Like a fine wine Pantera Nera continues to mature with age and his victory at Geelong on Friday night was another example as to why we love this greyhound so much.
Jumping from box eight in the first heat of the Cannonball Sprint, there was no stopping the son of Milldean Panther and Go Jessie’s Girl as he used the outside of the track to power to the lead and eventually win by 5.97 lengths.
Pantera Nera and his trainer Gavin Burke rose to stardom in Victoria after Pantera Nera won the 2016 Group Two Traralgon Cup at the odds of $14.00. Defeating the likes of Jesaulenko, Demon Bale and Wot Price Flash.WATCH: Pantera Nera win the 2016 Traralgon Cup.
Originating from New South Wales, Pantera Nera competed in his first group race in the Dapto Puppy Auction Classic finishing third before finding himself in Gavin Burkes hands.
“We looked at the price of breeding a litter and decided that we can compile that money to buy a race dog who could potentially provide us with a return and Panny has done exactly that,” trainer Gavin Burke said.
It took Pantera Nera three starts to find his place on Victorian soil, recording three victories in a row winning by a combined total of 17.99 lengths.
Pantera Nera is no stranger to consecutive victories – in his 64 start career he has had five runs of three or more consecutive victories. With his most successful run starting at Warrgaul and ending six wins later in the Group One Blacktop final at The Gardens.
Out of Pantera Nera’s ten group race appearances which he has won three, Burke classes the Traralgon Cup victory as his favourite.
“The Traralgon Cup was a special one for us, it is our home track and our first group win. I class Panny’s wins in Tasmania as his greatest achievements though, all the travel he did and the times he ran were an absolute credit to him,” Burke said.
With a following of 207 friends and counting, Pantera Nera no doubt has a social media following. With regular updates of his races and comments that are always positive and supportive.
“You can never have too many friends and having everyone connected to Panny through Facebook is great – you can always call on them,” Burke said.
After creating a Facebook page for Pantera Nera to keep connections of his sire up to date, the power of social media was a friendly reminder of just how close greyhound racing and its participants are.
“The van broke down on the way to the Easter Egg heats which we put on social media. The following week Matt Lanigan messaged us to ask if we need a lift to Sydney – the kindness was amazing,” Burke said.
Burke and his partner Leanne have also created a long lasting relationship with Pantera Nera’s previous owner Nacy McIntosh.
“When ever we have a trip to Sydney Panny stays with his previous owner Nancy, she gets a kick out of watching him do well.”
“Everywhere we have been all the trainers have been wonderful and will go out of their way to help.”
On Friday night at Geelong Pantera Nera will contest one of the best Cannonball Sprint fields from box four.
“He has won more races from boxes four and five than he has most other boxes. I think he is drawn well because the likes of Bear’s Gold will have to cross him because they are on his outside.”
A win in the Cannonball Sprint on Friday night will see Pantera Nera’s prize money surpass $280,000.
Like a number of champions, a stud career is an option for Pantera Nera who has made his mark on greyhound racing in Victoria with his blistering early speed and signature curly and always wagging tail.
“A stud career is a real possibility for him in the future, but he will be competeing with some pretty amazing stud dogs but I am confident that he has achieved enough to warrant a stud career. Whether it works out or not he will live the rest of his life with us.”
Fan girl photo with Pantera Nera at the Gippsland Carnival Launch.