When a playful greyhound pup began showing superstar potential several months before he was even ready to race, his owner Terri Morris thought long and hard about choosing an appropriate name.
She settled on Jesaulenko, in honour of legendary Carlton footballer Alex ‘Jezza’ Jesaulenko, and on Friday night the brilliant greyhound will line up in the $600,000 TAB Melbourne Cup (515m) at Sandown Park.
Jesaulenko the greyhound has now raced 50 times for 25 wins, the latter being the number his footballing namesake wore on his back throughout 256 games in the Navy Blue before a brief 23-game stint with St. Kilda.
Despite barracking for Richmond, Terri always knew the name would be a hit, and she was never going to receive any backlash from her husband Scott Morris, a keen Carlton fan.
“I wanted to give him a name people would remember, and after giving it plenty of thought I settled on Jesaulenko,” said Terri, of Traralgon. “It’s a name that old timers remember and a name kids still scream out in the playground.”
“It’s a name that old timers remember and a name kids still scream out in the playground.”
“There’s also a lot of stirring from people on the sidelines on race day. People at the track are always yelling out ‘Jesaulenko – you beauty’, and I think it’s great.”
The ‘You Beauty’ catchcry, of course, is part of AFL folklore after commentator Mike Williamson articulated the words when Jezza took a screamer over Collingwood’s Graeme ‘Jerka’ Jenkin in the 1970 Grand Final.
Jesaulenko is more than just a champion greyhound to Terri, he is part of the family, and while he lives on a healthy diet including plenty of fresh meat and vegetables, he does get a few treats.
“After every race I buy him a happy meal from McDonalds, except he’ll have an ice-cream instead of a soft drink. We also drop into our local bakery once a week on the way to the vet, and he’ll have a large sausage roll and some milk, which he absolutely loves.”
Terri is quietly confident about Jesaulenko’s Melbourne Cup chances. The greyhound has been backed into $8.50 after coming up with Box 8, a draw he has previously had seven times for three wins and four minor placings.
There’ll be plenty of ‘You Beauty’ chants from the stands at Sandown Park if Jesaulenko wins the $420,000 first prize on Friday night.
***Don’t miss your four-page TAB Melbourne Cup Lift-out in Thursday’s Herald Sun***
PICTURES: Jesaulenko relaxes on the couch at home with trainer Terri Morris, and top of page, with Terri and her husband Scott. Inset: That famous Alex Jesaulenko mark.