The ‘bells are ringin’ for jovial Neerim Junction trainer Gerry O’Keeffe. Well, so he hopes.
O’Keeffe was thrust into the greyhound racing spotlight in 2016 when staying siren Bells Are Ringin won the Group 1 Sandown Cup – at 50/1!
“She and her littermates won $1.2m in prizemoney… I thought I was on the ‘gravy train’ but it’s now the ‘Puffing Billy’,” O’Keeffe quipped.
O’Keeffe’s winning ways may have ‘derailed’. But he’s hoping it’s full steam ahead at Sunday’s Lang Lang coursing meeting.
He has four youngsters – including two sons of Bells Are Ringin – entered for the time-honoured Sylvester Doyle Puppy Championship.
“I’m a huge coursing fan… It’s a natural form of chasing and fantastic for educating young pups behind the drag lure,” he said.
O’Keeffe was also extremely complimentary of the club volunteers at Lang Lang.
“They do a simply outstanding job of accommodating trainers, whether it be trialling or racing… It’s such a pleasurable day out,” he added.
O’Keeffe’s quartet are Jan ’19 Aston Dee Bee x Bells Are Ringin litter brothers Rostered Off and Vice Grip, and Jan ’19 Over Limit x Absolute Breeze litter brothers Tysons Town and Smoking Syd. All four are making their race day debut.
“They’ve all trialled 2-3 times at Lang Lang… It’ll be a great experience and can do them nothing but good for the future,” he said.
O’Keeffe added that Bells Are Ringin hasn’t produced any progeny as good as ‘mum’ but is buoyant about Rostered Off and Vice Grip who are out of her third litter.
“Both are energetic, confident young pups… They’re placid but switch on at the track.”
Following their coursing assignment, O’Keeffe says they’ll race up Healesville’s straight track and then head to Warragul around late September.