Jeff Geall didn’t have to look too far from home for an ideal mentor when he recently decided to take up the collar and lead.
Jeff’s big brother, by just 18 months, Dave, has been one of the most successful Group 1 mentors in the land in the past two years, winning the Melbourne Cup and Harrison-Dawson with My Redeemer and Topgun and Golden Easter Egg with Up Hill Jill.
Jeff (pictured above with My Redeemer) has played a behind the scenes role in Dave’s many triumphs and he’s hoping to celebrate a perfect start to his own training career at The Meadows on Saturday night when Max Tractor exits box one in the Join The 525 Club Now Maiden Final (525m).
“It would be a dream, to tell you the truth,” said Jeff, who lives at Fyansford, only about 15 minutes’ drive from Lara-based Dave.
“Max Tractor is the first starter my wife, Marie, and I have had outright and we’re very fortunate to get a dog like him first-up.
“Dave and I grew up with dogs, our dad had dogs too, but Dave continued on with it after he married Rose and I didn’t. I always followed Dave’s dogs and every now and again he needed a hand, so that’s how it started.
“We bought Max Tractor off Dave and Rose when he was about three months old. I’d thought about buying dogs off Dave in the past but I had to talk my wife around. We’ve won her over now; she absolutely loves it.
“I’ve had a pretty good teacher! Dave’s been great. Mostly when you start doing something new you start off at the bottom of the mountain, but I really feel that I’m already half-way up the mountain, because of Dave.
“Geall isn’t a very common name, so people will probably put two and two together and our dogs will start favourite too!”
Max Tractor, a May ’17 son of Barcia Bale and Miss Monteya, bred by Jeff’s sister-in-law Rose, made an impressive debut when leading all-the-way from box seven in his heat of The Meadows’ maiden series, clearing out by 6.84 lengths in 30.27sec.
Racing Pulse was the fastest heat winner, with Darren Brown’s son of My Bro Fabio clocking 30.14sec at his fourth start.
“He’d been trialling okay but his heat win did surprise us a bit,” Geall offered.
“He’s a very inexperienced dog but he gave us a bit of an insight into what he’s capable of and we think he’ll keep improving. He’s doing everything right and he’s a beautiful dog to have in the kennel too.
“He ran home in 12.27sec and Dave says if they get home in 12.20sec they’re pretty strong, so that’s a good sign that hopefully in the future he’ll get the 525m week in, week out.
“He handled box seven in his heat but he definitely likes the fence. There’s no doubt about that and when you’re racing against young pups you wouldn’t want to be drawn anywhere else.
“When Racing Pulse won the first heat by 11 ½ lengths he was very impressive and I thought if we manage to qualify we’ll be up against a good one. Hopefully Max Tractor being in box one and Racing Pulse drawing seven will work in our favour.”
Jeff is hoping Max Tractor can kick-off what could be another in a lengthening line of memorable nights for the Geall family, with Dave heading to Sydney with Group 1 Paws Of Thunder finalist Miss Splendamiro.
NSW import Miss Splendamiro, the $3.50 second elect behind $2.20 favourite Poke The Bear in TAB’s market, has the imposing record of 13 from 23 at Wentworth Park.
“If we could win our first metropolitan race with our first greyhound and Dave could come home with the Paws Of Thunder on the same night we’d be pinching ourselves.”
Jeff’s only other greyhound, Zipping Eleanor, ran a close second in a 390m event at Warrnambool on Thursday night.
WATCH: Max Tractor (7) scores an easy win on debut in his heat.