JOY McDowell believes greyhound racing is a game of simplicity.
Her philosophies on training a successful greyhound seem to be as straightforward as they come – feed them well, and look after them well. Do this, and you’ll see some success on the track.
This will be put to the test on Friday evening, when Mepunga Ledger lines up against greyhound racing royalty in a bid to cement a place in the 2015 TAB Melbourne Cup.
“He’s won five or six in Warrnambool, and he’s actually Grade One down there… We took him to Sandown, and I knew the Melbourne Cup preludes were on, and he just won one of them.”Watch: An outstanding turn of mid-race speed set up Mepunga Ledger’s shock TAB Melbourne Cup Prelude win last week at odds of $26.80. Can he upset Fernando Bale on Friday night?
“He has drawn okay in the heats (box 3), but he is going to need a lot of luck.”
Now a seasoned city greyhound after a heat and final victory at The Meadows last month, Ledger is set to battle it out against racing legend Fernando Bale and star chaser Dyna Kietaro on Friday in one of the tougher heats of the cup.
However, he is no stranger to upsetting the odds –saluting at the long price of $26.80 in his prelude triumph last week.
‘You wouldn’t get a better owner or breeder than Barry Smith. He can’t do enough for you, and he doesn’t interfere with the training – he just leaves it to you.’
Bred and owned by south-west breeding icon Barry Smith, Mepunga Ledger is just one of many in the Smith-McDowell partnership – with Joy and her husband Ashley training many of Smith’s greyhounds.
McDowell said the partnership stretches back to the days of school, as Ashley and Barry have been friends since childhood – while Joy attended school with Smith’s sister.
“You wouldn’t get a better owner or breeder than Barry. He can’t do enough for you, and he doesn’t interfere with the training – he just leaves it to you,” she said.
You can catch Mepunga Ledger in race seven on Friday, which will go ahead at 9:08pm at Sandown Park.
Watch: An insight into the breeding success of the man behind the ‘Mepunga’ greyhounds, Barry Smith.