Caption: Gerry O’Keeffe with Bells Are Ringin after victory in the 2016 Group 1 Sandown Cup
Group 1 Sandown Cup
(715m) Sandown. Best 31
Heats May 12. Final May 19
$175,000 to the winner.
SANDOWN CUP By DAVID BRASCH
GLENN Pask remembers it like it was yesterday.
How could he forget?
“It was miserable, raining and windy,” is how he described that night at Sandown late in May 2016 when Bells Are Ringin lined up as the rank outsider for the Group 1 Sandown Cup.
The 24kg daughter of Kinloch Brae-Absolute Stunna was running for Glenn, his brother Grant and their mate Jamie Baker, and she was almost 40-1, shunned by punters against a star-studded field.
But little Bells Are Ringin jumped to the front and led throughout.
“She knew when to put in the best run of her life, on the biggest stage she’d been on,” Glenn said.
The Sandown Cup, the world’s premier staying test for greyhounds, comes around again in May this year and Glenn, Grant and Jamie are pinning their hopes on Bell Burner, a son of Worm Burner-Bells Are Ringin who has emerged as a promising young stayer in Victoria.
“The bigger dogs just could not get through the bog track,” Glenn said of the Sandown Cup victory. “We were hopeful of just running a place. But she got out in front and they couldn’t run her down.
“Don’t get me wrong, she was a very good dog, but was a bit of a one-pacer.”
By the time of the Cup victory, Glenn, Grant and Jamie were living a dream. Bells Are Ringin’s littermates like Ring The Bell and Blazing Bomber were among the best in the land.
They all stemmed from Absolute Stunna, “a well-bred bitch who was a grade five in country Victoria”, Glenn said.
“It was the first litter we bred and to this stage we have now won five Group 1s.”
Back in March, Bells Are Ringin’s sons Vice Grip and Rostered Off, from her litter by Aston Dee Bee, ran first and third in the Group 1 Perth Cup.
The boys had no qualms about breeding with Absolute Stunna even though many would not.
“But she had a wonderful temperament, quiet and relaxed and all her daughters are the same,” Glenn said. It is what made her a successful producer.
“She had 13 starts and in her last run she was fought by another dog all the way around the track,” Glenn said. “We agreed she’d had enough by then.”
Her daughter Bells Are Ringin has produced litters by Banjo Boy, Aston Dee Be, Cosmic Rumble and Worm Burner.
“The Aston Dee Bees are ripper dogs,” Glenn said. “Trent Anderson in NSW rears all our dogs and Grant Fullerton educates them. It’s been the same system for eight years now.”
The boys have litters by Fernando Bale and plan an Aston Dee Bee mating with Classy Blaze, while Cosmic Katie also has a five-month-old litter by Aston Dee Bee.
Unfortunately, Absolute Stunna died last November and Glenn’s 12-year-old daughter Ava took it hardest.
“She sleeps with her rug and there are some of her ashes sewn into a teddy she has,” Glenn said. “All our family felt it when Stunna died. The kids loved her.”
Glenn, Grant and Jamie have their fingers crossed Bell Burner can hold his form into May to take on the Sandown Cup just like his mum.
Bells Are Ringin might have been almost 40-1 when she led throughout to down Who Day and Zipping Kane to win the Sandown Cup, but her victory put her in an elite group.
Other recent winners of the Sandown Cup include champions Sweet It Is and Irma Bale, who both won it twice, as well as champions Tornado Tears and Fanta Bale.
Add to that list Zipping Rambo, Rajasthan, Bronski Beat, Bobby Boucheau, Next Top Model and of course way back to when Bold Trease absolutely dominated the race, winning it four times in a row.
“It’s been the biggest thrill for all of us, breeding and rearing our own and seeing them win Group 1s,” Glenn said.