Budding star Cyclone Fergus has finally overcome a frustrating start to his race career.
He was scratched due to kennel cough when entered for his first race at Horsham in late July last year.
But two months later he made a stunning debut with a 12L win over 410m at Horsham in 23.36sec. Unfortunately, he dropped a right monkey muscle in the process.
Then in November, Cyclone Fergus returned to win a Healesville Puppy Championship heat (350m) defeating Aston Bintang by 6.5L in 18.89sec (Best).
However, he dropped the left monkey muscle during the win and was scratched from the final. (Subsequently, Aston Bintang won the race from Revelation and Percy’s Magic.)
Cyclone Fergus was also kept off the racing scene a little longer than expected after rupturing some stopper tendon fibres while free galloping in a paddock in preparation for another comeback.
Ironically, he returned from a seven-month spell with a devastating 16.49sec (Best) win in a Healesville Puppy Championship heat (300m) last weekend. Now he’s all the rage for Sunday’s final.
WATCH: Cyclone Fergus (6) produces a whirlwind 16.49sec (Best) win in a Healesville Puppy Championship heat (300m) last Sunday.
And his Pearcedale breeder-owner-trainer Nick Koutsourakis is hoping Cyclone Fergus (Jan ’18 Hay Fergus X Krinon Bale) can maintain his unbeaten record with a fourth straight win.
Koutsourakis is confident Cyclone Fergus will not only win the $5000 first prize but break Matt’s Entity’s 16.22sec track record, which has stood for nearly seven years.
“He went into his heat 70 per cent fit and if he gets a clear run in the first 10 metres, he can break the record,” Koutsourakis said. “Box three is no problem as I think he’ll jump straight to the front and if that happens, he wins.”
Koutsourakis added that Cyclone Fergus has “impeccable box manners, rails hard and is super strong”.
“He has an unbelievable temperament; you wouldn’t know he’s home. He keeps everything to himself, but just switches on when it comes to racing and it’s all business. And, as for his conformation, he’s an absolute specimen – he’s got muscle on top of muscle!”
Koutsourakis rates Soda Diamond and Wise Thunder the obvious threats but thinks around $2.50 is a fair quote for his whirlwind sprinter.
“As for his racing future, I’d be looking towards a couple of 400-metre races around the circle and then taking a serious look at the group racing calendar,” he said.
Koutsourakis was introduced to greyhound racing as a teenager by his uncle Billy Williams. But he says it was greyhound chiropractor Tom Burns who “taught me everything”.
However, Koutsourakis gave the sport away for more than a decade in the mid-2000s.
“I just felt I was going a little stale and developed a passion for horse training,” he said.
He trained horses for around four years from Cranbourne, having earlier become a restaurateur owning Tides Bar & Grill at Tooradin for a couple of years.
“But I’ve always had a soft spot for greyhounds in general,” Koutsourakis said. “And I owe all my success in the sport to my wife Vicky. She puts a lot of time and effort into our greyhounds.”
Koutsourakis quipped that Vicky will ‘forgive’ Cyclone Fergus if he wins the Puppy Championship.
“He accidentally ran into Vicki as a four-month-old pup, breaking her ulna bone in three places and her knee joint. But seriously, she just loves him as she does with all of our greyhounds.”
Koutsourakis also paid tribute to Karen Leek, who passed away in tragic circumstances in late May.
“Karen reared him and picked him out at five months of age as the best of the litter. She said ‘that pup in the blue collar keeps lapping the others in the yards’. I’m proud to say the litter left her property in mint condition.”
The Healesville Puppy Championship is Race 4 at 11.50am.
📷 Jason McKeown Photography