Caption: Prince Joey with trainer Danielle Matic after his successful return at Goulburn
By GARY CLARK
IT WAS just another trip to the races for trainer Ruth Matic back on January 22 last year as she headed to Goulburn with a maiden called Prince Joey.
In his third race start Prince Joey was in the wrong position at the first turn when a dog fell in front of him and he had no chance of avoiding the greyhound.
Prince Joey went straight over the top of the fallen dog and didn’t move.
The dog’s co-trainer Danielle Matic was quickly on the scene.
“I remember he (Prince Joey) was not moving but when I touched him he left out a scream and I could see what was wrong – a broken leg,” she said.
“The vet on track looked at him on his return to the kennels and I had a fair idea what he had done.”
Ruth did not want to put the dog down and made a quick call to leading vet in the Southern Highlands, Linda Corney.
“Linda was great. She told me to get the dog straight to her clinic which was an hour from the track and she operated on him as soon as I arrived,” Ruth said.
“Linda told me he had fractured his radius and ulnar.”
Due to the formation of his front leg, both bones usually fracture at the same time as the pictures in this story show.
The dog’s owner is Graham Ganderton who saw the race on SKY but didn’t expect the dog to be alive.
“When I arrived at the vets, Graham rang me and I told him where I was,” Ruth said.
Ruth explained that she knew the ability the dog had and said the dog was of good nature and knew Linda could save him.
Ganderton has had a long association with the Matics going back to 2010 with Hurricane Luke who won 21 races from 45 starts. Hurricane Luke ran second in the Group 1 Hobart Thousand and made the final of the G2 Bulli gold Cup.
Ruth took the dog as a 2½-year-old maiden but she knew he had untold ability after seeing early trials. But he also had broken a stopper bone, so it was a challenge for her.
But the Ganderton–Matic combination continued with Group success starting with Black Bear Lee who won the G3 Magic Maiden at WP, the G2 Bulli Gold Cup and the G3 Xmas Gift at WP.
They also raced File The Writ, who broke the 400m track record at Bulli and won the 2017 Goulburn GOTY, Panel Beater and Poppy Jack, along with their latest pup, Heart And Power.
Poppy Jack is lucky to be racing after sustaining a severe injury over a year ago, while Heart And Power has just put two wins together at Goulburn and Ruth is confident he will work up to 500m with success.
Heart And Power has a rare marking on his abdomen, a heart that can be seen in the photo with this story.
The long process with Prince Joey started after two weeks with his leg in plaster.
“After the plaster came off he was hardly lame. I think it was the fact that he was able to be operated on so quickly after the race,” Ruth said.
It was a slow process of walking the dog on the lead but his calmness and attitude made it a lot easier.
After six months Prince Joey was able to finally free gallop. A huge chaser at 37kgs, Prince Joey had a few slips up the straight before having his first trial at Appin, running 16.20s which delighted Ruth.
“I gave him his first circle run at Goulburn and he ran 19.90s. I was stunned. Had he run 20.90s I would have been happy,” Ruth said.
Ruth said the secret to not only Prince Joey’s return but also Poppy Jack and Ad Astra (second in Goulburn Cup to Wow) is an ointment called Tvati.
It was developed in the Cook Islands and has been used by footballers. It was endorsed by Australian soccer great Tim Cahill and leading NSW vet John Newell.
“It is an oil which you rub into the skin at the effected area on the dog. It helped Poppy Jack and Ad Astra also get back to the track,” Ruth said.
Tvati is manufactured from the Te Vairakau Ati plants and provides healing in bone, cartilage and soft tissue. This is a traditional Cook Island medicine.
So after 13 months and an unexpected return to the track Prince Joey was ready to make his return at Goulburn where his career all but ended.
In the opening race on February 25 this year, Prince Joey draw the eight box. Ruth was unsure as to how he would handle his return.
“Despite him trialling well solo, I didn’t know how he would go in a field; whether he would be hesitant after what happened.”
There was no issue and no lack of confidence by Prince Joey as he swept around the field early and sprinted away for a convincing win in a flying 19.68s.
Not only to return after his injury but to run the time he did was remarkable.
It was a reflection on the understanding and knowledge of what Ruth needed to do in the previous 13 months
Well done to both Ruth and Danielle, and to one very happy dog, named, Prince Joey.