MOMENTS after El Sportsmans won the rich Country Challenge Final at Moree in late July, Bingara trainer David Rose turned a few heads by declaring he “had one at home that was faster”.
They were big words by a man caught up in the moment, but that greyhound – Sportsman’s Liam – lived up to Rose’s belief by charging clear to win the 421m Moree Services Club Outback Sprint on Saturday at just its sixth start.
“He was only a pup then (in July) and hadn’t had a start, but I knew he was going to be pretty good,” Rose said.
The Bingara publican, who prepares a handy kennel in partnership with Mick and Barbara Keelan, has now produced Sportsman’s Liam for four wins – and after Saturday’s all-the-way cakewalk in 24.25 seconds he says there are plenty more to look forward to.
“He’s only a young dog but he’s fairly strong and I think that with racing and a bit of maturity he’ll probably get 500m,” Rose said.
“We’ll race him around here for a bit. He’s out of fifth grade now but he’s still eligible for races that he can win around here and perhaps a bit later on we might go over to the coast with him – Casino and places like that.”
Sportsman’s Liam, equal favourite at even-money, took control of the race at the catching pen to race clear and score by three quarters of a length from equal favourite Crimea Tear – an 18 lengths heat winner the previous week – with Skip on By (3-1) a length away third.
“This fella has been jumping good and I thought he’d jump and do exactly what he did. Mick (Keelan) had me a little bit worried though, because he said Crimea Tear was an absolute powerhouse out of the boxes but when this bloke got to the front it was the end of the section,” Rose said.
The trainer said Sportsman’s Liam was the perfect greyhound and was potentially right up with some of the best he’s trained.
“He has no bad habits – none at all,” Rose said.
“Everything is perfect with him. He’s a good kennel dog and hasn’t done a thing wrong since we’ve had him.”
Rose and the Keelans purchased Sportsman’s Liam – named after Rose’s grandson – from Newcastle’s Kevin Gordon, who also supplied the Bingara kennel with star performers El Sportsmans and Sportsman Shiraz.
“All the dogs we get off Kevin are all about the same class,” Rose said.
And the trainer, who also tasted success as a racehorse owner when emerging mare Rose Hussler won on Moree Cup day in early September, was not backward in coming forward to build on his “one at home” routine.
“We’ve got another couple of young ones at home that we bought off Kevin – one of them could be faster than this one but he just doesn’t know it yet,” Rose winked.