By Mike Hill
YOUNG trainer Tarquin Neal is a happy man after moving from north Queensland to the Brisbane region earlier in the year.
Although upbeat, Neal said he was in shock after recently leading in his first-ever winning double at Ipswich.
\”I was expecting them to run well, but not to win,\” he said.
Neal was successful with Bye Clown Town in the Maiden Final (431m) and Glitter Strip in the 431m Novice.
And to the trainer\’s surprise both greyhounds ran identical times – 25.40s.
\”It has been a lean few months,\” he said. \”I didn\’t have a starter for six weeks due to injuries and other issues.\”
But things have started to turn around for the young trainer.
\”My last four starters have produced three wins and a second,\” he said with pride after landing his double.
And he was back in the winners list a few weeks later when Glitter Strip was successful over the 366m at Capalaba and Bye Clown Town scored over 288m at Ipswich.
Glitter Strip also gave her young trainer a tremendous thrill when she finished second to the Jason Schmidt-prepared Flaming Rose in the $7875 Capalaba Futurity (366m) last month.
Neal, 30, a former soldier based at Townsville, said he had come south to try his luck and was \’really enjoying\’ the experience.
He said both Bye Clown Town and Glitter Strip had been running over 500m without success.
\”They just weren\’t running out the distance, so I decided to drop them back to the shorter trips,\” he said.
\”I am very happy. They both came home good at Ipswich.\”
Glitter Strip, who had clocked a smart 25.29s first-up when winning her maiden over 431m in mid-May, hadn\’t raced for almost three months.
Neal said he definitely wasn\’t expecting double success at Ipswich.
He has only had his trainer\’s licence for two and a half years.
\”I began helping John Barrow in Townsville but after he had health issues, giving training away, I decided to take it up,\” he said.
Neal moved to his three-acre property at Park Ridge in April and is gradually building up his team.
\”It was already established as a greyhound operation with kennel blocks and 60m sprint lanes,\” he said.
\”I have four dogs in work and four pups coming through. I\’m slowly building up and eventually I\’d like to have a team of 10.\”
\”I\’m really enjoying it down here. There\’s much more variety of racing. I can pick and choose where to race and there are meetings every day of the week.\”
Neal also said he would be lost without the help of young enthusiast Hayden Bloomfield.
Hayden, 15, is the son of trainer Jason Bloomfield and he helps Neal on race days, boxing and catching his runners.
\”Hayden comes to the trials and races and is a great help,\” he said. \”I\’d be lost without him.\”
He also thanked trainers Brad Woods, Rhonda Essery and the Bloomfields for all their help and advice since moving from Townsville.
\”I didn\’t know anyone down here and they have been extremely helpful,\” Neal said.