*picture from 2014; Jeff Britton and son Charlie, with (from left) Weblec Belle, Oakvale Destiny, Mepunga Mia, Cosmic Owl and Mepunga Treasure.
Mepunga Mia may have only had nine career starts, but it is what she has been able to produce that has seen her become a household name for many greyhound breeding enthusiasts.
Owned and bred by Hall of Fame breeder Barry Smith, and formally trained by Anakie trainer Jeff Britton, Mepunga Mia had this duo more than excited for her racing career which was sadly cut short when she broke her front leg in a fall in the Laurels semi-finals at Sandown in 2014.
“Jeff told me in the early stages that she maybe the first of my dogs to be able to break 29 seconds at Sandown,” Barry Smith said.
Mepunga Mia won her maiden in her second start over the 515m at Sandown clocking 29.60sec. Within four starts at Sandown she was able to lower her time to 29.35sec, edging closer to breaking that 29sec barrier.
WATCH: Mepunga Mia win a heat of the 2014 Laurels at Sandown from box seven.
A year on after surgery to mend her front leg, Mia had two pups, a dog and a female, to Barcia Bale.
“I had a big opinion of both when they were young,” Barry said.
“The female passed away from an aneurism before we had the opportunity to race her.”
“When she was getting broken in, Peter Byrne trialled her and called to say I needed to bring her back straight away as she was as quick as he had seen them.”
Mepunga Giant was the dog and as his name suggests, he is a giant weighing in at 40 kg.
“Mepunga Giant was a brilliant dog but had a lot of trouble with his metacarpal’s because he is such a big dog,” Barry said.
Without the back story of this litter some may have question Barry’s decision to have a repeat mating to Barcia Bale. After all, repeat mating’s are one of those conversation topics in the greyhound world.
But then, it is Barry Smith we are talking about and said he was always going to go back to Barcia Bale with Mia. And how about the return so far.
Mia’s second litter to Barcia Bale (12 pups, eight dogs and four females) have just turned two years old and it is fair to say they are sparking a lot of joy for those connected.
The one with the most sparkle at the moment is Circle Of Dreams. Reason being? Well, in 15 career starts she has wracked up 10 wins of which three were Group races.
Her first group win was in the Group 2 Laurels at Sandown where she recorded the fastest Laurels win in history. She then went onto win the Group 1 National Futurity at Wentworth Park and then the Group 2 Queensland Futurity.
“Circle Of Dreams, she is a special dog but the whole lot of them can run,” Barry said.
Barry owns Mepunga Spectre, Mepunga Frankie and Mepunga Wonder from this litter.
In between the two Barcia Bale litters, Mia had a litter of 10 to the great Fernando Bale with all but one having recorded a win so far.
“They weren’t up to the standard of the Barcia Bale litter, but they are still handy dogs.”
Handy indeed, Mepunga Pride is a winner of 8 races from 66 starts and is in the care of Clint Capuano.
Mepunga Molly, who is trained by Matt Lanigan has won 11 races from 69 starts lines up in a heat of the Group 1 Sapphire Crown at Sandown.
And it will be a case of siblings in arms when four of Mepunga Mia’s progeny compete in heats of the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson and Group 1 Sapphire Crown tonight at Sandown.
Mepunga Frankie (box 2) and Circle Of Dreams (box 3) go head-to-head in the opening Sapphire Crown heat while Mepunga Molly is flies solo for the Fernando Bale litter in heat two from box eight.
Black Hornet will compete in the second Harrison-Dawson heat from box three for owner and trainer Angela Langton.
For Mia’s last litter Barry chose a very special sire in Mepunga Blazer. And no, it wasn’t just because Barry wanted to use his own stud dogs, rather he was chasing a Barcia Bale line (through Blazer) and Premier Fantasy through Mia’s mother, Mepunga Diva.
“Mia’s mother, Mepunga Diva threw a good litter to Premier Fantasy. By going to Mepunga Blazer I was able to get both crosses again.”
“I really like Mia’s Blazer litter; they are not quiet three months old, but they are full of it.”
“Hard chasers are what I have been aiming to breed and I am really happy that Blazer is showing that he is throwing chase into his pups,” Barry said.
“Blazer has far exceeded our expectations with the number of mating’s he has received.”