Michael Chilcott says a stint in Tasmania has been the making of emerging staying talent Zero Knockin’, impressive winner of the GRV Vic Bred Distance Final (570m) at Horsham on Tuesday.
Chilcott followed a proven formula when he sent Zero Knockin’ to the Apple Isle after just a handful of starts, having adopted the same approach with great success with multiple Group finalist Maddison Dee several years ago.
WATCH: Zero Knockin’ take out the VIC Bred Distance Final at Horsham on Tuesday.
“He never showed a lot of pace but his run-home was always good and he won a race over 599 metres at Hobart, showing that was the sort of trip he would enjoy. He’s been racing over middle distances since he came back to Victoria and while he still does a few things wrong I think the penny’s dropped in his last couple of runs.
“David Polley in Tasmania was pestering me to send him a couple of dogs but when I sent him Maddison Dee (pictured) he said she can’t break 27 seconds at Hobart. She ended up making six or seven Group finals and since then David and I have built up a good rapport.”
Maddison Dee made her mark as a stayer and while Zero Knockin’, which improved his record to seven from 27 with Tuesday’s Horsham victory, hasn’t yet been tested over ‘700’ Chilcott is hoping he’ll follow a similar path.
“The Vic Bred Distance incentive races are a fantastic idea,” Chilcott said.
“There’s another series coming up at Geelong over 680 and after that we’ll look at stepping him up to 700 or drop him back to 600. We’ll let him tell us. He’s a reserve for a 600m race at The Meadows on Saturday but I’m hoping he doesn’t get a run because it might as well be a Group final!
“I think the dog will run 700 – hopefully – but he might be running second to Jason Thompson’s dog Burn One Down. It looks like it might be the next big thing.”
Chilcott has his hands full after deciding to step up his greyhound racing involvement when he made the move from Gippsland to Heathcote five years ago.
“I worked in the chicken industry for twenty years but the hobby was getting in the way of the job!” Chilcott laughed.
“We’ve got about eighty dogs on the property and we do a bit of everything – whelping, rearing, pre-training and training. It’s full-time now so the dogs have got to earn a quid!”