By Jason Adams
Ben George got the emotional lift he needed when ‘Kilpatrick’ caused an upset on Thursday night at Sandown Park.
Spirits were low throughout the week, which led to an interrupted preparation, but a gutsy win on the big stage brought some buzz back to the team.
“I wasn’t expecting this. Honestly, I can’t believe it,” George expressed post-race.
“We had one break down last Wednesday and that’s where the attention has been – he’s recovering in the lounge room right now with my partner.
“The win means a lot and gives me a massive lift. I came here just hoping he’d get around safe.”
Kilpatrick, or Patch as he’s known at home, is the kennel’s flagship sprinter and has now won 12 of his 38 career starts.
Just two-and-a-half years ago George made the life-changing decision to move from Queensland to Victoria and take up training greyhounds full-time with his partner, Tara Baxter.
“We both had professional jobs and the stress of it got to us,” George said.
“We were in a position to sell up and have a crack at something new before we got too old and cranky.
“I couldn’t do it without her – she loves the dogs.”
They have a 10-acre property in Nerrena and built a lot of the facility themselves.
“We put in about 300 posts, all concreted by hand – the only thing we didn’t do was the shed.”
Fans of the sport may be familiar with George as he was the owner of ‘Sulzanti’, who was a Shootout finalist in 2015, however had his racing career cut short. He now stands at stud in what is a very competitive market.
“The stud market is massive and it’s very hard to break through if they haven’t won group races,” George said.
“He didn’t, but we knew the potential he had. With the lack of advertising, I’m very proud of what he’s achieved with his offspring.
“I’ve got one sired by Sulzanti, his name is Royal Arrival and looks to be a very nice pup in the making.
“I just want to breed my own, rear and train them. Hopefully in future we’ll be able to do that successfully.”