Group 1 glory has proven frustratingly elusive for David Gleeson and Bob Cummings with their former star stayer Shimaguni (pictured) and her progeny.
Shimaguni, a multiple Group 1 finalist, was unfortunate to run into champion Miata at the peak of her powers, while her daughter Shima Song was edged out in last year’s Maturity and also qualified for the Adelaide Cup and Peter Mosman finals.
But Gleeson and Cummings, who’ve been breeding greyhounds together for 40 years, are optimistic their Group 1 fortune will change at Wentworth Park this Saturday night when their exciting youngster Shima Bar contests the Paws Of Thunder.
“Shimaguni was very stiff to run into Miata, otherwise she would have won a couple of Group 1s and then Shima Song was very unlucky in the Maturity last year when she was only beaten a head after giving them six or seven lengths,” David Gleeson said.
“It would be very nice to win a Group 1 and I’m very optimistic about 2017 with this particular dog. I really think he’s the real deal.”
Shima Bar, trained by Team Dailly, faced the biggest test of his brief career in last Saturday’s Paws Of Thunder heats and the February ’15 son of Barcia Bale and Shimaguni handled his first interstate trip with aplomb.
Shima Bar overcame a torrid run to storm home in 30.27, his eighth win from 12 starts, and Gleeson expects significant improvement when the Group racing novice exits box one in the Paws Final.WATCH: Shima Bar win his heat of the Paws Of Thunder from box two.
“He’ll be a different dog this week,” Gleeson predicted bullishly.
“He’d never even seen the place, which in itself is quite a task, especially for a young dog that’s never travelled before.
“His run was enormous because when he came out of the boxes he actually sprawled and then he nearly went over the outside fence on the first turn. I can easily see him improving ten lengths this week.
“It’s funny because when I first sent Shima Bar down to the Daillys I told them he was a bit of a dunce. But amazingly enough, the penny dropped all of a sudden and within two and a half months he’d run second at The Meadows and then won his next five in a row.”
If Shima Bar can defy his tender age and lack of experience and win the Paws Of Thunder it will be especially satisfying for Gleeson and Cummings as they’re hands on from the breeding barn to the racetrack.
“Bob and I do the whole deal with them,” Gleeson explained.
“We get them back at 14 weeks of age and rear them ourselves. Bob does an amazing job with the pups. We handle them as much as possible. Bob handles them three times a day, seven days a week, which is so important.”