By Isaac Murphy
Wise Misty is the best birthday present Craig Hazelgrove has ever received. When his Mum and Dad (Noela and Reg) handed over the Paw Licking, Wise Forecast pup to their son at five months old, little did they know Wise Misty would go on to be the most prolific Queensland winning bitch of her time.
“It’s by far and away the best present I’ve ever received, over twenty wins at Albion Park the majority of them coming in top grade. She’s given me the ability to run the kennel and enjoy the ride with her, but we’re not quite finished yet,” Hazelgrove said.
A winner of thirty races Wise Misty has amassed over $150,000 in prize money. As her career reaches its twilight Hazelgrove has his sights set on the biggest prize in greyhound racing, The Million Dollar Chase starting with this Friday’s heat at Casino.
“I looked at the different tracks and asked for a few opinions on where she would do her best racing in the Heats and the general consensus with her early dash was that Casino would probably suit,” he said.
“I took her down for a trial last Monday and she handled it a treat. That run made my mind up for me because when I’ve taken her to other tracks, she tends to take a while to adjust.”
“I’m just hoping she can bring her trial form to the track on Friday. Speaking to Robert Cooke who is a local down there he said the general rule of thumb is they can improve up to three tenths from their trial. Everything is lining up nicely.”
Hazelgrove said he couldn’t have asked for any more in her preparation and was bullish about her chances from the eight.
“She’s come up with the eight which I think she’ll handle well due to the outside fence,” Hazelgrove said.
“At Albion with nothing outside her she tends to crash across them. Where at Ipswich and hopefully Casino she runs a nice straight line. Couple that with her early speed and she’s a good chance of heading them.”
“Her first sectional is as quick as ever and especially at a track like Casino, if she can get out and lead it can be pretty tough to get around her.”
The trainer said the biggest challenge was lining up the form of the other dogs in the field and keeping Misty away from the feed bag.
“It’s tough trying to line the form up with the field. There are a couple of Queensland dogs, but the rest are local and while they might not be as quick, it’s their home turf so they know how to race there,” he said.
“She’s as sharp as I’ve ever had her. I made the mistake of leaving the food bag open last week and she put on .9 kilos and still won the Best 8. I definitely won’t be making that mistake again.”
As good as Wise Misty has been, that career defining Group One or feature has always evaded her, and Hazelgrove said he was looking forward to one last campaign with the bitch.
“She was right on the verge of challenging some really big races when she was two and a half. She was coming off ten wins straight, but came up with a nasty injury to her chest and shoulder,” he said.
“Age is catching up with her now, but the window is certainly still open. The Chase is obviously our first priority, but I want to give her a chance at a few more races before we retire her.”
Wise Misty’s legacy is set to live on when her racing career does come to and end with Hazelgrove already having decided on the sire of her first litter as a brood bitch.
“When we do call stumps, I’ve already got her set up as a brood bitch with the first litter booked in from Kinloch Brae,” he said.
“I’ve done my research of getting the best out of her and with her pedigree everything is lining up nicely. I might sell a few but definitely will be keeping at least one for myself.”