By TERRY WILSON
VETERAN trainer Fred Swain chalked up his first metropolitan treble at Albion Park last month – but it may be some time before he gets the chance to repeat the dose.
And it is all because of the COVID-19 pandemic which again closed the border between New South Wales and Queensland shortly after his successful sortie to Brisbane.
“At this stage us going to Albion Park is not allowed,” said Swain, whose training headquarters is at Ellangowan, a speck on the map just south of Casino (NSW), near Evans Head.
Fred and wife Frances took four runners, all from a litter by Barcia Bale from Fay’s Magic, to Brisbane on July 30. They returned to their Northern Rivers base with three winners and a fifth placing.
“It was my first treble in the city,” said an obviously happy Fred after Rattle The Gate (30.09s), All Hands Off (30.0s) and Tribal Magic (29.95s) all saluted the judge.
Their fourth runner on the night, Gloves Back On, ran fifth behind Tribal Magic.
“We’ve had a few (trebles) around Lismore and probably in Townsville quite a few years ago, probably about 20 years.”
The Swains originally moved to Ellangowan to help out a friend, former trainer Dave Clingan, who had suffered a heart attack.
“He had three pups there and rang me and asked if I could go down and give him a hand – we’ve stayed here since,” said Swain.
Unfortunately Clingan passed away and so it was that the Swains purchased his property.
There are a total of six in the Fay’s Magic litter. Away from the four that went to Albion Park last month, there are two others but, said Swain, they are distance types and finding distance races for maidens is like finding hen’s teeth.
Of course the Swains would love to be able to travel up to Brisbane on a regular basis but are restricted to northern NSW under coronavirus laws.
The last time they went north it took them 2½ hours minutes to get through the border blockade. By comparison it was just 25 minutes to border hop for their big night at the Creek.
They almost missed kennelling time.
Ironically, their last trip with three winners from July 30 did not produce a placegetter – highlighting just how fickle fortune can be in the dogs at times.
Pictured: Frances Swain, wife of trainer Fred, leads Rattle The Gate back after the dog’s win in the second at Albion Park on July 30 (Photo: Box 1 Photography)