Vic Peters classic still special for Board

\"\"Caption: Greg Board with Spring Gun, winner of the 2011 Vic Peters Group 1 classic at Wentworth Park

By DAVID BRASCH

GREG Board is firmly ensconced in South Australia these days enjoying himself winning race after race after having ‘escaped’ the Baird era of government that almost saw the demise of greyhound racing in 2016.

But, when it comes time for the time-honoured Group 1 Vic Peters to be run at Wentworth Park, Greg and his family in South Australia and those still back home in Orange, always take time to watch the race.

It holds special memories of a wonder dog who gave the Boards a special moment in racing.

It came in 2011 via the deeds of Spring Gun (Bombastic Shiraz-Ready For Rain) who downed a super field to win the Vic Peters.

\”We bred him, broke him in and he always showed he was pretty quick,\” said Greg.

\”We gave him his first start at Cowra and it was a stinking hot day. He came up pretty short in the market. I remember he was in a race against another first starter, from Dave Pringle\’s kennel. As we were going out to the start I got one of Dave Pringle\’s kids to give our bloke a pat for luck.

\”It didn\’t impress Dave too much, especially when Spring Gun won by five lengths.\”

Greg didn\’t take too long to realise his youngster was special and needed to be in a kennel closer to city racing.

\”I rang Ron and Christine Oldfield to take him and they jumped at the chance,\” said Greg. \”He won a heat and final at Bulli impressively and then just kept on winning.\”

Come later that year and Spring Gun had been unbeaten at Wentworth Park, running fast times, and the Oldfields took aim at the Vic Peters.

\”I remember saying to Christine that we needed to draw inside Mepunga Nicky in the final to be able to head her early,\” said Greg.

\”The night of the final Frank Hurst came to me and said \’how are they going to beat him?\’ and that\’s how the race turned out.

\”He came out running and led throughout to beat Mepunga Nicky by four lengths in 29.75.\”

Chasing that Group 1 pair home was Zipping Catra, My Clydesdale, Cold Fusion, Snoopy Collins, Apparently So and Gable Drum.

\”We had to send him to the Oldfields,\” said Greg. \”Travelling good dogs is tough and when you are taking on such great dogs in Group races you have to meet them on your terms.

\”Everyone knows how much it takes out of us travelling long distances, even when you are the passenger.\”

It was only a few races later that Spring Gun tore his Achilles tendon and it forced his retirement. He\’d raced only 28 times for 18 wins and two placings earning $120,000. He was unbeaten in seven starts at Wentworth Park all his wins coming in 30-seconds or faster.

\”God knows what he would have won after that if he had not been injured,\” said Greg.

Spring Gun went to stud and eventually Greg and son Scott decided to bring him home and stand him themselves.

\”It was the first time we had stood a commercial stud dog and we made a few bad decisions, but it all worked out in the end,\” said Greg. \”It was costing us $70,000 a year for advertising and semen collection etc.

\”But, we can\’t complain. He earned $1 million at stud.\”

Spring Gun was an in-demand stud dog when Mark Gatt rang to offer $400,000 for him to go to China an offer Greg knocked back. \”A week later, Baird announced he was shutting greyhound racing in NSW.

\”We could see the future having a valuable stud dog getting no work at all, so we decided to sell him. We didn\’t get what Mark had offered us. He and Magic Sprite were the last two dogs to leave Australia for China.\”

Greg remembers Spring Gun as his ‘mate’.

\”I never put a lead on him all his life at stud,\” he said. \”He would follow me around the place as the most beautiful pet. But, put him on a racetrack and he was something else. All he wanted to do was win.\”

The Boards had collected plenty of semen from Spring Gun and had it stored at vet clinics around the country.

\”He was very popular, especially in New Zealand where his son Wheelchair Norm won 88 races. I sold 30 vials in one month to New Zealand. His pups are often iron dogs and his bitches are now proving great producers, especially when mated to Barcia Bale.

\”We used him a bit ourselves and the one aspect of his pups is that they were hard chasers. They just wanted to go.\”

Greg still has valued pictures of Spring Gun that were sent to him from China. \”At one time they even offered to pay for me to go over and visit him,\” said Greg. \”Those pictures of him show him with a big diamond studded like collar.

\”He looks fabulous. And I know he was so well looked after over there.\”

Greg and Scott Board have had some sensational greyhounds go through their kennel.

\”Spring Gun, Spring Secret and Spring Bridge … we cannot choose between them,\” said Greg.

\”The Vic Peters Group 1 victory is a wonderful memory of a great race dog.\”

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