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Briana’s dream Sandown success

Teenage trainer Briana Robertson-Leech celebrated an unforgettable milestone in her young career at Sandown Park on Sunday afternoon, when preparing her first city winner.

Robertson-Leech, 19, was on cloud nine when Blue Tequila finished best to score over 595m, her third win from 14 starts and second from her last three.

“I was actually pretty shocked, because it was Blue Tequila’s first time at Sandown,” said Briana.

“I’ve had two fourths at Sandown previously and a second and third at The Meadows, but she was my first winner in the city.

“I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day!”

“When she kept going, I thought ‘Wow’! I couldn’t stop smiling for the rest of the day!

“But it was back down to earth on Monday at Ballarat. I had one second placing, but it wasn’t the best day at the races.”

Briana, who’s based at Bald Hills, near Ballarat, has been encouraged in her greyhound racing endeavours by parents Donna Robertson and Gary Leech.

Clearly not one to do things by half measures, Briana trains full-time, with a team of 11 in work, and she labels Sunday’s Sandown winner Blue Tequila and lightly-raced youngster Out For Glory as the standouts.

“I actually wanted a pet dog and Dad said ‘No, get one to race!’, so that’s how I got started,” Briana explained.

BLUE TEQUILA (6) was a strong-finishing winner over 595m at Sandown Park on Sunday, giving young trainer Briana Robertson-Leech her first winner on a city track.

Blue Tequila was originally trained by two-time Melbourne Cup winner David Geall, who’s provided great encouragement to Briana.

“I used to work at Geelong and got to know David there,” Briana explained.

“Then David asked me to train a dog of his called Ice Ghost. He had a few quirks and David thought he would benefit from a smaller kennel and some one on one attention.

“Ice Ghost was very cheeky; the first three days we had him I had to carry him into the kennels because he wouldn’t walk!

“We won three races with him. He was originally in Mum’s name as trainer because I hadn’t turned 18 yet.

“David also gave me another dog to train called Mystic Muse and she was my first ever winner.

“David has been great, and Donna Knight helps me a lot too. I’m asking Donna for advice all the time and we often go to the races together.”

Briana’s early success has come as no surprise to David Geall, who praised her for her passion and “unbelievable commitment”.

“I could just tell Briana loved the dogs,” said Geall.

“When Rose (wife) and I are looking for trainers for our more country-type dogs, I don’t look at strike rates or anything like that. I start with someone who is going to really look after the dogs and with Briana and her mum, I know they treat the dogs like we do, like family.

“We ended up giving Briana a couple of our dogs to train and she started winning with them. It’s great to see because we really do need young ones in the game.”

BLUE TEQUILA (6) pictured winning at Sandown Park on Sunday afternoon.

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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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