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‘Speedy’ veteran showing no signs of slowing down

An incredible 102 starts ago, Speed Star  (Fernando Bale x White Spyro) leapt out of the boxes to pounce on the lead in his first race, with noticeable alacrity over 400 metres at Geelong.

And, although Speed Star would go on to finish third, his racing aptitude was clearly evident at such an early stage of his development.

From a maiden win two starts later, the Andrea Dailly-trained began an incredible race record that continues today, with more victories than wonder mare Winx.

With no signs of slowing down, Speed Star’s victory tally currently stands at 43 and is climbing.

Winning at race start number 102 just last Friday was no different to the way he jumped out of the boxes at start 100, or even that of start number one, in terms of his attitude and brilliant box speed.

In fact, the four-year-old has recorded five wins from his past seven starts.

According to Sonia Davis, who bred and co-owns Speed Star with her husband Craig, “he just loves racing! Andrea Dailly and her staff have done a great job with him.”

“Speed Star is such a lovely natured greyhound, and he really enjoys going to the races, and to keep him going over 102 starts is a phenomenal achievement.”

To date, Speed Star has been a finalist in three country cups

– the Warragul Cup (5th), Ballarat Cup (4th) and Geelong Cup (4th) – and for Sonia and Craig they were certainly a high point.

“After breeding and rearing him, it was so rewarding to have him in all of his three cup starts, he certainly deserved to be there.  He always tried his hardest and gave his all,” Sonia said.

Group race involvement aside, Sonia and Craig’s ethics regarding their racing, retirement and breeding of greyhounds is paramount, and Sonia also conveyed the couple’s welfare considerations concerning their brood matrons.

“We have all the girls at home and ensure that each broodmatron only has three litters at most, and not all will go on to have three pregnancies,” she said.

“Once they have finished breeding they are at our home and relax and retire as our pets.”

“After three litters we think they have done enough as it certainly takes its toll on their bodies… it is not fair to keep breeding with them.”

“They’re not machines and we love all of our animals as they are pets to us.”

“We have a couple of acres and we let them out during the day so they can do their own thing,” she said.

Speed Star’s dam, White Spyro (Disintergrate x Hanify’s Elite) won a Wagga Cup and was also third in a 2014 Bendigo Cup.

She won 22 races and placed another 29 times from a total of 73 starts.

White Spyro was also trained by Andrea Dailly, as well as Michelle Mallia and White Spyro’s co-owner Craig Davis.

When Speed Star recently won at start 100, it was a very special moment for Sonia and Craig.

“When we have been at cups and watched him parade he jumps all over us, and it is a really good feeling that he knows and remembers us.”

However, the couple live at Murrabit on the Victorian-New South Wales border, and the trip to Horsham was a very long way, so I asked Sonia what she and Craig did when he won.

“Watching Speed Star on Sky Racing, we had a few celebratory drinks, and there have been many reasons to celebrate as his wins have been so frequent,” she said.

“We love our dogs and they all have different personalities. When we go to the track, they remember us which is very special.”

“We rear the majority at home, including Speed Star, and we do send the occasional greyhound elsewhere for education.”

“And, when we have been at cups and watched him parade he jumps all over us, and it is a really good feeling that he knows and remembers us.”

“We feel like we have done something right, and the recognition from him makes it all worthwhile.”

With another 20 greyhounds in work at the moment, including training, pre training and breaking in, Sonia and Craig Davis have plenty to look forward to, including the prospect of their much-loved Speed Star siring his own offspring.

Speed Star has been registered for stud duties, with Andrea’s brother-in-law George Dailly set to one day assume the role of stud master.

“We would like to see if we can keep our line going by mating a couple of our brood matrons (with Speed Star) and look forward to seeing the pups that he could produce.”

“We will also consider approaches from people that would like to use him as a sire,” she said.

In the meantime, Speed Star will continue his march towards 50 wins, and he has been tipped by The Watchdog to notch his 44th victory tonight at Ballarat at 10.40pm.

WATCH: SPEED STAR (1) wins in start number 100 at Horsham on 26 February.

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About Victoria Shaw - Australia's only female race caller and the only woman in the world to have broadcast four codes of racing in this country and overseas. Victoria has co-hosted international racing awards and hosted racing forums focusing on women's inclusion within international racing communities including Poland, Morocco, Spain & the United Arab Emirates. She has called races on the Victorian thoroughbred picnic circuit and at numerous greyhound tracks around the state as well as the 2020 Waterloo Cup. Victoria is fascinated by the incredible efforts of racing animals as well as the people that love and prepare them, no matter where they are in the world.
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