Proud owner Mel Mayle admits the nerves are building in the countdown to Thursday’s Group 3 Launching Pad Final (515m) where her “goofball” Kuro Kismet is TAB’s $3.70 second favourite.
As well as sharing in the ownership with her dad, Bruce Waugh, Mel will have the all-important task of leading Kuro Kismet to the boxes for the $150,000 to-the-winner Launching Pad, affording trainer Matt Clark the luxury of cheering from Sandown Park’s grandstand.
“I’m still a bit shell-shocked,” Mel said.
“Matt and I have been talking about nerves and he said to remember it’s just another race.
“I’ve been working on that for the last 24 hours but it might be a different story when I go to get him out on Thursday.
“I’ll just kiss him on the way to the boxes and tell him to run safe. That’s the main thing.”
As he’s emerged as a serious Launching Pad contender, clocking back-to-back scorching 29.18s and 29.19s Sandown victories before a barnstorming semi-final second last Thursday, Kuro Kismet has developed a huge following.
But Mel explained there’ll be one very special seven-year-old cheering “Socks” home.
“Nicole Lund, who’s a trainer and a good friend of mine, has a nephew Liam, who hasn’t been very well,” she said.
“He’s been in and out of hospital but he’s been cheering for Kuro Kismet throughout this series. He even puts socks on his hands so he’s running home with ‘Socks’!
“We were trying to get Liam out on Thursday to make a bit of a fuss but it doesn’t look like that will happen. I might have to steal Liam one day and take him for a visit.
“Kuro Kismet is going to have a big cheer squad, with a lot of family and friends. Dad’s coming down from Canberra, which is great because we don’t see a lot of each other. It’s really nice to share my passion with him.”
After gaining an introduction to greyhounds through fostering, Mel made an inspired choice when purchasing two pups from breeder David Willcocks, including a son of Melbourne Cup winner Aston Dee Bee and Mayfair Miss that now races as Kuro Kismet.
“He’s just a big clown; I love him,” said Mel.
“He loves chewing his bed and he loves to play.
“He doesn’t know how not to go hard on the racetrack. When he sees the lure he just goes after it, it doesn’t matter how far away it is.
“His run last Thursday showed that. You can put him second last and he still finds a way.
“I’ve just watched him keep improving. I think the trips up to Wentworth Park were a big growth factor. He’s just got better and smarter each time he’s raced. It’s been like watching more of the puzzle pieces keep coming together.”
Kuro Kismet boasts seven wins and nine minor placings from his 20 starts, while Mel’s other purchase was Kismet Storm, a son of Barcia Bale that has won five from 23 and also shaped as a Launching Pad contender before injury struck.
So it comes as no surprise the greyhound racing bug has caught on in the Mayle household.
“My husband Scott has realised there’s more to it than your wife being away for 12 hours a day!” Mel laughed.
“And my 15-year-old daughter, Bree, has got her catcher’s license.
“I’ve got to give a massive thankyou to Matt and Bianca and to all the supporters that have been wishing us well.
“I should also give a shout out to my boss, Ernie Corry, who doesn’t mind when I leave him a note telling him I’m changing my work days or leaving early because I’m going to the dogs with Matt!”
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