Caption: Life couldn’t be better for Nathan Goodwin (right) with Chris Witt
By DAVID BRASCH
NATHAN Goodwin admits “life couldn’t be better”.
The 44-year-old is getting married in October to his “best mate” Leeanne Walker.
Their kennel of 20 greyhounds at Kempsey on the Mid North Coast of NSW is full of astute buys of tried dogs more than paying their way.
And early in May Nathan and owner Chris Witt landed a $100,000 pay day when winning the Masters Meteor on Million Dollar Chase night with Angry Blizzard.
His mate Chris and Chris’s wife Sharanne have been so enamoured by greyhound racing they have bought a 12-acre property at Braidwood and both plan to get a trainer’s licence.
The Meteor victory by Angry Blizzard is the only time Chris has seen his dog race live.
But winning the Meteor was no easy task.
Angry Blizzard twice had copped fail-to-chase infringements and tore his stomach muscles so badly it was thought he might not race again.
That injury put a massive dent in the dog’s confidence when he finally did get back on track.
So to win that Meteor was the biggest of thrills for the “little people” of greyhound racing.
Goodwin inherited Chris Witt as an owner.
“I was living in Seven Hills and used to head down to the local RSL for a drink,” Chris said of his entry to greyhound racing.
“I would always drink with an old bloke there and we got along so well, most in the RSL thought he was my dad.
“Anyway, the old fella had a mate called Bobby who bred a litter of pups by Cosmic Chief-Crafty Annie and said he would give me two of them.”
They raced as Angry Lightning and Angry Thunder.
“I got the nickname of Angry when I was a young fella and spoke up during a meeting on a building site,” Chris said. “The nickname has stuck for 40 years. That’s why all our dogs are called Angry something.”
Angry Thunder won 14 races and earned $38,000 when trained by Ken Staines.
Angry Lightning won a single race at Nowra, but hit her head and lost confidence in racing.
“When Ken moved to the Northern Rivers, he wasn’t going to take this pair,” Chris said. “I bred Angry Lightning to Dyna Double One and Nathan reared the entire litter.”
Nathan knew the quality in the damline. He had trained Cobber In Motion, a litter brother to the ‘Angry’ dogs. He was a finalist in the Richmond Derby and Townsville Cup.
Goodwin got the eight in Angry Lightning’s litter; six could run.
Among them is Angry Blizzard.
“We took him to Albion Park for his maiden and got $13 and came home with plenty, still counting the money when we drove in through the gates at home at Kempsey,” Nathan said.
But along the way to the Meteor were hiccups aplenty.
“I took him to Richmond for the Derby and he trialled sensationally, but in the race tore his stomach muscles so badly he was tailed out,” Nathan said.
“It was ages before we got him right, but even longer before he would fully stretch out going around turns.
“Then he got a couple of fail-to-chase notices and I remember saying to Chris that one more of those and things were over for him.”
But Angry Blizzard turned himself around.
Masters racing has been the making of him.
In fact by the time he wore down Group star Fire Legend to win the Meteor, he had won or been placed in 12 of his latest 13 starts.
Come final night, Chris and Sharanne made the four-hour trip to Wenty and brought along their own cheer squad of daughter Jessie, her husband Daniel, their three-year-old son Hendricks, and friends Simone and Jamie.
“It was an amazing night,” Chris said. “My voice was still not right two days later such was the cheering. We keep asking ourselves ‘did that just happen?’.”
There is no way Goodwin is getting carried away with the win despite the $100,000 pay day.
“He will keep going back to Wenty for Masters races,” he said.
Nathan and Leeanne have been working wonders buying tried dogs and turning them into money spinners.
Zipping Brady was bought for $7000 and has earned $70,000, Rebecca Gay for $5000 and won $30,000, Salana for $500 and earned $20,000 plus, Zipping Renegade for $10,000 and landed a massive $23 to $9 betting plunge.
Goodwin was born into greyhound racing. He and Leeanne trained out of the property at Kempsey his grandfather established decades ago. His stint in North Queensland won him a Townsville Cup in 2003 with Mr Footprints and Mackay Cup in 2004 with Alrow.
As he said: “Life couldn’t be better”.
Chris Witt will certainly agree.