By Isaac Murphy
Brandi Alexander has been one of the cornerstones of the Tzouvelis kennel over the last three years. Bred out of another Tzouvelis bitch Miss Lauryn, the chaser has put together a career anyone would be proud of and although she’s run her last race it’s her turn to produce the next generation as she begins the mating process this week.
“You build your kennel around greyhounds like Brandi. She never won the big one but made around eleven Group Finals in her time and was very unlucky not to win one, Tzouvelis said.
“Even right towards the end of her career she was still winning Best 8’s at Albion Park. It’s that consistency that stuck out over her sixty starts and $100,000 in prize money and I think I’m pretty safe in saying she’s set to throw a few of similar ability.”
Tzouvelis not only trained but partially owned Brandi and along with his partners had been planning for months who they would go to for their first litter a late change of heart leaving them with a handy straw up their sleeve.
“I own a third for her and along with a couple of other owners we bought a Zambora Brockie straw a couple of months ago because we knew she’d be on season and was getting towards the end,” Tzouvelis said.
“After some thought we had a late change of heart and decided to go to Barcia Bale for her first litter who we thought would be ideally suited and we have a Zambora Brockie for the next lot.”
Tzouvelis said finding the right sire for an untested bitch was a fine art, but either way they went thought they had a great match for Brandi.
“The main difference between Barcia Bale’s and Zambora Brockie’s are their commercial appeal. The former is much more widely used, where Zambora Brockie is relatively new on the scene,” he said.
“In terms of what they throw Barcia Bale’s have the tendency to be a bit more explosive early, you get the odd one like Bago Bye Bye who can stay but the majority are really speed dogs.”
“From a smaller sample size Zambora Brockie’s have the tendency to be a bit stronger dogs, but it’s hard to say with not many racing yet.”
Tzouvelis dropped his soon to be dam into the vets this morning where she’ll be mated in the next seven days before the real work begins.
“It all happens pretty fast with nine weeks for the bitch to whelp and the first three months are critical keeping the pups healthy and you get a good read on what type of a mother they are,” he said.
“You’re constantly trying to educate them from three weeks up until they get broken in on the circle track anywhere from twelve to fifteen months, with the view to having them racing before they’re two.”
“It’s a whirlwind process and can be very delicate. If you can ingrain some good lessons in them while they’re young the more likely they’re to carry them into their racing life.”
It’s been an interesting couple of months for the Tzouvelis kennel with multiple Group Three Winner Del Rey also set to throw her first litter.
“Del Rey is another one who we’ve just had mated with Aston Dee Bee, we wanted a sire who was a bit outgoing, Del Rey was a bit on the timid side, so I’m hoping their natures can mix well and produce some pups with really nice temperaments,” Tzouvelis said.
“We’re at that stage where we’ve invested a lot into a couple of our recently retired bitches who have good bloodlines themselves and you never know but hopefully in eighteen months’ time, we’re pretty busy with a bunch of talented young ones running around.”
Tzouvelis has been in the game long enough to know you need a constant flow of new blood in the kennel and if he doesn’t train them himself gives potential owners a proven line to purchase.
“Ideally I like to have pups coming through every three to six months and the ones we don’t race ourselves we sell them off or send them up north to race,” he said.
“I always like to keep an eye on our progeny wherever they are, it gives me something to watch and gauge if we’re on the right track.”
With two exciting litters set to hit the ground at a similar time, it gives both trainer and owner a larger pool to pick the pup they want to race with.
“By breeding multiple litters, it gives us the ability to keep the standouts like a Cooper Dooper and put a few on the market who are still very good dogs in their own right,” Tzouvelis said.
“Ideally if I can sell them and still train them, that’s the perfect scenario for me because I’ve got a lot of confidence in my own breed, but that’s the owner’s decision and if they move on, we’re still hoping for the best.”