Shot to Bits is more than a record-breaking phenom that could potentially be one of the brightest staying stars in the country – he is trainer Paul Ryder’s best mate.
Recently, Shot To Bits rose to prominence after two devastating performances over Bendigo’s 660m journey. The first, a record run of 37.558 seconds and the second, a demolition of that record when running 37.361 seconds last Friday.
His strength is enviable with his full potential still to be determined but it’s the bond shared between trainer and greyhound that gives Paul the real thrill.
“The dog loves me and I’ve been accused of being in love with him too. I can’t help it, I just love the dog, he can be considered my best mate,” Ryder said.
Ryder – of Corio – is father to three daughters and believes that his star greyhound could be considered his first son.
“I have three beautiful daughters but I suppose you could call him (Shot To Bits) the son I’ve never had. Being able to share the sport I love with him his brilliant.”
The bond shared between greyhound and trainer is even more special due to the fact that Shot To Bits is the first greyhound that Paul has trained – he also bred the litter completing the fairytale.
Working full-time as a sheet metal worker and driver, Ryder spends most of his spare time with the dogs and says that his family and colleagues are very supportive of the pursuit and love watching the dog run as much as he does.
“I don’t get a lot of sleep and I eat my meals in the kennels because I need to get the time to do the greyhounds. I spend a great deal of time out there with the dogs. It’s my little get away from everything. I just love being around them.
“Everything is pretty much on hold at the moment. It might sound ridiculous but my life is about this dog.”
The greyhound’s talent and potential was never in doubt after breaking the 500m track-record at Bendigo as a maiden running 27.668 (this record has since been broken by Untraceable that ran 27.628).
Now, with some more miles in the greyhound’s legs and a penchant for distance racing, the son of Bekim Bale x Eye The Tiger is set to become one of the country’s best stayers. This Saturday night he will debut over the 725m course at The Meadows.
Ryder believes the greyhound has the stamina to make the journey and revealed that sometimes he pulls up so well after his races that it annoys him.
“After his track-record at Bendigo he drank next to no water the following day and was doing laps in the backyard on Sunday morning and I thought to myself ‘you idiot!’ he laughed
“He recovers so quick that it catches you off guard. You put him in the yards and then he just takes off and it makes your blood boil a little bit because you just want him to recover.”
One of the more unique characteristics of Shot To Bits is that he tends to bark while in the boxes but when he’s fresh, Ryder revealed that he does something quite remarkable.
“When he hasn’t raced for a while he always barks in the boxes but on some occasions when he has been trialling he barks all the up to the first corner and it really surprises people.”
Of the greyhound’s temperament, Ryder says that he has an arrogant streak but couldn’t fault him.
“He can be a little arrogant at times but I can genuinely say that he doesn’t have any character traits that annoy me. When I get home from work and go to the kennels he comes up and greets me but then goes back into his kennel and relaxes, he’s just that type of dog.”
This Saturday night will be the first step in the journey to super star staying status for Shot To Bits and all eyes will be on The Meadows.
INSET: Shot To Bits at home
Shot To Bits Breaks Bendigo Track Record… Again
Shot To Bits Blitzes Around Sandown
Shot To Bits Breaks His Maiden and the Track Record