Champion middle-distance chaser, Bookkeeper, returns to the track this Thursday night in a heat of the Group Listed McKenna Memorial (595m) at Sandown Park after suffering a fractured hock in February’s Group 1 Rookie Rebel at The Meadows.
Trainer, Glen Dainton of Cosgrove near Shepparton, is ecstatic to have his prolific talent back on track after thinking for a short-time that his career may be over.
“The champ is back,” Dainton exclaimed “he’s been right for about a month now but we thought we would be cautious with him in his preparation to make sure everything was okay.”
“When he suffered the injury we thought that may be the end for him but he has recovered really well.”
Bookkeeper famously broke Nellie Noodles’ 600m track-record in a heat of the Group 1 Hume Cup at The Meadows in October last year, in what was the defining moment of his career. The son of Bombastic Shiraz and Smashing Amy eventually ran second in the final to Alpe D’Huez.
Since then, Bookkeeper’s track-record has been broken by fellow McKenna Memorial heat starter, Xylia Allen, and Dainton believes there is no shame in losing that record to a champion of the track.
“I thought the record was going to stay for a long time,” he said “to be honest I was a little shocked when it was broken but if we were going to lose it, I’m happy to lose it to a greyhound of Xylia Allen’s quality, she’s a champion of the sport.”
Since being out with injury, Bookkeeper has been busy at stud, with legendary stud-master Bob Douglas tending to him. Douglas even told Dainton that Bookkeeper reminded him of the great Bombastic Shiraz, who he was also stud-master for.
Bookkeeper has drawn box two in the first of six McKenna Memorial heats. His trainer is expecting the strong, yet speedy type, to equip himself well on return, but doesn’t think he’ll be at his track-record breaking best.
“He’s been right to race for a month or so but we have been cautious with him on purpose.”
“He’s been telling me that he wants to get back to the track in the way he has been acting around the kennels so we thought we would put him in this race.”
“Although he is ready to go mentally we think it will be a couple of weeks before he is back to his best.”
Other headline performers in the heats include: Xylia Allen, Gimme Fuel, Musquin Bale, Hawk Alone and Dream It (just to name a few).
As reported by Sandown Park, the 48 greyhounds drawn to compete in the six heats have 534 combined wins and over $3.9 million in prize money.
Incidentally, if Xylia Allen wins her heat on Thursday night, she will move to second on the all-time prize money table.
Picture: North Melbourne hero Brent Harvey with Glenn Dainton and Bookkeeper at The Meadows.