Saturday, 25th June, 2011
The richest prize in Broken Hill greyhound racing will be up for grabs at the Newmarket Raceway this afternoon and a couple of home-grown dogs will be out to thwart the high-quality pack of interstate raiders.
The Country Challenge final carries $5000 in prizemoney, but could be worth a $12,500 bonus to last week’s BH heat winner Pindari Bale who will be making another 2000-kilometre round trek from central NSW.
The prestigious series involves races at 21 tracks spread across the state and the hopes of BH will be carried by the Jamie Coff-trained Keith Is Blue and the lightly-raced youngster C’Mon Tigger from the Clint Trengove kennel.
Greyhound racing’s biggest day of the year could be a memorable occasion for Trengove as he will also box C’Mon Flipy, which is one of the favourites for today’s other feature event, the Sturt Club Maiden final.
“These big races are pretty hard to win and the visitors coming from Victoria and South Australia for the Country Challenge final are going to be hard to beat,” Trengove said.
“I’ve drawn exactly where I didn’t want to with C’Mon Tigger and if we don’t win I just hope that Jamie’s dog can keep the first prize cash here in Broken Hill.”
Trengove, 36, took up greyhound training after his football career was wrecked by a serious knee injury and during the past seven years he has built a formidable record.
“The greyhounds have basically taken over my life - I’ve got about 20 young pups at home just raring to go,” Trengove laughed.
“I played in a couple of football premierships with South but got injured in the 1999 grand final and took up walking dogs for other trainers to keep fit and it has just developed from there.
“I still remember Hayden Price (North player) falling across my knee in the grand final when I suffered the injury - it was only two minutes into the game - and it has certainly changed my life,” he added.
A co-owner of a pet food store and part-time ‘Roo shooter and abattoir operator, Trengove has enjoyed good success as a trainer with the likes of C’Mon Tess (18 wins) and C’Mon Bella who registered multiple interstate victories in a 17-win career.
He also previously captured the prestigious Country Challenge final in 2007 with Lucky Harry and his overall strike-rate as a trainer - with almost two-thirds of his runners earning prizemoney - would be envied by most other handlers.
“I’d like to think we are right in the mix in the final despite C’Mon Tigger’s inexperience,” Trengove said.
“He’s only had three races (three of his rivals have had more than 50 starts each) but he finished second in his heat last week which was won in the fastest time by Pindari Bale, so that is pretty good form.
“He copped a fair bit of punishment going into the first turn last week and if we get a clear run the others will certainly know he is in it,” Trengove continued.
Broken Hill’s other runner in the feature event, Keith Is Blue, will bring outstanding form into the race and with the coveted inside alley seems likely to give his rivals plenty to chase.
The Jamie Coff-trained two-year-old has won three of his last four starts, including an all-the-way victory in last week’s Country Challenge heat where he blitzed his rivals, including Irish-import King Style, by more than two lengths.
“I think we have as good a chance as anyone now we have drawn the red box (number one),” trainer Coff said.
“We have had a lot of fun with him (winning six races) since I bought him as a pup from Red Cliffs in country Victoria in 2009.
“When I looked at the litter he was sitting right at the back and I felt a little sorry for him and that’s why I picked him out,” he recalled.
In contrast to Trengove, Coff operates a small kennel of just two dogs, but there are some parallels with his entry into greyhound training a decade ago.
“Some friends of mine were working at the old Buttercup Bakery and didn’t always have time in the morning to walk their dogs, so when my shifts on the mine allowed it I would go and give them a hand,” Coff explained.
“After a while I took over one of the dogs, called Silver Chocolate, and things have just gone from there.”
Coff said he named his Country Challenge hope after his father Keith, a long-time contributor at the West Football Club, and hopes his Dad will be trackside to witness the final.
“Keith Is Blue might turn out to be the best dog I have ever trained, although Square Ebony won 11 races for me in the late 1990s,” Coff said.
Turn to page 30 for full fields and information on today’s big card at the Newmarket Raceway.