Underdog Enchanting is chasing an ‘impossible dream’ in the Pink Diamond Champion Distance final (660m) at Bendigo on Friday night.
Enchanting, trained by Mark Giddings and a winner of six races from 32 starts, is expected to start a rank outsider in the $75,000 to-the-winner event – one of 12 ‘sparkling’ finals on a gala evening of greyhound racing.
But her Girgarre-based breeder, Alan “Fergie” Ferguson, 69, has $11,250 of breeder bonus reasons to believe she can ‘reach the unreachable star’.
“It would be my biggest success in 20 years as a breeder if she won,” he said. “And I’d put it all back into greyhound racing, buying sire ‘straws’ for my seven brood matrons.”
Ferguson also says the Pink Diamond concept is “a fantastic incentive for the smaller breeder”.
“I try to maintain ownership of the progeny I breed, but to survive in the industry I’ve occasionally had to sell some of my pups,” he said. “It’s not an easy game, everything is so expensive.”
Consequently, Ferguson sold Enchanting (Jan ’19 Rivergum Drive x Kiltah Magic) and her six littermates as three-month-old pups.
“I obtained her dam (Kiltah Magic) on a pups deal after noticing an advertisement on Greyhound Data,” he said. “She was very handy on the racetrack and a Group 1 Sale Cup finalist in 2014.”
Ferguson says he could go fishing or play golf, but greyhounds are his passion.
“It would be my biggest success in 20 years as a breeder if she won.”
“I’m not a millionaire breeder; I just love the sport… Greyhounds are docile and friendly animals and make great pets after racing.”
And Ferguson practices what he preaches, having recently placed My Name’s Barry (won 24 races from 73 starts) – a greyhound he owned and bred – into the Greyhound Adoption Program.
“He’s a beautiful dog and has now found a loving home. He’s a pet for life!”
Ironically, My Name’s Barry’s dam, Proven Scary, set Ferguson on his path as a breeder.
“Back in 1968, I owned a ‘hurdling’ greyhound with a few teenage mates,” he said. “I’ve also trained many city winners but always thought I could breed a good dog.
“I worked for the late Tony McGrath, who had outstanding success with the ‘Proven’ line, for a few years and learned so much from him. He and his son, Carl, gave me Proven Scary and I haven’t looked back.”
Ferguson also owned My Name’s David, a 2018 G2 Shepparton Cup finalist whose career was curtailed due to a dropped back muscle, and bred Beast Unleashed, who won 10 races from only 15 starts including the 2018 G2 Launching Pad and 2019 G2 Gosford Gold Cup. He was also a 2018 Peter Mosman Classic finalist.
But his highlight as an owner was Murchison Champ’s 1981 Maturity Classic win at Olympic Park.
“The trainer (Kevin Richards) purchased a brand-new station wagon with his share of the prizemoney while I bought a ‘slow’ racehorse. But I was also presented with a magnum of champagne, which has never been opened,” he quipped.
So, will “Fergie” be watching Enchanting (Box 2) in the final – Race 6, 8.47pm?
“Bloody oath I’ll be watching, I’ll be cheering her home,” he exclaimed. “I also wish her young Victorian trainer Mark Giddings and South Australian owners Clinton Alleway and Joel Morizzi the very best of luck.”
Ferguson-bred bloodlines can be tracked to all corners of Australia and only last Sunday two of his pedigree won in NSW and WA – Tonka Tux (Richmond) and Minotaur Tux (Mandurah).
Pawnote: Ferguson is one of 220 Victorian breeders to have been involved in the ‘Pink Diamond’ series – a big boost for the industry at the grassroots level.
The GRV VicBred Pink Diamond grand finale at Bendigo will be the richest night of Victorian provincial greyhound racing in the sport’s history with $617,765 up for grabs including $80,565 in breeder bonuses.
WATCH: Enchanting (8) qualifies for the Pink Diamond Champion Distance final when second to Casus Belli (1) in a heat at Warragul.
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