By Mick Floyd
Judy and Bill McMahon registered their first group race win in 30 years of greyhound training when Dr Mino scored a stunning last-to-first victory in last Thursday night’s Group-2 Laurels at Sandown Park.
Dr Mino bungled the start and was a clear last out of the boxes, spotting the second last runner two lengths past the post the first time.
As the field bunched through the first turn, Dr Mino switched to the rails and dashed through a narrow gap to move into third and took off in pursuit of early leaders Slingshot Gypsy and Zoom Out.
She then switched to the outside coming off the back straight, sweeping past the lamp lighters on turning for home and powering to a one-and-a-half-length win in 29.83.
While a tardy start would typically put paid to a greyhound’s winning chances – especially when running just 5.42 to the first split in a group race final – handler Bill McMahon couldn’t have been happier to see his charge fall out of the boxes, believing it was her best chance to avoid trouble and capitalise on the greyhound’s strength.
“I was happy as Larry when she missed the kick – he had to miss the kick,” he told Sky Racing’s Dave Carlson straight after the race.
“Once we got through the catching pen (the first time) I thought we were home, especially with those two dogs in front, I was pretty confident we could catch them.”
Dr Mino burst onto the racing scene in October when she went through the rich Vic Breeders series undefeated. Last night’s win was her fifth from 10 career starts – all at Sandown Park – and took her career prize money beyond $72,000.
The result for the husband and wife team was particularly pleasing given that, with the assistance of their five kids, the family does all of the work to get their home bred pups to the track.
“She’s been super from day one when we broke her in,” McMahon said.
“The Vic Breeders was the target and then everything played out from there. It’s a good start to her career.”
Bill’s wife Judy said the win meant the world to the family.
“The kids get a lot out of it as well because they do so much of the work with them when they’re pups, bringing them up through the ranks and handling them in the kennels,” she said.
“There are some excited people in the family right now.”
Dr Mino’s next assignment sees her drop to a restricted-win event at Sandown Park this Sunday (race 4, box 3) before being set for the heats of the Damsels Dash at The Meadows on Saturday 30 December.
The Laurels, greyhound racing’s equivalent to thoroughbred racing’s Oaks, is one of the most highly regarded series in the country with many winners carving out impressive careers both on the race track and in the breeding barn.