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‘Born to win’ a Waterloo Cup

American Missile was ‘born to win’ a Waterloo Cup.

Her sire, American Monster, is a litter brother of Better Than This who won back-to-back Waterloo Cups in 2016 and 2017.

But Wangaratta trainer Jason Whybrow realises it will require more than genetics for American Missile to emulate her uncle and secure coursing’s ‘Holy Grail’.

Whybrow and his partner, Nicole Lummas, are hoping for a ‘star-spangled’ effort from American Missile as the 148th Waterloo Cup series continues with quarter-finals at Longwood on Sunday.

American Missile is pitted against straight track revelation Utah Ghost in a quarter-final, but Whybrow is retaining optimism.

“She’s very tough, goes like a rocket in a straight line and chases her head off… She’s a dead-set little ‘bulldog’!”

Whybrow purchased American Missile as a four-month-old pup in a $4000 two-dog package. He also races the other pup, Paint Peeler, who was a G3 Great Chase finalist.

Following an eight-year hiatus from the sport due to the closure of Wangaratta’s greyhound track, Whybrow returned a few years ago and along with Nicole they’ve become staunch coursing advocates.

“I was devastated when Wangaratta closed and then Shepparton started racing in a Twilight time slot, while I worked by day as a cabinet maker,” Whybrow said. “But I eventually altered to part-time cabinet making to fit in with the greyhounds.”

Pawnote: American Missile’s sire, American Monster, only competed once at coursing. But he won 23 races from 52 starts on the ‘circle’. He also contested four Group finals in 2016: G1 Hobart Thousand (3rd), G2 Shepparton Cup (2nd), G2 Ballarat Cup (7th) and G2 McKenna Memorial (7th).

“Around three years ago, we got a giveaway greyhound (Princess Parker) who won two coursing finals,” Whybrow said. “But after she passed away, we bought another two pups from a close friend, and they’ve become classy coursing greyhounds.”

And in a fitting tribute, the littermates are Victorian Derby winner Sambar Chief (aka “Parker”) and Victorian Oaks winner St. Marys Panda (aka “Princess”).

Whybrow adds that he and Nicole have been to every coursing meeting this year, except for the first week at Lang Lang.

“I went coursing as a kid for many years with dad (Ray),” he said. “I didn’t fully realise it then, but it’s about getting back to grassroots.

“But now as an adult, responsibly having a beverage and barbecue in front of a fire while enjoying and talking coursing – and adhering to COVID-safe protocols – is great for the mindset.”

Whybrow adds that ultimate victory in the $12,970 to-the-winner Waterloo Cup would be somewhat life-changing.

“We’ve been training from Neville Tait’s property for a few years but recently purchased a five-acre local property,” Whybrow said.

“Nev assists by feeding our greyhounds and doesn’t want us to leave. Anyway, we’re not set up yet. We need a kennel block and runs, so the prizemoney would go in that direction.”

And Whybrow’s final word on American Missile…

“I’m hoping she can go all the way… She’s not the fastest courser of the last eight, but she likes to head to the outside and it could come down to tactics.

“She’s really professional heading to the ‘slips’ but is the laziest greyhound I’ve ever had. We just let her do her own thing at home.”

Remaining Waterloo Cup contenders
(in alphabetical order)

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About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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