Withers and his dogs have set up shop at Jamie Hosking’s Churchable kennel after making the trip over to Queensland.
Both having travelled their dogs around Australia over the last few years, Hosking and Withers have developed a close bond in that time and regularly help each other out when they are in each other’s state.
“You go there to win races but it is the connections you make with people,” Hosking said.
“You always want to get good dogs and hopefully the next time we get a good one we are better prepared for it as it is all new to us, travelling around as we had a lot of good people take us in around Australia.
“Hopefully, we can go back there with another good dog and strike up a bit of a partnership.”
With $100,000 on the line in Thursday’s Final ahead of a tilt at the Brisbane Cup later in the carnival, Withers says his travelling kennel could not function the way it is now without the help of Hosking.
“Jamie, he is a great guy,” Withers said.
“I have known him for a few years now, having toured with Tommy, and we have been lucky enough that he has trusted us with Micks Recall when he came over to Perth and now we are back over here.
“Without people with fantastic facilities and help like that, you just cannot travel dogs and it is greatly appreciated.”
Following the stunning career of popular dog Tommy Shelby, Withers is one of the more recognisable trainers in the country and Hosking is soaking in the opportunity to learn from him on a first-hand basis.
“It is exciting with Steve, we have struck a bit of a friendship over the last few years,” Hosking said.
“He used my straight track with Tommy Shelby and he is a very good trainer that gets very good results.
“Having someone like him at home will be awesome.”
Champion dog Tommy Shelby’s success and whirlwind career has rubbed off on dogs such as Panama Pepper, their trainer believes.
“Tommy did a us a favour, we have got the benefit of experience, we know a few people and roughly know how things work over here in Queensland,” Withers said.
“It is a privilege to have a dog that you think is good enough to put on a plane and take away and race like this.
“It is hard work on the family back with my wife and kids and the rest of the dogs back home, it leaves a big burden on the them as it is a team effort, but to have a chance in races like this, it is great.”
West Australian visitor Withers claimed the speediest heat victory of the evening last week, Panama Pepper getting home in 29.65 seconds, for an almost six length triumph.
He has drawn seven for the Final this week and Withers believes his dog will need a stack of luck from out wide, hoping his Tuesday morning session at Albion Park pays dividends.
The TAB has Panama Pepper rated a $5 chance in Thursday’s Group 2 Final, with fellow interstate raider Photo Man the $2.80 favourite as of Wednesday afternoon.