For five lucky owners, the race career of super sprinter Lightning Frank has brought utter enjoyment and created a bond that transcends the obvious advantages that come with winning two major Group 1 races.
Lightning Frank is on the verge of winning The Meadows’ flagship race, drawing box three in tomorrow night’s Australian Cup, worth $250,000 to the winner, after a sizzling 29.53sec (Best of Night) heat win.
Victory would see the son of Black Magic Opal and Kirabilli Annie catapult past $535,000 in career earnings, but as trainer Mathew Wright explains, it’s about so much more for his owners, the Hashtag Syndicate.
“They all just love this dog and they’ve have had so much fun watching him win. Danny Madden is one of the owners…he is in his 70s and had never been on a plane before, but he made the trip to Sydney to see Lightning Frank run in the final of Group 1 Derby in January (finishing third),” said Wright, 39.
“Four of the five owners work at a gas plant in Port Campbell. They’ve taken a few weekends off recently to watch Lightning Frank in big finals, and there will be no stopping them from being on course this Saturday night.”
Wright is happy enough with his charge’s box draw (three) in the big one.
“I try not to think too much about box draws because you start running scenarios through your head on how you think the race will play out, but we hope Lightning Frank is able to come out as well as he has been. I know it looked like he was looking for the fence in his heat win, but if there’s a dog on his inside I think he will stay straight in the run to the first corner,” he said.
And the biggest danger to the $1.90 TAB favourite?
“Eminent Reality’s (box one) run home times are enormous so he is certainly going to be hard to beat, and we all know the class of Aston Bolero who has tons of early speed. Sometimes these races are won by dogs that get out and go so it won’t be easy,” he said.
Wright, a full-time fencing contractor who trains a small team of greyhounds in partnership with his father Kevin from their home town of Allansford, perhaps summed it up best when he described Lightning Frank as a “once in a lifetime dog.”
WATCH: James Van de Maat and Elly wicks preview the 2017 Group 1 Australian Cup.
WATCH: James Van de Maat in full voice throughout his stirring phantom call of Saturday night’s 2017 Group 1 Sky Racing Australian Cup.