The red carpet has been rolled out for distance monarch Tornado Tears in retirement! And he has moved into lodgings ‘fit for a staying king’.
The six-time Group 1 winner is receiving VIP treatment at his new ‘castle’ – the Doveton home of Jason and Penny Ireland. And he’s wasting no time ‘ruling the roost’!
Jason has been assisting Tornado Tears’ trainer, Rob Britton, handling greyhounds at Sandown race meetings on Thursday nights and Sundays and occasionally The Meadows on Saturday nights for around 10 years.
Subsequently he’s established a very good relationship with Britton and his foreman Peter Riley.
But the Irelands weren’t expecting the phone call they received from Britton a couple of weeks ago.
“We got a call ‘out of the blue’ from Rob and he asked, ‘do you have room for a retired greyhound?’,” Penny said. “It didn’t sink in at first, but we had no hesitation in saying yes. When we found out who it was, it was such a privilege.”
Tornado Tears is being treated like a ‘superhero’ but is not the only one living the ‘life of Riley’ at the Ireland residence.
“Batman” – as he’s affectionately known, due to his distinctive mask-like facial markings – shares his new digs with “Dru” (an 11-year-old bitch who raced as Most Bizarre) and “Prince” (a 10-year-old dog who raced as Kansas Turnpike).
“He’s settled in fantastic… He’s a part of the family and the three greyhounds are best mates,” Penny said. “As soon as he arrived, we let him go in the backyard and he explored everything. A little later we couldn’t find him, but there he was stretched out and sound asleep on our bed.”
Penny said “Batman” has his own sleeping quarters at the foot of their bed. “He’s extremely intelligent; he comes and ‘tells us’ when he wants to go to bed.”
“They all have their own special biscuit container with dog treats and when you shake the tins, they all come running – and he’s usually the first now,” she added.
The Irelands daughter, Savannah, 15, just adores Tornado Tears.
“She followed his race career and loved him from his first start… And she went to most of his city races,” Penny said. “When we told Savannah that we were getting him as a pet, she almost cried with excitement.”
Penny said all three greyhounds “love their cheeseburgers and nuggets from Macca’s”.
“On the first day “Batman” arrived, Jason came home with three cheeseburgers and a 10-pack of nuggets… No prizes for guessing, but Jason only got one nugget.”
Penny added that Tornado Tears has a pink tennis ball that he loves. “You throw it, he chases and brings it back, and drops it at your feet.”
And Penny says their new ‘star boarder’ follows her husband everywhere.
“He gets so excited when Jason comes home… He’s his shadow,” she said. “The day after he arrived, Jason had to work at Sandown. ‘Batman’ stuck his head out of the bedroom window to watch him leave, and it’s become a ritual ever since.”
To state the obvious, Tornado Tears has made an indelible impression on the Ireland family.
“I’m always first out of bed and as soon as I get up, he’s up on the bed with Jason,” Penny said. “He’s very cheeky and funny… He’s got a home for life.”
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