Evergreen speedster Javi is from a sensational Apr ’18 Kinloch Brae x Amelia Christa litter including Sixties Rocker, Chart Topper and Party Lights.
Earlier this month, Javi contested his 100th start when third at Healesville.
Four days later, he finished second to McKeon Bale at The Meadows.
Javi has made his own mark on the racing world, with his Devon Meadows trainer Marlene Schmidt declaring him a “gem.”
In the first instalment of a two-part series, RSN race-caller Victoria Shaw interviewed Schmidt and points out Javi was sent out favourite at his first race start.
Many greyhound racing fans placed early faith in Javi and although he met with interference early on debut, he showed his class with a win two starts later at Bendigo. He then won his first start at The Meadows by a whopping 8.5 lengths!
“We were very excited, just to see him win was wonderful. We took him to Bendigo, where he won, just for a confidence as it was a Tier-3 race. After that, he received a couple of knocks, and then he just took to The Meadows, which was good,” Schmidt reflected.
But the beginning of Javi’s brilliant racing career was marked by more than great potential. It coincided with the start of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. However, Javi provided a lot of mental health relief for his connections.
“It meant a lot to us really, because we got out of the property, and we could virtually do anything. We could go and trial the dogs and so we call him (Javi) our COVID poster boy,” Schmidt shared happily.
“I was able to go and catch the dog, and he saved our sanity.
He saved mine, that’s for sure!”
Gayle Osborne also added: “He gave us a reason to get up in the morning and we felt for people that were staying home in lockdown, but we took the chance to go racing. I was able to go and catch the dog, and he saved our sanity. He saved mine, that’s for sure!”
In August 2020, when the world had reached a dark moment in time – prior to COVID-19 vaccines and a skyrocketing death tally – Javi won a Nestor-Schofield Memorial heat and final at The Meadows.
“It was a very special occasion as George (Schofield) checked my dogs and we were very close. Gayle used to take her dogs to him too, so that was wonderful.
“And it was a terrible, terrible night and we even begged Corey (Hiscock) to cancel the meeting because it was so wet, but Corey told us ‘no meeting will be cancelled on my watch’!
“Then after the meeting he said to us, ‘I bet you are glad we didn’t cancel the meeting now’. And we were!” said Schmidt, laughing with Osborne.
Robin and Michelle Moore , who bred Javi and his high-performing littermates, were also able to attend Javi’s first couple of races, prior to Coronavirus restrictions being applied to the racing community.
Osborne retold how pleased she was to see the Moores witness first-hand Javi’s developing ability on the racetrack.
“It was great to see Rob and Michelle there, for his first couple of early wins and both Marlene and I are forever indebted to them, for giving us ‘Dusty’ on the breeding condition with Marlene rearing them. Rob and Michelle, we can’t thank them enough for giving us him.”
Then the discussion touched on the story behind Javi’s name.
“With Marlene a diehard Richmond supporter, perhaps Gayle and I need to have a good look at ourselves as to why we support North Melbourne (a discussion for another time!),” Shaw said.
“Blame Marlene!” Osborne declared with a chuckle (as both Gayle and Marlene recalled the inspiration behind the name ‘Dusty’ as a kennel name and Javi as a racing name).
“I really wanted Dusty Martin, but we couldn’t get that. Then there was the Tiger cub born in Queensland at the Zoo called Javi, and that’s why I named him Javi,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt’s husband, Chris, is also a big part of Javi’s success. “Chris does a lot of work on him every day and is out there doing him now. And, without Chris working on him, he wouldn’t be the dog he is.” Schmidt added.
“Even our vet, Des (Fegan), said he never thought Javi would get to the heights that he has with his hock issue.
“He has had it since the time he was a puppy and Des said, ‘I don’t think you’ll get much out of this dog’, but every time he wins, he can’t believe it. Our vet puts a lot of time into him too, so that’s good.”
Javi was also a reserve for the G3 Speed Star last year, and Shaw asked Schmidt and Osborne how they felt about reaching such a high level of competition.
“Well, we couldn’t believe that he could be that good; we were just looking for a handy country dog to give us a bit of fun. But making a reserve was like making the field, so we were extremely proud of him.
“Every time we think Dusty can’t win us another race; he certainly proves us wrong. I can remember going to The Meadows one Saturday night when he was in a Free-For-All and I said to Marlene, ‘just win one Free-For-All for us mate and prove that you are good enough. And low and behold, he came out and won by a few lengths.
“Well, it’s as if to say, ‘I heard you and I am going to do it’. And he did! And every time we call on him to do something for us, he seems to pull it out of his hat. He is a little marvel,” Osborne gushed with great pride.
Javi’s track preferences are interesting too, with Schmidt and Osborne admitting Javi is not a fan of Sandown Park but loves to race at The Meadows.
“He doesn’t like Sandown… He has had a second there but gets out of the car and is just a different dog at Sandown. We want to look after him, so he goes where he wants to go.
“We get to The Meadows, and I take him down the back where the trains go through, and I wait until a train comes, and he goes berserk when the train comes, it is like he is home when the train comes,” Schmidt said.
Javi’s train spotting habits are both very funny and unusual with Schmidt adding, “he just gets so excited”.
Javi has won 19 races, with 16 seconds and 14 thirds, from 101 starts and amassed $108,230 in prizemoney. (He’s notched 15 wins and 15 placings from 64 starts at The Meadows.)
Pawnote: Javi (Box 3) is engaged tomorrow at Healesville – Race 6, 12.58pm.
(In Part 2, of Shaw’s interview, Schmidt talks about a greyhound as her wedding present.)
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