DESPITE being drawn in an incredibly tough race, grand campaigner On Coin will have plenty of supporters for his heat of the Group 1 Perth Cup at Cannington on Saturday night.
John Crossley’s ultra-consistent greyhound will exit box one in the fifth race of the night and is up against the flying Star Recall (box three), Group 1 winner Ollie Bale (box six) and the speedy Gone To Heaven (box seven).
To make things even more challenging, it will be On Coin’s first run in three weeks.
The son of Primo Uno and West On Lee was on the sidelines for more than two months after being injured in October last year and when he returned to the track at the start of 2015 it soon became apparent he wasn’t 100 per cent right.
At his most recent run he got caught out wide from the pink and was never in calculations, finishing fifth.
“He was coming back from injury and he didn’t need that box eight and after that run he pulled up with a bad tendon,” Crossley explained.
“He had one bad tendon injury and then he copped it a second time.
“That’s been the reason he hasn’t really been on the track the past two months.”
However, Crossley believes On Coin has recovered from the setback, although he admitted it was a rush to get him back in time for the Group 1 feature.
“It was hit and miss whether we would have hime back racing for this week but he has been trialling down the straight track really good and he has been pulling up on his tendon fine,” he said. “He seems right, but it will be pretty hard for his first run back.
“I couldn’t believe the dogs he has drawn against in his heat. I think there are three Grade 1 dogs in it, so it is not an easy race to win especially being his first run.
“There are some excellent dogs in the race, but he has drawn the one and I am sure he will do his best, he always does when he races.”
On Coin has been tremendous for Crossley and his wife Brenda. The red brindle powerhouse has faced the starter on 66 occasions for 30 wins and 24 minor placings.
Remarkably, all of those victories have been at Cannington where he holds a blistering 29.85 personal best over the 530-metre trip.
“His stakes earnings now are around $230,000 and he has made that the hard way, he hasn’t won any big, major races to boost his prize money,” Crossley said.
“He has done it by being consistent week-in, week-out for the past two years.”
With his terrific record, many would not realise On Coin has been plagued by injury throughout his career. The 31-kilogram chaser frustratingly missed last year’s Perth Cup and had to decline invitations for the 2014 Temlee and Topgun.
“He has been invited to two big races in Melbourne but he was injured for both,” Crossley said.
“He has missed all the big races due to injury and he damned near missed this one, too.”
Few people could deny Crossley and On Coin thoroughly deserve a feature success and their time in the spotlight.
As the three-and-a-half-year-old reaches the twilight of his racing career, there would be no more fitting time for the local champ to salute and qualify for the $140,000-to-the-winner final.
“I have been in the sport since it started and he is definitely the best dog I have had,” Crossley said.
“It would be nice to win the big one, it would be a really nice going-out present, but it is going to be tough.”
There are seven heats of the Group 1 Perth Cup on Saturday night at Cannington with each winner and the fastest second placegetter progressing to the following week’s final. There are also two heats of the Group 1 Galaxy for the stayers, with the first four from each qualifying for the decider.