Rookie Owners Get Instant Success

By Jeff Collerson
To win first-up with a greyhound is the dream of most owners but when that winner is also the first greyhound they have raced it is truly special. 

When trainer Donna Campbell's exciting prospect On The Rocks won on debut over 330m at Richmond on Wednesday in a blistering 18.60 she gave rookie owners Penny Hutchinson and Terry Clyburn instant success in their first greyhound racing venture. 

"My daughters and I own horses and go eventing together most weekends and we are friends with Terry Clyburn, who sometimes performs acupuncture and laser therapy on our animals,'' Hutchinson said. 

"I have long been fascinated with greyhounds and when we were chatting about them one day, Terry, who has a harness racing background, suggested we buy a puppy. 

"On Facebook I am friends with Troy Scott's Rising Star Greyhound Kennels and when she was a tiny puppy we chose a red brindle bitch from a litter by El Grand Senor from Starboost they had for sale. 

"We bought her for $4500 and that turned out to be On The Rocks. 

"After she was broken in we were told she had to be spelled for a few weeks so I took her home and she lived inside my house, playing with my two pet Italian greyhounds. 

"It was disappointing we could not be at Richmond to watch On The Rocks win because I would have brought a big cheer squad along, but even so it was a tremendous thrill. 

"I didn't even know how to place a bet but someone finally showed me and I had a small wager on her. 

"One of my daughter's friends is pals with Donna Campbell's daughter so that is how she came to be On The Rocks' trainer. 

"On The Rocks' dam Starboost has since whelped some more puppies, this time sired by Aston Dee Bee, and we have bought another brindle bitch from this litter.'' 

GONE By Noon, who created a big impression with a slick 30.05s Dapto maiden win on Thursday, got her name because as an unraced youngster she looked to have a dismal future. 

Owner-trainer Charlie Riccio explained: "I can't recall having a more timid greyhound. 

"I picked her up from Zulu Lodge, where she was reared, on April 20 last year and had her booked in to be educated. 

"But because she was so frightened I postponed the breaking in course, figuring it was pointless to go ahead at that stage. 

"The day after I got her home she sat cowering on my back lawn and I looked at her and said to myself, you will be gone by lunch-time, hence the name. 

"She gradually came around although she is still timid and when I kennelled her at Dapto I had to carry her into the kennel block. 

"Then after she won and I had to get her swabbed, I had to carry her again and the steward wanted to know what was wrong with her. 

"But Gone By Noon has improved immensely to how she once was and can really run.'' 

Push Me goes into tonight's sixth race at Grafton seeking to enhance an already outstanding record of 32 wins and 27 placings from 89 starts. 

Her trainer Ben Ellis, who pilots a public car ferry in the NSW Northern Rivers region but finds time to also train 10 greyhounds, said: "You can't beat that early speed and Push Me has got plenty of that. 

"The longest race she has won was over 484m at Casino but she didn't run the trip out strongly, she only won because she got a big break in the early stages. 

"I'm happy to keep sprinting her because the prizemoney for short course greyhounds on our local tracks is so good these days.''