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‘Stubborn’ Gravy tops circle track superhero

Heading out to the start at the Benalla greyhound coursing track last Sunday, Making Gravy’s Werribee Cup opposition may have thought that they had the upper hand on the reigning Waterloo Cup winner.

“Making Gravy (kennel name Walter) really does not like walking that much,” Stanhope trainer Adele Powell explained.

“It is almost embarrassing taking him to the start… I nearly have to drag him.”

“Given it is about a one kilometre walk to where the slipper is located, anyone looking at us would think he is not on his game today. But once he’s under the slipper’s charge, and he hears the slipper’s proclamation of ‘READY’, to signify the start, something just switches on in him, and you can see his whole facial composure just change, and he sure is switched on!”

Making Gravy (Black Bear Lee x Bit Classy) may have been the Waterloo Cup winner for 2020, but going into his first course on Sunday many assumed his well-credentialled opponent, Bound To Succeed, would get the better of him.

A genuine star, the Noel Massina-trained Bound To Succeed has had 47 starts on the circle for 28 wins – 16 in the best of the night. He also ran third in the Ballarat Cup in April and was unbeaten in two coursing events throughout his career heading into last Sunday.

Compare that to Making Gravy’s modest record 27 starts for six wins – five of which were up the Healesville straight – with his only best of meeting win being his last start at Young in NSW.

Based on that it’s easy to see why Bound To Succeed was expected to win.

Additionally, Making Gravy had only recently overcome ill-health.

“I was happy to meet Bound To Succeed first up, as Walter had not had too many ‘runs’ in his legs after becoming very ill upon return to Victoria. In fact, this was his first start back for me after spending four months with his NSW-based owner Vicki Prest.”

“Not long after I got ‘Walter’ back to Victoria in mid-April, the dogs were all going nuts in the kennels and I rushed out and found Walter frozen stiff and he was panting heavily.”

“So I took him straight to the vet, who put him on a drip. ‘Walter’ ended up having about 10 bags of fluids over 24 hours and Judy from Farrier Vet told me ‘I don’t think he will course this year.”

“The dogs were all going nuts in the kennels and I rushed out and found Walter frozen stiff and he was panting heavily.” 

“In fact, she said it will be a blessing if he is still alive tomorrow…that’s how bad he was. However, we got ‘Walter’ back to my place and, thankfully, since then he has gone forward in leaps and bounds.”

“I don’t know what happened to him, no one does. It was as if he was ‘cooked’. We can’t explain why, but it could have been a spider bite, as I had only vacuumed the greyhounds kennels the day before it happened.”

Adele had sent Making Gravy home to Vicki’s residence in Young (NSW) because he was “a bit down in the dumps”.

“I sent him home to Vicki to give him a couple of starts in NSW, or at least a spell, and he won his last start at Young in very, very, fast time (19.79sec Best) from Box 8.”

“Unfortunately, ‘Walter’ can’t handle the turns on a lot of tracks in our state, given previous shoulder injuries, and our long straights with bends here in Victoria don’t suit him at all.”

However, coursing tracks certainly do suit ‘Big Walt’, which is what Adele often calls him.

At almost four years of age and around 36 kilos, Making Gravy loves the thrill of the chase, as evidenced by this incredible capacity to stage a rally from behind.

WATCH: Making Gravy defeats Bound To Succeed in the first round of the Werribee Cup at Benalla last Sunday.

And last Sunday, just like in last year’s Waterloo Cup contest which I had the incredible honour to call, Making Gravy sized up Bound To Succeed, who was leading the chase behind the drag lure on the long grass straight.

However, with the catching pen in sight, the ground rushing beneath his paws, Making Gravy found something deep from within and accelerated past Bound To Succeed, and ran away to victory at his first course.

He then went on to claim his next two courses to take out the 2021 Werribee Cup, which carried a first prize of $1100.

“I was worried about Bound To Succeed, and I thought that we were done when he led Walter, but it worked out very well,” an ecstatic Adele said.

“He pulled up sensationally after Sunday and had a little gallop out in the runs the next morning… he was very pleased with himself. “

No doubt, Making Gravy will be well fancied heading into this Sunday’s Benalla Cup coursing meeting.

And a tilt at back-to-back Waterloo Cups in late August looks a likely scenario…

WATCH: Last Sunday’s anticipated clash between Making Gravy and Bound To Succeed created plenty of interest in the digital space.

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About Victoria Shaw - Australia's only female race caller and the only woman in the world to have broadcast four codes of racing in this country and overseas. Victoria has co-hosted international racing awards and hosted racing forums focusing on women's inclusion within international racing communities including Poland, Morocco, Spain & the United Arab Emirates. She has called races on the Victorian thoroughbred picnic circuit and at numerous greyhound tracks around the state as well as the 2020 Waterloo Cup. Victoria is fascinated by the incredible efforts of racing animals as well as the people that love and prepare them, no matter where they are in the world.
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