• Tuesday, 22 Feb, 2022,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Kepal record eases Barbara’s pain

Flying sprinter Kepal’s record-breaking victory at Healesville on Sunday afternoon provided a timely boost for trainer John Barbara, who was watching from home as he recovers from a dislocated shoulder.

Kepal made a stunning Healesville debut when clocking 16.21sec over 300m, breaking the previous course record of 16.22sec, established by Matt’s Entity back on August 18, 2013.

Drawn in Box 1, Kepal started $1.20 favourite and he relished his first straight-track assignment in a runaway 6.5L victory, with the initial time of 16.24sec soon amended to a new benchmark figure.

“It certainly lightened up our day,” Exford-based Barbara told race caller Victoria Shaw in a post-race phone interview.

WATCH: KEPAL (1) broke Healesville’s long-standing 300m track record on Sunday afternoon, clocking 16.21sec at his first appearance up the straight.

“We had a bit of a mishap at the races (Geelong) on Friday night in the carpark and I dislocated my shoulder.

“I’m suffering a fair bit with a bit of pain and bruising and it looks like possible surgery, so it’s been a hard week for us.

“I’d just like to thank the boys, we all chipped in and helped out, and Claire (Allen) and Brett (Hare) for taking him for me.”

In a remarkable coincidence, Kepal was handled on Barbara’s behalf by Brett Hare and Claire Allen, who went within 2L of claiming the 300m record one week earlier with Slingshot Reaper (16.34sec).

“His trial times are unbelievable. When he hits the ground he’s got an amazing turn of foot.”

Slingshot Reaper was also victorious again on Sunday, clocking 16.50sec.

Sunday’s performance continued Kepal’s sensational run of form that has seen the March ’19 son of Raw Ability and Gunai Gossip win eight of his past 11 starts, with his overall record standing at 12 from 22.

Kepal’s hot streak includes a verdict over three-time country cups hero Ferdinand Boy at Shepparton (385m) on December 27.

“I’ve had him the last three months and the dog’s been a pleasure to train,” said Barbara.

“I’ve always known the dog can run. His trial times are unbelievable. When he hits the ground he’s got an amazing turn of foot.”

A curious Shaw quizzed Barbara as to why Kepal hadn’t been seen in action at Healesville previously.

“I’ve just been trying to place his runs, he seems to go better fresh,” Barbara explained.

“We will probably back him up there (Healesville) next week over 350m and then we’ll target a few country cups with him and see how we go from there.”

New Healesville 300m record holder Kepal.

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

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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