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Crown Poker produces winning hand

The rise to stardom of last start Group 3 Warragul St Leger hero Catch The Thief has reminded Geoff Scott-Smith about the unique nature of greyhound racing and in particular the vagaries of breeding a topliner.

Scott-Smith, who also won a feature event on the Warragul St Leger card with staying prospect Motor City Tiger careering away with the President’s Cup, has played his own behind-the-scenes role in Catch The Thief’s story, breeding his mother Dundee Ally.

“Dundee Ally is out of a bitch called Crown Poker,” Scott-Smith explained.

“I’ve still got Crown Poker here. She’s 11 years old now and looks a treat!

“The funny thing is that Chris Johannsen trained Crown Poker for a while and now Catch The Thief is trained by Matt Clark, who’s Chris’ son-in-law, so it’s really gone full circle.”

As is so often the case, the story of Catch The Thief, reigning TAB favourite for the Melbourne Cup, comes from the humblest of beginnings.

“Peter Terry owned Crown Poker and I ended up buying her,” Scott-Smith explained.

“She was a beautiful looking bitch but she was frightened of other dogs. Even just walking she didn’t like having a dog on either side of her.

“I got her off Peter and got her going and won a couple of races at Wagga and Sandown but she had bad corns so I retired her. I said to my brother that I thought she would throw a nice pup but I didn’t know what they’d be like. They were actually the opposite of her.

“The Barcia Bale litter that included Dundee Ally also had Dundee Calypso (winner Group 3 Lizrene and multiple Group 1 finalist) and Dundee Fury, which could have been a very good dog.”

Scott-Smith said Dundee Ally was then bred to Aussie Infrared which produced Catch The Thief and Playlist (Group 1 Vic Peters Classic).

“The old breeding game can be pretty funny!”

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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