Bella ‘bounces’ from tough start

\"\"Caption: Bella, with trainer Darryl Thomas, is a kennel favourite after a tough start to what is shaping as a promising race career

By DAVID BRASCH

YOUTHFUL trainer Darryl Thomas describes his mate, pup rearer Wayne Robertson, as a ‘tough bloke’, but even Wayne shed a tear when Barcia Quality won her maiden on debut at Richmond back in June.

It was a 10-length win after the bitch slipped coming out of the boxes.

The daughter of Barcia Bale-All Quality then went to The Gardens and bolted in again by 10 lengths again in scorching time.

Wayne Robertson knows only too well what the victory by ‘Bella’, as she is known around the Thomas kennel at Sawyer Gully, meant to everyone involved with her.

That\’s because Bella was seven months old when her littermates tore into her in a paddock fight that left the bitch struggling to survive and without one and a half ears.

\”They chewed off one of her ears and half the other, but also opened her up on the neck,\” said Darryl. \”She had to undergo two operations to fix her and lots and lots of rehabilitation, which was all left to Wayne.

\”Pics of her straight after the fight and during her recovery are pretty gruesome.\”

But, recover she did and Darryl is now singing her praises as a ‘very, very special greyhound, as good as anything I have trained’.

When you consider Thomas has prepared Group winners, it is high praise indeed.

Barcia Quality is owned by Matthew Jeffrey and is his first venture into greyhound ownership. He met Darryl through a mutual friendship with fight great Jeff Fenech.

But, while Bella has recovered and is now at the start of what Thomas believes will be a Group class race career, her problems did not end.

\”As you can imagine, she presents a special problem keeping a muzzle on her. She has only half an ear left, and the ear with her ear brand has gone,\” said Darryl.

\”The day I presented her to race on debut at Richmond, the steward in charge of the meeting freaked out.

\”But, the ear problem is written on her papers. The stewards now have to run off her microchip to be sure who she is.\”

But the muzzle problem continues.

\”I\’m going to approach GWIC about allowing her to wear a muzzle that has a strap around her neck, like the muzzles they use to race in over in the UK,\” he said.

\”At the moment, the muzzle stays on, but I can see the day when it doesn\’t so I have to approach GWIC to head off that problem.\”

Darryl says Bella is a special greyhound and she is treated as such in his kennels.

\”I\’m not sure if it is a mental thing from being ripped up, but she can\’t relax around home,\” he said. \”She always has to be doing something.

\”I always make sure she is happy and we keep her away from the other dogs at home, just to make her feel extra safe.

\”But, I also feel it has made her more determined, mentally tough. She is all ticker.

\”You would not think she could be as brave as she is. She weighs in at 27 kilos.\”

Darryl knew from early trials she was something else.

\”We sent her up to Golden View to be educated and she came back with a fair report,\” he said. \”But as soon as she went into work she showed something.

\”She showed that in a special slip at Richmond. My Group dogs generally run about 11.05 in a slip at Richmond, and she did straight away, as good as anything I\’ve had.

\”She\’s a pretty exciting bitch.\”

And lucky to be alive.

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