Graham’s tune changes as showdown with Jay Is Jay approaches

Caption: Col Graham and King Of Aces after winning last year’s Molly Campbell Silver Dollars Final (520m) at Albion Park. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

By Pat McLeod

Country crooner, and greyhound trainer, Col Graham has a new favourite song – I Love A Rainy Night.

“I will definitely be singing that song this week,” said Graham of Eddie Rabbitt’s 1980 chart-topper.

“I might even start doing a rain dance.

“Ace loves it when it rains. The tougher the going, the better.”

Graham, well known throughout the NSW Northern Rivers for his ability as a lead singer and guitarist, is hoping his musical talents might somehow conjure the edge required for his powerhouse greyhound, King Of Aces, to cause an upset on Thursday night.

‘Ace’ will be going head-to-head with the formidable Jay Is Jay in one of four finals match-races of the unique Golden Ticket (520m) series at Albion Park.

The fastest dog across the four, one-on-one showdowns not only collects $60,000 and Group 2 status, but also gets a ‘ticket’ directly into the final of the Group 1 Gold Bullion (520m) on February 1.

Jay Is Jay, a track superstar, who won this event last year, is the raging favourite.

Graham is in awe of his kennel’s opponent.

“Jay is Jay is just a great dog,” he said.

“It is actually a privilege to be matched against him in a match race.

“I don’t think there is a chink in his armour. He’s a great dog with few, if any, weaknesses.

“But, if there is a weakness, I believe my dog can find it.”

And that is where Graham’s fixation on the weather kicks in.

He says the tougher the on-track conditions, the more King Of Aces likes it.

“Before his last preparation I trialed him at Grafton,” Graham recalls.

“The club was doing some work on the track and the day before I trialed they had put a couple of tons of sand on the track.

“Nobody else was running any time and my bloke ran 25.32 over the 450m. That is just outside the track record, on a track that was like running up a sand dune.

“So, the harder it is the better for him.

“I don’t know how much Jay Is Jay likes the wet, but Ace will revel in the tough going.

“Whatever the conditions King Of Aces will do almost anything to chase down another dog. He’s such an extremely hard chaser.

“That is especially the case when he is stalking a dog. If there is just that one dog in front of him, he will do anything to catch that dog.”

The statistics weigh heavily in Jay Is Jay’s favour to win through to another Gold Bullion final.

He is the track record holder (29.35) over the 520m at Albion Park.

He consistently runs very quick times at The Creek. He won his Golden Ticket heat by nine-and-a-half lengths in 29.51. In his previous start at the track he posted a 29.52.

Mick Zammit, who prepares the dog with wife Selena, says Jay Is Jay is at, or close to, his best and better than when he won last year’s Golden Ticket.

He is jumping from Box 1 on Thursday night and considering the race patterns of both dogs, there is unlikely to be interference.

On paper it is the Jay Is Jay show.

Graham, who celebrated his 70th birthday recently on a ‘country and western cruise’, knows what he and Ace are up against.

He knows his home-bred Hooked On Scotch – Distant Star chaser must cause a major upset to win on Thursday night, but he also knows King Of Aces is a quality greyhound, the strongest and in the top handful he has trained across 50-plus years in the industry.

“Ace has pulled up really terrific after last week’s heat run,” Graham said.

“I think he can go faster this week than he did last week.

“Chasing Jay is Jay will suit him down to the ground. He might not be able to catch him, but he’ll certainly run a quicker time than last week doing that.

“Whether that’s good enough to beat Jay Is Jay, well I don’t know.

“At his age now he should be faster than when he ran the 29.54 (his PB at Albion Park in August last year).”

Graham believes Ace has two very brief windows of opportunity on Thursday night – if he can lead at the first turn and if he is within a length of Jay Is Jay on the home turn.

If either of those scenarios occur, he believes an upset is possible.

“However, I don’t think my dog could lead Jay Is Jay,” he says.

“I would like to think he could, but I don’t think he can.

“If by some 100-to-one chance my bloke was able to lead going into that first turn, I don’t think Jay Is Jay could catch him.”

Graham also believes he has a chance running home.

“Statistics say that my bloke will do very well to stay within three lengths of Jay Is Jay down the back,” he says.

“But if he is able to be within a length at the home turn, he is  chance … a big chance.”

If fate does favour Graham and his Ace on Thursday night, the veteran trainer may blasting out a new best-seller across his five-acre property just north of Casino – Tina Turner’s Simply The Best.

The four match-races on Thursday night are:

Match 1: 8.59pm – Blue Hornet (Ray Burman) Box 1 vs Professor Snitch (Steven White) Box 3.

Match 2: 9.11pm – Saige Tenniele (Kody Charles) Box 1 vs Saanvi (Tom Tzouvelis) Box 3.

Match 3: 9.23pm – Hello Mike (Travis Elson) Box 1 vs Oh Minnie (Jamie Hosking) Box 3.

Match 4: 9.35pm – Jay Is Jay (Selena Zammit) Box 1 vs King Of Aces (Col Graham) Box 3.



For free and confidential support call 1800 858 858 or visit

Social Media

Chase News Subscribe (it's free!)
Scroll to Top