Retired plumber Robert Bean will always remember his greyhound racing catalyst.
Back in 1994, Bean was replacing a hot water service at a Chirnside Park residence when he noticed a greyhound roaming freely in the backyard.
He laughs now but says at the time, “I just froze.” Well, it must have been ‘love at first sight’ as Bean soon purchased the expecting 10-year-old.
She was a former champion sprinter Swift Laser, who finished third in the 1986 Melbourne Cup – the ‘Holy Grail’ of the sport!
“She was in pup to Fire Cape (a star in the early ’90s) and I paid her owner, William Hill, $3000… I ended up going to a bank to get a loan.”
Roll on almost three decades, and Bean, now based in Tinamba (just over 20kms out of Sale), is ultimately eyeing a $200,000 greyhound racing windfall over the next fortnight.
He bred and trains Harper’s Girl, who contests a Group 1 Sapphire Crown heat (515m) at Sandown Park on Thursday, and also bred and owns Aussie Secret and Got The Torque, who line up in the Group 1 Harrison-Dawson heats (515m) on the same night. (Both finals the following week carry a $100,000 first prize.)
WATCH: G1 Harrison-Dawson aspirant Aussie Secret (4) posts a sizzling 29.28sec (Best) victory at Sale last Sunday.
All three are members of a highly successful October 2018 Bernardo x Sunset Believer litter comprising six males and three females. Six of the ‘nonet’ have won races, 55 in total, and amassed around $182,000 in prizemoney.
“I’ve never had a litter like this, and I’ve bred around a dozen,” Bean said.
Bean, who celebrates his 63rd birthday on May 22, also bred Sunset Believer.
“She was just an average performer due to being plagued by back muscle problems,” he said.
Harper’s Girl is $51 in TAB’s ‘All In’ market for the Sapphire Crown series (for females), while Aussie Secret is $26 and Got The Torque $201 for the Harrison-Dawson series (for males).
Harper’s Girl has won eight races (with seven seconds and 11 thirds) from 33 starts. She’s won two from three at Sandown Park, with a 29.50sec personal best.
Meanwhile, Got The Torque has won eight races (with 10 seconds and four thirds) from 37 starts. He’s won two from seven at Sandown Park, with a 29.31sec personal best, and was a G2 Warrnambool Cup finalist.
And Aussie Secret has won 19 races (with six seconds and four thirds) from 39 starts. He’s won two from six at Sandown Park, with a 29.51sec personal best, and has made finals of the G1 Silver Chief, G2 Horsham Cup and G2 Ballarat Cup.
Here’s how Bean assesses their chances:
Harper’s Girl (Race 3 Box 1, 6.49pm)
“Hopefully she can lead them, and then they’ve got to catch her… She’s reliable out of the boxes and has great acceleration once she ‘leaves the mat’… She’s sort of ‘clicked’ during the past six weeks and has stepped up a level… I think she’s capable of qualifying for the final.”
Got The Torque (Race 5 Box 4, 7.28pm)
“Initially, I trained him, but I’m limited in terms of travelling… So, he was transferred to Brooke and Jamie Ennis; I’ve known Jamie since he was a kid… At one stage, he was coming back to me and I went down to Sandown one Sunday to pick him up… But he won in 29.31sec and Jamie said, “I really want to keep him’… First of all, I gave them his litter brother, Gold Driller… If he’s close enough early, he could snag his heat.”
Aussie Secret (Race 6 Box 2, 7.49pm)
“If he begins like he did at Sale last Sunday, they’ve got to catch him… But Shima Shine is a freak… I offered ‘Aussie’ to Jason Thompson while I was trialling one day at Sale… In my mind, he’s the best trainer in Australia.”
Bean added: “I feel like I’ve got three live chances for the finals, it’s a huge thrill.”
Pawnote: Sunset Believer also has a second litter (2 males, 3 females), a repeat mating to Bernardo, which was whelped in September last year.
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