Giveaway Pays Off

By Jeff Collerson
Champion greyhound MORTON has earned $415,000 but because Raven Nighthawk beat him in a race at The Meadows last August Tamworth trainer Mark Craig snapped her up when she was offered up as a giveaway.

And on Friday night Raven Nighthawk won first-up for the Tamworth trainer, heading off Obsessive Dreams at the first turn and comfortably winning a 520m Wentworth Park fifth grade in a handy 30.20.

After the race Craig explained: "Raven Nighthawk was in the famous kennels of George and Tom Dailly but she was wayward and had received a couple of tickets for racing erratically.

"George reckoned he could 'wear' one ticket but when a greyhound erred twice it was time to be sacked.

"Because she had five wins and nine placings from just 28 starts and had beaten MORTON in a low-grade race early in her career, I figured it was worth giving her a try.

"I work in a coalmine at Boggabri so have just three greyhounds in work and I was hoping that Raven Nighthawk would respond to getting a lot of one-on-one attention in such a small kennel.

"Jabeni gave me my first Wenty winner on Million Dollar Chase night, October 16, 2020, and that was a tremendous thrill, but I'm pretty excited to pick up $4000 at the Sydney track with a giveaway having her first race for me.''

Raven Nighthawk was not the only "unpredictable" greyhound to win at Wentworth Park last Friday, with Steal A March, another giveaway, winning a 520m maiden race by 14 lengths in a flying 29.81, second best time of the night.

Steal A March is a litter brother to last month's group one Ladbrokes National Futurity winner Gets Late Early, but was gifted to owner-trainer Joe Comito because the black dog "had a mind of his own.''

After Wednesday's brilliant win, Comito said: "I'm not getting carried away because this dog is a bit of a 'head case' and he was suited by being able to reach the lead early and by tonight's small field of five.''

Comito also has his wonderful campaigner Hold Me Up, a prolific big race finalist, back in work.

Hold Me Up, a winner of 16 races and $113,000, has not raced since October but Comito is keen to get him back into action, particularly in Masters races.

Hold Me Up

Jamie Bush is planning a trip to Wentworth Park with three of his 12-dog team after landing five winners for the second time in less than two months at Gunnedah last Thursday.

Bush won five races at his local track on December 11 and went even better on Thursday, winning with Franky Bear, Joe Cargo, Buddy Mac, Billy Bush and Mick The Master but also notching a trifecta and a second placing.

All up Bush, whose kennels are just 10 minutes from the Gunnedah track, picked up $10,290.

"Years ago you could not survive by just training greyhounds but that's not the case now,'' Bush said.

"My father Kim trained dogs for over three decades and he is my mentor.

"I'm 40 but have been training on my own for just two years and am now full-time in the sport.

"Mick The Master has won six from nine races but the best in my kennels is Franky Bear, who has won 17 from 35 races even though he doesn't turn three until September.

"I am planning on bringing him along with Jeanie Cargo, who has won 19 races and ran second to Franky Bear last Thursday, as well as Julia Bush, to Wenty in a few weeks.

"Franky Bear and Jeanie Cargo can run 520m but while Julia Bush is a bit weak at the end of that trip she is worth taking too.

"To go to Wenty is a 14-hour round trip so it is too far to go with just one dog.

"Franky Bear and Jeanie Cargo are suited over 520m but while the prizemoney is terrific at tracks like Gunnedah, there are not many 527m races programmed there which makes it hard to get dogs fit enough for a trip to tackle 520m at Wentworth Park.''

Jamie Bush | Photo: Jason McKeown