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Group Win WIth The Lot

It has been 24 years since Fantasy Boy won the Shepparton Cup for Cortese, and until Saturday night that was his one and only Group win in 42 years in the sport.

“I remember winning the Shepparton Cup very clearly. At the time my wife was heavily pregnant with my son, Mario,” Cortese said.

Ironically, Cortese owns Pappa Gallo – winner of the Group 3 GRV VBIS Maiden final (525m) on Australian Cup night at The Meadows – while Mario is his trainer.

“We have a small team of greyhounds and the whole family gets involved in training them. We all live the dogs and it’s a real team effort.”

The Cortese’s train from a large houseblock in Hampton Park, while they have converted their garage into a pizza shop which is their core income.

“The pizza business is going really well. It’s called T.C’s Pizza and we only do home deliveries. We cook pizzas the old fashioned traditional way which our customers appreciate,” Cortese said.

Despite Saturday’s big win, training greyhounds has become more challenging for the Cortese family in recent months.

“Until last October we had a ten acre property directly behind us which we used to exercise our greyhounds because it was owned by an elderly couple in their eighties who were greyhound trainers and are good friends of ours.”

“However they have now sold the property to developers and we now have 36 houses behind us.”
“To win $25,000 (plus a $10,000 GOBIS bonus) for a maiden final is incredible and far more than I expected when we nominated him for this race” – TONY CORTESE “We certainly don’t begrudge them for selling because we had a great run for such a long time and we are very grateful for that. It just means we travel to the straight track at Cranbourne more often to give our dogs a gallop,” Cortese said.

Pappa Gallo, by Bekim Bale out of Cortese’s broodmatron Bella Ebony, has now had five starts for two wins and two placings.

At just 19 months he was the youngest greyhound in Saturday’s final and he snared a $25,000 first prize plus a $10,000 GOBIS Bonus (standard for all GOBIS registered winners of Victorian Group races) when he recorded a time of 30.31sec.

Further, as part of a GOBIS initiative recently announced by Minister for Racing (& Victorian Premier), Denis Napthine, all other GOBIS qualified finalists – seven of them in this case – receive a $1,000 GOBIS bonus.

“Prize money wise this is the richest race I’ve ever won. To win $25,000 (plus $10,000 GOBIS Bonus) for a maiden final is incredible.”

“When we entered him for the race I thought it was for the standard VBIS maiden prize money of $7,500 to the winner plus a $1,000 GOBIS bonus, so it was a nice surprise when we found out the race was worth as much as it was.”

Pappa Gallo was bred by Maria Barbara, who leased Bella Ebony for breeding from Cortese in return for a couple of pups.

The young sprinter looks to have a bright future that Cortese hopes will drastically reduce the time between family’s next group win.

Pappa Gallo wins Saturday’s rich maiden final. CLICK TO WATCH

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