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Sambar sets Straight Track ‘course’

Wangaratta trainer Jason Whybrow’s decision to swap a trailer for a pup is paying off big time, with coursing star Sambar Chief emerging as a leading candidate to represent Victoria in the National Straight Track Championship in Queensland next month.

Sambar Chief, the 2021 Victorian National Coursing Association (NCA) Greyhound of the Year, is chasing a third straight Healesville win on Sunday afternoon when he contests the second of two state Straight Track Championship heats (Race 8 at 1.07pm).

The first two home in Sunday week’s (December 5) Victorian final will fly the flag for the Big V in the National Grand Final at Capalaba on Sunday, December 19, battling representatives from the home state, NSW and South Australia for a $25,000 winner’s purse.

That fateful trailer exchange is looking a better deal by the day.

WATCH: Sambar Chief (4) earn a crack at Sunday’s Victorian Straight Track Championships with a strong-finishing 19.21sec BOD performance at Healesville on Tuesday.

“A good friend of mine, Jimmy Holt, who I grew up with, bred the litter,” Whybrow explained.

“I had a trailer for sale at the time for $5000, which was what Jimmy wanted for the pups, so we ended up doing a swap!

“I told Jimmy I had to have two pups to rear them together, so he gave me a discount on St. Marys Panda, which my partner Nicole Lummas trains.

“I’d definitely rather have the dog than the trailer now!”

Sambar Chief, the winner of nine from 17 starts on the racetrack, enjoyed a stellar coursing season; highlighted by winning the Victoria Derby at Benalla, with litter sister St. Marys Panda winning the Oaks the same day.

The son of Mepunga Blazer also boasts excellent Healesville credentials, winning five from seven over 350m, and earned a crack at Sunday afternoon’s state Straight Track heats with back-to-back wins, the most recent a 19.21sec Best Of Day effort on Tuesday.

“I had a trailer for sale at the time for $5000, which was what Jimmy (Holt) wanted for the pups, so we ended up doing a swap!”

“He’s got tons of ability; he just falls out of the boxes around the circle but he’s not quite as bad at ‘The Ville’ for some reason,” Whybrow said.

“He’s had seven starts at Healesville for five wins and his 6.57sec split on Tuesday was a PB. I think he can go a bit quicker and that’ll get him down near the 19 seconds mark.

“I didn’t really see this race until yesterday (Wednesday) but I decided to have a throw at the stumps.”

Whybrow also has a runner in the first heat (race 6 at 12.36pm) in his first city winner Paint Peeler, a finalist in the G3 Great Chase last year and the winner of five from 12 at Healesville.

“Paint Peeler is drawn well (Box 2) and while she mightn’t be going as well as she was, she can run around 19.20sec too,” he said.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed. We’re really excited about the chance to go to Queensland.

“We’ve never travelled interstate with the dogs before and if either of them qualify for Capalaba, the drag lure they use up there won’t be a hassle at all. They both broke in on the drag and they’re very good coursers, so it will be just like an eight-dog coursing race!”

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About Gerard Guthrie - One of Australia's leading greyhound racing journalists since 2000 with the Greyhound Recorder and now with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Part-owner 2013 Group 1 Paws Of Thunder winner Sheikha. (The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of GRV)
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