The Victorian flag was flying high when Mepunga Isla and Run Like Jess quinellaed last night’s Group 2 Golden Sands final (600m) at Albion Park.
It was a memorable moment for hobby trainer Adam Richardson, 44, who collected a $40,000 winner’s cheque courtesy of Mepunga Isla’s sensational all-the-way win.
Based at Bushfield, 10km north of Warrnambool, Richardson combines his greyhound racing passion with full-time work as a tar maintenance officer for the Warrnambool City Council.
Richardson has dabbled in greyhound racing from a young age but becoming acquainted with legendary Mepunga East breeder Barry Smith has been the catalyst for his success in the sport.
“I started getting my dogs checked by Barry on a Sunday night and became close friends with him,” Richardson said. “Barry’s a mentor and like a dad to me… I listen and I’m not afraid to ask questions, and he’s taught me a lot, as has David Burnett.”
Mepunga Isla is owned and bred by Smith, who provided Richardson the opportunity to train her.
“Barry said, ‘I’ve got a little bitch for you, I think she’s city class’,” Richardson said.
And they’ve proved prophetic words as Mepunga Isla (Sep ’17 Cosmic Rumble x Mepunga Rosie) has now won 23 races from 43 starts and $149,250 in prizemoney. She has also finished third in the G1 Adelaide Cup (515m) at Angle Park and was a finalist in the G3 Silver Bullet (525m) at The Meadows.
Mepunga Isla, who has taken to the middle distance like a duck to water, notched her sixth straight win in the Golden Sands final. Prior to the series, she had scored twice at both Sandown (595m) and The Meadows (600m).
WATCH: Mepunga Isla (B8) win the Group 2 Golden Sands at Albion Park last night. Fellow Victorian Run Like Jess finished second from box seven.
Catapulting from Box 8, Mepunga Isla ($4.40) defeated the Deb Coleman-trained Run Like Jess ($3.80) by 4L, with local star Crazy Cool ($2.00F) a further 1.25L away third in 34.72sec.
“She’s really got her confidence up,” Richardson said. “I was contemplating the middle distance with her a couple of months ago, but she had a few niggling problems.”
Subsequently Richardson elected to have a crack at the G1 Melbourne Cup series (515m) at Sandown with Mepunga Isla.
“Her Melbourne Cup heat run was enormous and she ‘told me’ it was time to move her up in distance… It was a no-brainer.”
Mepunga Isla’s next assignment is likely to be the G2 Maidment Memorial series (595m) at Sandown, followed by the Australian Cup Carnival.
“And somewhere down the track, I might look at a staying campaign with her,” Richardson said.
*Photo provided by the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club.