I couldn’t believe my ears when Janet suggested I pick out a pup with a view to racing it. This was the first litter of greyhound pups I’d ever seen; they were 3 days old and looked like kittens. Although it didn’t take me long, I was quite deliberate as I reached over and selected ‘my’ pup! He was immediately called Roddy with a view to naming him Black Rod after a very good horse my father trained.
It didn’t take long to find two more partners to join Alan, Janet and myself and the Get Your Heart Racing Syndicate was ready to go – we just had to wait for Roddy to grow up.
When it came to registering his name, Black Rod wasn’t available but Mr Meticulous had a ring to it. Roddy won his qualifying trial by 9 lengths and was paying 90c for a place and not much more for a win at his first start. He was slow away, took two more strides and was squeezed up then spat out the back, sideways. I didn’t lose faith in him; after a lifetime with racehorses I’m used to disappointments.
Racing Roddy was the best fun and Alan and Janet Hall did a wonderful job with him. He won 19 races, 15 seconds, 9 thirds and $38,359 in stake money. He raced against some exceptional dogs and I thought my heart would burst with pride the day he beat Little Mother after running second to her 5 times. He also had victories over Three Inch Nail, Visionary Man, and his litter and kennel mate, Freddy John. He never managed to qualify for any big races. I think Roddy read the word ‘heat’ in the race book and managed to get into trouble just about every time.
Did I pick the best dog in the litter? Freddy John won the most money but Roddy won more races. I don’t consider myself to be lucky, I’ve never stood on a lucky spot, I won a bunch of dolls’ clothes as a child when I had a gun and a train set but I nailed it this time!
Although I miss him racing, I couldn’t wait to get Roddy home as a pet. In my role with GAP, I felt it was right to have him temperament tested. He flew through the GAP testing and even showed he could live with cats. Roddy lives on a 5 acre lifestyle block in Otaki. He shares his home with Maxi the Taxi (champion sprinter, champion pet), Dynamic Keroma and Andrew the Brave (no, it’s not a Craik Racing retirement home) and Shoot the Bacon, the only girl in our pack. He’s a lovely pet, a real clown and great fun to have around. His favourite toy is ‘Trevor’ a Mallard duck.
And do I have another greyhound in training – of course I do!