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Balmoral the ‘king of the castle’

When race caller Victoria Shaw encountered trainer Damian Meade and his regally bred sprinter Balmoral at Healesville recently, she was taken by the bond between the unlikely pair, describing their relationship as “beautiful to watch”.

Balmoral is bred to win a Melbourne Cup, being by champion sire Barcia Bale out of eight-time Group finalist Split Image, winner of the G2 Vince Curry Memorial Maiden in 2016.

However, after starting his career in South Australia, Balmoral appeared destined for the Greyhound Adoption Program before being noticed by a friend of Meade’s on Facebook.

“He was about to go to adoption, so I put my hand out and said I’d give him a go,” said Meade, who hails from Hazelwood North.

“I worked on him for a little while. It took me about two and a half months to get a few injuries out of him and to put some weight back on him.

“He was a bit too light for my liking. He was a big boy when he was racing in SA and I wanted to get him back up to that weight again and give him every opportunity.”

After almost eight months on the sidelines, Meade has worked wonders with Balmoral, which has won twice, at Healesville and Cranbourne, and also been placed on seven further occasions in 15 ultra-consistent appearances for his fourth trainer.

“I’ve only had him since September. It’s been a bit of a process to earn his trust,” said Meade.

“It’s just good to find the character in your dog.

WATCH: Superbly-bred sprinter Balmoral (4) was rewarded for consistency when scoring at Healesville on December 10.

“I don’t use leads around my place. We just walk together; he’s a beautiful big boy and he just walks by my hip. He thinks I’ve got a biscuit in my pocket every day!

“I’ve been gradually watching his improvement and watching the confidence come out in him. It’s really good at the moment.

“He can find four lengths and then lose four lengths and I think it’s in the build-up of how often I run him. He needs to be running all the time – he’s one of those dogs.

“Even though he’s a big gentle giant, he has his own little quirks!”

Balmoral opened his account in Victoria when winning at Cranbourne on November 8.

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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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