Young Kiwi ex-pat James Shaw, 30, departed the ‘land of the long white cloud’ for the ‘lucky country’ in 2013.
Shaw had accepted a job offer as a kennel hand at one of Victoria’s biggest and most successful greyhound training operations.
Consequently, during the past seven years, Shaw has been accustomed to handling Jeff Britton and Angela Langton’s greyhounds on some of the sport’s biggest stages.
Shaw – husband of GRV communications and content ‘Golden Girl’ Molly Haines – still makes the short drive each day from Lara to Anakie to fulfil his work duties, but a few years back he went out on his own to prepare a small team.
So, it will be a different scenario for this proud suburban hobby trainer when he rugs the only two greyhounds he currently has in work in separate Restricted Win finals over a 48-hour period.
Shaw has Bowled Underarm chasing a $3050 first prize at Warrnambool (Race 5 Box 1 – 6.58pm) tonight and Lilly Lana a $7480 winner’s cheque at The Meadows (Race 7 Box 7 – 6.42pm) on Saturday.
Bowled Underarm – affectionately known as “Donald” – received his racing moniker after Britton suggested an ‘Anzac’ theme given Shaw’s New Zealand parentage.
Shaw obliged with a name referring to the infamous incident in February 1981 when Australian captain Greg Chappell instructed his younger brother, Trevor, bowl an ‘underarm’ to New Zealand’s Brian McKechnie in a One Day International cricket match at the MCG.
It was the last ball of the final over, with the Kiwis needing a six to tie the match.
Ironically, Shaw has been ‘hitting sixes’ during the past couple of months with Bowled Underarm – and Lilly Lana.
“They’ve ticked over a bit of prizemoney lately… I’ve learnt from Jeff and Angela that if they can run 500 metres, don’t be afraid to place them in the city,” Shaw said. “I’ve taken a lot from their professionalism; they’ve provided me with opportunities I would never have had in New Zealand.”
A winner of three races (with 18 placings) and $14,565 from 41 starts, Bowled Underarm (Sep ’17 Barcia Bale x Mepunga Nicky) finished second in his Warrnambool heat (450m) at $17.40.
“He (Bowled Underarm) is up against some handy dogs… He’ll need a lot of luck as he’s a bit unpredictable,” Shaw said.
Meanwhile, Lilly Lana (Feb ’18 Banjo Boy x Mepunga Lana) – who is Shaw’s first city winner – won her heat at $14.40 at The Meadows (600m) in 34.68sec.
Lilly Lana – affectionately known as “Lily” – has won five races (with 14 placings) and $20,820 from 31 starts.
WATCH: Lilly Lana (4) sweeps to victory last week at The Meadows.
“She does have early speed, so the wide draw won’t worry her at all,” Shaw said. “In her heat, I didn’t expect her to run it right out when she didn’t lead.”
He added that based on the times Lilly Lana can run, she’s a chance in the final.
“I’m most worried about Mepunga Katie (trained by Jeff Britton) and Matt Lanigan’s dog, Nine To Seven,” he said. “But she’s feeling great and looking magnificent, and she’s given 100 per cent at her past couple of starts.”