By Isaac Murphy
Are Jay Lochie was Queensland’s most winningest greyhound in 2019 saluting twenty times for Rockhampton based trainer Darren Taylor. Despite his remarkable success up north an Albion Park victory has so far eluded him for twenty-starts, a streak he intends to break in this Thursday night’s Country Cup Final.
“That Albion Park win has just continually evaded us, early on in his career he placed ten out of his first eleven starts at the track but always found one better, so to bring him back at four-years-old it’d be a dream if he could finally crack it,” Taylor said.
“If he brings his Rockhampton form, he’ll be more than competitive in a field which looks fairly balanced each greyhound having to come through their own regional qualifier to get there.”
“The only bitch we probably can’t beat on time is Elegant Eleanor for Ricky Hassall. She’s a very nice pup and unlike the rest of the field has some very strong Albion Park form.”
Taylor admits the dogs winning ways are helped racing in weaker company but has seen him put a number of good dogs to the sword on his home track.
“He does get the benefit of racing lesser competition in Rockhampton but take nothing away from him he’s still won twenty-six races and beaten a lot of good Brisbane dogs before when they come up for the Cup each year,” Taylor said.
“The way he goes about it as well, usually out the back early he can pick up twelve to fourteen lengths in the run to get over the top of them, it’s a tough way to win races.”
“I love his racing style because people tend to get behind those get back run on dogs. There’s something a bit special about seeing one carve through a field.”
Are Jay Lochie from box three is Taylor’s number one pick in the race, but he also has litter sister Tuta Sherry in the five and expects them to run similar races.
“A big reason he probably hasn’t won in Brisbane is his slow getaway. He can get out of a box but has no acceleration, very similar to his sister Tuta Sherry,” Taylor said.
“They’ll both be towards the second half of the field and running on, she’s a good bitch in her own right but not nearly as brilliant and consistent as him.”
“I think I’ve got the two strongest dogs in the race. There are a lot of speed dogs, but it all comes down to where they can position up around that first corner, we’ll need a slice of luck.”
Taylor has left no stone unturned in the pair’s preparation with multiple trials and races giving them the best chance to knock over the final.
“They’ve both been down in the last few weeks to trial and I couldn’t have been happier with how they both went,” he said.
“I’ve made a real effort to change a few things up in search of that first win, seeing this will definitely be their last chance in a feature race at Albion Park.”
“I’ve tried to put a little bit of consistency in his life. That whole breed needs a bit of structure and hopefully after tomorrow night I’ll be coming back each week and racing in fifth grade company before they hit masters in a couple of months.”
Over four years of age, Taylor believes Are Jay Lochie is as spritely as ever and ready to add to his win tally in 2020.
“He’s had a very good race life, I’ve never pushed him, and he’s never had any major injuries that’s why I’ve got the opportunity to come and give him one last crack at Thursday night city racing,” he said.
“I’d say he’s still got a good twelve months in him, physically and mentally he’s as sharp as ever.”
Taylor’s property is just twenty minutes from the Rockhampton track, but is always keen to travel with his dogs the trainer leant heavily on his family for support.
“With seven and a half acres and plenty going on it’s a real family effort between my wife and two boys. Without them helping we wouldn’t be where we are now,” he said.
“My oldest son Jordan is most heavily involved, I’d be more than happy to step aside next week and let him take over.”
“It’ll be a big night for all of us tomorrow night Jordan is coming down along with his girlfriend he met through greyhound racing and they’ll give me a hand with the other few dogs I’ve brought down and hopefully sit back and celebrate the big one.”