By Isaac Murphy
Renald Attard spent six months rebuilding the confidence of Belvedere Babe after a race fall followed by her season. It was time well spent. As her previous trainer moved on, Attard kept the faith and has won over $60,000 with the record setting Masters bitch.
“She’s won eight Masters races this year after her win last week, which has taken her past Tommy Tzouvelis and Soft Sand for the record,” Attard said.
“It’s a fantastic concept the Masters. It gives dogs like ours the chance to continue their racing careers and earn good money in our case at four and a half years old.”
Eight wins in a year is good by any greyhounds’ standards, but for a one hundred and six start veteran it’s a remarkable effort. Belvedere Babe will look to improve on in this week’s Masters Final.
“It showed how good she was winning from the red last week. That was her seventeenth try off the inside and she finally got up. Ironically the only other box she hasn’t won out of is the three which we have this week,” Attard said.
“I think she’s a fair chance to knock that off too. She looks to have a bit more early speed than most of them. Cyn’s Magic is the obvious danger from the eight, but we beat her fair and square two starts ago and she’ll be up against it with the draw.”
“She’s winning her races at both ends, putting herself in the frame early and finishing off. I’d love to stay in Masters Grade, but if she goes up, we might just try her over the 600.”
The bitch came to Attard via fellow trainer Ryan Ayre who owned her in her younger days and turned to the veteran trainer after her confidence was shot to bits.
“Ryan Ayre owned the bitch in her younger days and Col Hamilton trained her for him. She had a fall and Col was having a lot of trouble getting her to go around, so Ryan asked if I could have a go,” Attard said.
“Ryan brought her to me and it took about three months to get her right and just when she was ready to go she came on season and had another three months off.”
“After about six months off the track and all the work I had done with her, Ryan decided to move on and gave me the dog for free and she’s gone on to win over $60,000 with us.”
Despite her form at four and a half years old Belvedere Babe’s racing days are numbered, but her contribution to the kennel is far from finished with a breeding career on the horizon.
“We’d love to race her forever, but all things come to an end and we’ve lined her up with a sire to breed with whenever she comes on season next. Hopefully she’ll produce some similar pups we can race with,” Attard said.”
“Masters dogs have really been the cornerstone of the kennel, on top of Belvedere Babe I’ve got Bella Cette and Too Many Bills who do their fair share of winning from Ipswich to Capalaba, which gives us the funds to invest in some handy young ones.”
“Everything we earn goes back into the kennel. We’re constantly making upgrades at home (Fairney View) with the winnings going towards new kennel blocks, a straight, we built it up from nothing thirty years ago now we’ve got everything we need here.”
Attard said he couldn’t be more thankful for Masters racing, but was ready to make the transition to some exciting young pups in the near future.
“I’ve got four pups due to start in the next month and two of them are pretty smart on what they’ve showed me thus far. It’ll be a big transition when the older brigade retires and we’re concentrating on the young ones.”