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Mitchell John makes a lasting memory for the Carringtons

By Isaac Murphy

Glen and Patricia Carrington have just about experienced it all in greyhound racing, from Mount Isa Cups to Bogie Leigh Futurities and Albion Park track records, they are well and truly content with what the sport has given them.

The one thing they never thought they’d see was lifelong short course dog Mitchell John winning over the 500-metre distance on a Thursday night at Albion Park, but it became a reality last week when at start 97 he broke through.

“I never thought he’d make it as an Albion Park 500-metre dog, it was only his third start there and now he’s a Thursday night winner - we were delighted,” he said.

“He’s been running so well on a consistent basis we thought if there was anytime to come back and have a go at a Masters race it was now and thank god we did.

“My daughter Sonya (Chardon) has been a big help with him; she rides the buggy up to the top paddock here at home (Craigslea) and waits for him with a piece of cheese, he tears up there and gets a good free gallop in his legs - it must be working.”

Mitchell John recently celebrated his fourth birthday and has promptly struck a rich vein of form with four promising placings before his Albion Park breakthrough.

“Most of his career has been over the 431 at Ipswich, but he showed us something in his last two races that convinced us to take him to Albion,” Carrington said.

“Two starts ago he finished just behind Spring Bowler who’s won seven from eight at the track paying $61 and then backed it up running a strong second to Big Pom.

“It was pretty good form and he stuck on really well in the run home where he can sometimes get tired, so it was now or never.”

Races

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Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:27 PM

BOX 1 PHOTOGRAPHY

Many trainers don’t persevere with dogs as long as the Carringtons have with Mitchell John, but it was a good temperament and the want to chase that gave them enough reason to keep him going.

“You can get a bit greedy sometimes wanting a 500-metre dog who’ll run for the big money, but he’s been fantastic over the shorts for us - we’d love a few more of him,” Carrington said.

“We try to keep his mind and body nice and sharp at his age and his couple of runs recently at Capalaba where he was second in his heat and third in the final really seemed to switch him on.

“Having the amount of starts he has I think you naturally get a bit stronger as well, it was the perfect storm for him to have another crack at Albion.”

If it wasn’t for the constant demand for Masters races, the Carringtons wouldn’t experience wins like last week.

“We’re one of many that really appreciate the running of these Masters races, he could never win a Fifth Grade on a Thursday, but in that class he’s a chance and still loves chasing,” Carrington said.

“He only ran moderate time winning and gets in a race this week that looks pretty similar to what he won last week, we didn’t think he’d get one win so he might surprise us with two.

“He’s drawn well out in the six; he knows how to get out of the boxes from all those Ipswich runs, he’ll need to be up there though with strong dogs like Amby’s Dream and Infrared Lad drawn the fence.”

Glen and Patricia have been lifelong servants to the sport and have enjoyed every minute of their unique journey.

“Mount Isa is where started it all for us, Pat and I raced there from when the club was founded to when it closed, we won the last Mount Isa Cup which we’re pretty proud of,” Glen said.

“We went to Townsville in the early 2000s and raced up there and the other northern tracks for about five years before coming to Haigslea 14 years ago.

“We had a lot of different experiences and some great memories wherever we stopped, the industry has been very good to us.”

Mitchell John

The couple put plenty into the industry and got back their fair share, namely a relationship with a young up-and-coming trainer called Tony Brett leading to some of their most memorable moments.

“We met Tony when we were racing up north, he’d had a bit of success and took dogs to Brisbane a lot, so we decided to give him a couple of our good ones Oreo and Honey Mist,” Glen said.

“Oreo was a brilliant 600-metre bitch and held the track record at Albion Park for us until the track was reconfigured and the times came down.

“Honey Mist was more of a sprinter and her career highlight was winning a Futurity for us under Tony’s watch, we also won the race years later with a bitch called Pocahontas who is still a brood bitch for us now.”

The couple might be closer to the end of their careers than the start, but still savour wins like that of Mitchell John and hope the family line carries on.

“I’m not in the best of health at the moment and seeing Mitchell John and a few others going around perks me up and keeps me going,” Glen said.

“Pat’s been with me every step of the way, we’ve done everything together and wouldn’t have been able to stay in dogs without each other.

“My son-in-law John and daughter Sonya have kept us going the last couple of years, John’s actually taken an interest in dogs and I’ve given him Pocahontas and her pups to continue the family tradition.”