Pearcedale husband-and-wife team Keith and Lisa Hellmuth have made several ‘headline’ cameos in the sport – particularly with greyhounds the ilk of Peter Rocket, Rockoon, Start A Riot and Burn Time.
Ironically, their latest front-page acts are Dec ’19 My Redeemer x Headline litter brothers Nike Apache and Earthworm Jim who will contest the $10,000 to-the-winner Highway 31 Maiden Challenge final (300m) at Healesville on Sunday.
Both are younger half-brothers of hot stayer Burn Time (May ’18 Peter Rocket x Headline) – a winner of 19 races from 55 starts and Group 1 Association Cup finalist (720m) at Wentworth Park in Sydney.
“Burn Time is really quiet, a funny type of dog,” Keith said. “He’s had blood issues throughout his career, his blood count is always low.
“But these two (Nike Apache and Earthworm Jim) are more outgoing. I haven’t done too much with them, but they’ve been consistent in trials.”
And that was reflected in their race debuts at Healesville last Tuesday when Nike Apache (16.68sec) was the fastest qualifier from eight heats. Earthworm Jim clocked a respectable 16.87sec.
“In all his trials, Nike Apache has been about three lengths faster than Earthworm Jim… We took them up to Healesville to start them off, but they’re not really suited to 300 metres,” Hellmuth said.
“Nike Apache is a ready-made 500-600 metre dog and possibly down the track could follow in Burn Time’s pawprints. But I don’t think Earthworm Jim will make a middle-distance/staying type.”
WATCH: Nike Apache (3) ‘rockets’ to a 16.68sec (Best) Highway 31 Maiden Challenge heat win at Healesville last Tuesday.
Hellmuth was full of praise for the Healesville club including the Highway 31 Maiden Challenge as part of its ‘Festival of Racing’.
“They regularly put on some good money races, and to have a $10,000 first prize for a race up the straight over 300 metres – it’s unbelievable!”
The Hellmuths newcomers both have interesting racing monikers.
Nike Apache is named after a two-stage sounding rocket developed by Aerolab. It became the standard NASA sounding rocket and was launched over 600 times between 1961 and 1978.
Earthworm Jim gets his sobriquet from an American animated television series based on the video game of the same name, featuring an earthworm named Jim, who wears a robotic suit and battles the forces of evil.
Sadly, their dam, Headline – a winner of 16 races from 79 starts – passed away due to complications while whelping her third litter (by Aussie Infrared) under a caesarean delivery on March 7 this year.
But from this tragedy emerged some joy as SA breeders Tracie and Karen Price secured a surrogate mother and kept all nine pups alive.
Meanwhile, the Hellmuths have scaled down their greyhound racing interests and will eventually embark on a life of travel with a 21ft Retreat Daydream caravan hitched to their LandCruiser tow-tug.
Pawnote: There was a decision to modify this event – which was to be a state-versus-state rivalry between Victoria and New South Wales with heats at Healesville and Richmond leading into a final at Healesville – due to the current impact of COVID-19.
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