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Melbourne Cup favourite Big Energy with Kel and Jackie Greenough 📷 Clint Anderson

  • Thursday, 30 Nov, 2023,
  • by Gerard Guthrie

Wow…he’s fast too!

Master trainer Kel Greenough endured a sleepless night after last Saturday’s Group 1 Sportsbet Melbourne Cup heats.

However, it wasn’t the breathtaking performance of Big Energy, which set Sandown Park alight with a scintillating 28.91sec victory, the fifth fastest time recorded at the track and less than two-lengths outside Aston Rupee’s 515m track record (28.79sec) keeping Greenough awake.

While Big Energy stormed into Melbourne Cup favouritism, Greenough was more concerned about the failure of champion Wow She’s Fast in an earlier heat.

Wow She’s Fast ran seventh, with a trial after the last race at Sandown on Thursday afternoon to determine whether the world’s highest earning greyhound, with a once unthinkable prizemoney tally of $2,391,995, races on.

“Barring him missing it; if he can come out decent, he’s certainly going to be a chance.”

“It’s probably the way I think,” Greenough said.

“I didn’t have to worry about Big Energy. But thinking about Wow She’s Fast, should I retire her or not, gave me a bad night’s sleep. And a headache!

“I’m going to trial her at Sandown and hopefully she comes out and puts her best foot forward and smashes the clock. If that’s the case we’ll push on to The Phoenix. If she doesn’t, we’ll make the (retirement) announcement.”

If Wow She’s Fast does race on for a tilt at a third straight victory in The Phoenix, the world’s richest race, at The Meadows on Saturday, December 16, she’ll be joined by Big Energy, which was unveiled as slot holder RSN’s representative earlier this week.

But Greenough’s and wife Jackie’s focus this Saturday night will be very much on the Melbourne Cup and Sportsbet’s $1.80 favourite Big Energy (box 4).

Big Energy, pictured as a puppy, has always been a standout on and off the racetrack.

The WA import, a son of Aussie Infrared that will turn three on Saturday week, broke the fabled 29 seconds barrier for the third time in his near-record heat romp.

The scorching run elevated Big Energy into rarefied air, with only track record holder Aston Rupee, kennelmate Wow She’s Fast and 2020 Melbourne Cup hero Hard Style Rico having gone quicker on the clock.

It was Big Energy’s ninth win from 15 appearances at Sandown and incredibly his second successive sub-29 second victory, after winning the four-greyhound G3 Shootout in 28.98sec one week earlier.

Never one to get caught up in the hype, Greenough’s only concession was that if Big Energy does everything right in the Cup final, “he’s a chance”, which could almost be interpreted as a declaration by his conservative standards.

WATCH: “Here is the favourite for the final!” BIG ENERGY (B2) is the fastest qualifier for the Melbourne Cup after a sensational near-record 28.91sec heat victory.

“I’m trying not to think about it, to be honest,” he said.

“I don’t read any social media or anything like that. I’m just focused on getting my job right.

“I don’t think box four is too bad. The dogs on his inside run a pretty straight line and Idolize, in box six, will stay where she is. So barring him missing it; if he can come out decent, he’s certainly going to be a chance.”

Asked if Big Energy’s near-record heat victory gives him confidence, Greenough replied with a laugh, “I suppose it’s better than running 29.90sec!”

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While the Melbourne Cup is the race Greenough wants to win more than any other, it hasn’t been kind to him.

“I’ve watched the race since I was a kid and always wanted to win it, but it’s been a bad race,” he offered.

“We had a dog called Paw Licking (2013) that I thought was going good enough to win it. But going to the boxes for his heat, a group of birds landed near him and he went off his head. Consequently, he missed the kick, and he was usually flawless.

Cindeen Shelby (2009) had box six in her heat and ran third and then came out and won the Consolation.

Tommy Shelby (2020) was in my name for the final. He drew box six and ran third.”

What would it mean to Greenough if he can finally claim greyhound racing’s Holy Grail?

“It would mean I’m definitely closer to retirement!” he quipped.

“Although someone called me Johnny Farnham the other day.”

Big Energy gets some Melbourne Cup week love from Jackie Greenough 📷 Clint Anderson

PAWNOTE – WOW SHE’S FAST TRIAL: Wow She’s Fast’s Sandown trial is scheduled for 3.47pm on Thursday and will be televised live on Sky Racing 2.

Gerard GuthrieGerard Guthrie

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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