(Photo: Box 1 Photography)
By DAVID BRASCH
GREG Paull refers to him simply at “The Blip” and insists that without Masters racing in Queensland the dog may have been in the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) a long time ago and not building a forever home with his owner.
“The Blip” is known on the racetrack as Major Blip, the all-white son of Fernando Bale-Blipple who (to time of writing) has started 63 times for nine wins and 22 placings earning $41,000 along the way.
No, he not a superstar taking most of those 63 starts to become a city winner.
But Greg Paull says he’s earned a “bit of a cult following” since he bought him cheaply late last year and turned him into “the most successful greyhound I’ve trained myself”.
“I’ve owned better dogs than him, but he’s the most successful I’ve had under my care,” he said.
Major Blip has “done the rounds” starting his career with Dave Fitzgerald with a fall in a heat of the Vince Curry Maiden in February 2020.
He went missing for a year from August 2020 to July 2021 and ended up with Alex Verhagen racing around Wauchope, Taree, Grafton, The Gardens and the like with a couple of wins.
“I’d bought a couple of dogs through the website Greyhound Data,” Greg said. “One dropped two back muscles and a pin and ended up in GAP. Another from Victoria finished in the same place.
“I’d got lucky buying Security Code but I sent him off to Greg Stella who did a fabulous job with him for me.”
(Security Code retired the winner of 17 races and $112,000.)
“But, I wanted a dog or two to race myself. I’d bought Black Is Black from Victoria and went looking for a mate. That’s how I spotted The Blip.”
Greg did his homework.
Advertised for $4000, Greg went through all the dog’s videos, spotted he’d needed a year off, and then noticed Alex had reduced the price to $3000.
“I noticed he’d won a Novice at Albion Park in 30.26,” Greg said. “I thought that sort of run might still be in him. And he was three-and-a-half years old and looked to me a right prospect for Masters racing.”
Alex had told Greg that Major Blip had problems with his metatarsals which kept him off the track for so long. Greg reckoned he looked sound to him. He paid the $3000.
“The first thing I did was take some weight off him,” Greg said. “But at his first four starts for me he was placed once and it didn’t take long for the knockers to come out.”
A switch to 520m racing at Albion Park saw “The Blip” show renewed form and Greg took a punt and put him in the feature Masters event there late in December. He ran second in the heat but seventh in the final.
“I also had Security Code in the Masters final so it was a fabulous night for me,” Greg said. “Security Code finished second under Greg Stella’s training. It was the biggest night for myself and the biggest race I’d ever been in as a trainer.”
Since then “The Blip” has not looked back, winning a Thursday night Masters and putting together three wins, a second and a third in a run of five starts at Ipswich while The Creek was being put back together after the floods.
“I changed all his training around and started racing him more often,” Greg said.
“He goes out every day in a paddock next door to the pups being reared and he works himself all the time with them.
“He’s a pure white dog and white dogs always look younger than they really are.
“He always looks fantastic. Tom Cruise in a greyhound suit.
“All that running with the pups turned him back into a dog again. He was never one for the normal training routine of a greyhound.”
“The Blip” hurt himself recently which halted Greg’s plan to take him down to Wentworth Park for the feature Masters event over the Golden Easter Egg Carnival.
Greg admits he was inspired by fellow trainer Tom Tzouvelis to purchase Masters class dogs.
“Tom told me ages ago he was buying three-and-a-half-year-old city dogs from the Wheeler kennel, getting them cheap, winning a Masters or two, a few city races, and then moving them on to Darwin,” Greg said.
The trouble with that idea and “The Blip” is that Greg Paull has found himself a new best mate.
“I can’t sell him on after what he has done for me,” he said. “He’s won five races, given me a couple of Thursday night city wins and put me into a feature race final.
“He’s here for good.”