By TERRY WILSON
THERE is no guessing who gets the extra piece of prime beef at the Gilberton (northern Gold Coast, Qld) kennels of super veterans Claude and Norma Dacey.
A black bitch named Jeannie Dreaming is the one, defying the odds as she continues to carve out victory upon victory after giving birth to 12 strapping pups last year.
Now well into her fourth year, Jeannie (that’s her kennel name) continues to relish every opportunity to mix it with the younger sprinters at Capalaba, where she has had 42 starts for 21 wins, seven seconds and four thirds and a best time of 19.58 seconds.
Remarkably, since coming off a seasonal spell that ended on May 17 this year, Jeannie Dreaming ran second to Made In America and followed with four wins on the trot, which makes the sleek flyer one of a rare breed of greyhounds to not only race again after giving birth, but also to win.
Jeannie’s litter of 12, by boom sire Fernando Bale, came on March 1, 2019. When she next comes on season Claude intends mating her with either Fernando Bale again or put her to Zambora Brockie, a sire he believes has the makings of a great stud dog.
“We have nine left from her first litter and we won’t sell them,” said Claude.
“There were six girls and six boys and they’re all going all right.”
Jeannie Dreaming is from a successful litter that includes Corykodi (35 wins), Love The Look (20 wins) and Power Service (17 wins).
In all the Fernando Bale-Dayseas Astra mating produced 126 winners.
But it was Jeannie who showed the Daceys she was far from a spent force as a racing proposition.
Duties as a mother of a dozen pups complete, Jeannie then convinced her ever-grateful owners she deserved – maybe demanded is a better word – to get back on track.
“She showed us all the signs that she wanted to race again – and she proved she still had the ability,” said Claude.
“She’s mad, she just wants to race. We have our own track and bull ring and when we put the dogs around there she goes with them.
“She just loves racing.”
Surprisingly, this was not the case when the bitch had her first official trial and, it seems, she had developed a distinct dislike for Albion Park.
It was on September 29, 2017, in a 411m trial at Casino in northern New South Wales that heralded a rather unobtrusive start to Jeannie’s career.
“In those days to race in New South Wales you had to trial there first,” said Claude.
“It was as if Jeannie said ‘no, I’m not going to run’ and pulled up, which suggested to us that we had a temperamental bitch on our hands.
“And what happened at Albion Park was that she was mauled by another runner and she really didn’t like the place after that.
“The next time we had her there she was outed for failing to chase.
“But get her to Capalaba and she just wants to go.”
The Daceys are now into octogenarian status. Claude is 86 and Norma is 83. They have been together involved in the greyhounds for at least 45 years.
“And my dad Con was in it for a long time before that.”
While the couple still have the likes of Jeannie Dreaming – as well as a second litter by Paw Licking from Dayseas Astra – life on the farm is all good.
“Jeannie is just a beautiful bitch,” said Claude.
“She has a really good temperament and she does what she is told even if she does love to play a bit.”
Long-time race caller Paul Dolan could not recall the name of any other bitch to make a successful return to the track after having a littler of pups, but breeding specialist David Brasch said it does happen.
“But it’s not something they do all the time,” he said.
“Years ago there was a famous old breeder named Rod Deakin.
“If he had a bitch that broke in really good he would mate her at about 18 months old then bring her back when she was about 22 months old, which was still young for a bitch.
“His belief was that he would skip a generation and get an advantage that way.
“He was very successful doing that.”