Caption: Proud trainer Tony Parker with his highly talented sprinter Paulie Walnuts after winning last month\’s Weseal 5th Grade final (380m) at Townsville in a near-record time of 21.43s – just .01s outside the track best. He broke the record at his following start. (Photo: Louise Partland)
Queensland regional wrap with MIKE HILL
HE may be the dog with the catchy name, but Paulie Walnuts certainly knows how to run.
The youngster has had eight starts for six wins and a second and is fast becoming a sprint sensation at Townsville.
The well-bred brindle dog (Fernando Bale-Flyrite) set a 380m track record with a flying 21.41s last month, crushing his rivals by 11-and-a-half lengths.
The time clipped .01s off the previous best (21.42s) held jointly by littermates Excuse Jack and Redemption Day and Tipsy Four.
Paulie Walnuts had been threatening the record for several weeks.
Trained at Ayr by Tony Parker, the youngster clocked a tick over the mark when he won the Weseal 5th Grade final earlier in the month with a super 21.43s after clocking 21.44s in his heat victory seven nights earlier.
\”He\’s always been a fast pup,\” Parker said.
\”In his first two trials he went quick and then clocked 21.78s the first time out of the boxes. Young dogs just don\’t do that.\”
Paulie Walnuts ran 22.11s to win first-up in a 380m maiden at Townsville in late November and has gone faster every time he has stepped on to his home track, including five BON runs.
His only failure came in late December when unplaced over 510m at Rockhampton during the Christmas two-week closure of the Townsville complex.
\”He got flattened in that race,\” Parker said.
\”I blame myself. I didn\’t given him a look at the track. I won\’t do that again.\”
Parker, who was a big fan of the TV series The Sopranos, said he liked the name Paulie Walnuts, one of the characters in the series played by Tony Sirico.
\”He was a hit-man, tough guy character and I thought if ever I got a good dog I\’d name him that,\” he said.
\”Also I know a few Pauls. Paul Bonner bred the dog and I have a couple of mates called Paul.
\”I know the name gets people talking.\”
Parker said he and his father Henry had bought the dog as a three-month-old pup.
\”He was the last one for sale,\” he said.
\”He was reared by Tom Tzouvelis and then Brad Northfield, and John Collins, who broken him in at Postman\’s Ridge (west of Brisbane), was really impressed with him.
\”I think he\’ll run 500m and I\’d like to think he\’ll be good enough to head south, possibly race at Albion Park.
\”But he won\’t go to anyone. I\’ll take him down.\”
The trainer said the dog was a \’bit iffy\’ out of the boxes.
\”He doesn\’t ping the start but his run home times would suggest he\’ll get 500m,\” he said.
\”It\’s his run home that sets up his good times.\”
Parker said the youngster \’was spent\’ after his near-record run last month.
\”He tries so hard,\” he said.
The trainer hasn\’t received any offers for the youngster so far but even if he did, he said: \”He\’s not for sale.\”
And although Parker is not focused on breaking records, he did say his father\’s dog Chief Supreme was the first sprinter to break 22s for the 380m journey back in the ’90s.
\”He held the record at 21.99s,\” he said.
OWNER Trevor Jackson couldn\’t be happier with the early signs from his Fernando Bale-Black Amex litter.
Already two members of the all-female group – Shy Shin and Call Me Quits – have won their maidens while a third sister – Sparky\’s Star – was run down right on the line when a first-up third in a 380m Townsville maiden last month.
\”Indications suggest there are more wins to come, although it\’s still early days,\” said the Cairns-based Jackson.
\”The three that have started racing are going real good and there are good reports about some of the others.
\”But there is a long way to go.
\”However, I couldn\’t be happier with the way they are shaping up.
\”The whole litter were whelped and reared at Paul Supple\’s Clover Cottage facility in northern NSW and they were broken in by Johnny Martin.
\”Shy Shin broke in the best but there was only five lengths between the best and the worst.
\”The three to race so far have exceptional early speed.
\”Black Amex could only run 400m – that was her limit.
\”We went to Fernando Bale hoping to put some strength into the litter.
\”However, they are all small bitches. Only time will tell if they can run 500m.
\”They\’re all like their mum. They\’ve got great temperaments, they don\’t bark, are easy-going and definitely not wimps.\”
The two winners so far are being trained by Warren Nicholls at Churchable.
Shy Shin, owned by Cairns trainer Shane McKenzie, won first-up over 331m at Albion Park in late December, clocking a smart 19.14s, while the Jackson-owned Call Me Quits won at her third start over 331m in 19.31s after a nice first-up second.
Call Me Quits added a novice victory to her record last month with a 19.25s run over the Albion Park 331m trip.
The other four littermates, all owned by members of the Jackson family, are being trained by Lee Pearce in Townsville (Sparky\’s Star), McKenzie (Articuno) and Steve Keep has Black Card and Kevin\’s Girl at his northern NSW base.
Black Amex (El Grand Senor-Rocket Banquet) – a sister to smart Kiwi FFA sprinter Sheza Rippa and half-sister to star Bundaberg sprinter Fogelberg – was a talented racer herself, finishing her career with an impressive record of 19 wins and 18 placings from 46 starts, including victories at Albion Park, Ipswich, Capalaba, Cairns and Townsville.
Arriving at Shane McKenzie\’s Bayview Heights kennels in Cairns in late 2017 after beginning her career with Glenn Smith in SE Queensland, Black Amex later joined Thomas \’Jacko\’ Jackson\’s team in Townsville.
While in the North the black chaser put together a superb 12-8-1 record from 23 starts, being unplaced just twice in that period.
TWO country Queensland trainers, David Plummer and Amber Boody, dominated Christmas feature racing at their respective home tracks.
Plummer capped off a wonderful year with the lead and collar when his smart sprinter Fogelberg (SH Avatar-Rocket Banquet) dominated his rivals in the Christmas Cup (460m) at Bundaberg.
Fogelberg, the $2.60 favourite, gave nothing a chance with a brilliant exhibition of speed, beating the Kerry Bussian-trained Hoot Hoot Go ($6.50) by six lengths in a slick 26.19s.
Another Bussian runner Captain Bizarre ($2.70) was a quarter of a length away third.
Earlier in the day Plummer had rugged up the promising youngster Jericho (Dyna Steal-Foxy Fireball) to land the $2450-to-the-winner Maiden 1000 Final (460m).
At Rockhampton, Boody was successful with First Black Jack in the Christmas Gift (407m) and the talented Love You Peaches in the Christmas Cup (510m), while at Townsville leading trainer Rhonda Essery wrapped up a super year with another feature success when inform sprinter Samshu won the Christmas Cup (380m).
It was Samshu\’s 21st victory of the year.
Graham Thomson also finished 2021 on a high when Jungle Fever landed Townsville\’s final feature of the year, the Anniversary Cup (498m).