Twenty-three years after Fire Lad ran 2nd in the 1995 Horsham Cup, greyhound breeders Ann and Thomas Sinnott are hoping to go one better with another of their greyhounds, Solitary Girl, in this Saturday night’s 2018 Horsham Cup over 485 metres.
The Sinnotts are quiet achievers of the sport, having bred numerous top class greyhounds on their 100-acre property in Yambuk, a remote coastal town located 46 kilometres west of Warrnambool.
The most recent champion they bred was Solitary Girl’s dam, Up And Away, winner of the 2010 Group 1 Laurels and two Group 2 events, the Ballarat Cup and TAB Great Chase.
“Solitary Girl looks a lot like Up And Away. They’re both fawn (in colour) and have similar natures, however, Up And Away was a more consistent beginner,” Ann Sinnott said.
Rewind the clock further and the Sinnotts bred a finalist in 1983 National Sprint Championship called Extra Progress, won the 1993 Hobart Thousand with Extra’s Boy, won the 1995 Sydney Cup with Fire Lad and also bred a versatile superstar named Springress, who ‘won over every distance in Melbourne’ during the early nineties.
“We’ve bred seven generations of greyhounds and every litter we’ve ever bred has produced winners, including our very first litter, to Tangairn, in which every pup was Free For All class in Melbourne,” Thomas Sinnott said.
Solitary Girl, trained by Dennington father-son team Ray and Dustin Drew, has had 25 starts for nine wins and six minor placings and earned $18,895 in prize money.
She will start at long odds in the $47,000 to-the-winner Horsham Cup against seven of Victoria’s best greyhounds including Aston Dee Bee and Out Of Range, however, Thomas Sinnott remains hopeful that she can become the first female greyhound to win a Horsham Cup since Classic Capri in 2001.
“She (Solitary Girl) ran 2nd in her Horsham Cup heat on Friday night against a very good dog (Jimmy Newob), but she stuck the race out well to qualify for the final. She has shown brilliant early speed at times in her career and she has won twice in fast time at Sandown Park recently, so if she runs up to her best form you never know,” he said.
Sinnott puts his breeding prowess down to a few simple things.
“We feed our pups really well because, apart from the dry food (kibble), virtually everything they eat is for human consumption. The meat we feed is quality stuff from an excellent supplier in Mount Gambier, and we give them fresh milk every day from a house cow we have at home. Once upon a time nearly everyone had a house cow, but not anymore, so giving our pups the freshest of milk is a bit of an advantage we have over other breeders I suppose,” he said.
A common theme among successful breeders is ensuring their pups get plenty of human attention, and Sinnott is no different in his beliefs.
“I don’t just give them their milk to drink in the morning and walk away. I’ll give them a bit of a pat and show them plenty of affection. You get the odd pup that is a little bit shy, and the challenge is to win them over because you need all your pups to be confident around people,” he said.
Sinnott said the size of his land also plays in his favour when it comes to exercising his pups.
“I let them out into a large paddock and they run around like crazy and then just lie down and rest,” he said.
Sinnott says he’ll be breeding greyhounds for the rest of his life, insisting that having a winning formula makes it easy to continue, although he admits to be being more scientific about his breeding these days.
“I used to just go to the best sire I could, but these days I put a lot more thought into my breeding. I’ve got two young litters at the moment which are just six weeks old, so hopefully, our success continues.”
Entry into Saturday night’s Group 2 Horsham Cup, to be held at the Horsham Showgrounds, is free, and there’ll be plenty of entertainment on offer for the entire family.
2018 GROUP 2 HORSHAM CUP
Saturday 10 March at 9.20pm – 485 metres
Prize money: $47,000 (1st); $13,350 (2nd); $6,650 (3rd)
1. JIMMY NEWOB (Kelvyn Greenough) $3.80
2. OUT OF RANGE (Seona Thompson) $6.50
3. SUPER SOOK (Vicki Wisener) $71
4. TIEMPO DINERO (Michael Carter) $7
5. SOLITARY GIRL (Ray Drew) $26
6. ALPHA LUCKY (Jeff Britton) $41
7. ALPHA GEORGIOU (Jeff Britton) $21
8. ASTON DEE BEE (Seona Thompson) $1.55
9. GREGOROVITCH (Ian Cockerell) $51
10. CALENDAR BOY (Brooke Ennis) $31
*TAB odds as at 08/03/2018
WATCH: Solitary Girl (6) runs an impressive 2nd behind Jimmy Newob (1) in a heat of the Horsham Cup.