By Isaac Murphy
Neither Casey Dargusch or husband Alan were born into the world of greyhound racing, but when they bought their first dog a passion was born, a passion that would become a profession in 2001 and eighteen years on with the kennel flourishing the family couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Casey said the family had moved to their Churchable property in 2005, and took up training on a a larger scale after a friend had suggested years earlier it may be a good idea to dabble in the industry.
“We had a friend talk us into buying a dog and one turned into two, then three and before we knew it we were greyhound trainers and that was our passion,” Casey said.
“It’s hard work, it’s long hours, it’s sacrificing time with the kids, but they love the dogs and it’s very rewarding we’ve got a great lifestyle.”
The family soon made a name for themselves in the greyhound world but one thing eluded them a Thursday night winner, cue rising two-year-old Never Walk Alone who broke through in Grade 5 company last Thursday.
“I was that nervous I couldn’t even watch the race, I finally had a peak at the TV about the last five strides and I couldn’t stop yelling, it was a huge thrill,” Casey said.
“We’ve been so close so many times on a Thursday night but to finally have one makes all the work we do worth it.”
It was a bittersweet day for the Dargusch’s who lost one of their original dogs earlier in the day.
“Brophy Texada or Deano as we called him at home, was king of the kennels at home, it sounds strange but I knew a bit of his spirit was with Never Walk Alone that night,” Casey said.
“Deano was eleven years old, the kids and all the dogs loved having him around the kennels, but it was his time to go and a new chapter to start.”
Never Walk Alone suits up in the red rug this Thursday in the Grade 5 Final, but he’ll have to search for career win number seven out of a foreign box Dargusch hopes will suit his style.
“He’s never drawn the one, the closest in he has been is the two and he got into trouble that night,” Casey said.
“We’ve always wondered how he would go from the inside draw not having to worry about going around any dogs, so fingers crossed he keeps jumping like he has been and can find a clear run.”
Never Walk Alone is coming off back to back wins with the hallmark of those victories his good box manners, something Dargusch said he was consistently improving on each run.
“When we broke him in he had fairly good box speed but struggled when we took him to the track,” she said.
“The more racing experience he’s getting the quicker he’s jumping, he tends to go nice and straight out of the boxes, so I think the one will suit.”
Dargusch said they had always known the dog had talent and put a lot of focus on placing him where he could succeed and build his confidence for a promising future.
“He’s a handful in the sense we know he has ability and it’s just about picking the right races for him and not burning him out with too many runs,” she said.
“He’s only just over two-years-old, he has potentially another eighteen months of good racing in him.”
“That’s why we’ve avoided the big age races, instead getting some early wins under his belt to build him up for the latter half of his career.”