If Tom O’Donovan’s Irish bloodlines are anything to go by, the young greyhound trainer is well equipped to win his first group race in Saturday night’s Zoom Top (725m), one of three Group 1 Invitational races to be held on opening night of the $1.3Mil Australian Cup Carnival.
O’Donovan (pictured with Ryno’s Raider) made the courageous decision to move to Australia to train greyhounds a few years ago, and he is making a name for himself with a team of handy greyhounds at his kennel in Devon Meadows, led by Zoom Top contender, Ryno’s Raider.
“I used to train (greyhounds) in Ireland,” said O’Donovan, who turned 33 last week.
“My dad is a successful trainer over there as well and has won an Irish Derby. My uncle has won two Irish Derbies and almost every other major race in Ireland as well!”
“My dad won an Irish Derby and my uncle has won two Irish Derbys, but I’m yet to win a group race. Getting into an invitation race like the Zoom Top is an honour and it would be a big bonus to win it” – TOM O’DONOVAN
“I decided to move to Australia and even brought dogs with me to race over here, but I’m yet to win a group race. I’ve been in about eight finals here in Australia. I have had a few seconds and a couple of thirds and that’s as close as I’ve got.”
Ryno’s Raider, a winner of 10 races from 41 starts and $92,000 in prize money, is second favourite with TAB at $4.50 behind No Donuts ($1.95Fav) in the Zoom Top, and O’Donovan is quietly confident about his greyhound’s chances.
“His form over the last six months has been good. He was in a Group 2 Final (Summer Cup) in Sydney about a month ago (he finished fourth) but he hurt a toe in the Final and that’s why he hasn’t been racing since,” said O’Donovan said.
“He has trialled since then though and he ran as good as he ever has so he will be ready for Saturday night.”
“The older he is getting, the stronger he is getting. He is turning into a stronger stayer as time goes by.”
“Getting into an invitation race like the Zoom Top is an honour and it would be a big bonus to win it.”
The Zoom Top carries a first prize of $75,000, with $22,000 for second place and $11,000 for third.
SATURDAY 20 FEBRUARY, 8:38PM
1 NO DONUTS (Anthony Azzopardi, Londonderry NSW)
2 SEEKING JUSTICE (Max Auld, Tatura VIC)
3 RYNO’S RAIDER (Thomas O’Donovan, Devon Meadows VIC)
4 COME ON FANTASY (Joe Borg, Maryborough VIC)
5 LUNA JINX (Gavin Harris, McLaren Vale SA)
6 LADY TOY (Brooke Ennis, Lara VIC) SCRATCHED
7 ADA MARY (Sharon Grey, Killabakah NSW) SCRATCHED
8 BOURBSKI FEVER (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC) SCRATCHED
9 KILKEE FLEX (Peter Dapiran, Northwood VIC)
10 BEKS (Patrick Bouchier, Dennington VIC)