Carnegie-based breeder Peter Knott is a typical grassroots greyhound racing participant who has been intermittently involved in the sport for 50 years.
With the help of a tight-knit family unit, Knott – who still works as a painter and decorator – breeds one litter a year and races a small team.
And Knott, who turns 70 in August, epitomises what the Pink Diamond series is all about – a concept predominantly designed for the sport’s ‘bedrock’, including rank and file breeders.
But he faces a ‘David and Goliath’ battle as the Pink Diamond preliminaries head to Warragul on Thursday afternoon.
Knott has Especial Envy (Box 6) in a Champion Sprinter heat (460m) – Race 8 at 5.34pm – where he faces the might of Aston Rupee, Equalizer, Dr. Tucker and Dream Wizard.
And he also has his Nov ’17 Primo Uno x Especially litter brother, Especial Empire (Box 7), in a Challenger Sprinter heat (460m) – Race 11 at 6.38pm. Sadly, their dam passed away from cancer.
“That race would be equal to a Group race anywhere,” said Knott, referring to Especial Envy’s huge task. “I didn’t think the standard would be so high.
“But the Pink Diamond is a great series, with a lot of different rankings, and opens it up to smaller breeders and trainers.”
But Knott still holds hope and optimism for Especial Envy – a winner of seven races, with five seconds and 10 thirds, from 36 starts.
“He can break 22 seconds (over 385 metres) at Shepparton and 24 seconds (over 425 metres) at Bendigo… He’s got a lot of early speed.”
However, Knott is more bullish about Especial Empire – a winner of nine races, with 13 seconds and eight thirds, from 55 starts.
Elise Knott with Pink Diamond contenders, Especial Envy and Especial Empire as young pups.
“He likes the outside… He’s a fast dog and I give him a big chance.”
First or second in their respective events would see Especial Envy racing for a $75,000 first prize and an $11,250 first-placed breeders’ bonus on Pink Diamond finals night on June 18, while Especial Empire would chase a $7750 winner’s cheque and a share of $1665 in breeders’ bonuses.
“It would be a great thrill, a huge cash injection,” Knott said. “We don’t sell our dogs; we keep them as they’re our progeny. And those that we can’t keep, we place with the Greyhound Adoption Program.”
Greyhounds are a family affair in the Knott ‘household’.
Peter walks the greyhounds at 5.30am each day before heading off to work, while wife Sue assists with feeding and exercising the dogs.
Meanwhile, their son, Cameron, 30 – a paramedic residing in Kyabram – assists sister, Elise, 22, with the family’s 20-acre rearing and spelling property at Heathcote, around 45km from Bendigo.
“We have about 10 in work and seven pups up there,” Knott said. “It’s a great outlet for Cameron, while Elise just loves the greyhounds.
“She’s studying forensic science at Deakin University in Burwood and works one day a week at Sandown Greyhound Racing Club as a clerical assistant.
“She also does some relief administration at Greyhounds Australasia and filled in at Cranbourne GRC for a couple of months.”
WATCH: Especial Envy (5) salutes – at $16.60 – in a Grade 5 (460m) at Geelong on May 7.
Pawnote: Especially’s (Aug ’10 Brett Lee x Special Sign) first litter, by Bombastic Shiraz, produced Go Commando (won 12 races from 85 starts), who was bred, owned and mostly trained by Knott. He won the 2018 G2 Great Chase while trained by Jason Sharp.
And Knott has retained Antarctic Lass (won 11 races from 42 starts), a litter sister of Go Commando, for breeding purposes.
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