GREYHOUND RACING VICTORIA’s 2015 Ready 2 Race Sales is upon us, with a new generation of stars to race on Saturday morning at Bendigo’s Lords Raceway before going to auction that afternoon.
While there have been many bargain buys to emerge from the series, the best of them all is undoubtedly Kiss Me Ketut, who was purchased for $21,000 at the inaugural series in 2012 before going on to win $250,000 in prize money.
Kiss Me Ketut has had a cult following because he is named after the catchphrase made famous by popular character Rhonda in the AAMI television commercials. He recently headed to stud after a career spanning 80 starts in which he won 24 races and was placed a further 24 times.
Below owner trainer David Burnett reflects on his greyhound’s magnificent career, which saw him successfully compete at the elite level of Australian greyhound racing.
Q: What are your fondest memories of Kiss Me Ketut’s racing career?
David Burnett: It’s hard to pin point a highlight as he gave us so many. Probably winning the Group 1 Brisbane Cup in 2013 and then running a luckless third the following year. Having Ketut (Kadir) himself there made it an even more special occasion. KMK was marvellous to us. My partner Nicole and I raced him in nearly every state of Australia making group final after group final. We were always on a high. He made seven Group 1 finals including the Australian Cup, the Melbourne cup , the Maturity, the Adelaide Derby and the Temlee. He ran 3rd in the WA derby when only a baby and, of course, if it wasn’t for the R2R sales I would never have had this opportunity. He finished with over $250,000 (prize money)…how terrific is that?
Q: You bred KMK, sold him, and then bought him back for $21,000 at the R2R Auction. How much were you prepared to pay for him that day?
DB: I had dispersed all my greyhounds in 2011 after going through a marriage break up. Inside knowledge of how KMK broke in and the option of getting back into the sport stimulated me into going to the auction and purchasing him. There was a limit that I was prepared to spend, but we blew that and purchased him anyway. I certainly haven’t regretted it.
Q: Was it your idea to name him Kiss Me Ketut?
DB: Yes it was, I have always loved a dog with a different name.
Q: What was it like training a greyhound that became a genuine celebrity due to his name and racing ability?
DB: Apart from the Rhonda jokes….The familiarity and humour of his name evoked many a conversation and laugh, as well as the old omen bet by punters – rarely did we get any odds! Photo shoots with Ketut, (AFL star) Joel Selwood and co. saw him in the spotlight a lot. AAMI sent us boxes of t-shirts with ‘I love Rhonda’, ‘Like a sunrise’ and ‘Kiss me Ketut’ printed on them, which was great.
Q. KMK’s younger brother Ketut’s Keput was sold at the R2R Sales the following year. Did you sell him and how did he fare in his career?
DB: Because of my limited kennel space, living seven stories off the ground in the city of Geelong, we intended to sell Ketut’s Kaput if he attracted $10,000, but it wasn’t to be, so we kept him. Being a brother to Group 1 dog Mystic Apple we couldn’t let him go for a song. He has gone on to win over $32,000.
Q. What are the plans for KMK now he has retired?
DB: He is a couch potato at my apartment and has a home for life. I have collected a few straws and have them available free of charge, or happy to do a natural service for people that have a bitch on season, just to get some pups of his on the ground.
Q. The stud game is a very competitive industry. What are some of the factors in KMK’s favour?
DB: KMK is by Bombastic Shiraz and has Irish blood on his dam side through Spiral Nikita. His grand dam is the mighty Hall of Famer, Flying Amy, so he is terrifically bred. His dam, Spiral Siyan has produced multiple Group 1 dogs in KMK and Mystic Apple, plus other city class dogs like Quick Succession (won $90,000) and Dodge The Batten (won $50,000). Her Brett Lee litter has won more than 60 races between them including Sofa So Good, who is still racing at five years of age. Spiral Siyan has been a magnificent brood bitch and history shows that strong damlines keep on producing.
WATCH: Kiss Me Ketut (6) beats a star studded field in the 2013 Group 1 Brisbane Cup at Albion Park.