It’s been a ‘record-breaking’ past six months for Junortoun trainer Mark Morrissey, a hobby trainer with only a four-dog team.
Morrissey combines his greyhound racing passion with full-time employment as an operations manager for Ridley Agri Products in Bendigo. He’s been with the stockfeed manufacturer for 25 years.
But just for the record, so to speak, Morrissey is the man behind three provincial track records since October last year.
It all started with his kennel star, Benchester, who broke Shepparton’s 385m mark with a stunning 21.42sec victory on October 26. Benchester also claimed Horsham’s 410m record on November 10, clocking a sizzling 22.66sec.
However, Morrisey had “mixed feelings” about the third track record!
Benchester finished fifth in last Saturday night’s G2 Shepparton Cup to potential champion Ferdinand Boy, who set new figures over 450m – a mind-boggling 24.75sec, lowering former G1 star Hard Style Rico’s 24.77sec time standard.
And only four races later, Benchester’s Shepparton 385m record went by the wayside when kennelmate Paddy’s Marvel semaphored a scintillating 21.38sec – slicing 0.04 sec or three-quarters of a length off the previous mark.
Rocketing out of Box 1, Paddy’s Marvel ($1.20F) streaked away for an effortless six-length win over Aston Current ($3.80). It was his ninth win from only 13 starts, including the past five in a row. His stakes total $15,790.
Only five days earlier, Paddy’s Marvel (Feb ’19 Paw Licking x Rangoon) – owned by Morrissey’s workmate Joel Snudden – recorded a flying 21.61sec win on the track. Snudden purchased “Paddy” for around $2500 as a three-month-old pup.
“It was a sad and strange feeling to see his (Benchester) record go,” Morrissey said. “He’s really proven himself, but it’s nice to see the other dog (Paddy’s Marvel) coming through.
“If the record was going to fall to his kennelmate, I’ll take it.”
Morrissey added that Paddy’s Marvel’s record-breaking performance took him by surprise.
“He broke-in well, but we’ve had a couple of hock issues with him… But around 5-6 weeks ago, he ran the same first split (7.93sec) as Benchester in a trial at Bendigo. And since then, he’s put a few wins together.
“He’s racing with confidence and is at an age where they should find a bit, and he’s found plenty! But the record did surprise me.”
While Benchester’s next major assignment is the G2 Ballarat Cup heats, Paddy’s Marvel will take a quieter path.
“He’s won nine races in a pretty quick period, so I’ll keep trying to work through the grades with him,” Morrissey said.
“At one stage, I would have said ‘no’, but I think he’ll get more ground. I’m unsure whether he’ll get 500m, but I’m confident he’ll run out a strong 450m.”
WATCH: Paddy’s Marvel (1) clocks a scintillating new 385m track record of 21.38sec on G2 Shepparton Cup night.
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