By Jordan Gerrans
Incredible, nervous and mind boggling – that is how small-time greyhound trainer Kerry Bussian has described his last week.
Bussian and his dog Captain Bizarre caused one of the biggest upsets of the Group 2 Ipswich Gold Cup heats last Thursday evening, landing on the rails from the inside draw and holding out legend trainer Tony Brett’s Orchestrate over the 520-metre journey.
When it comes to the Sunshine State dog training ranks, Bussian runs a small operation in comparison to others, with his family helping him prepare a handful of dogs at their Elimbah kennel.
A shift worker with Queensland Rail during the week to pay the bills, Bussian is still overjoyed by being able to land in the Final of a race worth $113,000 in total prize money.
“This is a whole new world for me, usually you just plod along and go from day to day with your dogs,” Bussian said on Wednesday morning.
“We have a normal routine with the dogs, but this week it has all been up in the air, I want to make sure I am doing everything right – it is a bit mind boggling.
“I have never been in this position or a race like this – racing against these other fellas like Tony Brett, Tom Tzouvelis or Graham Hall – they are great trainers and you always see their names up there and now I am up there with them.
“When we beat one of Tony Brett’s dogs the other night – I was thinking 'holy hell' – myself and the dog must be doing something right.”
The affable Bussian has never had a dog in his kennel qualify for a race at this level in his training career.
As an owner, however, over two decades ago, he was involved with a gun dog – who he now hopes Captain Bizarre can replicate his achievements.
“I was involved with a dog called Totally Serious back in the 1997-98 era, around that, and that was a long time ago and I only owned shares of the dog,” Bussian said.
“Barry Morris trained the dog; we were just in the syndicate.”
Even the suggestion of winning the $75,000 purse on offer for the Ipswich Gold Cup champion has Bussian giddy.
“God, that is a lot of money,” he said.