It’s the catchphrase of many in the greyhound industry and Deb Coleman is no different – have dog, will travel.
Last week Deb travelled twice from her base at Lara in Victoria to Nowra. The week before it was up and back to Bulli twice, and on Tuesday it was the nine-hour trip to Goulburn, but her greyhound Immediate made the trip well and truly worthwhile.
Deb and her partner Rob Camilleri have campaigned several dogs in the TAB Million Dollar Chase series, and on Sunday qualified both Zipping Norton and Awesome Catch for the series’ semi-finals at Wentworth Park on October 11. Yesterday another from their kennels took a huge step towards joining them.
“There has been plenty of travelling but we’re stoked with that,” she said after Immediate took out the second of two heats of the event at Goulburn. “He nailed the start and that was a big thing and we’re over the moon.”
Having his first start at Goulburn, Immediate looked like he had been there before when he charged out of the boxes and led his rivals clearly, and, despite running off a little on the top turn, was still able to balance up and race away to win by three lengths in a very fast 24.66s.
“No, he hadn’t been here before,” Deb confirmed. “He had to nail the start and he did today thank goodness. It’s always a worry when they haven’t been here, but we travel a lot with the dogs and they have to learn to travel and then, what they do on race day is just what they do. It’s all an experience for them.
“When the first heat ran 25.03s I said, well you know we might be in with a bit of show here, and just the way he came out … we can’t ask for any better than that.”
Second went to Hardaway Harada, with Global Impact and Black Maxie also securing spots in next Sunday’s Regional Final.
The opening heat, while not as fast, was certainly a competitive and thrilling event.
Tennessee Tiger was a clear last to jump, but courtesy of his box eight draw was able to power up the track and race into a prominent position heading out of the back straight, then run down the leader Lightning Vision.
Tennessee Tiger had gone to Richmond to try and qualify for the series, but failed to navigate a passage out of the heats.
“I thought I’d give him another go,” trainer Mark Gatt said. “He has a lot of ability he just needs a wide box and we got it today.
“We’re not worried about winning heats or regional finals, it’s about getting a ticket in that big lottery.
“There’s only 64 tickets (semi-finals spots), you have to try and get as many as you can, then you need a little bit of luck on the semi night, and if you get through, you’re racing for a million dollars.”
Lightning Vision tasted defeat for the first time at Goulburn, having won his previous four at the venue.
Lagoon Rhett and Incredible Hero made up the first four, each advancing to the regional final. The box draw for the final is: 1 Incredible Hero 2 Global Impact 3 Hardaway Harada 4 Tennessee Tiger 5 Lagoon Rhett 6 Immediate 7 Black Maxie 8 Lightning Vision 9 Corleone King 10 Spookie Vision.