Victorian Dutch Riot – the greyhound with a racing moniker inspired by hit movie Predator – was the fastest Paws Of Thunder qualifier 📷 Courtesy of GRNSW

  • Friday, 19 Jan, 2024,
  • by Peter Quilty

“Dutch” – a ‘macho hero’

Dutch Riot – whose racing moniker is inspired by 1987 action/sci-fi thriller Predator – will attempt to play ‘macho hero’ in the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder final (520m) – Race 8, 8.39pm – at Wentworth Park on Saturday night.

And just like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s fictional character – Alan “Dutch” Schaefer – Dutch Riot (Box 1) will need to be a ‘mercenary’ to snare the $75,000 first prize!

“He was a quiet pup in the yards growing up but was always the boss,” his trainer Colin Bermingham, who turns 52 on Saturday, said. “Hence, his ‘Dutch’ racing prefix.”

Ironically, Dutch Riot’s parallels with ‘Arnie’ are uncanny – he’s shown ‘incredible prowess’ with 12 wins (with three seconds and one third) from 20 starts.

However, the Paws Of Thunder is his biggest ‘mission’ to date.

Dutch Riot (Mar ’21 Fernando Bale x Blue Sky Riot) is one of two Victorians in the final. He’ll be joined by ‘super mum’ Idolize (Box 4).

Amazingly, Dutch Riot was the quickest qualifier in 29.51sec and Idolize the second-fastest in 29.52sec. Subsequently both are $2.60F and $4.40 on Sportsbet’s fixed odds market.

“It’s important to draw inside at ‘Wenty’ and particularly in this race given the early pace.”

There must be something in his naming as Dutch Riot has shown plenty of resolve to come back from two separate injuries requiring convalescence periods of 10 and 15 weeks respectively.

He fractured his right scapula (shoulder blade) at The Meadows in his third race start and later some calcification from an old injury fractured in a race at Geelong requiring surgery to ‘clean it up’.

“We were always confident he could come back 100 per cent,” Bermingham said. “And when he returned from his second hiatus, we could tell he’d taken the next step.”

That was vindicated when Dutch Riot broke Kelsey Bale’s Warrnambool 450m track record with a scintillating 24.66sec victory on December 28 last year.

Bermingham advised that Dutch Riot “only broke-in fair”. “However, he had a right hind foot injury. So, given that, I thought he could still be something special.”

Dutch Riot, who is four from five from Box 1, is obviously well drawn in the final.

“It’s important to draw inside at ‘Wenty’ and particularly in this race given the early pace,” Bermingham said. “I think Idolize is the likely leader, but I’m hoping that it’s third time lucky that he gets the start right.”

Bermingham and his wife, Sandra, are no strangers to G1 success as breeders and owners – Whiskey Riot (2019 Melbourne Cup) and Fernando’s Riot (2020 Australian Cup) – both out of Ready To Riot – and Mystic Riot (2019 Brisbane Cup) – a litter sister of Dutch Riot’s dam, Blue Sky Riot.

“This is our first Group 1 finalist in terms of training, so it’s new territory” Bermingham said. “My brother said last week, ‘life’s always better when you’ve got a Group dog in your kennel’.

“It’s hard to beat the feeling of winning a Melbourne Cup and Australian Cup, and the inaugural Million Dollar Chase (won by Mystic Riot) was a fairytale.

“But it would be a huge thrill to do it as a trainer and be a part of the whole process. It would be a great reward for all the effort.”

Formerly based at Schofields, NSW, the Bermingham’s packed their bags and relocated to Mount Mercer (around 30 minutes south of Ballarat) “just as COVID hit”.

They run a 22-acre greyhound complex (part-owned by Azzopardi) comprising 100 greyhounds including a racing team, rearers and pups.


“We’d been talking to Anthony about finding a property for us in Victoria,” Bermingham said. “We still get plenty of advice from him – he’s still a confidant, mentor and close friend.”

Dutch Riot hails from one of the sport’s most prepotent maternal lines. The Berminghams foundation brood matron, Ready To Riot, traces back to dual NSW Brood Bitch of the Year, Gravel Rash.

And his dam, Blue Sky Riot, won the 2018 G1 National Futurity and 2018 G2 Richmond Oaks. She was also a 2017 G2 Laurels finalist.

“She was one of the top female sprinters in Australia but broke down in a heat of a Golden Easter Egg and was never quite the same,” Bermingham said.

But now her son is carrying on the family tradition.

To employ a Schwarzenegger one-liner from Predator, Dutch Riot’s rivals may well be saying, “what the hell are you?” following the Paws Of Thunder final.

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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