By Isaac Murphy
Mid-November last year Bago Bye Bye was on the South Island of New Zealand winning The Group One Christchurch Cup, less than four months later the “once in a lifetime dog” is back on Australian Shores and will line up as the fastest qualifier for the Group One Australian Cup at The Meadows this Saturday night.
It has been quite a journey for part-owner’s Greg Watts and Paul Crossingham who have seen the dog go from Watt’s Wauchope property, to winning Christchurch Cup’s and back again.
“He’s a once in a lifetime dog, we’ve been lucky enough to pick up a Group One with him in New Zealand now we’re hoping we can do it here,” Watts said.
Watt’s insists Bago Bye Bye is here to stay, with his original Queensland based trainer Darren Russell to once again take the reins.
“My father’s had dogs with Darren (Russell) for years and when John Collins (Park Ridge Education Centre) broke him in he said he’s a Thursday night dog, so I rang Darren he said let’s give him a crack,” Watts said.
“About a month later Darren rung us up and said you’ve won the lotto boys, he’s had ability all the way through.”
Watts said the decision to sell the dog to New Zealand trainer David Fahey was not taken lightly, but not only did they benefit financially but the now three-year-old has returned with a much better race sense.
“We actually sold the dog over there and once the dog was over there the figure we agreed on they took a fair bit of money off it,” Watts said.
“It’s not cheap to get them over there, David Fahey was always going to train the dog and once he started going alright we decided to keep him over there.”
“He’s come back a much better race dog, he really knows what’s going on rather than just charging around.”
Watts said the Group One Easter Egg at Wentworth Park had been their original target, but the dog had progressed fast enough they couldn’t resist a crack at The Australian Cup.
“When he first came back he was a little bit sore we were going to set him for the Easter Egg, but he came around a bit quicker than expected and we thought why not have a throw at the stumps at the Australian Cup,” Watts said.
“I’ve been on a high ever since the heat, that time and the way he went about it was unreal.”
After pinging to the front from the pink in the heats Bago Bye Bye has to overcome the challenge of box four a task he’s up for.
“I would have liked to have drawn a better box but there’s nothing we can do about that, we’re in there with a shot and that’s all we wanted,” Watts said.
“His box manners were terrible when he was here, but since his stint in New Zealand and his trials and heats here he’s improved lengths.”
Watts said Russell told him if he’s within three or four lengths after the first turn he’s got the ability to track them down, a talent he put on display often in New Zealand.
“His last sectional has always been his best, when he was in New Zealand he was the only dog to ever break twelve seconds for the third sectional and he did it three times,” Watts said.
“A lot depends on My Redeemer in the three, he usually pings, so if he can cart us into the race that would be ideal.”
Watts said it was one race at a time with Bago Bye Bye, but if al went to plan their original target of the Group One Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park would be the next test.
“It’s tough to make plans in this business because things can change daily, but all things considered he’ll head there next,” he said.
Watts is confident Bago Bye Bye can “beat the big boys” this Saturday night, but knows luck is always a factor.
“I had a dog Bago Bluff in the Vince Curry Series who was half a second quicker than any other dog in the heats but got smashed early in the semis and race over, you never know with greyhounds,” he said.
“Darren has trialled him 29.80 at Albion so hopefully we’ve got some similar success to come with him.”
“We’re going to take him down to the Launching Pad at Sandown next, Darren’s got a very high opinion of him.”