Young NSW trainer Karina Britton admits her life-changing ride with aptly-named sprint sensation Wow, one of the headline acts in Saturday’s opening night of the Australian Cup Carnival, has taken her way outside her comfort zone.
Even to the point of offering the last-start Group 1 Paws Of Thunder hero to another trainer.
The shy and softly-spoken 36-year-old is the first to concede she’s more at home with her greyhounds than dealing with the media spotlight.
But that attention comes with the territory when you train a greyhound that’s won 16 of its 25 starts, the last eight in a row, graduating from Goulburn Cup to Group 2 Gosford Cup and most recently the Paws Of Thunder.
“He’s always been pretty quick but I never expected him to do what he’s done,” said Karina.
“After he was beaten at his first few starts I was a bit worried he was going to be one of those trial dogs.
“But he had a bit of a break and came back a different dog. He’s learnt how to race and has just kept getting better and better.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get another dog like him and I’ve had a lot of anxiety and doubted myself.
“I was worried I would ruin the dog and I even asked Minnie Finn to train him one night at Wentworth Park. But she said to go away and think about it and I decided I had to get myself together.
“I think he’s making me look better than I am!”
On Saturday night the bar will be raised again when Karina – and Wow – both make their first interstate appearances in the invitation-only Temlee, where the son of Fernando Bale is on the second line of TAB betting at $5.
After blistering 29.41s and 29.49s victories in heat and final of the Paws Of Thunder last month, Wow again impressed on the clock at his first look at The Meadows last Saturday with a scorching 29.72s trial on the back of an eight-hour car trip.
WATCH: WOW’s first look at The Meadows.
“He handled it better than I thought he would because the furthest he’s travelled previously would’ve been about two and a half hours,” Britton said.
“I was hoping he’d break ‘30’ in his trial so I was really happy for his first look. He handled it nice and railed well.
“To be honest I was disappointed to draw box five.
“When you’re racing against seven top dogs you want everything in your favour but you’re in it so you’re one of eight chances. Trying to make it nine straight adds more pressure too.
“Maybe I would have some confidence if he’d drawn a bit better and a couple of other dogs had drawn differently. Shima Shine is a super dog and he’s got his box (eight).
“He is capable of winning but he’s going to need a lot of luck.
“The heats of the (Group 2) Cyril Rowe Gold Cup are on at Bulli on Saturday too but how do you say no to a race like this? It’s a massive achievement just to be invited.”
Sadly, Karina’s stepfather Ron Field bred the Fernando Bale – Miss All Class litter, which also includes Ad Astra, the winner of nine from 14, and Million Dollar Chase runner-up Xerri, but passed away before getting the chance to see them race.
“Ron and I raced Miss All Class and bred her first litter to Swift Fancy,” Karina explained.
“But then Ron was diagnosed with cancer and wasn’t going to breed with her again. Wayne Hunter, a good friend of Ron’s, offered to pay for the service to Fernando Bale and they went halves in the litter.
“Ron passed away when the pups were about four months old. It’s a shame he didn’t see them race because he would have loved it!”
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