By Jason Adams
Gun sprinter Dr. Tucker is back in full flight after an electric win at Sandown Park last Thursday night.
He was one of the slowest to leave the boxes but then showed a blinding turn-of-foot to put his opposition to the sword. He got tired late but the damage was done as he won by 9 lengths – the second biggest winning margin of the year (behind Weblec Eagle’s 9.5L) at the track.
It was his first race at city level since he took part in a heat of the TAB Melbourne Cup last year but that clearly mattered for nothing.
“This is his first two turn hitout for a while and he’s gone super. He’ll improve a lot on that,” said trainer Will McMahon post-win.
Dr. Tucker won the Winter Cup final at Healesville in his start prior though McMahon was cautious that he didn’t get too accustomed to the unique straight track.
“I just wanted to get him away from the straight so he didn’t get too comfortable there. Sometimes they can and then don’t adapt as well as expected when returning to the city tracks.”
He will return to Healesville for his next target being The Arrow match-racing event in late August. He will then take aim at the Healesville Cup the following week before honing in on the world’s greatest greyhound race.
“After that he’ll be back here, everything will lead to the Melbourne Cup. Last year he was a baby and this year he’s seasoned. He’s got plenty left in him, let’s hope.”
Dr. Tucker was a brilliant TAB Melbourne Cup Prelude winner (in 29.28) last year however had no luck in a Cup heat.
This year’s TAB Melbourne Cup will be run on Friday November 26.
A decision to take a deeper dive into the sport is proving a success for hobby trainer Nick Lecchino, meanwhile as My Mate Tip won the penultimate race at Sandown Park on the night.
Lecchino has been a part of the sport for decades but only activated a trainers licence in recent years. During a quiet period with work as a bricklayer he decided to put it on hold and concentrate more on greyhounds.
“I used to have dogs when I was a teenager and in my early 20s. Then a family came along and life got busy. The involvement started again when a mate of mine asked if I’d like to buy a dog, so a group of us did that, we got the bug again and away we went,” said Lecchino.
“Our syndicate is made up of my cousins Sam and Nick plus myself. We bought the mother of My Mate Tip (Miss Gypsy Lee), she was a handy country sprinter and won 15 races. She retired to be my pet and then we decided to breed with her.
“I’ve always wanted to train dogs that I’ve bred myself. I wasn’t able to rear them as I don’t have the property but others were able to help me. Jordan Cooper reared four and Daryl Williams had the other four.”
The litter members are the only greyhounds Lecchino trains. They’ve just turned 2-years-old and the seven that have raced have all won – so far they’ve combined for 78 starts and 26 wins.
“They’re no world beaters but they chase hard and we’re having a lot of fun. For us to have already won a race in town is pretty cool – we’ve been pretty lucky,” he said humbly.
“The one who hasn’t raced she just wasn’t suited for it so the first thing we wanted to do is find her a great home. Neighbours of a colleague were looking for another pet greyhound so she’s with them and going really well. That’s very important to us.”
Lecchino lives in Geelong West however trains from the property of Jordan Cooper in Lethbridge.
“I wouldn’t be able to do what I do if it wasn’t for Jordan. He’s allowed me to train from his place as I don’t have a suitable property of my own. For him to give me some kennels and train out of there, I’m very lucky and he’s been very supportive. I can’t thank him and his family enough.”