Trainer Steve Neary has one runner at Ipswich this afternoon. And he would be more than happy with second placing.
Obviously a win would be ideal. But Neary says he is being realistic, expecting the Peter O’Reilly trained Pedro’s First to be too good for his runner Don’t Eat Cake and others in the Col Harris Gold Sovereign final over 630 metres.
There were two heats last Tuesday of a 0 to 4 wins series run in memory of Col Harris who passed away in December 2008, aged 69 years. Harris filled a wide variety of roles in greyhound racing, including breeder, owner, trainer, club president (Capalaba) and long time producer of the punter’s ‘’bible’’, the Queensland Greyhound Form Guide.
Col and the form guide were regular sponsors of races at a variety of Queensland and northern New South Wales tracks. Col always stipulated that races he sponsored should be for low grade stayers. With that in mind, the Gold Sovereign series at Ipswich is programmed for such greyhounds.
The Peter O’Reilly trained Pedro’s First (pictured winning at Albion Park recently) was a heat winner in 37.50 seconds from box four, scoring by seven and a quarter lengths. Steve Neary’s Don’t Eat Cake won the other heat in 37.96 from box eight.
For today’s final, Don’t Eat Cake has drawn box one and Pedro’s First is in box two.
‘’Peter’s dog has half a second on my bitch – that’s about eight lengths – so looks the winner,’’ Neary analysed.
‘’I’m just rapt to be in the final. I knew Col Harris really well and he was always helpful to me, whether it was at Capalaba or if I needed a form printout from his office. When I saw this race advertised, I immediately set Don’t Eat Cake for it and it’s a big thrill to make the final.’’
Neary trained Bake a Cake, a ten times race winner who is the dam of Don’t Eat Cake.
‘’There were some first time owners in Bake A Cake whose wins were at Ipswich, Albion Park and the former Gold Coast Parklands. They put Bake a Cake to Pure Octane and the litter is going well now with a bit of maturity.’’
As a trainer, the biggest win for Col Harris was Rue Des Grande, a greyhound he bred, owned and trained, in the 1997 President’s Cup at Albion Park over the staying distance of 710 metres.
Story by Paul Dolan, photo by Corey Pearce.