• Tuesday, 13 Jun, 2023,
  • by Peter Quilty

‘Zeus’ a Pink Diamond ‘god’?

Johnsonville breeders Robert and Joy Reinke could be feeling ‘Sunnyside up’ at Warragul on Friday night.

The East Gippsland husband-and-wife team bred Sunnyside Zeus, who is chasing a sparkling ‘egg’ in the $110,000 Sportsbet Pink Diamond Champion Distance final (680m) – Race 6, 8.53pm.

It’s one of 12 ‘Vic Bred’ Group Listed finals climaxing the mouth-watering $1.175m series – Australia’s richest regional greyhound carnival – which includes a massive $118,810 in breeder bonuses.

Trained at Briagolong by Matthew Clark, Sunnyside Zeus qualified for the $75,000 to-the-winner final when a narrow second to Untapped in a heat at Ballarat last Thursday.

The Reinkes are hobby breeders and Robert – a cabinetmaker who established Bairnsdale Cabinets in 1984 – says the Pink Diamond is “a fantastic concept”.

“We’re not all going to have a champion, so these bonuses are even more welcomed by the ‘little Aussie battler’ in our sport.”

“Promoting greyhound racing in any form is a great idea. But an added incentive with the Pink Diamond are the breeder bonuses.

“Obviously we don’t have racing if we don’t have breeding… We’re not all going to have a champion, so these bonuses are even more welcomed by the ‘little Aussie battler’ in our sport.

“And they give you the drive to continue… It encourages you to get up early every morning with the pups.”

The Reinkes will claim an $11,250 breeder bonus if Sunnyside Zeus (Jan ’21 My Redeemer x Minter Bee) – a winner of 11 races from 32 starts – takes out the final.

It would also be emotionally rewarding as Minter Bee is their foundation brood matron.

“She is the first greyhound I owned,” Robert said. “She’s now our retired pet and lives in the house with her own sleeping quarters in our bedroom.

“We’ve enjoyed a fair bit of success with her line. Joy backtracked through a pedigree she had success with in the early 2000s and we bought her and another pup from the same litter. I think we paid $5000 for both in a package deal.”

Robert adds that “breeding is the most enjoyable aspect of the sport”.

“You whelp down the pups, and you just grow up with them and they grow up with you. They’re like our kids; we’re one big family.”

Clark was also effusive in his praise of the Pink Diamond initiative, which is now in its third year.

“I like it in a sense that it covers dogs of all capabilities and rewards Victorian participants – the level of prizemoney and breeder bonuses is phenomenal.”

Clark also has Bye Georgie (Nov ’20 Ando’s Mac x Monica Tee) in the $37,250 Pink Diamond Challenger Sprinter final (460m) – Race 11, 10.30pm – which carries a $25,000 first prize.

“I’ve always had Sunnyside Zeus earmarked for the Pink Diamond, but Bye Georgie (a winner of four races from 18 starts) was an afterthought. She was a little ‘behind the eight ball’ as she came on season.

“And I didn’t think she’d qualify for the final as she has a ‘short attention span’. But she’s really blossomed and matured. She’s a lot better than her form suggests and is boxed to perfection in the ‘black’ alley (Box 7).”

Clark adds that Sunnyside Zeus is “going to rely on a bit of luck as he’s at the infancy of his staying career and far from seasoned”.

“But he only went down by less than a half-length to Untapped in a heat and she’s a freak. I can’t believe he’s a $21 outsider on Sportsbet; I don’t think they’re showing him enough respect.

“He may be the ‘lamplighter’ and be five to six lengths in front in the middle stages. The short run to the first turn is right up his alley, and he doesn’t weaken.

“He just keeps going through the gears and it’ll take a strong stayer to run him down. And he also wants the ‘inside’, so he’s well drawn in the ‘white’ trap (Box 3).

“Anyway, you’ve won by just qualifying for these types of events. The hardest part is making these finals.”

Pawnote: Paul Connell, owner of Sunnyside Up, also owns Fernando Mick – winner of this year’s G1 Australian Cup and last year’s G1 Hobart Thousand. Ironically, his brother, Glen, is the breeder of Bye Georgie.

WATCH: SUNNYSIDE ZEUS (B2) finishes a gallant second to staying star UNTAPPED (B4) in a Pink Diamond Champion Distance heat at Ballarat last week.

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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