Successful breeder David Gleeson has enjoyed a wonderful ride in recent years with his ‘Shima’ greyhounds and he’s hoping that will continue when superstar sprinter Shima Shine headlines Thursday night’s Pink Diamond qualifiers at Ballarat.
Dual G1 winner Shima Shine (Box 6) will contest the Champion Sprinter heats over 450m, while half-sister Shima Classic (Box 6), both are trained by Andrea Dailly, is engaged in the Champion Short Course qualifiers over 390m.
Should Shima Shina and Shima Classic run first or second in their respective heats, they will qualify for $75,000 to-the-winner finals at Bendigo next Friday, with first-placed breeders’ bonuses of $11,250.
So it comes as no surprise that Gleeson is a big believer in the Pink Diamond concept, designed to recognise and reward the often unsung contribution breeders make to the sport.
“I’m a breeder, so I think it’s fantastic!” Gleeson said.
“The only thing I don’t like is that Shima Shine and Shima Classic have both drawn box six at Ballarat and the two dogs we entered for Geelong on Friday (Shima Punga and Shima Bolt) are reserves!”
Shima Shine, the winner of 34 of his 59 starts, is undoubtedly the headline act at Ballarat, where he’s won five of his six starts over the 450m course, including a then track record run of 24.75sec at just his seventh start, back in August 2019.
Shima Shine hasn’t raced since running sixth as $2.60 favourite in the G1 Harrison-Dawson at Sandown Park on May 20 and his rivals include kennelmates Gypsy Yankee, winner of his past two in good time at Sandown (29.40sec) and Ballarat (25.08sec), and Fabriola Zad.
“Shima Shine races best with a bit of space between his races; he doesn’t like being saddled up every week, and he loves Ballarat,” said Gleeson, who bred the reigning Topgun champion in partnership with good friend Bob Cummings.
“If you look at the ‘slo-mo’ of the Harrison-Dawson, he was first out but then he knuckled and went straight down on his face. The week before he ran ’29 dead’. How many do that?
“I think he’s got stronger too. He used to struggle a bit over the last 40 metres but in his Harrison-Dawson heat he ran home in 10.36sec – that’s quick!
“He’s three-and-a-half now and he’ll tell us when he’s had enough but I hope he keeps going until he’s about 16!” Gleeson added with a laugh.
Shima Classic, which has won eight of her 19 starts and qualified for the G1 Australian Cup final at just her 10th start, has been beaten at her last six starts, her most recent win coming in a G2 Ballarat Cup heat on April 5, clocking a scorching 29.76sec.
“She’s had a few issues but she’s ready to burn,” Glesson said.
“It’s all about her coming out because it’s a 390m. If she gets left alone she’ll go way under 22 seconds.”
Team Dailly also has Lala Kiwi and Gypsy Wyong clashing in a Rookie Sprinter heat at Ballarat, while the evergreen Speed Star is chasing an incredible 46th career victory in a heat of the Veterans series.
WATCH: Superstar Shima Shine (4) semaphores a sizzling 29.00sec (Best) victory in a G1 Harrison-Dawson heat at Sandown Park on May 13.
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