From the 64-greyhounds engaged in Sunday’s Group 3 Healesville Cup heats, only one can call the beautiful scenery of the Yarra Valley home – Striker Vardy.
A litter brother to the talented My Redeemer, owner and former trainer David Geall sent Striker Vardy to the care of Chum Creek trainer Garry Johnson to reboot the greyhound’s confidence.
“I get a lot of dogs from David Geall. Dogs that suit the Healesville track, either because of injury or lack of confidence,” Garry Johnson said.
King Larry was the first greyhound Geall gave Johnson to train back in 2014. That year King Larry became the first Healesville Cup heat contender for Johnson, a hobby trainer of around five greyhounds.
King Larry unfortunately didn’t make it through to the Healesville Cup after being defeated by Paw Licking who went onto finish second to kennelmate Frosty Jay Jay in the 2014 Healesville Cup.
Four years on and Johnson is trying his luck in the 2018 Group 3 Healesville Cup heats, which is run over the 350-metre distance.
Striker Vardy, who is also kennelled with litter siblings Lanis Morris and Ryder Sir, will jump from box two in heat seven on Sunday afternoon.
The son of Fernando Bale and Where’s Demonica (bred by Rose Geall), has a tough ask on his hands with Horsham Cup winner Jimmy Newob drawn in box eight as the TAB’s fixed odds $1.70 favourite.
Johnson believes he is an outside place chance in a hot field up the straight.
Johnson and his family are an important part of the Healesville Greyhound Association community all holding vital roles within the Club.
“There aren’t many local greyhound people in the area, so it is easy for us to get to and from the track,” Johnson said.