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Hearts with ‘magical’ Houdini Boy

Has the great Houdini Boy performed his last racing act?

Sadly, the star stayer suffered a possible career-ending hock injury in the Group 1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers final (725m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.

Houdini Boy, who was a $1.90 favourite in the event, had moved into third position and in sight of leader Zack Monelli when he faltered on the third turn.

He was scheduled to undergo surgery today to repair the hock.

“We’ll know more about things following the operation,” Pearcedale trainer Kel Greenough said. “But I anticipate the hopes of him racing again are more to the negative than the positive.

“Fortunately, they stopped him running much further in the race… But, as a best-case scenario, it’s normally around a six-month process in getting them back to a racetrack (after an injury like that) so the chances of a comeback are minimal.”

Langwarrin-based veterinarian Dr Barbara Backhoy will perform the delicate operation and Greenough says he has the “fullest confidence” in her professionalism.

“We had Tommy Shelby staying with us, and only the night before he’d won the Australian Cup. And there was Houdini Boy next to him.”

Greenough added the ‘highs and lows’ of the sport were brought home on Sunday morning when he walked into his kennels.

“We had Tommy Shelby staying with us, and only the night before he’d won the Australian Cup. And there was Houdini Boy next to him.”

Houdini Boy (Mar ’18 Zambora Brockie x Pechey) has raced on 28 occasions for 14 wins, five second and five thirds. His stakes total $276,945.

A five-time G1 finalist, his career highlights include wins in the G1 Zoom Top (725m), G1 Sale Cup (650m) and G3 Speed Star (600m). He also finished third in the G1 Bold Trease (715m), second in the G3 Top Cat Video Cup (725m) and was a finalist in the G1 Vic Peters Classic (520m).

Houdini Boy, who developed a cult following as a last-to-first ‘escape artist’ earlier in his career, is owned by Mark Ruff.

And there was added poignancy as Ruff and his wife, Shelley, had generously pledged their owner’s share of Super Stayers prizemoney to GRV’s Greyhound Adoption Program – which would have equated to $50,000 if Houdini Boy had won the race.

The odds of a racing return may be stacked against Houdini Boy. But greyhound racing aficionados are hoping the staying ‘magician’ can unlock his biggest act of all!

Pawnote: will provide a post-op update on Houdini Boy once details come to hand.

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Peter Quilty
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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