Gone To Heaven Wins The 2014 Puppy Classic

Linda Britton has produced her second finals campaign trifecta, this time in the 2014 Puppy Classic on Saturday night; taking out top honours with Gone To Heaven.

On a night in which Perth saw the first decent amount of rain fall for the year, the daughter of Collide-Casey’s Angel exited from box two with the explosive speed she had been missing in her last few starts. Once she hit the lead there was very little chance of the black bitch getting run down, winning by four and a half lengths in a near personal best time of 30.34. Britton’s Petra (6) ran home strong to finish second and Star Recall (8) rounded out the Puppy Classic in third place.

It was a night of firsts for both Britton and owners Andrew and Peter Haines; it was Britton’s first time winning the Puppy Classic and the Haines, Haines syndicate’s first time wining a feature event at Cannington.

The $20,000 final has been won by multiple WA greyhounds of the year; including Paul Stuart’s Dyna Nalin (2013) and Ultimate Rebel (2001).

Gone To Heaven was named after close family friend Carol Johnson and races in memory of Andrew and Peter’s mother and wife Pam, who passed away late last year with cancer. Ever since Pam’s diagnosis, Gone To Heaven, lovingly named Jelly, has put her best paw forward.

“We have had a tough couple of months, but when we watch Jelly run around we are reminded of mum.” Owner Andrew Haines explained.

“It’s great to have a dog that is able to mix it with the best of chasers at Cannington.”

Gone To Heaven won her first seven starts, clocking a personal best time of 30.23 in just her fifth career start. Britton made the decision to send her to Melbourne to participate in the Judy Hayley Memorial series at Sandown; Gone To Heaven drew box five in the heat and was unable to finish first past the post after falling out of the boxes.

Running second in the Puppy Classic heat last week gave onlookers a glimpse of the Gone To Heaven that graced Cannington’s 530 metre distance in her first seven starts. Both Britton and the Haines duo were quietly confident heading into the final, especially wearing the black and white rug.

Gone To Heaven certainly didn’t disappoint, defeating a more than impressive field including the talented Star Recall and High Recall. It will be a battle between the three girls in Britton’s kennels week in week out; with the leader of their battles being the likely winner.

“There were some good pups in the final, it was hard not to be worried about the Recall bitches because they have put together some very impressive runs in their last few starts.”

Andrew and Peter Haines have been in the greyhound industry for over 10 years with Linda Britton as their main trainer. Over the years the duo have had some handy dogs, before Gone To Heaven they had the Mandurah Track Star Two Pot Screamer who dominated Mandurah’s short course distance. Two Pot Screamer now holds permanent residence in Peter’s backyard. The now near 40 kilo ex chaser can be found on his back with his legs in the air and tongue hanging out enjoying the life of a retired greyhound.

“Two Pot Screamer was a great dog but he was only able to manage the shorter distances of Mandurah.”

In recent years the Haines, Haines syndicate have chosen to invest in pups rather then buying race dogs. Although it’s a longer process getting them to the racetrack, they get a lot of enjoyment watching and learning about the stages involved in bringing a greyhound to the track.

“Picking names for the dogs is one of the best parts of it; I can find them in song lyrics as well as phrases that I hear every day.”

Gone To Heaven has so much meaning packed into her 26 kilo frame it’s near impossible to watch her perform without a tear in your eye and she will forever run in memory of a beautiful wife, mother and grandmother.

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