By Isaac Murphy
Reg Hazelgrove thought prolific sprinter Data Base’s career was over when he pulled up lame after a race last August, it took an operation, an expensive operation and 154 days of hard work ensued, but it all paid off Data Base winning his first two starts back in Best 8 company, for a beaming trainer.
Having bred Data Base himself Hazelgrove had enjoyed a great run of success with Data Base racking up twenty-three wins until he thought it was all over last August.
“I knew straight away It was a pretty serious, I saw him do it right on the finish line and your gut just immediately drops,” he said.
“My initial reaction when he pulled up lame was that we’d probably never see him back on the racetrack at his age and you always fear the worst with a hock.”
“I took him straight in to get X-rayed and the vet said he was lucky not to completely break it giving him a slim chance of getting back to his best.”
The operation would have been a no brainer but for the cost, the dog had already achieved so much for the kennel Hazelgrove pondered retirement, but with the help of the On-Track Injury Rebate Scheme he was able to give the dog a chance.
“They quoted me $5000 for the operation and as much as I love the dog when they’re going on four you think do I spend the money or give him a nice comfortable life at home,” Hazelgrove said.
“I got in contact with Racing Queensland and they told me about the injury rebate to try to help dogs like Data Base get back racing and when I found out they would foot $2000 of the bill it was full steam ahead.”
Hazelgrove dove headfirst into rehabilitation mode using all his training experience to ease Data Base back into work, but it was the dog that showed he wasn’t done yet.
“The process started off very slowly, but he kept ticking the boxes along the way and you could always see in his demeanour he had that spring in his step to get back to racing,” Hazelgrove said.
“I gave him a few runs up the sprint lane and a couple of trials, getting him back for the Queensland Short Course would have been great but his fitness was more important, so I was happy to hold out a couple more weeks.”
Hazelgrove’s patience paid off when Data Base made his long-awaited return on the 27th of January, picking up where he left off.
“His progression has been great his first trial was 19.35 and he broke 19 on Wednesday night, I’m just so fortunate he’s back hasn’t lost anything and is going as good as ever,” he said.
“You couldn’t have convinced me he’d come off a 154 day break and win in Free For All company his first two starts back.”
“From those to races alone he paid off his vet bills and then some, which made all the hard work worthwhile.”
Apart from his one major injury the dog has had a relatively clean bill of health throughout his career and Hazelgrove hopes to get back in the mix as one of Albion Park’s best performers.
“He’s the type of dog you love in the kennel he’s been so consistent throughout his career such an excellent money spinner and a pleasure to have at home,” he said.
“He was right in the running for greyhound of the season last year when he was cut down in August, I’ve got no doubt with his strike rate he would’ve been right up there if he didn’t do the injury.”
“He doesn’t run a bad race, he’s won or placed in sixty-six percent of his seventy-five starts, which is no mean feet jumping from the 395 and 331 metre boxes at Albion Park.”
Hazelgrove’s breeding knowledge has produced two of the best Free for All sprinters seen at Albion park over the last couple of years, his line always worth keeping an eye on.
“I bred the Paw Licking/Mega Dee litter which also produced White Ox who’s had a fantastic career for Di Hannon,” he said.
“Paw Licking is built for speed and Mega Dee was a star up the straight but couldn’t seem to get circle racing down pat, but they’ve come together for a fantastic litter between Data Base and White Ox alone they have fifty wins.”