It was a dream result for many when Thirty Talks took out the first ever running of the Richmond Riches Puppy Classic race series on Saturday night.
For the Richmond Race Club, the dream was fulfilled when the $30,000 sales topper at the inaugural Richmond Riches Puppy Auction returned to the track some eighteen months later to storm to victory in the $100,000 to winner Classic after his chances appeared to be forlorn when he missed the start and struck trouble in the early stages of the race.
And it was a dream result for Thirty Talks’ owner, Len Antonio, not just for the fact that his pride and joy had won the race but for the fact that Antonio was even alive to be able to bask in the success.
In the preamble to the Classic final we wrote about how lucky Antonio had been to survive stage 4 prostate cancer, bone cancer and two heart attacks and last week his ‘luck’ continued when he was involved in a horrendous motor vehicle accident which left his car hanging precariously on the side of an overhead bridge.
‘Lucky Lenny’ escaped with a broken arm and severe bruising and is still recuperating in hospital but he was going to miss a moment of the action and was able to listen to Thirty Talks race to victory from his hospital bed before undergoing another operation on Sunday morning.
The race itself was memorable for the fact that the pre-race speed map was thrown out the window when the boxes opened and the short-priced favourite had bungled the start to be a clear last.
As the field raced to the first turn and there was pace coming from the outside, in particular by Vidi Vici from box 8, Thirty Talks was able to gain a saloon passage through on the rails when Struggle Street shifted wide and granted the favourite his winning chance.
In the space of just a few strides, Thirty Talks had Vidi Vici in his sights and despite bumping with the leader on the home turn, he was too strong in the run to the winning post to defeat the fast finishing Joyanna with Vidi Vici holding on for third in front of Struggle Street.
“It’s just a dream result to win this race the first time it’s ever been run and that’s something that will be in the record books forever,” trainer Tony Brett said.
“I’d dropped my head after the boxes when he was out the back and I could see the outside dogs crashing across…no sooner had I looked up to see what the carnage was at the first turn and he’d somehow got through to second place so when you talk about being blessed or good luck, we used it all on Saturday night.”
A multiple Group 1 winning trainer, Tony Brett has learnt that you don’t put labels on dogs unless you are extremely confident of their ability to deliver and he says we haven’t seen the best of the son of Where’s Pedro on the track as yet.
“I’m really looking forward to the next five or six months with this dog as I believe he has got what it takes to be a genuine Group One greyhound,” he said.
“I’ve always had the Melbourne Cup in the back of my mind with him and I know it’s a fair way off but if he can continue to improve the way that he does with each run, I reckon by the end of the year we will see a very serious race dog.”
Thirty Talks’ earnings rocketed to over $132,000 on Saturday night and from just fourteen starts, he has now been victorious in twelve of those and his most immediate mission will come this Thursday night when he contests a heat of the G2 Flying Amy Classic at Albion Park.
“I’m heading down to the hospital to take the trophy and the rug and there’s still plenty of celebrations to come when Lenny gets out of hospital,” said Brett.
That old saying of ‘lucky in life’ could well have been written with Len Antonio in mind.
G2 - The Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle Race (class 1)
G2 - The Stanjames.com Champion Hurdle Trial (class 1)
G2 - The Peter Marsh Steeple Chase (a Limited Handicap)
G2 - The Altcar Novices' Steeple Chase (class 1)
G2 - The Olbg.com Mares' Hurdle Race (class 1)