By Mike Hill
NOT too many greyhounds get to clock up a century of starts but in sprinter Tipsy Four\’s case she did it in winning style at Townsville last month.
\”The win was so good,\” said caretaker trainer Danny Preh.
\”The owners were stoked.
\”She has a lot of track sense but has been racing without luck.
\”Again in her 100th race start she found trouble but was good enough to win, although she had to work hard.\”
Tipsy Four, a $4.80 chance, beat the Heath Ardle-trained Mal\’s Missile ($4.60) by a length, clocking a BOD 21.71s for the 380m trip.
The Rhonda Essery-prepared Loose Lips Jack ($15) was two-and-a-quarter lengths back third.
Tipsy Four and kennelmate Aerobic Tank were sent north from Darren Makowiecki\’s Laidley Heights complex, west of Brisbane, in late July to join Preh\’s Kelso kennels for a tilt at last month\’s Group 3 Townsville Cup (498m).
\”Tipsy Four has been improving with every run up here and she seems to be growing in confidence with every race,\” Preh said early last month.
\”Darren sent the pair up early to acclimatise to the track and weather conditions.\”
The black bitch (My Bro Fabio-Bonnie\’s Dream) began her northern campaign with two minor placings over 380m before just missing a place in two runs over the Cup distance.
\”She\’ll definitely improve on her 498m efforts in coming starts,\” said Preh.
Her recent victory took her record to nine wins from 100 starts but there could have been more – she has been runner-up 21 times with 17 thirds.
Preh said he was also impressed with Aerobic Tank\’s early efforts, including two placings (380m and 498m) and a victory over the shorter course.
\”I\’m just keeping them fresh and ticking over,\” he said.
\”I\’m feeling good that they\’re getting better with every run.
\”The owners would love to see them in the Cup final.\”
Later in the month Preh got his wish when Tipsy Four impressively won her Cup heat to qualify for the feature final.
But tragedy struck three races later when Aerobic Tank inexplicably crashed over the outside fence in the final heat.
\”He\’s battered and bruised and we\’ve been to the vet. He should recover okay, but he won\’t race again,\” said Preh after the meeting. \”We went from the highs to the lows in a few races … from tears of joy to tears of sadness.\”
Preh, a painter by trade, has been training for only three years and considers himself one of the new guys on the block.
He said he\’d \’always been into greyhounds\’ .
\”I bought a dog in my late teens, but I found training too difficult. I got very little help and gave it away,\” he said.
But three years ago he spent some time with an uncle, Ipswich trainer Robert Peschke, and the visit sparked a desire to get back into the sport.
He said he was extremely thankful that connections of several greyhounds had given him the opportunity to train their dogs.
Several months back Matthew Evans, based at Brassall, north of Ipswich, sent his chaser Giggling Sal to Preh for the Townsville Young Guns series over 380m.
The black chaser (Keybow-Black Riband) finished fourth behind smart sprinter Moving Target in the feature final after picking up a win and two placings from her six-race campaign in the north.
\”It\’s hard for small trainers without private training facilities but we are very lucky that Townsville is racing twice a week, Preh said.
\”And I try to do everything for the dogs between races.
\”We have various therapy mats and beds that help greatly with a dog\’s recovery program.\”
The Makowiecki pair will return south after the Cup series.
Meanwhile, Preh is hoping to get a few more dogs to train as he awaits the development of a couple of pups he recently purchased.
He also plans to breed from his former racing bitch Rockin\’ Tonight (El Grand Senor-Katie Oi Oi).
\”I\’ll mate her the next time she comes on season and I\’m looking at Aussie Infared as a possible match,\” he said.
Pictured: Townsville trainer Danny Preh with sprinter Tipsy Four – winner at her 100th race start last month.