. If you don’t look after them, you may as well not have them.”
Hawk Alone’s next target looks to be the Australian Cup, dropping back to the preferred sprinting trip.
“I’d imagine he would go in the cup heats. He’s more a 520 metre dog than he is a 600 metre dog. He runs a strong 520 or 550. 600 is just on his borderline. He’s sort of pushing the limits at 600.”
After Hawk Alone’s success in the Rookie Rebel, there’s no doubt the successful partnership between Rodgers and the Dailly’s will continue for many years to come.