There aren’t many people in the greyhound industry like Kath and Kevin Irving. The breeding and training duo are blessed with a prominent producer in No Recall and are just as happy to share the success of their pups with others in the greyhound game.
Star Recall is just one of the speedy offspring of No Recall’s litter to High Earner; the little black bitch is making her finals berth in the Sandgroper on Friday night. After qualifying fastest for the final and receiving box one in the final, Star Recall will start as odds on favourite for trainer Linda Britton.
It’s not about the money or handy WA bred bonuses for breeders Kath and Kevin Irving; it’s about seeing their canine children enjoy what they are bred to do. It’s an added bonus they are speed machines.
“They were something special when we had them here and I have the scars to prove it!” Kath Irving explained.
“It’s such a thrill to see them go around. It makes all the hard work worthwhile. I am just a hobby trainer and I want to be able to give the pups the best opportunity. There are more experienced trainers that have good facilities that can give the pups what they really need.”
Star Recall is not the only one in the litter who has stepped into the spotlight. Linda Britton has three litter sisters to Star Recall. High Recall, Who’s Doing What and Bad Memory. High Recall has won six out of her nine starts and recently recorded a personal best time of 30.32 over the 530 metre trip at Cannington. Who’s Doing What is yet to win in her two starts, but she has already established a fearless running style. Bad Memory is yet to make her debut; if her sibling’s are anything to go off she could be in for a handy career.
High Class has found herself in Melbourne for trainer Edward Dowsey and has had just four stars for three wins and a third.
Kath and Kevin Irving train Clare O’Malley, who has a special story behind her. When she was about nine months old Kath and Kevin where woken at midnight to screaming from their pup yard. After rushing out to the yard they found Clare O’Malley had crashed into the side of the kennel and was missing the muscle in her shoulder.
“There was nothing there, no blood, no muscle, just absolutely nothing from her shoulder down to her elbow; it was flat as a tack.”
“There was an indentation from where the bone was, and you could run your finger across her shoulder blade. We thought we would have to put her down.”
She was rushed to the vet, who suggested they try stem cell treatment to repair her shoulder muscles.
“She had four shots at intervals and it has totally repaired itself. She has had the three runs now for two wins and a third, so we are very pleased. She is very special.”
Kath also trains My Mate Cobber, who finished third in his one career start. Southern River trainer Barry McPherson has a dog and a bitch from the litter; Yalgoo Stan and Yalgoo Val who are both yet to hit the racetrack.
No Recall is set to give birth to her next litter of potential superstars within the next few days. The litter to Magic Sprite have already sparked interest from WA buyers. Although her first litter to Collision were less than a success, her second litter sired by High Earner have more then impressed in their short careers.
“The Collision litter was very difficult, they didn’t eat, they were picky. I just don’t think that mating worked. They where small and a problem from day dot. I worried about how the High Earner litter would turn out because of her first litter.”
Kath’s partner in breeding Mary Morris has a great interest in the breeding side of the greyhounds. Mary was also the reason Kath and Kevin got involved in the greyhound industry 40 years ago. Interest sparked when Mary bought a greyhound for her husband and it escalated from there.
“Once you have greyhounds they just get under your skin and your gone. They get into your blood and that’s it. Mary very carefully goes back through the breeding to look for any connections, she knows what lines go with what. Mary likes pups with white feet and a white tip on the tail. She really liked Star Recall as a pup. “
As puppies, the High Earner litter where very confident. None were wimpy or shy, everything that was put in the yard with them they would get a hold of. The four at the Britton kennel were seen on several occasions plucking birds from the sky. Kath’s protection from their fierceness was the poop scoop, to prevent them from jumping on her.
“This was the only litter that I was scared to go in with them. There were 10 stand outs in the litter; they all stood out!”
With No Recall’s first feature race representative, Star Recall, in the Sandgroper on Friday night, Kath will miss out on attending her biggest race to date for the next litter of potential speedsters. Leaving No Recall, lovingly named Sally, at such an important time is something Kath couldn’t do.
“I’m not sure if Sally is the pet or we are her servants. We are at her beck and call, so we probably are. We have to write her out a menu every day, you’ve got to give them what they want.”
At the moment, Sally is living off chicken frames, ice cream and sardines to fuel to tummy of superstars.
Star Recall is searching for her fifth win from seven starts in the Sandgroper final. She may only have just over $6,000 to her name, but she has been able to run 30.56 over the 530 metre trip at Cannington and 27.35 over Mandurah’s 490 metre distance, holding her in good stead for her first feature race.
“I am really thrilled that she has been doing so well. We try to go and watch all their starts but because Sally due to have her pups I will listen to it on the radio and watch it on the computer.”