Meet the sport’s modern-day “Clancy of the Overflow”.
A potential life as a ‘legal eagle’ may not be for 24-year-old NSW greyhound trainer, Jack Strutt.
It seems he’d swap a “dingy little office” for a lead and collar any day.
Strutt has just finished his sixth year of a double degree (Bachelor of Economics/Finance, and Bachelor of Laws) at the University of Wollongong. He has only one semester remaining to achieve a goal of entering commercial law.
But this ‘dream chaser’ also has his heart pulsating in another arena. Quite simply, Strutt has caught the proverbial ‘greyhound racing bug’.
“Everyone says I’m mad,” Strutt said. “But I’m unsure whether I want to go straight into practice. I’m really enjoying training greyhounds.”
Back in August last year, Strutt moved from Wagga to Anakie (30km from Geelong) and worked for nine months, while still studying, for ‘Team Grenfell’ (Correy and Samantha) which certainly knows a thing or two about winning ‘majors’. (Strutt also enjoyed a three-month stint with the Grenfells in late 2020.)
“My dad (Paul) and I get along well with Michael Finn whose dogs are trained by the Grenfells.
“So, I gave Correy a call to see if there was an opportunity for work.
“It was really beneficial. The Grenfells have a team of 80 or more greyhounds, so I was learning 10 times quicker than working for a small kennel. I picked up a lot along the way.”
And now Strutt will have his own ‘moment in the sun’ when Stagger Out Lee (Box 1) contests the $165,500 Group 1 Sportsbet Bold Trease final (715m) – Race 8, 9.00pm – at Sandown Park on Saturday night.
Stagger Out Lee – owned by Strutt’s father – qualified for the $105,000 to-the-winner final courtesy of a powerhouse 41.78sec heat victory last week. It was her ninth win (with 11 seconds and six thirds) from 46 starts.
Subsequently she’s a $6.50 chance – behind fastest heat winner (41.33sec) and recent G1 Topgun Stayers heroine Moraine Suzie ($2.80F) – in Sportsbet’s fixed odds market.
“Box 1 in a Group 1 final, you can’t complain with that,” Strutt said. “She’s won almost half of her races from the ‘red’.
“It just depends on where she maps and an early sit behind Untapped (Box 2) will improve her chances. But if she feels like she’s getting pinned down on the rail, she tends to put on the ‘handbrake’ and tries to get to the outside.
“She’s pulled up well from her heat; she bounces back quickly in her post-race recovery.”
It’s been an amazing metamorphosis for Stagger Out Lee (Mar ’20 My Bro Fabio x Parrydise Star), which Paul sent down to his son to pre-train only two months into his second spell with the Grenfells.
“She took a lot to get going and wasn’t trialling well,” Strutt said. “But you could always see she had the ability, so I kept putting her through the process.”
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Strutt raced Stagger Out Lee in Victoria (from late November to early May) with limited success.
“But the ‘penny dropped’ (around the 20-start mark) when I returned home,” Strutt said.
As fate would have it, Strutt Snr had a My Bro Fabio breeding straw to use on a prospective ‘Tiggerlong’ brood matron. However, veterinary tests revealed she would be unlikely to conceive.
So, the straw was used on Parrydise Star – bred and owned by Scott Parry of Cartwrights Hill in NSW. Subsequently the Strutts received half the litter, which includes Stagger Out Lee.
Strutt says Stagger Out Lee “thrives on confidence” but still lacks “full confidence” – although he adds, “she has the speed to ping the lids and is extremely competitive”.
“But it’s the opposite at home. She’s very lazy and quiet – albeit beautiful – and sometimes you need to go into the kennel to get her off her bed.”
Strutt adds it’s a likely possibility he’ll pursue a career in the sport he loves with a passion.
Actually, greyhound racing came calling for Strutt as a teenager around 12 years ago.
“We got our first dog from Ian Robinson in Oura. We helped him build a fence on his property and he gave us 50 per cent ownership in Aqua Jack and dad also purchased a couple of pups.”
Roll on to Sandown Park on Saturday night and Strutt is hoping Stagger Out Lee ‘struts her stuff’ (excuse the pun) in what he says is “easily the biggest race I’ve been involved in”.
WATCH: NSW staying sweetheart STAGGER OUT LEE (B8) produces a staggering finishing burst to claim a Bold Trease heat.