He may carry the race moniker of Walk Hard, but let me tell you, he can run hard, and fast as well. The recent Warragul Cup winner flew around Warrnambool’s Wannon Park on Wednesday night and in doing so set new figures for the 450 metre journey, recording an exceptional 24.84 seconds, his second track record performance of the year.
Jumping well from the red box, the big black sprinter held out the early challenge of National Time at the first corner and worked to a clear lead as the field swept onto the circle. Utilising his customary strength, Walk Hard quickly began to put some distance between himself and his rivals as he made his way to the home corner, racing powerfully to the line to score by five and a quarter lengths from National Time, with a further eight lengths to Ten Aces in third.
This performance saw the three and a half year old surpass the previous mark held by superstar Black Magic Opal of 24.87 seconds, set on the 31st of October last year.
The black flyer now holds two track records, at Warragul over the 460 metres, and now Warrnambool over 450 metres, and if current performances are any indication, the best may still be to come.
While most chasers at his age may be considered by many pundits to be reaching the twilight of their racing career, it seems Walk Hard is completely ignorant of the fact, as he really looks to be in the best form of his racing life. Not only has he won five of his last six outings, including a Warragul Cup victory, his only unplaced effort was in the Group 3 Healesville Cup, where he sustained severe interference and finished sixth.
Perhaps a key to his longevity is due to him only having competed on only 38 occasions, for a greyhound of his age, this would certainly put him into the lightly raced bracket. His record from those 38 starts is simply superb, 19 wins, nine seconds and three thirds, missing a place on just seven occasions and racking up more than $120,000 in stake earnings.
Injury has definitely played a part in Walk Hards career, at times he has been spelled with no guarantee of a return to the race track. His trainer Nicki McCrae has never lost her faith in her grand chaser and must receive much kudos for returning him to racing in such great fashion. She has indicated his next target looks like being the Golden Easter Egg series in Sydney to be run over three weeks beginning on Saturday the 5th of April.
While the son of Bit Chilli and Miss Bling is no stranger to racing in elite company, it will be fascinating to see how he handles the sometimes difficult Wentworth Park track when he heads north for a tilt at the 2014 Golden Easter Egg.
Whichever event he tackles next, Walk Hard has etched his name not only in to the record books, but also into the hearts and minds of greyhound followers everywhere. His tenacious spirit and will to win has endeared him to all who follow the long tails and his gutsy comeback from injury has us all yearning to see him and his trainer enjoy further success.