By Isaac Murphy
Greg Brennan first caught the greyhound bug in 1975 when he bought his first dog with a school mate. Some forty plus years later the trainer is still building on a decorated career with Colbar Boy heading his team of three racing dogs in this Thursday night’s TAB Fifth Grade Final.
With his second birthday still a month away, the young dog is making waves with five wins already on the board and according to Brennan a sixth is not beyond him come Thursday.
“He’s a really promising young dog and you look out for series like this that really help them come through their grades, he was very good in the heat last week and could definitely go one better,” Brennan said.
“The six isn’t a bad draw for him, he’s going to have to show a bit more early speed from out wide, but if he’s close to them I think he hits the line the best in that field.”
“It’s a great learning experience racing more seasoned dogs, coming out of different boxes it’s all an education. I’ve just got to make sure I place him right to give him the best chance to come on.”
Brennan said he wasn’t sure how he’d handle the step up in class last week but was now convinced the dog was ready to be pushed to the next level after an eye-catching run.
“He’s a big strong dog, up around 35 kilos and once he gets his motor up can really chase,” he said.
“He gave Ripple Rumble about four lengths down the back last week and ran him to three quarters on the line. It was very encouraging to see him close on a very handy dog.”
Brennan trains Colbar Boy as well as his brother Barcol Boy for Ipswich President Colin Fry and his wife Barbara, Brennan often finding himself the man in the middle with the husband and wife pair each spruiking their own dog.
“It’s a friendly competition between Colbar and Barcol, with Colin and Barbara each calling one their own. I’m hoping it can be a long running battle too,” Brennan said.
“Col (Fry) and I have been mates for thirty years and I found a nice brood bitch Kelly Charm for him to breed with which produced Cosmic Capers who had a lot of success in her career and that really started our racing relationship.”
“When Colin and his wife Barbara moved to a residential area down the Gold Coast, he sent the dogs to me which was a great vote of confidence from a good mate.”
While it’s Colbar’s turn in the spotlight this week, Brennan admits there is not much between them but couldn’t fault either in their progress.
“My initial instinct was that Colbar might have a bit on Barcol but the former has really come along beating the likes of Turnkey Creek and Master Douglas last time out at Albion Park,” he said.
“I’ve never put them around together, so I don’t have a definitive marker, but I’m really happy the way they’re both going.”
Brennan is in no rush to race the brothers head to head but if everything goes to plan that just might happen next March.
“We’ll continue to race them both along and hope for a bit of natural progression before the Ipswich Auction Series which they are eligible for next March,” Brennan said.
“Four months is a long time in greyhound racing but if everything is good and the dogs stay sound that shapes as a great target for them.”
Brennan’s three-pronged attack is rounded out by Bundi Banner who carries the nickname of Penrith and Newtown flyer Ray Blacklock, who gets a huge kick from the dog’s success.
“Bundi Banner is a lovely little dog prepared by a mate of mine in Sydney Barry Gibbons who named him after his mate Ray Blacklock,” Brennan said.
“It’s been fantastic to see him start his career the way he has because unfortunately Ray has suffered some bad health and every time he races, Barry makes sure Ray’s watching and it gives him a real boost seeing him go around with his nickname.”
“I’ve kept him to Capalaba and the shorts at Ipswich so far and he’s won five from nine, so I really think it’s time I start exploring if he can make it as a 520 metre dog.”
Throughout his time in the game Brennan has picked up a lot of friends. Racing dogs with Tony Zammit and mentoring Michael Zammit from the 1980’s and has learned to take joy in others successes.
“It’s a tight knit community and I’ve learnt over time if you’re a gracious winning and loser you’ll get the same respect back from your fellow trainers, I’m just fortunate at the moment to be on a bit of a run,” he said.
“I’ve been at South Maclean for eighteen years now and we poke along and get a handy dog now and again and it happens with a bit of effort and luck, I just love being involved and with another couple of litters on the way I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.”