By Isaac Murphy
When Iluka trainer Mick Patterson won the 2010 Group One Brisbane Cup with He Knows Uno, not only did he unearth a superstar chaser but inspired the next generation of greyhound trainer at the same time.
The dog’s number one fan, Calum Andersen, became one of Patterson’s most ardent supporters and friends, and now over ten years later they line up Marseille as trainer and owner in Thursday night’s maiden.
Since their initial meeting, Andersen has become a permanent fixture at Albion Park catching and helping trainers wherever he can, and Patterson gave us an insight into the pair’s first meeting.
“It would have been back around 2011 not long after He Knows Uno won the Brisbane Cup,” Patterson said.
“The dog won a FFA and Calum approached me after a race to get a picture with what he told me was him and his mate’s favourite dog they used to watch at the pub.
“I had no problems with it and I took it as a compliment that a young bloke took the time out to tell me I trained his favourite dog.
“From there, he started to come to the track on a more regular basis and started catching for me and everything kind of took off from there, to the point he’d fly down to Melbourne to catch the dog if we were racing there.”
Anderson said it didn’t take long for him to catch the greyhound bug once he was involved in He Knows Uno’s 2011 Gold Coast Cup win at Albion Park.
“He Knows Uno was the first dog I ever caught in the final of the Gold Coast Cup when he won in 29.70, I was nervous as all hell I was going to stuff it up, but once he won and for Mick (Patterson) to make me feel a part of it was huge,” Andersen said.
“I never expected more than that experience, but Mick obviously saw how much I loved it and gave me a call encouraging me to go and get my trainers license.
“Of course I did, and currently take care of a couple of my own out of my backyard - I’ve got him to thank for that.”
One of those greyhounds is Marseille, who’s engaged in Thursday night’s maiden and on her latest 30.15 trial, Patterson believes the second starter will be tough to beat.
“I’ve trained Marseille for a while now and think I’ve got a pretty good read on her; she should go well in maiden class on Thursday night, her sectionals don’t jump off the page at you but they’re all above average,” Patterson said.
“It was an exceptional debut over the unsuitable 395 metre trip up there and her subsequent trials have been really promising and we were hoping to save her for the Dave Brett Memorial Maiden, but with the uncertainty at the moment we agreed it’d be a good opportunity for her to try to knock off her maiden and possibly a novice now.
“The main thing is she’s up there with Calum and as it stands hopefully, she can keep racing because she’s ready to go.”
There’s no doubt Patterson has been a mentor to Andersen, but the student knows the master still has a few tricks up his sleeve and is happy to keep racing dogs together.
“We always joke about it that he’s taught me a lot but not everything because he needs to know how to beat me when we come up against each other,” Andersen said.
“We’ve always wanted to race dogs together and we had a pup a couple of years ago that was really promising but never made it to the track.
“It’s only been in the last couple of years with the Kinloch Brae/Embellish litter we shared that he’s trained a couple for me.
“I’d never send him one I didn’t think could run, but we sought out the advice of David Brasch before we bred and he gave us the nod it was a good match.”
Patterson is more than happy to train Andersen’s dog on his beachside Iluka property where the dogs get a run in the water every day, but looks forward to the day his understudy steps out on his own.
“I’ve always encouraged him to train for himself which he does, but still sends most to me because of his work schedule, it’s a tough ask to work and train dogs full time - I’ve learnt that over the years and am more than happy to help him out,” Patterson said.
“I firmly believe one day he’ll make a fine trainer in his own right, it’s just not easy for a young bloke to get a start.”
Patterson said Andersen was well on his way having already forged trust with some of Australia’s biggest kennels.
“He’s already made a name for himself with big trainers coming up from Victoria,” Patterson said.
“Angela Langton and Steve White, and plenty of others have no problem with him catching their dogs because they know he knows what he’s doing.
“It’s pretty rare these days to see young people that have a true passion for greyhound racing and everything that comes with it, and Calum is one of those.”