Reaching the magical ‘100’ mark is a wonderful milestone in any sporting endeavour and a century of appearances at the racetrack is certainly a feat to be celebrated.
It’s a grand achievement for any greyhound to ‘crack the ton’ but newly-crowned centurion Chill Out Dusty (pictured above) made it an occasion to remember for Dandenong trainer Jason Caley when he hit triple figures at Cranbourne on August 23.
Two months shy of his fourth birthday; Chill Out Dusty not only won at his 100th start, but clocked a new Cranbourne 311m PB (17.97sec) and claimed Best Of Day honours to boot.
“Absolutely over the moon about the result,” a delighted Caley told GRV’s Victoria Shaw.
“Certainly I knew he’d be competitive in the race but it is a race so anything can happen.
“To be start number 100 for the dog and for him to run his personal best time ever at the track and also to run the fastest time on the program over the 311m, I thought he deserves it, he’s earned it and he certainly enjoyed his strawberry ice cream when he got home.”
Caley, who’s worked around the globe in IT, is very much living the dream training his small team of four, mostly previously trained ‘projects’, which allows him to fulfil his childhood dream of working with animals.
“I wanted to be a vet when I was a little kid,” Caley explained.
“When I was six years old, one of my first vocational desires was to be a vet.
“I can do feeding, nutrition, exercise, health management, social life enrichment – a lot of aspects of veterinary science are involved in greyhounds, and so to me it was always my desire to live the childhood dream and work with animals.”
Since making his debut at Bendigo in May 2019, Chill Out Dusty’s wins have been well-spaced; he’s saluted the judge six times, with 27 minor placings.
The veteran’s major drawback is his box manners, which Caley attributes to the evergreen son of Barcia Bale and Greysynd Jet “not being “the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to visual acuity and physical reactions”.
Chill Out Dusty’s centennial at Cranbourne was his first success since Warragul on February 25, and prior to that it was Healesville last September.
“I kind of expect it every six months,” Caley quipped.
“I’m not in a rush and the dog loves doing what he does.
“‘Harry’ is such a pleasure to have. I tend to find homes for all my ex-racers but in the case of ‘Harry’ I’ve decided I’m going to keep him. He can race for as long as he’s able to do so and wishes to do so and he stays with me no matter what.
“In a post-racing career, while he’s a cherished pet, he can probably also be a good educator for any new arrivals. He could be a training partner, to show those dogs the ropes, teach them how to come out of the boxes and even be a running companion, so hopefully he’s got a very long career.
“Much like an AFL footballer, barring injury, he’ll tell me when he’s had enough or if age catches up with him.”
Caley has crafted his own formula for longevity, combining his veterinary inclinations with good old-fashioned bribery!
“I have my own mechanical massager, and a laser, a veterinary class 3B laser,” Caley explained.
“He gets massaged after the race and in his prep he’ll have some laser therapy in between his runs.
“The dogs do tend to know when they’ve won a race, so he’s acutely aware that he’s won, not just with the strawberry ice cream!
“He had an extra night inside too. Because I only have four dogs here, in a small backyard-based kennel, I tend to bring them inside the night before they race to make sure they sleep and they’re comfortable. They cherish watching TV with their owner!
“Whenever one of my dogs wins, they get an additional night in, both pre-race and post-race.”
WATCH: Chill Out Dusty (4) rose to the occasion of his 100th start, ending a run of 19 straight defeats and winning in a best of night 17.97sec, which was also a new PB.