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Buddy’s Southern Stars ‘Paua’

There was no place like home for Paua Of Buddy last Friday night, when the reigning Bendigo Cup champion made a sensational return to Wagga, smashing the 400m track record in a heat of the inaugural Southern Stars series.

Making his first appearance since March, Paua To Buddy led a Victorian clean-sweep of the two Wagga heats, with another country cup hero in Warragul Cup victor Robbie Rotten, trained by Kayla Cottrell, also successful.

Paua Of Buddy (Box 4) and Robbie Rotten (Box 1) will now fly the Victorian flag in Friday’s $50,000 to-the-winner Southern Stars final (440m) at Goulburn.

“He was broken in here and pre-trained here and I actually knew he could run that sort of time.”

Paua Of Buddy hadn’t been seen in action since March 19, after injuring a toe when runner-up to Typhoon Sammy in the Shepparton Cup Night Match Race, returning to Wagga-based owner/breeder David Jones to recover.

On debut at his old stomping ground, Paua Of Buddy started the heavily-backed $1.65 favourite from Box 4 in the second of two Southern Stars heats and it was a memorable homecoming.

Paua Of Buddy was a class above his opposition – in the words of race caller Paul Francis a “furlong too good” – as he defeated Reg’s Chance by 8.75L in a new track record of 22.28sec, comprehensively erasing the previous benchmark of 22.53sec.

It was a second track record for his resume, with the son of 2017 Melbourne Cup winner Aston Dee Bee and great grandson of the immortal Paua To Burn also holding Warragul’s 400m standard.

“He was broken in here and pre-trained here and I actually knew he could run that sort of time,” said a delighted David Jones.

“He was a length off the record at Ballarat (24.77sec) and was .10 off the record at Bendigo (23.29sec), when a dog touched him on the corner coming into the straight, so he probably should have four records now.

“We took the P2 joint off the toe he injured, so he lost his nail. He’s just got to learn to gallop without it and as you can see, I think he can handle it!

“He’s just got that tenacity to chase, so I think he might have forgotten the toe is missing!”

Earlier in the night, Robbie Rotten ($1.75) prevailed in a duel with fellow Victorian Aston Profit ($6), trained by Jessica Sharp, scoring by three-quarters of a length in 22.82sec, further underlining the merit of Paua Of Buddy’s performance.

After exiting Box 4 in his record heat romp, Paua Of Buddy then drew ‘the blue’ again for Friday’s first running of the Southern Stars, with Robbie Rotten to exit Box 1.

“He hasn’t raced at Goulburn previously, but he’s had a few looks there,” Jones explained.

“It’s been a full-on timetable to prepare him for Goulburn, come to Wagga and get a ticket into it, and now he’s just got to do it again.

“He’s going back to Melbourne after the final. We’ll look at some races down there and then he might come back up here later in the year. I don’t like to plan too far ahead because when you plan things, stuff happens!”

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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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