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Whelans ‘cruise’ as a family

‘Family’ is the basic unit of society.

And it’s a creed the Whelan clan have adopted in in life – and greyhound racing. The Whelans are very much a family affair with dad Peter, mum Monique and siblings Harley, Luke, Lana, Christine and Brooke all hands-on.

It’s witnessed in their day-to-day operation at Lakeview Kennels in the idyllic boating and fishing town of Metung, located near the picturesque Gippsland Lakes.

This ‘family first’ tenet was also evidenced with true-to-life raw emotion when their champion young sprinter Lakeview Walter won the Group 1 Silver Chief (525m) at The Meadows in January.

And now this ‘nuclear family’ is chasing one of the sport’s ‘Holy Grails’ – the G1 TAB Australian Cup (525m) – with Lakeview Cruiser, a litter brother of Lakeview Walter, at The Meadows on Saturday night.

Incredibly, he’s only the Whelans second-ever Group race finalist!

Trained by Harley, 23, Lakeview Cruiser ($13.80) sensationally toppled NSW star and dual G1 winner Wow ($2.60F) in a Cup heat last week, clocking a slick 29.74sec. And after drawing Box 2 in the final, his odds tumbled into $9.50.

Owned by the Lakeview Kennels syndicate, Lakeview Cruiser (April ’19 Fernando Bale x Lakeview Maisey) notched his sixth win, with eight seconds and two thirds, from 17 starts. His stakes total $37,715.

And he’s now won five races, with two seconds, from his past seven starts. Unbelievably, he finished second at six of his first nine starts, so he has well and truly shed his bridesmaid tag.

“Being drawn near the rail is exactly where he wants to be and he’ll more than likely be vying for the early lead,” said Harley of Lakeview Cruiser’s Australian Cup chances.

“If he does lead it’s going to take something special to run him down because he’s capable of running in the 29.50sec or 29.60sec at The Meadows.

“If he does lead it’s going to take something special to run him down because he’s capable of running in the 29.50sec or 29.60sec at The Meadows.

“If he leads I’d say the only greyhound capable of running him down would be Christo Bale, as he’s an established middle-distance dog.”

Harley says Lakeview Cruiser and Lakeview Walter will eventually end up being middle-distance greyhounds.

“He (Lakeview Cruiser) actually broke in quicker than his brother, Lakeview Walter, but he’s taken a bit longer to mature.

“His (Lakeview Cruiser’s) chasing ability is one of his main assets along with his big 35 kilogram frame. He uses his size to his advantage in that he will hold his line when he runs.”

Harley, who has been training for about five years, says the family has been very fortunate in recent months to have greyhounds racing at Group 1 level for the first time.

“But we would never take it for granted as we know things can change very quickly, as with anything in life, but we are really thankful to have these great dogs in our care, and the fact we bred them ourselves makes this whole experience even more special.

“There’s a busload of about 30 family members, mostly from Metung, who’ll be heading to the Australian Cup to cheer him on. They all booked their tickets early in the week and I think bar sales will go pretty well no matter what happens.”

Metung was once dubbed the “playground of the rich”. It’s a bit of useless trivia that wouldn’t interest the Whelans all that much – driven more by hard work and success in greyhound racing than an ostentatious lifestyle.

But paradoxically, they will be $300,000 ‘richer’ if Lakeview Cruiser brings home the ‘Cup of Dreams’ and continues a greyhound racing fairy tale for this close-knit family.

WATCH: Lakeview Cruiser (6) causes a major upset – at $13.80 – defeating NSW superstar Wow (4) in a G1 TAB Australian Cup heat.

The content on this page was accurate at the time of publishing. If you notice any inaccurate content on this page or anywhere on the website, please report it here

About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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