By MIKE HILL
Central Queensland trainer Darren Taylor has one request of the racing gods: ‘Just get Lochie to the Rocky Cup starting boxes’.
Because from there he is pretty sure his Mum Kaye will take care of the rest.
The June 12 Group 3 Rockhampton Cup (510m), worth $27,250, is presenting as a tear-filled fairytale for Taylor and his family.
There are so many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, twists and turns. But if the gods do play their part it will be one of the great greyhound yarns.
The central figures in this story are outstanding country sprinter Are Jay Lochie (kennel name Lochie) and his owner, Kaye Taylor, who passed away recently after a lengthy battle with cancer.
In fact Darren Taylor has lost both parents – father Donnie and Kaye – in successive months.
But the silver lining to his sadness is a bold attempt to have Are Jay Lochie fit and ready for the cup campaign.
The 2019 Rockhampton Greyhound of the Year has been in sizzling form in the past 12 months in which he recorded 20 wins, five seconds, three thirds and just one unplaced run from 29 starts on his home track. However he suffered a groin injury in February that is still causing concern.
\”It\’s been a tough time,\” said the Bouldercombe-based Taylor, reflecting on the loss of both parents in a short period of time.
\”Are Jay Lochie was mum\’s dog and it would be a nice tribute to her to have him in the Cup, but even better to win it.
“Are Jay Lochie was her pride and joy. She was just thrilled to see him racing. When she couldn\’t go to the track she would watch his races on TV.”
Taylor knows it’s not going to be an easy road to a Cup start.
\”He\’s currently got a few injury issues,\” the trainer said. \”I\’m having a bit of trouble but I hope to get on top of them soon.\”
The black sprinter (Sulzanti-Ledaro Didi) returned to racing in late April with a disappointing fourth over 407m and then put in \’his worst run ever over 510m\’ a week later.
\”He\’s had a couple of injury setbacks this preparation,\” Taylor said. \”I\’m working hard on him and I\’ll keep going until the Cup deadline.
\”He\’s a physically fit dog, but I\’m worried he may not have the miles in his legs for a tough Cup campaign if I do happen to get him right.\”
Taylor said he wouldn\’t run the talented sprinter unless he was fully fit.
\”He\’s too good to take a risk with,\” he said.
No doubt Mum would agree.