Port Adelaide Coach Ken Hinkley will be excused for having more than footy on his mind when the Power take on Essendon at Adelaide Oval on Friday 24 August.
A greyhound Hinkley is closely connected to, Cairnlea Kenny, will be racing for a first prize of $75,000 that night, in the Croc Media National Sprint Championship (515m) at Sandown Park.
Every state in Australia will have at least one representative in the race, with Cairnlea Kenny the sole South Australian finalist.
Hinkley has been racing greyhounds for many years with his best mate, the late Peter Hubbard, a greyhound trainer from Victoria’s Western District who passed away suddenly 18 months ago.
Hubbard bred Cairnlea Kenny, while his wife Jan owns him.
Hinkley was at Adelaide’s Angle Park last Thursday (9 August) to cheer on Cairnlea Kenny when he won the South Australian Sprint Final, thus securing his place in the National Sprint Championship.
“Jan owns Cairnlea Kenny but Ken is involved with him. In fact, the dog is actually named after Ken. Greyhound racing is a real outlet for Ken…he just loves it,” Cairnlea Kenny’s trainer, Petar Jovanovic said.
While Jovanovic has won three National Sprint Championships, this is the biggest greyhound race Hinkley has been involved in, and Cairnlea Kenny is a $10 chance with TAB after drawing the coveted box one.
“He is drawn well, he’s very professional, and when he comes out of the boxes he just accelerates. I think he’s a genuine chance of winning,” Jovanovic said.
While Hinkley’s coaching commitments will keep him away from Sandown Park on Friday week, the entire Port Adelaide supporter base will be watching with interest as Cairnlea Kenny represents the state of South Australia.
And should Port Adelaide and Cairnlea Kenny both win, they’ll be celebrating long into the night.
Ken Hinkley tells Channel Nine’s Future Stars Program about his passion for greyhound racing and the tragic loss of his best mate, Peter Hubbard.