Gotta Get Back created a massive upset when winning the $67,000 Group 2 2016 CKH Painting Shepparton Gold Cup (450m) on Friday night.
Despite an outstanding career in which he has now won 20 times from just 36 starts, the John McClellend (pictured above with Gotta Get Back) trained greyhound got up at the huge odds of $20.40 after beginning well and kicking clear despite pressure from more fancied rivals.
“He was one of three greyhounds leading the way at the start, so something had to give and the luck fell my way for a change,” said McClelland, who is based more two hours away in the remote NSW town of Jindera, yet calls Shepparton his home track.
Bred by John Staines and owned by the Peter Dooner Syndicate, Gotta Get Back (Dec ’12 Vee Man Vane x Majectic Land) defeated fast-finishing pair Bearville Azza and Big Ticket to claim the $47,000 first prize.
It was McClelland’s first win at group level since Proven Wiz snared the 2007 Wangaratta Cup, and despite Gotta Get Back’s ultra competitive career which has seen McClelland race through the grades at far away tracks including Warrnambool (a 12 hour round trip) and Warragul, this was the greyhound’s first attempt at a country cup, or any group race for that matter.
“I didn’t think he was good enough to compete at this level,” McClelland confessed.
“But in the last few months he has got a bit stronger, and it was becoming harder to get a start with him because he’s won at a lot of different tracks now and there aren’t always (standard) races around for dogs who are up in grade.”
“He wasn’t really running out the 450m all that strongly so I had always been a bit reluctant to enter him in any of the big races.”
McClelland now faces a big decision ahead of the $1.3 Million Australian Cup Carnival, which runs across three consecutive Saturday nights at The Meadows from 20 February.
“I am thinking about racing him in the Australian Cup Preliminaries (on Feb 20), but I have a concern in that early pace is his best asset and I am worried that racing him over 525m could flatten him.”
“He’s barely a true 450m dog let alone a true 500m dog, so I’ve got some thinking to do.”
WATCH: Gotta Get Back overcomes early pressure to win the 2016 Shepparton Gold Cup.