Andrea Gurry’s keen eye for a bargain could return an almost immediate $7000 dividend when recent purchase Winlock Mungo contests the inaugural $10,000 Grassroots Regional Championship Final (450m) at Ballarat on Wednesday night.
Gurry bought Winlock Mungo for just $3000 and the cut-price son of Premier Fantasy and Jacqui Blax is clearly enjoying the change of scenery, winning three of his seven starts for his new trainer, to boost his career record to 9 from 53.
Andrea had noticed Winlock Mungo, which was previously trained by Mark Delbridge, perform impressively early in his career at her local track Horsham, where he won four from five last September/October and she didn’t hesitate to put her hand in her pocket when she saw him offered for sale online.
“I bought him maybe seven weeks ago,” explained Andrea, who prepares her small team at Nhill in western Victoria.
“He started his career off at Horsham, which is my home track, and his first three or four runs there were super, including a 23.14sec win.
“The last month or so before I bought him – and it was only the last month – his form had just tapered off, but I’d seen the dog in the flesh and my view has always been that the clock doesn’t lie.
“When Gary Black, his previous owner, moves his dogs on he’s very fair and when I saw Winlock Mungo advertised on Greyhound Data for $3000 I texted Gary and asked for his bank details. It was as simple as that!
“I knew what he could do; it was a matter of getting him to do it again.
“A lot of dogs fire early on and then they get into the routine, so a change of scenery can do them the world of good. My property is really in nature, the dogs come here and relax and I work dogs very differently too.”
Winlock Mungo is certainly thriving in his new environment, booking his berth in the Grassroots Sprint Championship with dominant all-the-way wins in his heat and semi-final at Horsham and Warrnambool respectively.
WATCH: Winlock Mungo (7) was a commanding all-the-way winner of his Grassroots Western Sprint semi-final at Warrnambool last Thursday (September 16).
After banking $20,945 in his 53 starts, Winlock Mungo’s prizemoney tally can receive a major injection in Wednesday’s final, which is race 5 at 8.18pm, with Andrea welcoming the chance to race for feature prizemoney.
“It’s a super concept,” said Gurry.
“It’s called ‘Grassroots’ for a reason. Everyone tells me I live in the ‘middle of nowhere’ and I see myself as ‘Joe Average’, so to get the opportunity to race for $7000 without having to go to the city is fantastic.”
While Andrea modestly refers to herself as “Joe Average”, it’s another Joe – Group 1-winning trainer Joe Borg – that shapes as the major hurdle Winlock Mungo (Box 5) has to overcome at Ballarat.
Borg has the favourite in Avenger Lass (Box 8), which has won six of her 13 starts and qualified with runaway heat and semi-final victories at Bendigo and Shepparton.
“My bloke is fit and well and ready to rock and roll but if Joe’s dog brings its ‘A’ game, it just wins the race,” Gurry offered.
“If Winlock Mungo comes out like he has been I don’t think Box 5 will be an issue but I still think Avenger Lass will cross him.
“I’m a realist and I’m just stoked to be there!”
While Winlock Mungo appears to be in his element, so too is Gurry, who is relishing the opportunity to devote all her energies to her greyhound racing passion after closing a family newsagency when the COVID curse struck.
“Hell yeah!” Andrea laughed.
“The newsagency closed with the onset of COVID. It just wouldn’t have survived.
“It was a family business too and my father had a stroke and would have gone from doing 60-70 hours a week to doing none, which would’ve all fallen on me.
“I just love the greyhounds and I’m really enjoying focusing on them.
“I buy and sell quite a few dogs – I buy a lot of ‘Bales’ – and I’ve had reasonable success doing that. I only train for myself because when you’re driving home after things go wrong, you don’t have to justify yourself to anyone!”
Ballarat will also stage the $10,000 Grassroots Regional Distance final (660m), which is race 6 on Wednesday at 8.38pm.