By Isaac Murphy
Among other benefits, The Queensland Stayers Circuit gives restricted win greyhounds the chance to try their hand over the staying trips, to gauge their talent. Something that the Justin Bowe trained Slick Raven produced in spades last Saturday night romping home by 13 and ¾ lengths first go at the trip.
“The Queensland Stayers Circuit gave her the opportunity to show what she could do in a race like last week. We just didn’t have the opportunities. Ipswich being her home track over the 630 metres, couple that with the prize money we’ll see a lot more stayers emerge,” Bowe said.
The time 37.10 was over three tenths quicker than Ipswich 630 metre times recorded by the Group One performed Bago Bluff who went 37.41 in the Col Harris Gold Sovereign a month ago and Queensland’s best staying prospect Radar Gunn. A rapt Bowe is now weighing up his options on where to take Slick Raven.
“To be frank we didn’t see it coming, we wanted to get her over a bit more ground and see what she could do but she was untested at the six hundred let alone the six hundred and thirty,” Bowe said.
“Her runs over the five twenty metres were promising and indicated she’d run it, but until you give them the chance you don’t know and we’re obviously rapt with the options this opens up.”
Holding a modest record of two wins from her fourteen starts Bowe had been searching for the right race to unleash her potential and found it in the 0-3 win 630.
“Her record was nothing to crow home about, but she’s been close up behind some quality dogs (Infrared Lad, Farmor Fearsome) and ran around 30.30 on her sole Thursday night Albion appearance,” he said.
“On paper the results weren’t great, but if you went back and looked at the tape a lot of her runs showed some real quality in the face of adversity up against top class dogs without much luck.”
Slick Raven’s winning record looks to her advantage over the next fortnight with Bowe keen to prove the bold run was no fluke, before testing deeper waters.
“I think we go back to Ipswich for the next couple of weeks and take those restricted win races while we can. There’s a no metro win over the 630 this Saturday night and a 0-3 over the same trip the week after, then we’ll look at bringing her to headquarters,” he said.
“We’re trying not to get carried away off the back on one run, but it was eye catching and I guess the long-term goal for us now is to see if we can get her up over the 700 metres.”
“I’m no different to anyone else we all want to win big races and the way prize money is going in Queensland you can’t help but get a little excited about her prospects, but that’s a way off yet.”
Bowe said Slick Raven had him baffled after her first few runs where she showed flashes of ability, but was unable to race consistently, but said her maturation had come a long way since then.
“When she first started, she was leading a lot of her races which is something she’s slipped with a bit in her short career,” he said.
“She showed last Saturday she has the strength and field sense she can take an outside run or a rails run to overcome that. They’re not getting out as quick over the staying trips and coming off that run if she can land midfield you give her a big chance.”
The greyhound industry is a relationships business and it was through a former customer turned friend Slick Raven landed in the Bowe Kennel.
“I had an existing relationship with Sean O’Connor the owner who had previously bought some pups off me, that’s extended to us currently breeding dogs together,” Bowe said.
“He offered me the bitch as a pup and I didn’t have room for her, a few runs in a spot opened up and I’ve had her ever since.”
“He’s a really good owner. He understands greyhounds and what it takes to get good dogs and when you’ve got owners like that you form good partnerships and I’d love to win a good race for him.”
Greyhound racing is a family affair for Bowe who teams up with uncle Gerard Bowe to give first class facilities to their dogs.
“I’m based out of Greenmount near Toowoomba. I’ve got forty acres out here but just have the four dogs here at a time, but I work in tandem with my uncle Gerard (Bowe) out of his place which is only fifteen minutes away and we’ve got another eleven dogs there,” he said.
“We find around fifteen is a good number, it gives you the chance to really look after the dogs individually get to know them and we have state of the art kennels which keeps them happy.”