By Isaac Murphy
Former trots trainer Peter Steele spent a lot of time around greyhounds at their shared Albion Park home and after his retirement was quick to establish the Pink Wolf Syndicate, who will see their first runner Wolf Racketeer tackle the heats of the Eric Thomson Memorial Maiden Series at Albion Park tomorrow afternoon.
Steele managers the Syndicate with father and son Terry and Glen McDermott, long time friends from the trotting industry and the trio can’t wait to see a year of hard work hit the track.
“It’s the first time the three of us have been in a dog together and it’s been almost twelve months between when we bought him and now, so we can’t wait to finally see him make his debut,” Steele said.
“We bought him from the Auction Series in Ipswich, we got the catalogue out circled six or seven dogs we liked and the ones we agreed on we bid on and he was one of them.”
The trio wanted the best for their prized possession and through Terry’s prior dealings with Tony Brett were able to get in touch with the master trainer about taking Wolf Racketeer on.
“We always wanted Tony to train him, his record and reputation speak for themselves, so when he got to the track and started running some time and Tony said I’ll take him we were over the moon,” Steele said.
“We try to get to his trials when he goes around Ipswich and Tony is always on hand to let us know how he’s progressing and what’s next, it’s exciting just tracking his progress.”
Brett said the dog broke in a treat under the watch of John Collins at Postman’s Ridge and was more than happy to take on the dog for the trio who had put a lot of work into getting a quality animal.
“I’m really happy for Peter, Glen and Terry because I know they’ve put a lot of work in picking out a nice pup, bringing him to me, being nice and patient with trialling waiting for his day to come, their enthusiasm is rubbing off on me a bit,” Brett said.
“They’ve been very hands on from day dot wanting to be as involved as possible and I think it sharpens you up as a trainer because they’ve invested a lot in the process, and you want to give them some success.”
“For them to come from a trotting background to now having their own Greyhound syndicate it speaks volumes where our industry is at.”
With the 2019 Ipswich Auction Series fast approaching Steele said the Pink Wolf Syndicate were already looking at expanding their team.
“We’re already talking about buying a couple more at this years Ipswich sales, we’ll go there and have another look and hopefully build the Pink Wolf brand,” Steele said.
“There was a lot to take in being first timers last year and it looks like we’ve ended up with a promising one, fingers crossed it wasn’t beginners’ luck.”
Brett has given Wolf Racketeer a number of looks around Ipswich and Albion Park and despite his youth has seen enough to throw him into the series.
“It’s not often I have them up over the 520 at eighteen months and he’s probably not a true 520 metre dog at this stage, but his talent will take him a long way,” Brett said.
“The tricky part is getting through the heats hoping he handles the whole racing process and then puts it all together on finals night.”
“It’s tough to know how good the other dogs are with not much exposed form, but our boy should set it up with his first and second sectionals, if he can jump and go I think he can pinch the race.”
Brett is shooting for back to back Eric Thomson’s after Painted Picture won in 2018 and rated the series right up there with Queensland’s marquee maidens.
“There are probably three maidens a year in Queensland you set your sights on The Vince Curry, Dad’s Memorial (Dave Brett) and the Eric Thomson,” Brett said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have a fair bit of success in the Vince Curry and Dad’s Memorial, but the Eric Thomson had always escaped me until last year when Painted Picture won the race.”
“Painted Picture is actually a very good comparison for Wolf Racketeer, they’re probably not the fastest dog in the race, but with that early dash can open up a break.”