• Wednesday, 16 Feb, 2022,
  • by Peter Quilty

Fisher is Sizzlin’

Lara-based greyhound racing stalwart Ron Fisher, 74, was doing a proverbial ‘Mexican hat dance’ after Sizzlin’ Sanchez showed ‘crackle’ at his 100th race start.

Sizzlin’ Sanchez ($2.90F) scored a ‘frizzling’ 18th win (with 14 seconds and eight thirds) claiming a Grade 5 (390m) in 22.50sec at Warrnambool on December 27.

Fisher could have tossed a ‘sombrero’ on the floor, such was the excitement, but he did well not to fling his well-worn cap into the air!

The Sizzlin’ Sanchez-Ron Fisher ‘courtship’ commenced around four months prior to the Nov ’16 Kinloch Brae x Perfect Tess dog – a litter brother of G1 Rookie Rebel champ Perfect Marshall – winning his first race, at Geelong, on March 12, 2019.

Fisher, in a recent interview with RSN racecaller Victoria Shaw, said his acquisition of Sizzlin’ Sanchez (aka “Sam”) was due to the original owner phoning him and asking if he had any spare room in his kennel.

The deal was that if Fisher wanted to take on Sam, he had to drive to Bendigo to collect him. Sam, who had just turned two years old, was picked up from Aaron Debattista who had pre-trained him.

Debattista advised Fisher that Sizzlin’ Sanchez had a few injuries, so he had him checked over and waited a month before he started racing.

And when he won his first start Fisher thought, “I might have something decent here”.

“I’ve had some great times with him (Sizzlin’ Sanchez), and he is a beautiful kennel dog. He’s sort of a one-man dog; I’ve handled him all the time and you walk into the kennel, and he gives you a smile with his teeth and lifts up his gums.

“And if you walk him to the kennel block, he thinks he’s the king of the kennel as he looks at every dog as he walks by and then pulls me down to the run. He really shows off a bit!

“I’ve had some great times with him… He’s sort of a one-man dog.”

“He’s a great natured dog, one out of the box, and you’d like a kennel full of dogs like him – his nature and everything like that.”

Shaw and Fisher then discussed Perfect Tess and her great middle-distance record and Sizzlin’ Sanchez’s litter brother – Perfect Marshall – trained by Janet Cottrell.

The litter was bred by Des and Diane Dooley who also owned their brood matron, Perfect Tess.

Fisher says he’s got Sizzlin’ Sanchez going around 450m, although he’s given him a couple of runs at Sandown where he can run 5.10-5.12sec to the first corner.

“But when he’s drawn boxes six, seven and eight, from out there, ‘bang’, they sort of knock him off balance every time.

“There is always something quicker on the inside, so I’ve never taken him back… You don’t want your dogs’ getting knocked around, as they can lose a bit of confidence.”

Fisher has been training greyhounds ‘on and off’ around 40 years, as well as coaching junior football and being a team manager for senior football sides.

A sport’s lover, Fisher has also played golf and confesses to training football players and greyhounds the same way.

“You don’t let the footballers get bored with training and all that, and I try to do the same things with my dogs – don’t let them get bored. Change the routine around for them.”

Shaw asked Fisher: “Who is easier to train – the footy players or the greyhounds?”  And he responded with a laugh: “The dogs, there is no backchat!”

Fisher went on to tell Shaw a little about his own football career, which by his own admission, “goes back a fair while, being 74 years of age”.

“I captained and won the best and fairest in an under 18’s side in 1964, and won the premiership, and after that I moved around a bit. I also coached an under 18’s side (St Peter’s) in a 1979 premiership and I was a chairman of selectors a few times with senior sides around the Geelong area where I am situated.”

Shaw also asked Fisher if he had a favourite greyhound as a trainer.

“I had a fairly decent dog called Snapper’s Mate (122 starts: 9-19-21), which was by Bombastic Shiraz, out of Splendid Return. And Fisher firmly believes it’s “the best line you can get”.

Fisher also reflected on his time with David Burnett, where he had eight Bombastic Shiraz pups, before moving out with the pups to help Angela Langton and Jeff Britton for a while.

Fisher also used to provide breaking-in and pre-training for the Langton kennel. And as the eight pups became older, he moved out on his own to establish his kennel near Avalon airport, where he’s been for around 10 years.

Currently, with 17 greyhounds including 12 race dogs, Fisher has some nice pups by the same mum as Simon Told Helen and Who Told Stevie which are just 18 months old by Raw Ability, out of Who Told Lindylu.

“They look promising, but I haven’t given them a trial yet. They’ve been back from the breakers for six weeks.

“The dog is a 34kg dog, and apparently one of the other local trainers has got two of them (from the same litter) and they are going around Geelong in 22.60-22.80sec. So, it looks promising if mine can do the same thing.”

WATCH: Sizzlin’ Sanchez (5) was red-hot at Warrnambool at his 100th start.

Shaw also asked Fisher what he would like to see for veteran racing greyhounds, bearing in mind he’s a big believer in ‘variation’ among his training techniques.

“‘I’d like to see more races for dogs in their age group over four-five-six years old, because a lot of trainers around my age, Tier-3 trainers, and even a lot of big kennels, have got dogs that they really don’t want to race in the city.

“If you have got races put on for them once a week, in a good meeting, over 400m in the right grade, people will keep their dogs longer. Dogs love it and they’ll tell you when they have had enough.”

Shaw and Fisher go on to discuss the 101st start for Sizzlin’ Sanchez that did not end well for Sam, as he was galloped on and incurred a stand down period, while his kennelmate – Hey Vain Elaine – went on to victory in the same race.

As Fisher describes in the interview: “A dog ran up behind him and dragged him down. He sort of stumbled a little bit and the ‘stablemate’ (Hey Vain Elaine) went around him.

“Sam got going again, and then the same dog dragged him down again, and that was the end of the story, and Hey Vain Elaine went on to win the race.

“The owner (of Hey Vain Elaine) was there, and he was over the moon. And I said, “well they both get treated the same way”.

“Some of the dogs can be a bit over the top (with anxiety). So, I sit in the kennel with each different dog for five minutes once a day with them, which really calms them down. They are your kids.”

In concluding the interview, Fisher chimes in: “Can I just say we would like to see a greyhound straight track on this side of town – it would be perfect…”

A ‘straight’ request from a very caring, knowledgeable, and considerate sportsman – greyhound trainer, Ron Fisher.

Veteran Lara trainer Ron Fisher with Sizzlin’ Sanchez.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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