A name rich with history and talent that has fulfilled his owners wildest dreams, Tommy Brislane (Premier Fantasy – Mary Virginia) is a greyhound that means the world to Geoff Slattery.
‘Tommy’ is currently New South Wales’ best greyhound and he has come to Melbourne for a feature race campaign that will hopefully include the Sky Racing Topgun and the TAB Melbourne Cup.
The greyhound’s name is sentimental to the family, with its meaning adding to the story and the aura surrounding him. He was named Tommy Brislane (the brother of Slattery’s Mum), who was killed in action during the Second World War.
It was when Tommy Brislane announced himself as one of the best greyhounds in the country winning the Group 1 Dapto Megastar that the magnitude of the victory started to hit home.
“We watched it (the Megastar) as a family on TV and my daughters tell me I was dancing like Fred Astaire,” he said.
“It was emotional as well. Mary Virginia (Tommy Brislane’s Dam) was named after my mother (her given names), just before she died aged 95; and Tommy Brislane was her brother.
“He was killed in action in Syria in 1941, in the Second World War, and is buried in Damascus. I had the name in mind for some years, but waited until I had one who broke in fast.”
Holding the name until he had a fast greyhound has already paid dividends for Slattery – who is omnipresent in the Victorian media landscape.
One of 33 invitees to the 2014 Sky Racing Topgun, Tommy Brislane is likely to gain a berth in the race when the expert panel meet to decide the final field next week. However, Slattery won’t be convinced until his name is read out.
“I’ve learned never to presume anything. However, with nine wins at Wentworth Park, four group finals, and a state Sprint Final, and a Group 1 and Group 2 win, he sure has the credentials.”
If ‘Tommy’ happens to be drawn into the Topgun field, he won’t be out of place because of his immense talent and his consistent and strong starts.
“He has that talent we all aim for: he can run a brilliant first section just about every time. He has great power and great acceleration in that first 80 metres.
“With that under his belt, he has to be a chance in any race he competes in, as long as the box draw is reasonably favourable, and he can get to terms with the slightly different starting routines at The Meadows and Sandown.”
Slattery has been involved in greyhound racing since the 1970′s where he covered the sport for The Truth newspaper and Tommy Brislane is the first group race winner he has ever had. Other notable greyhounds owned by the former publisher of the AFL Footy Record (from 1995-2012) include; Back Page Lead, Robert Andrew and Hendrix.
Trained by Steven White, Tommy Brislane has had to move into the kennel of Pearcedale conditioner, Kel Greenough. This is due to a previous overseas engagement for White who chose Greenough to take care of his prized greyhound due to the similar training methods he uses.
“Kel will keep his training to a couple of trials at The Meadows and Sandown before the carnival, with straight gallops at home in between. This has been his pattern in NSW and there is no need to change,” Slattery said.
Tommy Brislane’s career record currently stands at 12 wins and two seconds from 16 career starts with prize money of $162,440.
The Topgun field will be announced next Tuesday 14 October on Sky Racing’s The Catching Pen.
WATCH: Tommy Brislane wins the Group 1 Dapto Megastar
Sky Racing Topgun Invitees Announced