Gary Weston had just won a game of golf against an old school friend prior to speaking to ARG. It’s not the only win he has had this week though as his star bitch, Zelemar Fever (Bombastic Shiraz-Noaki Pace), took out the Group One Temlee at The Meadows on Saturday night.
“That was really exciting. It was really the first Group One that we’ve won. She’s a very hard chaser and she did a lot of bullocking work as she ran down the leader. She did really well, it was really exciting for us. We got eight tickets from Perth to Melbourne and we had quite a cheer squad for it. We picked up some relatives as well on the way, so it was really good.
We were screaming. All of our group, we probably had about 20 people there, we were all just screaming our heads off. When the leader was seven lengths in front we were still screaming but we weren’t really confident but she’s such a hard chaser and railer and when that dog came off the rails we knew we had a better chance. It was just a fantastic night and The Meadows did it well too. Their presentation was good and we enjoyed ourselves.
To win a feature race in Melbourne is really special. Paul Wheeler’s a good friend of ours and I was talking to him and he said he has travelled around the world seeing greyhounds and he said to win a Group One in Melbourne is the mecca of racing in the world. That makes us feel pretty good.”
Weston is no stranger to greyhounds. He has bred and raced plenty over the years under the familiar moniker “West On”. In that time, he has built a great relationship with leading WA trainer Linda Britton.
“I have had dogs since I was 18. Next month I am 69 so I’ve had dogs for a long time. We have a lot of dogs and the better ones are all trained by Linda. We probably have 40-50 dogs most of the time and there’s usually about 20 in work. We’ve got some nice dogs but she (Zelemar Fever) is the best dog we have got at the moment.
Linda has done a fantastic job. Linda and Chris and her team they do a great job with all the dogs. We have been with Linda for about 20 years. They are good friends. It’s just not the commercial side of racing, it’s the friendship and the bond over many years.”
Weston purchased Zelemar Fever from Robert Crawford and since changing hands, has won 12 races from 16 starts.
“We bought her from Rob Crawford. He sent her to Perth to race and Linda knew that someone had offered to buy her previously and I said to Linda that we would be interested in buying her if she was available. Linda made contact with Rob and asked if he would sell. He knocked back our first offer and he took our second offer. She’s broken 30 seconds four times at Cannington which is quite special. She has given the whole family a lot of fun.”
Naturally, Zelemar Fever’s future after racing rests in the breeding barn.
“She will be off to the breeding barn once she finishes her racing career.
We are looking forward to that as well. She’ll be potentially our best brood bitch. She has got very strong lines and she is such a hard chaser. We are really looking forward to using her when she goes to stud.”
“Linda’s very much in charge, she’s entered for the Australian Cup heats next Saturday and after that she will come back to Perth and Linda will map out a program. There’s feature races every month in Perth. There’s good racing for her. I think Linda would like to travel with her if the right races are available.”
As for Zelemar Fever’s chances in the heats on Saturday, Weston is crossing his fingers for an inside draw.
“We hope she draws inside. She’s a much better dog on the inside than out. She tends to go straight left and that makes it awkward if she’s outside. If she draws one, two or three that would be good.”
Regardless of what happens in the Australian Cup, Zelemar Fever is now a Group One winner and adds her name to the illustrious list of Temlee winners. Under the care of Linda Britton, she will be able to continue providing her owners with the immense joy that she brings them when she races.