Darren’s ‘one in a million’ off to stud

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By David Brasch

YOU would think Victorian long-time Victorian breeder Darren Puleio would know better.

Darren, and his old man Mick, have been breeding greyhounds for decades. They\’ve been through the rough times, and seen great days when nothing went wrong.

During 2018-19, Darren and Mick were living a fantasy.

The deeds of their home breds Poke The Bear and Out Of Range made everyone in the dog world sit up and take notice.

The sons of Fernando Bale-Nicki Fields between them won the Topgun, Silver Chief, National Derby, Traralgon Cup, McKenna Memorial, Speed Star, Silver Bullet all at Group level.

Their list of finals berths included the $1 Million Chase, Melbourne Cup, Temlee, Paws Of Thunder, Horsham Cup.

But, all the while, the Puleios knew they had a striking black dog, a Barcia Bale half-brother to Poke The Bear and Out Of Range, being made ready at home for a racetrack career.

Darren would later describe him as ‘one in a million’.

Such praise for a dog, considering the previously mentioned Poke The Bear and Out Of Range had won seven Group races and made the finals of four more plus a $1M Chase … well that dog certainly must have been one in a million.

And he was.

They named him Hooked On Scotch and from the moment Jason Thompson put him onto the racetrack, he was something else … awesome in fact.

From 27 starts he won 16 and was placed six times earning $365,000.

Hooked On Scotch\’s crowning glory was to smash a track record, in his case the Sandown 515m mark, running an awesome 28.94.

His win in the G1 Adelaide Cup coming from behind to wear down absolute superstars like Whiskey Riot (22 wins, $812,000) and Sennachie (18 wins, $696,000) had to be seen to be believed.

Toss in victories in the G1 Hobart 1000, G2 Geelong Cup, G3 Speed Star and G3 Sandown Shootout, a third in the G1 Melbourne Cup and a finalist spot in a star studded G1 Brisbane Cup and you have a dog that was special indeed. Very, very special.

Most of his racetrack success was gained even before he had turned TWO!

\”He’s given us some fantastic memories,\” said Darren. \”The dog is one in a million.\”

“For me it was his win in the Adelaide Cup Final that will always stand out the most,” Puleio said.

“To give champion greyhounds like Sennachie and Whiskey Riot a start and a beating the way he did was just unbelievable. It still makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.”

Everything about Hooked On Scotch is awesome.

His race record, the fact his dam was a G1 finalist, that he is from a damline that has already produced a superstar stud dog as well as so many Group performers it is impossible to list them all, and that he could run times few others could match … well it all adds up to a stud career.

Hooked On Scotch was earmarked for a stud career from very early on in his race career.

He is bred on the same Barcia Bale/Knocka Norris (Elite Oriental) cross as champion Aston Dee Bee and bred along similar lines to Group star Shima Shine.

The dog\’s introductory stud fee of $2200 provides broodbitch owners with the opportunity to take advantage of a great young dog.

Hooked On Scotch is an absolute MUST for daughters of Fernando Bale to recreate the pedigree of Poke The Bear, Out Of Range and all their littermates … but in reverse.

Poke The Bear and his litter earned $1.08 million. All eight of them were multiple winners. Most were Group performers. The standouts were Group 1 greats.

Daughters of Fabregas will suit him as well. That\’s because Hooked On Scotch has Droopys Kewell in his damline. Fabregas sired champion Dundee Osprey to a bitch bred on this cross, thereby duplicating and balancing Larkhill Jo.

This cross of Larkhill Jo in Hooked On Scotch also allows him to mate bitches with Bekim Bale, Jarvis Bale and even Taylors Sky in their pedigree to create a Larkhill Jo/Sonic Flight cross.

Fabregas has also done very well when linked to daughters of Knocka Norris (damsire of Hooked On Scotch).

The Portrait family does exceptionally well when it is reinforced within itself. Champion Sennachie is in-bred to Primo Uno. Top stayer and producer Shimaguni is in-bred to this family.

Primo Uno can be picked up via Fernando Bale, Worm Burner, Buckle Up Wes, Kilty Lad etc, and the damline can also be sourced via Cosmic Chief and Meticulous.

Knocka Norris in Hooked On Scotch also allows for as much Awesome Assassin as possible in the broodbitches he mates. Knocka Norris\’ direct damline runs to Goddess Of Fire, a sister to Awesome Assassin. This is the cross found in Poke The Bear etc.

Awesome Assassin is everywhere in pedigrees mostly via his champion son Collision.

Knocka Norris has also done very well when mixed with Magic Sprite and also Surf Lorian (Don\’t Knocka Him is bred this way).

The daughter strain of Black Shiraz in the direct damline of Hooked On Scotch also allows for bitches with SONS of Black Shiraz like champion Bombastic Shiraz, Primo Uno, as well as Spring Gun etc.

Barcia Bale bitches have already done well with Zambora Brockie and this also allows a proven cross to be utilised via Hooked On Scotch.

So, too, will daughters of Magic Sprite who is proving a fabulous ‘nick’ with Barcia Bale.

Hooked On Scotch has one cross of Brett Lee via his son Hallucinate in the damline of his sire. This also means bitches with daughter strains of Brett Lee (his brother Trendy Leigh … found in Zambora Brockie) and his half brother Big Daddy Cool too are ideal for matings to Hooked On Scotch.

This means bitches with Cosmic Rumble, Lochinvar Marlow etc, etc, etc are suited.

With just one cross of outcross Droopys Kewell in his direct damline, Hooked On Scotch brings in the opportunity to mate outcross bitches, especially those from the famous Skipping Chick family. Droopys Kewell carries much of that blood.

It can be picked up via the brothers Curryhill Brute (in High Earner) and especially Curryhills Fox (in Spiral Nikita).

Daughters of My Bro Fabio will be especially sought after. It will bring in a proven cross of brothers Hallucinate and Where\’s Pedro that has worked so successfully with Barcia Bale and Fabio himself.

Add to that, Fabio is by a son of Primo Uno.

Hooked On Scotch has retired to stud at exactly the right time.

There are so many daughters of Fernando Bale waiting to go to stud, and just waiting to be mated to the almost 34kg sized Hooked On Scotch. It\’s a proven recipe for Group 1 success.

Just like Hooked On Scotch himself.

Pictured: Track powerhouse Hooked On Scotch is now at stud (Photo: BlueStream Pictures)

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