By Isaac Murphy
Oh Mickey went from promising young pup to Group One star winning the National Derby at Wentworth Park for owner trainer Clint Kratzmann last month and the soon to be two-year-old will look to celebrate his birthday with a successful Richmond Derby campaign starting in this Friday’s heats.
“We’re all systems go for the heats on Friday, I gave him his first free run at Lawnton since last Thursday’s win and he looked a treat, all roads lead to Richmond,” Kratzmann said.
“I think the track will suit him down to the ground it’s a really tough 535 metres and with his two major strengths being his first and last sectional I’d be silly no to send him.”
“I watch Richmond a lot see plenty of 600 metre dogs winning over the 535, that’s where I think his early speed can be a real advantage, if he can beat some of the slower dogs out and grab a break he’s not going to get tired.”
Oh Mickey was far from a household name when he made the trip to Sydney for the National Derby, but the time spent with Kratzmann’s god friend and fellow trainer Troy Donaldson not only nabbed the dog a Group One but sent him on a path to greater heights.
“There’s no doubt he’s gone to another level since his trip to Sydney for the Derby, he went down a good pup and came back a complete one,” Kratzmann said.
“I give a lot of credit to Troy Donaldson who put some extra furnishing on him down there and the way he’s come back to Brisbane and performed has been exceptional.”
“His first up run against Elegant Eleanor I thought he was a fifty fifty proposition, he was probably fifteen to twenty percent off his best up against a top young bitch on a bog of a track and to run away with a 29.86 victory I knew the only way was up, I wasn’t surprised to see 29.68 come up last week.”
Many of Queensland’s open class stars have retired in the last twelve months the likes of Champagne Sally and Wise Misty making way for a new era headed by Oh Mickey.
“There’s been a real changing of the guard in the last twelve months and we’re suddenly at the top of the tree,” Kratzmann said.
“The only other Queensland based dogs to go quicker than him are Sequana (29.48) and No Easy Beat (29.65) who sadly broke down, you do feel the pressure to carry the mantle, but I think he’s up to it.”
Oh Mickey’s ascension has been no fluke, Kratzmann has been in and around the greyhound industry for decades and finally found the perfect breeding combination to deliver him a star.
“I’ve been involved in the industry for a while now and when I only take on a few dogs at a time I really put the research in and was expecting a good pup out of Fernando Bale/Iona Champion, but I couldn’t have dreamed of one this good,” he said.
“He’s broken through what I like to call the glass wall, where you could put him over the sprint trip at any track against any opposition and he’s a chance.”
“I’m not kidding myself I know he’s not going to go out there and win every race in front of him not even the greatest dogs do that, but he’s a hell of a race dog.”
Similarly to the Queensland ranks, Australia’s open class stocks have been depleted with the retirement of sprinters Sennachie, Good Odds Harada and Feral Franky in the last few months opening the door for young dogs like Oh Mickey to chase more Group One’s.
“We’ve still got a way to go to reach the heights of a Whiskey Riot who’s at the top of the tree but moving forward it gives you more confidence to go straight at a Golden Easter Egg rather than a New Sensation,” Kratzmann said.
“All going to plan at Richmond and in between The Easter Egg will be his next target, we know he loves the track and he’s only trending upwards.”
Kratzmann is consistently floored by Oh Mickey’s success and while he didn’t ask for the spotlight his young pup is taking him on quite a ride.
“You never race dogs for the attention but the whole family especially the kids are appreciating the love he’s getting from the greyhound public,” he said.
“It’s what I keep telling them and myself you only get a dog like this once and you’ve got to enjoy the journey while it lasts and we’re certainly doing that.”