By DAVID BRASCH
HENRY Plunkett and his son Steve rode a couple of years of success in 2011-12 when their staying star Abby Shiraz proved herself one of the best of her era.
Neither could believe their luck when the daughter of Bombastic Shiraz-Irinka Olivia by Buck’s Double won 18 races, was placed 29 times, and earned $84,000.
It was their shot at Group glory and the father and son team, guided by the training genius of Ray Russell and Sandra Hunt, enjoyed every moment.
Fast forward to today and way over in WA, harness breeder, trainer and driver turned dog man, Kody Charles, lands his first Group winner with Cobargo in the G2 WA Oaks.
The daughter of Burn One Down-Abby Normal has Abby Shiraz as her second dam.
The Cobargo pedigree story starts back with Ray Smith in NSW who bred Irinka Olivia (Buck’s Double-Irinka Doll by Brett Lee), who was trained by Paua To Burn and Sennachie’s Steve White.
“We bought her from Ray after she’d had a few starts,” said Steve of Irinka Olivia. “Michael Peck and his mates raced her and she was a winner at Wenty Park and got 600 metres.”
Irinka Olivia was intensely in-bred to the famed Osti Lee female family. Her sire Buck’s Double carries the half sisters Osti’s Shadow and Mary Casey 3×2. Both bitches were by sons of Waverly Supreme and from the famed Osti Lee.
Irinka Olivia’s mother Irinka Doll (Brett Lee-Stunning Osti by Light Of Fire) was also saturated in her pedigree. She was in-bred 2×2 to Gun Law Osti and Enchanted Osti. Gun Law Osti was by Brother Fox from a daughter of Osti Lee. Enchanted Osti was by Brother Fox’s son West Cape from another daughter of Osti Lee in Osti’s Magic.
Thus, Irinka Olivia was in-bred to virtual full relations 4x3x3x3.
When Irinka Olivia went to stud, Bombastic Shiraz was a champion sire and the mating was a natural. Abby Shiraz was the result. It brought in a 5x5x5x5 of Bowetzel, his half sister Shining Light, plus her offspring Shining Chariot and Centrefire.
“We got Abby Shiraz through Steve White,” said Steve Plunkett. “We paid only $2000 for her as a three-month-old pup. Yes, she was a pretty good buy.
“I gave a half share in the bitch to my mum and dad. They’d been in a lot of pups without much success.
“Abby Shiraz exceeded any expectations we had.”
The bitch was third in the G1 Albion Park Gold Cup and a finalist in the G1 National Distance. She won the Thunder at Albion Park in a 768m track record and was 2011 Albion Park greyhound of the year.
“Ray and Sandra did a wonderful job with her,” said Steve. “They loved her like she was their own. I remember we had a huge win on her first up over 520 metres when Ray declared her a special.”
Abby Shiraz produced two litters. The first to Kinloch Brae ‘had no luck’ despite showing great promise but injuries limiting them all.
Her second litter to KC And All was again on purpose.
“We outcrossed her with the sole aim of getting future broodbitches, but everyone wanted to get bitches from her for the future as well,” said Steve.
One of those was Ipswich-based Robert Peschke who bought a fawn bitch from the KC And All litter and named her Abby Normal.
She raced 39 times for six wins and nine placings, but she was a 600m winner at Ipswich and Albion Park and a finalist in the Winter Chase.
“I had bought a pup from the Kinloch Brae-Abby Shiraz litter,” said Robert. “He showed promise but broke a hock. I bought Abby Normal and got her for $2000 as a replacement for the dog in the first litter.”
Abby Normal had plenty of ability but her attempts to win over more distance at Albion Park were thwarted by the likes of Cyndie’s Magic and Champagne Sally.
Eventually a dropped back muscle saw her retired to stud and Robert went looking for a suitable sire.
Being by US stud dog KC And All and with a granddam so saturated with the Brother Fox/Osti Lee cross, it was time to bring back in that bluest of bloodlines.
Burn One Down (Buck Fever-Fancy Jaffa by Collision) was a natural. He is in-bred 2×3 to Brett Lee the champion son of Gun Law Osti (remember he is bred on the Brother Fox-Osti Lee cross).
But, Burn One Down is also a product of the famous ‘Fancy’ damline that has stood the test of time for NSW breeder Dennis Barnes.
At about the time Robert Peschke was ready to breed with Abby Normal, the country was alight with the deeds of Striker Light the winner of the National Futurity, Golden Easter Egg and Temlee all at Group 1 level. She was the ultimate in sprinting class.
Striker Light is by KC And All from Pretty Fancy (Brett Lee-Sweet Fancy). Her mother is a virtual sister to Burn One Down’s second dam Flash Fancy.
Thus, by putting Abby Normal to Burn One down, we would not only recreate the pedigree of Striker Light, but would also significantly reinforce the Brother Fox/Osti Lee cross.
Along came Kody Charles.
“I spotted an advertisement Robert had put onto the internet for these pups for sale,” said Kody. “I liked Burn One Down and knew Jason and Seona Thompson who trained him.
“I rang up and bought a dog pup from Robert from this litter.
“A month later, I spotted the advert for the pups again and decided to buy a bitch as well. That’s how I got Cobargo.”
Kody is amazed at the improvement in Cobargo.
“She didn’t really break in with huge reports, but the more she has raced the better and better she has got.”
Robert now has a litter of pups by Swift Fancy-Abby Normal that are six months old and he loves their nature.
Swift Fancy, of course, is from the very same damline as Burn One Down so the proven Striker Light cross with KC And All has again been introduced.
The Group 2 WA Oaks success by Cobargo, the first in greyhound racing for Kody Charles, has proven a pedigree pattern design can work wonders.
Robert Peschke, Steve Plunkett and his dad Henry, will certainly agree.