By Isaac Murphy
Glorious Izmir can prove why traine Ken Staines believes she's the best greyhound he's trained in 40 years when she lines up in Heat 2 of tonight's Flying Amy Classic.
Glorious Izmir has been a prolific winner in her fledgling career, greeting the judge first on 16 occasions from 25 starts, including her last two on end in Brisbane.
Reserved for greyhounds thirty months and under the time-honoured Flying Amy has carried a Group Three tag for several years but with another prize money injection taking the total pool for the final to $110,000, suddenly, dogs like Glorious Izmir are racing for Group One Glory.
“She’s going to have the job ahead of her, it’s a bit step up in class, but she’s earnt a shot at the race with her form,” Staines said.
“Whether she is up to the standard or not remains to be seen, but you have to test them to see if they can rise to the occasion and we’ll find out if she’s ready tomorrow night.
“I’ve had a look at the five heats and some of the talent is just unreal, if she’s able to bring her best and make her way through I’d be over the moon.”
Staines new he had a good bitch early on and slowly built her confidence as she racked up the wins at her home track at Grafton amongst other Northern Rivers tracks.
It was only recently the trainer deemed his charge ready for an Albion Park tilt and a 29.8 win first up showed he was on the right path, but knows she’ll need to find that level when she jumps from box four in a star-studded heat.
“In this class she’d want to be in the first couple at the turn, I’m actually not too concerned about the four if she jumps, she’s got a habit of taking a little step right when she comes out which is less of an issue from a middle draw, it’s going to be all about that first turn though,” Staines said.
“I’ve studied the race a little bit, she’s got some fast dogs inside her (Just His Style, Annika, Good Odds Meghan) and the eight dog (Feral Franky) is the class of the race, it’s a hot race and she can’t afford to do anything wrong.”
While the race is a huge leap for the youngster Staines said the bitch had always stepped up to what was put in front of her.
“Right from her Maiden she’s just been such a professional, every time we asked for a little bit more from her she’s risen to the challenge, obviously lining up in a Group One is a huge jump from where she’s been, but the time for nursing her is over we need to see just how good she can be,” Staines said.
“With her age she’s still eligible to drop back to the Young Guns at Ipswich in a few weeks, but she’s been up for a while and I’ll probably give her a rest after that and she’ll be tackling the older dogs next campaign.”
Glorious Izmir’s brother Prize Izmir also goes around in a heat of the Flying Amy tomorrow night and while Staines admit he’s probably just along for the ride he was blessed to have a brother and sister duo with so much combined success.
“There’s not much between them pace wise, but Glorious is a race dog and Prize isn’t, he always seems to find a bit of trouble or come out slow, where his sister is much smarter in a field,” Staines said.
“I don’t think he’s up to this class, but you never know, I was always bringing Glorious anyway so why not give him a chance too.”
“I’ve got much higher aspirations for the bitch, she’s got Group dog written all over her in the future, where as he’s more a fifth grader who might pinch a few races up there.”
Loyalty has been a key to Staines lifetime training career and a relationship he formed a long time ago has brought him potentially his best ever greyhound in Glorious Izmir.
“Even if they don’t go much further in their careers they both pay the bills with a little of top, a father and son own them George and Gregg Mills they breed them, and I train them we’ve been doing that for over forty years,” Staines said.
“When you’ve got a forty-year partnership I must be doing something right, so I’m very grateful to them to keep bringing me more than handy dogs.”
“If she can find a length of two, which I think she can with natural progression she’s possibly the best greyhound I’ve had over forty years, it’s one’s like her that keep you going.”