• Wednesday, 17 Jun, 2020,
  • by Phillip Weir

Like a Rolling Stone

It was a Vic Bred Maiden Final at Ballarat on June 3 that turned the emotions of trainer Karen Pitt.

Somewhat affected by the recent passing of Karen Leek and ‘dear friend’ Tony McGrath, Pitt’s 20-month-old dog Rolling Stone gave her good reason to smile again when making it two from two to start off his career.

“It certainly put life in perspective,” Karen said of the loss of two industry legends.

Having bred, owned and trained Rolling Stone, it was impossible not to be delighted by her greyhound’s emphatic 3.5 length win in the final.

“It was a very exciting and a proud moment for sure,” Karen said.

So, obviously the first matter to deal with – the name; Rolling Stone. Is Karen a fan of the band? The magazine? The song? Not quite. It’s a reference to his sire, Jagger Swagger. Karen says “I think it suits his personality. He knows I spoil him a bit. He swaggers around the kennels… certainly thinks he’s a rock star.”

“We’re taking our time with him, just venturing around the country circuit for a while. He’s still learning and pretty inexperienced and had never really been against other dogs before his heat, so I knew he would learn a lot from his first race.”

“The students love hearing about the dogs and are very helpful when it comes to making pet names for a new litter of puppies!”

“We trained Rolling Stone’s sire Jagger Swagger towards the end of his career and stood him at stud. His mother Glitterbug comes from our Alotta Mojo damline, sired by our other stud dog Nitro Burst. So it really was a family affair. We had the two kennelled next to each other but Bug never came on season.

“At the time we were moving house and were unable to take her with us. So I advertised her on a pup deal and that’s when we met Alison Patten and the rest is history. She finally came on season and the litter of four boys were born.”

It could be said the old adage about ‘rolling stones gathering no moss’ might also be applicable; Karen’s on-the-go pretty constantly as a mum to a four-year-old and, when not at the kennels, a primary school teacher, which provides extra racing-related inspiration.

“The students love hearing about the dogs and are very helpful when it comes to making pet names for a new litter of puppies!”

Karen, partner of accomplished trainer Wayne Vassallo, traces her love of the dogs to her father. “My late father Fred was the reason I am involved with greyhounds. It was a passion and a very strong bond we shared. I would sit and listen for hours to his stories about his race dogs, he was my idol. He was a trainer himself and was also in charge of the Wollongong track when it was operational.”

“We raced a couple of dogs as a family with some success when I was growing up and I’ve been involved ever since. I know he would be proud that I am still involved in the industry he cared so much about. I know he’s up there cheering them home!”

WATCH: Rolling Stone (4) showed enormous promise with a powerful win in the Vic Bred Maiden Final at Ballarat.

Watch every Victorian greyhound race LIVE and FREE via The Watchdog app, or follow ‘Watchdog Racing’ on Twitter or Facebook.

Phillip WeirPhillip Weir

Phillip Weir

Phil has spent a lifetime working in the media. He has a keen interest in the history of the greyhound breed and is a foster carer for the Greyhound Adoption Program.

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