When exciting youngster Got Some Wheels suffered a dislocated elbow in a fall at Warrnambool in May, track records and Group 1 glory were the last things on Graham James’ mind.
It was the second time in less than a year a devastated James had seen a rising star’s career placed in jeopardy.
Back in July 2017, Got Some Wheels’ older half-brother Sure To Excite was also forced to the sidelines for six months by a hock injury after winning nine of his first 12 starts, highlighted by the Listed Northern Districts Cup at Shepparton.
But Got Some Wheels has staged a spectacular recovery, winning his last four starts and breaking the Horsham 485m record at his last start, to emerge as a serious contender for the Group 1 Feikuai Greyhounds Silver Chief, which commences at The Meadows on Saturday.
“I’m just blown away by what he (Got Some Wheels) has done; greyhounds are the most phenomenal animals,” proud Woodleigh-based owner/trainer/breeder Graham James said.
“Got Some Wheels was an extraordinary pup. When he was pre-training he equalled two track records but about seven runs in he fell at Warrnambool and I thought I’d lost him. After what happened with Sure To Excite I was going to give it away. But then five months later he was back breaking records in his trials.
“You never expect them to break records but he had been trialling those sorts of times so it wasn’t a huge surprise to see him break the record at Horsham.
“Every time he races it’s a bonus so I was rapt to see him do something like that after everything he’s been through. Not just the injury but the physio and rehab. Full credit to the dog and it’s an absolute privilege to have a dog like him.”
The winner of eight from 13, Got Some Wheels will make his Meadows debut when he exits box two in the third of Saturday’s eight Silver Chief heats, where he’ll tackle Seona Thompson’s Ballarat and Geelong Cup hero Aston Kimetto (box 4).
Got Some Wheels is the $2.30 favourite in TAB’s market, with Aston Kimetto the $2.80 second elect, and James is excited about seeing how his comeback speedster measures up in elite company.
“I’m actually happy to see him going up against Aston Kimetto,” James explained.
“Aston Kimetto is a super-fast dog – he’s won three Group races – and that’s where I want this fellow to be.
“He’s a long way off that level at this stage but I’ve got no doubt he’ll get there if he stays sound. If he can be competitive against a dog like Aston Kimetto that will tell us we’re heading in the right direction.
“I’m rapt with where he’s drawn and he’s trialled really well at The Meadows but he can be a bit hit and miss. If he jumps I’m sure he’ll run well but as long as he gets around safely and runs in the first four to make the semi-finals I’ll be happy.
“You wouldn’t want to stand in his way. He’s only got one gear. At home he’s the most beautiful dog in the world but when he gets to the track he’s all business.”
Older sibling Sure To Excite has also made a successful, albeit not as eye-catching, return from injury, including three recent sprint and middle distance victories at Sandown Park.
“Sure To Excite cracked his hock and he’s never been quite the same, although he’s not far off,” James said.
“He’s still a very fast dog and he’s super-competitive.
“Their mother, Paua To Excite, has done a fantastic job. Sure To Excite was in her first litter (Goodesy), Got Some Wheels was in her second (Bekim Bale) and her third litter, to Knocka Norris, has just come back from the breakers and one broke in faster than Got Some Wheels!”