• Tuesday, 02 May, 2023,
  • by Peter Quilty

Drew’s ‘affair of the heart’

Dennington-based Dustin Drew, 39, holds cherished memories of his late father, Ray, close to his heart.

A greyhound racing icon on the ‘Shipwreck Coast’, Ray passed away in October 2021 after a 10-month battle with liver cancer.

However, the Drews – including mum Jan and sister Aimee – remain a tight-knit family operation.

So, it’s hardly surprising the $78,795 Group 2 Sportsbet Warrnambool Cup (450m) – Race 10, 9.01pm – on Wednesday night will be an ‘affair of the heart’ for “Dusty”.

“I’d certainly be thinking about dad if Aston Kalkara won. It would mean a hell of a lot to win my hometown cup.”

Not only will he be attempting to uphold an eternal remembrance of his dad with Aston Kalkara (Box 1) in the $50,000 to-the-winner event.

He’ll also be striving to become the first local trainer to claim the race since Killarney’s Kevin Mugavin saluted with Honcho Classic in 1999.

“Dad is always in my heart and the back of my mind,” Drew said. “I was born into greyhound racing and my parents have been instrumental in every success I’ve enjoyed in the sport.

“I’d certainly be thinking about dad if Aston Kalkara won. It would mean a hell of a lot to win my hometown cup.”

Drew added that his first Group 1 win with Kilty Express in the 2016 Maturity Classic was “very special”. He landed a second G1 victory when Untapped took out last year’s Sandown Cup.

“But this would mean almost as much to me. It would be great as it’s a massive racing week in Warrnambool.

“It’s what you train dogs for – to win these types of races.”

The Warrnambool Cup annals are against him. But Drew is more concerned about race favourite Kelsey Bale (Box 5), which is $2.00 on Sportsbet’s market. Aston Kalkara is on the third line of betting at $6.50.

Victoria’s ‘country cups queen’ broke the track record defeating Aston Kalkara by just over four lengths in a heat last Thursday.

Kelsey Bale’s connections will receive a $50,000 bonus if she snares a third G2 provincial cup within the space of 26 days.

“Kelsey Bale is a superstar; she’s great for racing,” Drew exclaimed. “Obviously she’ll be extremely hard to beat.

“There are a lot of things against Aston Kalkara, so he’ll need plenty of luck. But box one in a big final is an advantage.

Click HERE  for Sportsbet’s Warrnambool Cup market.

“He won’t be first out, but he’ll rail. He’s trained on the track and could go around ‘blindfolded’.

“He was $201 pre-post and now he’s right in the market.”

Aston Kalkara – which finished fourth in the Warrnambool Derby in January – has won five races (with 10 seconds and two thirds) from 23 starts. He’s winless from six starts over 450m at Warrnambool – albeit with three seconds and two thirds.

His sire, Aston Kimetto, won 11 races – including the G2 Geelong Gold Cup and G2 Ballarat Cup (both in 2018) – from 23 starts.

WATCH: ASTON KALKARA (B8) blows the start but makes up plenty of ground to finish second to KELSEY BALE (B1) in a track record-breaking Warrnambool Cup heat.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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