Hastings-based Billy Stockdale has horse racing coursing through his veins.
His late grandfather Alan Douch was a highly respected Gippsland trainer while his brothers, Frankie and Shane, currently have training bases at Pakenham.
And his cousin Thomas Stockdale is a champion apprentice jockey.
Billy dabbled with breaking-in and training equines for several years but decided to break ranks with the thoroughbred industry.
Ironically, he has grabbed greyhound racing by the ‘reins’ with ‘unbridled’ passion!
“Basically, I was introduced to the sport by my brother Frankie and uncle Des Douch, who is my mum’s (Beverley) brother,” Stockdale said. “And I’ve also received invaluable assistance from Jason Thompson who has been a friend of Frankie’s for many years.”
Stockdale says he has “learnt a lot in a short time”. It wasn’t so long ago he bought his first greyhound – Easy Tash – online as a four-month-old pup.
“She broke-in slow and was a pet before she actually started racing,” he said.
“But my daughter and I were hitting a tennis ball in a paddock to her one day and she was taking off like a rocket. So, I decided to give her a go at racing.”
Easy Tash only raced for the first seven months of 2019, winning four races from 14 starts.
But roll on almost two years and Stockdale is lining up with Bessie’s Daisy (Box 3) against a couple of big names – Zipping Rambo (Box 4) and Hank The Hustler (Box 1) – in a GR8 Eight (715m) at Sandown Park on Thursday night.
G1 Sandown Cup winner Zipping Rambo ($2.00) is TAB’s fixed odds favourite to take out the $15,000 special event, with Listed Cup Night Stayers winner and G3 Lizrene Speed Star finalist Hank The Hustler ($2.30) and Bessie’s Daisy ($31.00).
Stockdale doesn’t expect Bessie’s Daisy (May ’18 Fernando Bale x Bold Desert) to cause a major boilover but predicts a bright future for her in staying ranks.
A winner of seven races (with five seconds) from 21 starts, Bessie’s Daisy was off the racing scene from mid-September last year to early April due to a metacarpal complaint and then came on season.
“Staying is more her forte,” he said. “She lacks a bit of early pace but is very strong late. It’s now a matter of getting more miles into her legs.”
Stockdale is also concerned with Bessie’s Daisy’s box draw. “She prefers wide and enjoys a bit more galloping room.”
Stockdale also owns Bessie’s Daisy who was bred by Des Douch. Her dam, Bold Desert, won four races from only eight starts and was owned by Frankie Stockdale.
And Stockdale provided an insight to Bessie’s Daisy’s simple racing moniker.
“All the grandkids call Bev (mum), ‘Bessie’, and ‘Daisy’ is her kennel name.”
Stockdale will be hoping Bessie’s Daisy pushes ‘petal to the mettle’ in the GR8 Eight – Race 8, 8.40pm.
WATCH: Bessie’s Daisy (7) – at $12.80 – salutes at Sale over 650m on May 30.
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