MARTIN Galea, pictured with his Geelong Cup finalist Yeah Whatever, knows a talented greyhound when he comes across one.
And having begun training greyhounds in 1973, he’s been blessed enough to train some talented chasers over his time in the industry – none more so than those in his Sunshine North kennel now.
But the Galea kennels will face one of the toughest challenges and biggest occasions of their career to date this Friday, when Yeah Whatever – trained by Martin’s daughter Angela – contests the prestigious $77,000 Group 2 Geelong Cup (460m).
“We’ve had (this one) since he was very young. He’s a very good dog,” Galea said.
“It is a very good field, but I’m hopeful that he can get out of the boxes well, avoid trouble and maybe sit on the back of the leader to perhaps run a place. I slipped him on Tuesday, and he’s feeling good. He’s ready to go.”
Yeah Whatever shocked punters in his heat of the Geelong Cup, overcoming a couple of checks and wide berth into the straight to run down Aston Bolero at odds of $10.20 on the TAB market.
His time and winning margin were also nothing to sneeze at – a flying 25.78sec effort that put three and a half lengths on the next greyhound.
Galea, 62, said that his family put immense time and passion into ensuring their greyhounds were in the “best condition possible” all year round.
“It’s a bit like having kids all over again,” he laughed. “When it’s hot, we put the air conditioning on for them. When it’s cold, you have to be careful because they can get kennel cough… We’ve lived in town at Sunshine North for as long as we’ve been training and our neighbours love our dogs.
“You definitely have to push yourself. I fell ill earlier this year with kidney stones but my daughter (Angela) has been a big help. She’s up at four o’clock in the morning to tend to our dogs,” he said.
Galea, who attended the meeting, said he was surprised with the strength of her victory – an impressive ten length winning margin.
“Jason Thompson said to me, ‘Martin, I’ve never seen a young dog run like that up the straight’… I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
“I turned and said to the starter: ‘I can’t believe my eyes, I think I’m going blind’.”
It’s All Talk will resume at Healesville again on Sunday, in a bid to improve on her impressive effort last weekend. But before that, the Galea’s have something even more important in their sights – the prestigious Geelong Cup.
Standing in their way is Thompson’s mighty young greyhound Dalgetty, who blitzed his heat in 25.31sec (Best), but Galea remains somewhat optimistic.
“If you look after your greyhounds they will perform… the box draw for Yeah Whatever (4) is hard, but he’ll be well prepared.”
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Geelong Greyhound Racing Club representatives Mark Pearson (Chairman, second from left) and Maurice Blair (right) share the moment with Angela and Martin Galea after Yeah Whatever’s heat win last Friday. Pics Clint Anderson.