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We’re all mates at coursing

Lyka Skywalker (pictured with trainer David McKenzie, Gavin Clifton and James Clifton) claimed the prestigious Sylvester Doyle Puppy Championship on Sunday, keeping his unbeaten record on the coursing circuit intact.

Being a puppy event, the race was open to greyhounds born on or after 1 March, 2016, with the David McKenzie-trained Lyka Skywalker winning six courses across two days on his way to the $3,695 (plus VICGREYS bonus) first prize. Runner-up was the Marion Clay-trained Blue Irish, who collected $1,250.

McKenzie and his cousin Gavin Clifton make up the We’re All Mates Syndicate, who bred and own Lyka Skywalker. The pair have coursed together for more than 10 years.

“We course all of our pups after the breaking in stage. It’s great for their confidence and balancing young dogs up in preparation for racing on the circle,” McKenzie said.

The Sylvester Doyle Puppy Championship was spread across consecutive Sundays, with the knockout competition starting with 56 greyhounds (minus three scratchings) on day one (17 June), and being whittled down to a final seven on day two (24 June). To win, greyhounds must win six courses across the two days (three on each day).

Sylvester Doyle Puppy Championship winner Lyka Skywalker 640

PICTURED: 2018 Sylvester Doyle Puppy Championship winner Lyka Skywalker.

“Lyka Skywalker made our day, and what makes it even better is the fact that we bred him,” McKenzie said.

The son of Walk Hard and Candy Spice has previously coursed once before, winning a maiden event at Lang Lang in May.

He has also proved himself a handy performer on circle tracks, recording victories at Sale, Geelong and Warragul in his 14-start career (six wins and three minor placings).

“We are really excited by this pup and are hoping for big things from him, but we have chosen to take things slow because he is just over two years old and weighs 35 kilograms,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie believes that Lyka Skywalker is ready to hit the city, with a start at The Meadows a likely next step. And he will continue to race him on the coursing circuit throughout his career, including a crack at the Victorian Derby at Longwood, to be run in conjunction with the Oaks on 21 & 22 July.

WATCH: Lyka Skywalker deadheat with El Diamonte at Sale in May from box seven. 

Molly Haines
About Molly Haines - Communication Assistant at Greyhound Racing Victoria with 16 years of experience working with greyhounds in all capacities.
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