Starting from box one, the dark brindle bitch was well into stride but was pressured early as several other runners pushed up from the outside in pursuit of the bunny. Despite the challenge the 30 kilogram bitch was able to muscle her way to the front before sprinting clear down the back.
Swinging for home and it was still Milly Keeping leading the way, with the Terry Erenshaw-trained bitch holding off a late challenge from SA star Fabregal and rank outsider Olivia Benson to score by one and one quarter lengths on the line.
“It was certainly a thrill,” a happy Erenshaw told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“To win any race is great, but to win a group race is sensational.
“There was a fair bit of speed in the race so she only had to have missed it a little bit and she would have been in a bit of trouble.
“Luckily she began with them…it was a bit tight going through the first turn and she had to work hard to find the lead which was something I didn’t expect.
“Box one certainly worked in her favour, it is a big advantage having the one in any big race.”
The win was a welcome victory for Erenshaw who trains the daughter of Swift Fancy and Naomi Keeping for NSW owner-breeders Charmaine Roberts and Shane Stiff, with Erenshaw having trained greyhounds for the couple for close to 10 years.
“I have trained a lot of dogs of Charmaine and Shane and it was certainly a thrill to win a group race for them.
“They are over the moon having bred her from their own line which is one they have persevered with for many years so it is nice to see them get a good result.”
The triumph made it three wins for Milly Keeping from just six career starts, while she also has a further two placings to her name and $50,965 in career earnings.
Erenshaw said while the bitch is showing potential, he isn’t getting too excited at this stage.
“It was an age restricted race so you can’t get too carried away because the races get a lot harder from here.
“But every journey starts with a single step so she is well and truly on her way.”