They say, “laughter is the best medicine”.
But Harston’s Tony Duncan, 59, is chasing a greyhound racing ‘tonic’.
And his spirits will be lifted if All Inn Abby or All Inn Morgan claim a $25,000 first prize in the Group 3 Northern Districts Cup (450m) at Shepparton on Saturday night.
Early in 2018, Duncan was diagnosed with bowel cancer and sadly the dreaded disease has ‘metastasised’ to his lungs.
“Spots on my lungs were detected and I’ve been undergoing chemotherapy for 10 weeks. I spend four hours every fortnight receiving treatment at GV Health in Shepparton. But it doesn’t worry me, the dogs keep me going,” a stoic Duncan said.
Bred and owned by Duncan, All Inn Abby (Box 7) and her younger half-brother All Inn Morgan (Box 8) are ‘longshots’ in the final at $21 and $12 respectively on TAB’s fixed odds market.
Tragically, their dam All Inn Amy – also raced by Duncan – died 12 hours after whelping her second litter of pups in November 2018.
“That was All Inn Morgan’s litter, of which there were 10, and already six have won races,” Duncan said.
Duncan rates All Inn Morgan as his best chance in the Cup but isn’t overly confident.
WATCH: All Inn Morgan (8) takes out a G3 Northern Districts Cup heat in 25.44sec.
“I was hoping to draw inside, but now he’ll be four-wide approaching the first turn,” he said. “It’s going to be a big ask; I’m hoping for a place.”
And Duncan is even less assured about the chances of All Inn Abby.
“I think she’ll try and cut across them,” he said. “It’s going to be hard because all the speed is on the inside.”
Duncan believes fastest qualifier Sonny Daze (Box 2) will win the race. “He’s quick early and is well boxed from the inside.”
Amazingly, given his health battles, Duncan heads Shepparton’s leading trainer list with 41 wins, 40 seconds and 42 thirds during the past 12 months.
And he says those statistics are thanks to his 80-year-old father, Ian.
“Since I got crook, he’s been assisting full-time with my greyhounds… We’ve got a racing team of 13 and around 20 in pre-training, and dad probably does 80 per cent of the work – including the wood chopping,” he quipped.
Duncan has been training greyhounds for 35 years and was introduced to the sport by highly respected Tatura trainer, ‘Jimmy’ Auld.
“I used to work at his father’s (Max) piggery and knackery at Stanhope and became interested from there,” he said. “I spent almost 40 years there and ended up managing the logistics (trucks) and meat sales.”
Duncan added that Auld and close friend Ian Robinson were invaluable mentors in his formative greyhound training days.
“I learned the ‘tricks of the trade’ from them, but you never stop learning in this caper.”
The G3 Northern Districts Cup is Race 6 at 8.32pm.