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From backyard pet to straight track star

Wangaratta’s Ian Beattie rode trackwork for 16 years before quitting the thoroughbred industry to pursue other interests. He’s now training greyhounds – and couldn’t be happier!

After meeting up with greyhound trainers Jason Whybrow and Nicole Lummas – who he can’t thank enough – Beattie has the very first greyhound he has trained – Blackpool Astro – in the Greyhound Clubs Victoria final (350m) – Race 6, 12.19pm – at Healesville on Sunday.

Blackpool Astro has won his past four starts – including his past three under Beattie’s guidance, after returning from a six month layoff.

A chip in his hock from a trial in September last year saw Blackpool Astro’s career at the crossroads. But after contacting Shepparton club vet Dr Sue Collins, Beattie was advised that there was a possibility his greyhound could race again if he underwent an operation.

Post-surgery, Beattie thought ‘if he comes back, he comes back’ but was resigned to having a new pet to love at home as Blackpool Astro has such a friendly personality.

So much so that Blackpool Astro has grown a strong bond with Beattie’s great-niece, four-year-old Scarlett.
“Scarlett comes to visit him about once a week and she is drawn to him. He’s so gentle with her. He lets her walk him around on the lead,” Beattie said.

A few months rest and plenty of TLC from Ian and Scarlett, Blackpool Astro had some ‘gentle’ slips up a straight track, Before long, Beattie believed it was time to trial his greyhound at Healesville.

Special connection: Blackpool Astro with his number one fan, Ian’s great-niece Scarlett, 4.

To his surprise, Blackpool Astro clocked a blistering 16.53sec over 300m, and Beattie claims: “I ran up the Healesville straight in 17 seconds myself, as I couldn’t believe the time.”

The starter said to Beattie afterwards, “geez that’s quick” and that’s when he thought he had a real chance with this dog. And so the pair returned to the Healesville straight a week later for a standard trial as a result of not having raced for six months, and then a week after that the time had come for his return race.

“At his first race back, he drew box four; however, box three was scratched which gave him a little extra room,” Beattie said. “He took a couple of lengths to get going but came home and won by seven lengths and ran 16.64sec,” Beattie said.

Smiling from ear to ear, an elated Beattie told people standing nearby, “this is my pet from the backyard”.
“He had done a fair bit of racing when we bought him and we paid a reasonable amount of money for him, so I wanted to give him every chance of a successful comeback.”
“To win his first three starts on return from that injury has been very satisfying, and hopefully he can continue that form tomorrow.”

Blackpool Astro (Box 4) will look to stretch his winning streak to five when he lines up against Zipping Pink (Box 2) and the ideally drawn Alfie Mikado (Box 8) on Sunday.

Whatever the future holds, Beattie and Scarett have a companion for years to come in this beautiful greyhound.

This article was written by Brad Williams.

WATCH: Blackpool Astro (4) wins first-up from a six month spell by a whopping seven lengths at Healesville, a performance which left trainer Ian Beattie stunned.

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