Puppy tale a Classic story with hopes of a Dapto finish
AFTER 30-odd years training and judging showdogs, it makes sense Darryl Chapman's greyhound is the star of the show.
Chapman's aptly named Exhibitionist is preparing for the race of her life tonight, lining up in box two in the $75,000 Country Motor Company Puppy Classic (520m) final in Dapto.
Exhibitionist qualified fastest for the race and will likely start favourite after a thumping 14-length win in the semi-finals.
Chapman, who co-owns the dog with Darren Scells, said a lot of the credit for the dog's success belongs to Queensland trainer Tony Brett, who he rates as one of the best in the country.
But the seed of their successful partnership was planted long before Exhibitionist arrived on the scene, with the pair travelling together to show off another canine passion.
"We used travel around and train showdogs," Chapman said.
"My association with greyhounds started when I was about 16-years old. I used to walk a trainer's dog and I eventually worked my way into training.
"I had a few winners, then left and got into the showdog scene."
Chapman showed and judged dogs for 30 years, and spent that time learning about pedigrees.
He was lured back to the world of greyhounds after buying a seven-year-old bitch in Sydney and breeding a litter.
From that came "a few good dogs", two of which he sold.
"Both of them ran in the finals of the New Zealand Cup," Chapman said.
"One ended up winning $75,000 and the other won $45,000 in prize money."
The Dapto Puppy Auction is an annual greyhound event similar to horse racing's Magic Millions event on the Gold Coast.
Puppies are bought and sold by owners and breeders from across the state, with this year's average price topping $2900 for the 277 lots.
The Puppy Classic is the final stop on the track to higher riches for trainers and owners, with entries in the race limited to pups that were purchased at the auction.
Chapman and Scells travelled to Dapto for the auctions last year and sold three and two pups respectively.
They also paid $1800 for a pup (Exhibitionist).
"We were reading the paper and saw a bitch for sale in Wauchope," Chapman said.
"We both went down and ended up buying one pup each.
"We brought her (Exhibitionist) back and passed her on to one of the best trainers in the country."
In a bizarre twist of fate, Exhibitionist will tonight take on one of the pups Scells sold at the 2012 auctions.
"Darren's dog (Little Elsie) is starting from the one box and Exhibitionist is in the two," Chapman said.
"One of the more expensive dogs from the auction was actually knocked out in the semi."
Chapman said Exhibitionist has years of racing left in her and could progress to group one races in metropolitan areas.
Her immediate future following tonight's race is uncertain however, with the possibility of a spell on the cards.
"We think she has a few years left but we'll leave all of that in Tony's hands," Chapman said.
"He was on radio the other day and said she wasn't going anywhere so to hear that from someone like him is quite good.
"We had a substantial offer on Monday to sell the dog but we turned that down. We'll try and race her for a few more years then look at breeding her after that."
Exhibitionist has seven wins and one second from her 10 starts, three of which were at Grafton.
She finished fifth in the final of the Taylor Family/Clarence Valley Sheds Maiden Classic during the July Carnival after qualifying first in her heat, and was pipped by Unleash De Fear by 0.75 lengths in late September.
That second-place finish was her final run over the 407m distance before Brett switched her to 520m.
Since then she has notched five consecutive wins. Tonight's race starts at 9.15pm.
Whelped: Dec 19, 2011
Trainer: Tony Brett
Owners: Darryl Chapman and Darren Scells
Dame: Naughty Nicki
Record: 10: 7-1-0
Track: 2: 2-0-0
Distance: 5: 5-0-0