Conroy hopes youngster can put Bundy up in lights

Caption: Eric Conroy and his recent kennel addition Different Drum after victory in a Bundaberg heat of the Queensland Country Cup. (Photo: Uncle Rusty’s Photos) 

By Pat McLeod

Veteran Sunshine Coast trainer Eric Conroy believes his recent kennel addition, Different Drum, has the potential to successfully carry Bundaberg’s colours in this year’s Country Cup series.

The Bernardo x Nerve Settler youngster gapped her opponents in the first of two heats of the Wide Bay Country Cup heats on Monday winning by six-and-a-half-lengths in a sharp 30.24.

Second in that heat was Miss Slimm (Allan Thrower) with Allen Kelly’s De Vantier third.

“She is only a baby, about 20 months old, but is a very handy little dog,” said Conroy.

“I think she has got quite a good future. She is only going to improve. That was only her second look at the 500 metres at Bundaberg.”

Different Drum is likely to be a strong contender for next Monday’s final, despite drawing Box 4.

The second heat was won by Allan Thrower’s Alpha Humbug in 30.78. Case Dismissed (Ben Davey) and Tikarni (Ron Brook) were second and third respectively.

Like Different Drum, Alpha Humbug has a 30.24 PB at Bundaberg and will exit from Box 2 in the final.

In her 13 starts to date Different Drum has recorded six wins and four placings.

The dog began her track career as part of owner David Plummer’s race kennel, however Plummer, who is based near Hervey Bay, moved her across to Conroy’s care a few weeks ago.

“I’m very happy to have the dog in my kennels,” Conroy said.

“I was asking David (Plummer) about one of his other dogs and he said he had a better one if I would like to take her on to train.

“That’s how she ended up with me.

“She is a very good-looking dog and really carries herself with pride … just the way she walks, she is a very proud dog.

“She is full of confidence with whatever you do with her.

“As long as she doesn’t get into trouble, I believe this dog will improve more on the heat time when she races in the final.”

Heats and finals of the Country Cup take place at Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Townsville over the next couple of weeks.

The top two-placed dogs from the finals at each of the three country clubs, plus the two highest graded, third placegetters in the respective finals will go through to the Queensland Country Cup Final (520m) at Albion Park on February 1.

Finalists will not only race for the $26,500 in prizemoney, but also for the bragging rights of their club boasting the top regional greyhound in Queensland.

Conroy believes the ‘Final Night’ at Albion Park – a program that will also include two Group 1 races – is part of the attraction for country trainers.

“I think the fact that we race at Albion Park for the final is an incentive for trainers to be involved in this series,” he said.

“Then there is the extra prizemoney as well which would also be an incentive.”

This will be the seventh running of the Country Cup and so far Townsville has recorded three wins, Rockhampton two and Bundaberg’s solitary Cup victory was to Ricky Hassall’s Elegant Eleanor in 2020.

Conroy cut his teeth in greyhound racing growing up in Darwin, where his parents, Betty and Tom, were training stalwarts there.

He obtained his trainer’s licence in his teens and moved to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in 1988.

“I have always been around this area with a small team of dogs,” Conroy explains.

“I have just three in work at the moment, but that’s the way I like it so I can spend a lot of time with each dog.”

Conroy’s career highlights include winning the 2023 Bundaberg Cup with Springview Magic.



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