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Beckett on the verge of Brisbane breakthrough

By Isaac Murphy

Rockhampton trainer Dallas Beckett has always been ambitious with his greyhounds beyond his home track.

His forward thinking has paid off, with Remember Col and Latifah now making names for themselves under the care of Noel Evans in the greater Brisbane area.

The duo has managed seven wins between them since arriving in early February; Latifah has become the short course queen while Beckett and Evans continue to push for an Albion Park 500-metre win after a pair of placings for Remember Col.

“I sent him (Remember Col) down to win over the 520 metres at Albion knowing it was going to be tough, he’d cramped up a few times over the 510 here at Rockhampton and Noel has been having a few of the same problems - but we know we’re close,” Beckett said.

“He just goes so hard in the run; it can sometimes be to his detriment, but we’re confident it’s something we can work through.

“He’s had a few little tweaks to his training to get him over the hump.

“He’s been incredibly versatile here in Rockhampton, he won 22 races over the 400 and 500-metre trips which is some kind of feat anywhere, but he was running into the same dogs every week and I thought now was the time for a change.”

The change has yielded some searing wins at Ipswich where the dog will run again tomorrow afternoon in preparation for another 500 next week.

“We were hoping to run him last Monday night and see what progress we’d made but unfortunately we were rained out,” Beckett said.

“I’m confident if we get him right, you’ve got a dog who’s going to consistently break 30 seconds there.

“We want to keep him topped up fitness wise so he’s in over the 431 at Ipswich on Friday night where he’s won his last two starts in 24.97 and 25.07, so we’re confident of another result.

“If we can come up with an inside box on a Monday or a Thursday night, I think we’re a huge hope over the 500, he’s run two massive races to finish in the placings from box eight and he goes lengths quicker off the inside.”

Beckett had the Magic Sprite/Elle Bale litter from the start and there was always one dog who stood out.

“I broke the litter in here at home and he was always head and shoulders above his brothers and sisters and that’s carried right through to his racing career,” he said.

“It was shortly after I’d lost my great mate Col Byers and thought there was no better way to honour him than name the dog after him and he’s been a beauty.

“Col and I trained and owned together for years, we won four Greyhound of the Year awards together at Ipswich and a couple of Lightnings at Albion Park and a Publican’s Cup as well - it’s been tremendous to carry on his name.”

Remember Col Next Racing
Latifah Next Racing

Latifah is a bitch in form - a winner of her last two over the flying 331 at Albion - and Beckett thinks she has more to offer despite past setbacks.

“I wouldn’t say Remember Col is a timid dog, but he just goes about his business quietly; Latifah is the exact opposite, she’s got some real fire in the belly - you know when it’s race night with her,” Beckett said.

“She actually lost a toe as a pup, she jumped up a fence at home trying to get a magpie and as she came down got her outside trackside toe caught and broke it in three places.

“The vet up here did a wonderful job removing it, it could have been career over had it been another toe, but she was back racing a month later and has a dozen wins at two-and-a-half years old.”

Yet to be tested over the traditional sprint trip, Beckett is determined to give her the chance but has to pick his time carefully.

“The plan is to get her to the 500 as well, we haven’t tried her over it yet I don’t think she’s quite ready but being bred out of the dam Florence Rose she should get the trip eventually,” he said.

“She’s always had that natural box speed which has seen her winning from the 331 to the 431 since she’s been in Brisbane, if she can get on the lure over the 500, that will and want to chase might just take over.

“It’s hard to get a gauge on her because she won’t show you much on the trial track, she went 23 flat the other week then came out and won in 22.7 over the 395 at Albion; the talent’s there, you just have to get a read on her.”

When Beckett lost his great mate and business partner Col Byers, Evans was the natural choice to take the reigns of the dogs he sends to Brisbane.

“Noel and I knew each other before we even got into greyhound racing about 40 years ago, I used to work with his brother Trev out in the mines and Noel would come up to visit and we became mates,” Beckett said.

“We obviously both got involved in greyhounds and have just kept that friendship running, I didn’t hesitate to go straight to him with these two knowing the job he does with his team.

“I wanted a trainer who knows how to win on a Thursday night and Noel was the man for the job.”