Dashman's Dashboard for August 15, 2020
Townsville a temporary home for Bumpy Black’s Cup tilt
RQ launches new social platform - RaceQ
Punter's Guide to Thoroughbred Tracks
By Isaac Murphy
Townsville trainer Danny Preh gives Giggling Sal every chance to take out tomorrow night’s Townsville Young Guns.
However, if Preh hadn’t reached out over social media last year, owner Matt Evans may not have entertained a trip north with his bitch, who will look to get her first Black Type win over the 380 metre journey.
“I got in touch with Matt through his brother Daniel; we had previously been interested in one of Daniel’s dogs, got in touch over Facebook and found out he had a brother in Matt,” Preh said.
“Matt brought a dog up to race in Townsville last year and asked if I could catch for him, I said sure but had no idea who he was or what he looked like, but that’s how we met after that race.
“Matt obviously saw an opportunity with Giggling Sal this year and gave me a call asking if I could take care of her while she was up here, and I jumped at it.”
When Preh sat down and had a good look at Giggling Sal’s body of work, he was excited what she could produce in the Young Guns, though the dog almost missed out on the final if it wasn’t for her will to chase.
“I sat down and had a look at how her times would translate up here and told Matt I think she’s got a really, really good chance of winning the Young Guns Series, she’s such a fast bitch and looks really suited at the trip,” Preh said.
“She didn’t have the best run in the heats; the seven dog just wouldn’t stop hassling her, but she just kept trying and trying and to run fourth and make the final was a feat in itself.
“There were some nervous moments throughout the run, she was easily in the quickest four dogs in the race but the run she got she had every chance to pack it in but kept coming.”
Preh’s mood only got better when Giggling Sal came up with an ideal draw for the final, but the trainer has plenty of respect for the local custodians.
“I was rapt to see her come up with the three for the final, being a Townsville trainer and knowing the 380-metre start if she jumps out well, she gets every chance to lead them - we couldn’t have hoped for a better draw,” he said.
“In saying that, we’re competing with the best of the best up here, Convict Cullen in the two and Kilcullen in the five are track record holders who’ll be really hard to beat.
“You never wish the worst on trainers or dogs; we’ve just got to hope she’s on her game tomorrow and is the best on the night.”
Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 9:53 PM
Winning a Young Guns series at your home track is a big occasion for Preh, who is more concerned about keeping himself under control rather than the dog come tomorrow night.
“I know she won’t be nervous on the night but I’m more worried about myself, I’ve only been in the game a couple of years and trainers have told me ‘don’t show nerves or the dog will pick it up’, so I’ve got to make sure I’m ready too,” he said.
“We’ve figured her out a little bit in the short time we’ve had her, she gets very worked up at the track, so instead of walking her over I carry her over to the boxes and don’t let her use too much energy before the race with loading process.
“I wait until the last minute to get her down on all fours and straight into the box, she does the rest on instinct.”
With the Townsville Cup on the horizon, Preh is hoping trainers see he’s the man to go to when sending your dogs to Townsville, something he was continually building his reputation on.
“It’s an interesting time of the year for us, Giggling Sal might have one more run after the Young Guns Final and head back home and then we start to look at taking a few dogs on for the Townsville Cup from Brisbane trainers,” Preh said.
“With a couple of injuries at the moment, our best bet is to offer a service for trainers who want to bring their dogs up to a kennel who knows the track and to get the best out of their time up here.
“It’s definitely hard sending them back because you get attached pretty quickly, but to have trainers trust you with their dogs, it’s a vote on confidence for me as a trainer that I’m doing the right things.”
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Preh’s interest in the dogs was piqued 26 years ago, but with greyhound racing in the family he’s only recently set out on his own.
“Back in 1994 my Dad and I had an interest in the dogs and bought one called Danuge, half my Dad’s name and half my name and enjoyed racing him as a hobby,” he said.
“Back then it was really hard to consistently find dogs and trainers willing to take them on, so I drifted out of the sport for a bit.
“It was three of four years ago I was down in Brisbane and started in a dog with my uncle Robert Peschke who trains down there, and it just lit a fire in me I thought I reckon I can do this myself at home in Townsville.”
There’s never been a better time to train greyhounds in Townsville with the addition of a Friday day meeting to the regular Tuesday nights, something Preh thinks can only be a positive for the city.
“Having two race meetings a week has opened up so many doors for trainers up here,” he said.
“Some can race dogs twice a week, others may prefer to race during the day rather than at night - the Tuesday-Friday double is great for racing.
“We got the chance to race Giggling Sal on Friday, a win under her belt before the Young Guns could give her the confidence to win the race.
“I’d even go as far as saying having the two meetings a week is great for Townsville itself, having that extra exposure and trainers not having to go all over Queensland to race their dogs is fantastic for the region.”