By Isaac Murphy
Dahomey Windsong first raced for Mickey McLennan at Ipswich in February of 2017. Almost three years later after multiple spells of up to eight months the bitch is back and looking to improve on her stellar record over the track and trip in Heat One of the Ipswich Gold Cup this Thursday.
The four-year-old boasts four wins and three seconds from her eight starts over the Ipswich 520 and despite just four runs back after a lengthy layoff, McLennan said she wouldn’t put the kennel favourite in a race she couldn’t win.
“I think Regal Recall will be very hard to beat from box two. We’re drawn outside Brandi Alexander in five who has good early speed but if we can cross her and find the rail, we’ll be extremely competitive,” McLennan said.
“If she can get to the rail, she’s got a fantastic race sense, whether that’s good enough to beat Regal Recall I’m not sure but she would really deserve it if she can make it through to the final.”
“For a small twenty-five kilo bitch she’s just fearless. Hampered or not she’ll keep charging and with her ability to pick her way through a field gives her some versatility as well.”
McLennan said for her the dog always came first. An attachment she first built as a trainer in the 1980’s, before teaming up with prominent owner and breeder Ken Crawford in her second coming in the training ranks.
“I lived in close proximity to Ken Crawford and Peter Ruetschi at Patrick Estate and really liked Ken’s old girl Where Are You. She’d been producing winner after winner and when her next litter came around Ken was nice enough to give me the pick of the bunch,” she said.
“That bitch turned out to be Dahomey Windsong’s mother Dahomey Mahginny, who didn’t have a great racing career but has been a wonderful brood bitch when we put her to Shakey Jakey as her first sire.”
“Being the dog lover I am, all of our former dogs have a home for life and to be able to continue to breed a beautiful bloodline is just a bonus.”
Dahomey Windsong has endured a lot over her racing career. Three spells of over one hundred and fifty days as well as smaller niggles stunting her potential, but McLennan nor the bitch ever lost the will to race.
“Despite everything she’s been through she’s one of those dogs that never gives up. Which you could certainly forgive her for after the layoffs she’s had throughout her career,” McLennan said.
“Her latest spell lasted two hundred and twenty-eight days. She came on season, had problems with her back, busted her toe, but just kept showing us she wanted to race. It’s great to have her back.”
“Thankfully none of the injuries have been very serious and we’ve been able to get her back. We love our dogs. It’s a hobby for us first and keeping them happy and only racing at one hundred percent health is key to that.”
McLennan said a lot of the dog’s bad luck has come in the first fifty metres of her races where she has never consistently been able to get out with the best of them, but that said was confident going on five years old she could once again strike top form.
“She was racing in Best 8 company at Albion Park with a personal best of 29.88, coming up against the likes of Bubble Guppy, Snug, Slick and Maurice Minor, Group performed dogs and holding her own,” McLennan said.
“I always thought if we gave her to one of the top trainers with all the facilities to put the polish on her she could have been even quicker, but she was a kennel favourite and I couldn’t bring myself to let her go.”
“I’ve still got confidence she can get back there. Everything she’s showing us is that she’s keen to run at a high level again, hopefully starting this Thursday night.”