In 2004 underrated greyhound sprinter Born Yesterday ran second in the Melbourne Cup.
Ten years on and his trainer Darren Beasley is hoping for similar success with his promising youngster Hostile, who is drawn in Box 1 in one of eight talent-packed heats of the $600,000 Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park tonight.
Beasley is one of a small handful of trainers based in metropolitan Melbourne, training from a normal house block in West Footscray, just 11 kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD.
That in itself is a heroic effort, given he doesn’t have the convenience of a paddock or galloping run in his backyard to exercise his dogs.
“I’ve been training greyhounds since 1996. I live at the end of Wellington Street, while for many years another greyhound trainer, Alan Bayliss, lived at the opposite end of Wellington Street,” Beasley said.
Beasley has long juggled work with training greyhounds, as he is a full-time employee for a local printed stationery company.
“I leave for work at 6:45am and I’m at the warehouse for a few hours before I get on the road and do deliveries.”
“I usually work until about mid-afternoon, but the hours are fairly flexible, so if I need to race my greyhounds I can leave early and make up the hours,” he said.
There’ll be no need for an early exit for his next racing engagement, as Beasley is headed for the bright lights of Sandown Park tonight.
While he is hopeful of Hostile engineering a Born Yesterday-type of imprint on this year’s Melbourne Cup, he knows the competition is daunting.
“He (Hostile) is in a real tough heat with the likes of Laurels winner Ritza Hattie, Mepunga Armagh and (group winner) Awesome Project, but from Box 1 he is some sort of chance.”
“He flew early at Sandown last start running 5.04sec when winning in 29.28sec, but I don’t expect him to begin that well again. His last section is usually his best section so hopefully he can keep within striking distance and then power to the finish line,” he said.
Hostile is owned by the Chatterwall Syndicate, which is managed by Jamie Chatterton, who lives next door to Beasley.
“They bought Hostile from Queensland when he was only about four months of age.”
“They brought him down to Victoria virtually straight away where he was reared in by Ken and Michelle Virtue, who do a fantastic job.”
Hostile has had 26 starts for eight wins including an eye-catching second to Secret Spell in the Group 3 Puppy Classic at Sandown Park two starts ago.
“He is the best greyhound I’ve had since Born Yesterday. It’s just great to have another dog good enough to compete in the Melbourne Cup heats.”
Beasley’s memories of his 2004 Melbourne Cup campaign remain etched clearly in his mind.
“I remember he (Born Yesterday) began really well from Box 8 but he just couldn’t quite cross to the rail. Hallucinate had Box 1, which he took full advantage of, but had Born Yesterday not been checked on the first turn, who knows? It might have been a different story.”
“It was a great effort to run second though, and from memory the first prize was $120,000.”
This year second prize in the TAB Melbourne Cup is $120,000, while the winner will receive $420,000, which will be the most money ever won by a greyhound in a single race on Australian shores.
Hostile is drawn in Race 2 tonight, which is scheduled for 7:25pm.