By Isaac Murphy
Northern Rivers trainer John Clancy said last week he had the dog to win The Group Three Vince Curry Memorial Maiden Series and Spotted Wolf didn’t let him down.
Spotted Wolf rounded up Tony Brett’s Exciting Times in the late stages to give Clancy his second win in the richest maiden series in Australia, 18 years after his first in 2001.
The final turned into a rematch between Spotted Wolf and Exciting Times who met in last week's semi-finals.
While Exciting Times held steady at his $3.70 quote Spotted Wolf saw a huge drift from $3.40 to $8.50 at the jump.
Despite the drift in betting, it was a case of Déjà vu as Spotted Wolf’s strong middle and late sectionals saw him run down Brett’s charge to give the soon-to-be-retired Clancy a Group 3 win and $40,000 to boot.
After a nasty fall about a month ago, Clancy has leaned heavily on the support of his family to keep the kennel running and his wife Janelle spoke of the joy the win John and the family in a tough time.
“We’re all incredibly excited to win and event like The Vince Curry, it’s been eighteen years, but we got another one,” she said.
“What’s probably made it extra special is the fact that it’s John’s last set of dogs before he retires, and he’s always said I’d love to win that big one again to go out on a high.
“He’s the type of bloke who likes to get out there and be really hands on with his training, which he hasn’t been able to do, it’s been really uplifting for him to have this success.”
Janelle said John’s belief in the dog had been unwavering and despite Exciting Times getting the fly on him this week, he always believed.
“He had so much confidence in the dog, he didn’t want to hear anything about him getting beaten.” Janelle said.
“After the heats he said I know the dogs good enough, the dogs got the right attitude and Wolfy didn’t let him down.
“He’s very strong and even though Exciting Times was a couple of lengths ahead of where he was last week we never panicked, he just stuck to that rail and came home the best.”
As one of only two dogs the Clancys have in work, Janelle said they couldn’t believe they had a dog like Spotted Wolf to enjoy their swansong.
“He’s such an amazingly calm and happy dog in everything he does, the crowd and the big stage didn’t worry him at all,” Janelle said.
“Whenever you look at him you’d swear he’s smiling right back at you, nothing phases him.”
Although Clancy’s trainer career is drawing to a close he’s not done yet and can’t wait to get Wolfy to Albion Park where he thinks he’ll continue to make strides.
“We can’t wait to get to Albion Park with him, he’s such a big striding dog he’s just going to love that big sweeping bend down the back there I don’t think there is going to be much stopping him,” Janelle said.
“We’re going to give him a two-week spell before we take him up and trial him before his Novice and if everything works out take him on to some of the bigger races approaching The Winter Carnival.”
The Clancys are certainly going to leave their mark on the greyhound industry with a tremendously talented litter out of Fernando Bale and Apache Kitten ready to make waves.
“He’s got two brothers both owned and trained by our good family friend Desy (Desmond Cecil),” Janelle said.
“Chief Fernando won his first start at Albion Park last Monday and the other brother Apache is having his first run tonight.”
"From what we’ve seen at home both of them aren’t far off Spotted Wolf.”