Greyhounds: Woodview trainer cracks big win at Wentworth Pk
A TWIST of fate re-ignited Robbie Cooke's love of greyhound racing - and almost 20 years on it has paid big dividends.
The Woodview owner-trainer scored the biggest victory of his career with Cash In Motion's enthralling come-from-behind win in the Group 1 National Futurity (520m) at Wentworth Park in Sydney last Saturday night.
Cash In Motion's victory in the $75,000-to-the-winner decider earned her and Cooke an expression of interest nomination to the forthcoming Group 1 Temlee Invitational, one of Australia's most lucrative races.
Cooke, who also bred Cash In Motion, said he was jubilant to have captured one of NSW's biggest races.
"It's very satisfying," he said.
"I still can't believe it.
"I've had some pretty good greyhounds before but I think this is pretty well my best night (in the sport)."
Cash In Motion was a $4.40 second favourite for the race, which was open to Australia's best young female greyhounds, after winning her heat the previous week.
Her hopes nosedived after she jumped slowly from box four, though, and she found herself last of the eight runners after 100 metres.
Working her way through the field, she hit the front in the final stages to pip rival Lyka Allen by a nose and take the title.
The win took Cash In Motion's prizemoney to almost $180,000, which includes her triumph in the Group 3 Ipswich Gold Cup last year.
It also earned a possible spot in the invitational Temlee, which offers $100,000 to the winner.
Cash In Motion's victory is the latest achievement for Cooke, a retired welder who was a greyhound racing fan while at school in Sydney but started training in earnest only after moving to the Northern Rivers in the late 1990s.
His new next door neighbour was Charlie Northfield - a member of the renowned Northern Rivers greyhound racing clan - who rejuvenated Cooke's love for the sport.
"I began helping Charlie with his race dogs," said Cooke, who trains alongside long-term partner Tammy Simpson.
"The next thing I knew I was rearing greyhound puppies, one of whom, Portlem, was my first starter.
"At his first race Portlem won a heat of the Pop Northfield Maiden Classic at Casino and the following week I had two runners there - they both won.
"The good luck continued be- cause the third week I had runners at Casino I started my entire team of three, and they all won!"
The field for the Temlee, which will feature some of Australia's best greyhounds, will be decided next week.
Racing continues at Casino today with a 10-race card.
Zabaleta (race six), Zapata (race seven) and Laverne (race nine) look the best bets.