Dog days look over for Bathurst battler

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Matt Murphy just trained his first greyhound city winner in Rockstar Kerr.

Not only that, but the race she won was the final of the Ladbrokes Challenge Series and pocketed Murphy and her owners a cool $20,000 thanks to the online bookmarker.

For a bloke with only a small kennel at Raglan, on the outskirts of Bathurst, who came perilously close to giving it all away at the height of the impending NSW government’s ban on the sport, this isn’t just a big deal, it’s a game changer.

“The wife and I certainly had some intense conversations about what we might have to do or where we would go because we had pumped a lot of money into this place,” Matt said.

Matt, his wife Naiomi and their son Kyle, now 10, moved to Raglan from Sydney to chase his dream of living the farm life and rearing greyhound pups in 2012. They’ve since added another child, Khali, 5.

They purchased their property for half a million dollars and sank another $200,000 in getting it up to scratch for what they wanted to do, but the greyhound ban almost ruined them.

“Even now, I am still not entirely confident in the government so I have put the prize money away for a rainy day,” he said.

As mentioned, that prizemoney came courtesy of kennel star, Rockstar Kerr and her victory in the stayer category of the Ladbrokes Challenge Series, where greyhounds accumulate points across a host of races at numerous tracks across NSW and the top eight points getters head to the final at Wentworth Park.

The final was last Saturday, June 16 and the bitch Rockstar Kerr wasn’t exactly a raging favourite.

“I knew straight away with her I would target this series almost entirely because of the money,” Matt said.

“It’s a lot of money for greyhound racing.

“There’s prestige obviously and it’s well graded but the money is a good boost, especially given we were bordering on selling up.”

Rockstar Kerr finished second in a race at Temora on April 21 but the run left Mr Murphy in little doubt she could win the series.

“She was 20 lengths last in a 580m race and scorched home for third by a couple lengths,” he said.

“She was always going to be better over the longer trip.

She placed second in her next three runs before a 6th and a 7th heading into the final, but she’d already qualified and had excuses for both runs.

When it came to the final, she drew box four, came out last as usual, and stormed home just as Matt had hoped.

She paid $16. Matt bet on her too and used his Ladbrokes odds boost to get a better price.

He has only 14 dogs in work and has another 40 which he is rearing. In 12 months he hopes to have that back up to the 60 where he was before the government ban which never eventuated.

After Rockstar Kerr’s win and a pretty good success rate of late, the small-time trainer might be about to get a bit bigger in the very near future.

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