Former Australian cricketing teammates Ricky Ponting and James Pattinson will be in opposing corners on Thursday night when their greyhounds Rumbling Rick and Beckenbauer go head to head at Sandown Park.
Ponting, the former Aussie Captain, was born into greyhound racing, while Pattinson’s interest in the sport dates back several years and has snowballed since his brother Darren took up training greyhounds for a living in 2013.
In fact, Darren Pattinson has an intimate knowledge of both greyhounds, as he trains Beckenbauer for James and he is the right hand man of Rumbling Rick’s trainer, Darren McDonald.
“There’s not much between the two of them. If they were to have a match race two out over 515m Beckenbauer would lead, but Rumbling Rick would be coming home stronger and there would be nothing between them,” said Pattinson, a former international cricketer himself having famously played one test for England.
“This is the biggest test yet for Beckenbauer. He is stepping up in class and has Box 5. He’d much prefer to be drawn inside but he had a great win last start (at Sandown in 29.51sec) so he’s in great form.”
Pattinson’s passion for training greyhounds continues to grow, stating “I wouldn’t do anything else for a living”, and he said the fire inside James and Ricky is burning just as brightly.
“Ricky is texting me all the time wanting to know how Rumbling Rick has pulled up after his races and where he is racing next, while James helps me out with my dogs as much as he can,” he said.
Beckenbauer and Rumbling Rick will contest Race 10 at Sandown on Thursday at 10:12pm, and don’t be surprised if their owners appear trackside.
Pictured above: Darren Pattinson and Ricky Ponting with Rumbling Rick after a recent win at Sandown (right); James Pattinson with 2013 Melbourne Cup finalist Shifty Sticka.