Greyhound Walk Hard wins 2014 Lions Warragul Cup Final.
|WALKING AWAY A CHAMPION|
|Friday 24 January, 2014|
|(Left) an emotion NIkki McRae after the race (right) Ronnie gives Nikki a kiss. It was an emotion charged night at Warragul, with Walk Hard (box 5 – $10.70) winning the Group 2 Lion Quality Products Warragul Cup (460m) for trainer Nikki McRae in a time of 25.60s.
Hand-picked by McRae as a three-month old pup, Walk Hard has been plagued by injury throughout his career, with an ongoing stopper bone problem constantly ruling the greyhound out of racing.
It’s been a hard road for the greyhound and his trainer who has nursed her ‘Ronnie’ throughout his entire career.
Of the race, McRae commented that she couldn’t believe he had won after thinking throughout the week that box five would be too much of a task to overcome.
“Words can’t describe how I feel now, I’m in complete shock it’s such an amazing feeling because I know what the dog has been through,” McRae said.
“In the race I kept thinking to myself, ‘he’s not going to get a run, he’s not going to get a run’ but coming into the home turn I thought, ‘wait a second, he might be able to do it here’,” she laughed.
After the race, an emotional McRae embraced her Mother, as they celebrated Walk Hard’s tremendous victory.
“It’s more emotional because it’s been such hard work with him, I’ve had good dogs before but he is extra special to me.”
“I picked him out of a litter of seven or eight when he was three months old and have been right with him throughout his whole career. We bred him, reared him, broke him in and now we race him,” McRae said.
Walk Hard’s injuries will be monitored, with his next task being the Healesville Cup series.
“He loves Healesville so I’ll take him up to the Healesville Cup, it’s easier on his stopper bone and I want to make sure he stays sound.”
The race saw hot favourites, Black Magic Opal (box 7 – $2.90) and Paw Licking (box 1 – $2.70) vying for the lead with Walk Hard finding himself sitting third around the home turn.
Paw Licking jostled his way to the front, checking Black Magic Opal and opening the race up for the eventual winner. Evie’s Entity rallied strongly to run over the top of Paw Licking to finish second.
Walk Hard broke the track-record in his heat victory stopping the clock at 25.46s, with tonight’s 25.60s run not as fast, but much more important as he claimed the first Group victory of his career.
Walk Hard’s career record now stands at 17 wins and 12 placings from 35 career starts with the $43,750 first-prize taking his career earnings beyond $100,000.
WATCH THE REPLAY OF WALK HARD’S WIN: CLICK HERE
Pics: Clint Anderson, Bluestream Pictures