Aussie racing driver Daniel Ricciardo is a familiar sight rocketing up the straight in Formula One.
And at Healesville on Sunday, Avalon trainer Jason Sharp will be hoping greyhound namesake – Daniel Avocado – emulates our happy-go-lucky F1 hero in the GCV Straight Track Championship (350m).
It was little Louis Pope – son of Daniel Avocado’s owner, Barry – who is responsible for the racing moniker. He was only five years old, ahead of last year’s Australian Grand Prix, when a reporter asked Louis his favourite F1 driver. He replied: “Daniel Avocado”.
Subsequently, the video went viral and Ricciardo liked the funny nickname so much he just had to meet up with the young fan. And he did, presenting Louis (avocado in hand) with a signed cap. Louis and his dad were also made guests of the Renault racing team for the weekend.
Ironically, Daniel Avocado – the greyhound – also has speed to burn!
He’s raced on 32 occasions for 12 wins, one second and four thirds – and won three of his past six starts.
WATCH: Daniel Avocado (2) claims a heat of the GCV Straight Track Championship at Healesville last Sunday.
Pawnote: The GCV Straight Track Championship is part of the 2020 Healesville Racing Festival and carries a $5000 first prize – now that’s a lot of avocados!
“He’s known as ‘Pirate’ at home and is one of our topliners,” Sharp said. “And I don’t think we’ve seen the best of him yet.”
Sharp is conscious of the “speed out wide” in the final – Cosmic Ox (6), Time To Talk (7) and Midnight Monarch (8). “Hopefully, he gets room early from the ‘white’ alley (Box 3) and can run over the top of them,” he added.
But it’s not all about Daniel Avocado (Mar ’18 Walk Hard x Samsara Lass) for Sharp and his wife, Jessica, who train a team of around 100. They also have Daniel Avocado’s litter brother, Whisky Hans (Box 5), in the final.
“They’re both professional and unassuming dogs… ‘Domino’ (Whisky Hans) is also very business-like and does his job,” Sharp said.
The Sharps also raced their dam, Samsara Lass (Mar ’13 Cosmic Chief x Indi’s My Girl), who started 99 times for 14 wins, 21 seconds and 12 thirds. Unfortunately, a hock injury robbed her of reaching the ‘ton’ milestone.
And they are no strangers to success at Healesville, having won the 2018 G3 Healesville Cup with Kouta Mayhem – statistically the best greyhound they have prepared.
A nine-time group race finalist, Kouta Mayhem also contested the 2017 Healesville Cup (7th). He reached three G1 finals – 2017 Melbourne Cup (3rd), 2017 Hobart Thousand (4th) and 2018 Temlee (8th) – and was a dual G2 Warragul Cup finalist.
Testament to Daniel Avocado, Sharp puts him on a pedestal ability wise with his former star. “Kouta Mayhem was brilliant early, that’s the major difference,” he said.