Six months ago Bundles Galore was hobbling around in the paddock with no guarantee of ever racing again.
Now the strong-running racedog is one step away from a berth in the Nationals as he heads into Thursday night’s WA Sprint Championship (520m) at Cannington on the back of some cracking form.
It’s a remarkable about-face for a greyhound that was on the brink of an early retirement and testament to the hard work and patience of his trainer, Morgan Turner.
The white and black chaser joined Turner’s Nambeelup kennels in February, not long after sustaining a potentially career ending hock injury.
It was by no means the ideal situation to welcome a greyhound into the kennel but Turner took a punt on Bundles Galore’s natural talent and backed himself to get the dog right.
Prior to the injury Bundles Galore was an above average performer, worth taking a risk on.
Since he’s returned to racing he’s been even better!
The recovery process was lengthy, Turner recalled.
“We just walked him for months before we could even gallop him or even think about putting him in a trial,” he said.
The 34-year-old mining worker, who prepares a team of twenty dogs in the Nambeelup kennels he built himself, doesn’t claim all the credit for himself.
He is assisted in running the kennel by his wife, Karis, as well as veteran greyhound identities Dave and Christine Robartson.
“It’s not just a one man operation, it’s a team effort between the four of us,” he said.
Bundles Galore returned to the racetrack in mid-May but his first few runs back, all over the 520m, were hit and miss. The dog’s fortunes changed when Turner entered him into a distance race in a bid to get him firing again.
“I gave him the 600m to build his confidence because he was getting too far back and was getting knocked around,” the trainer said.
“He surprised me by winning that race and he’s looked like a new dog ever since.”
Bundles Galore has now claimed five of his past six starts, including a trio of Free To All victories and another eye-catching come-from-behind victory in Saturday’s WA Sprint Championship heat.
The only time he has missed out during that period was when he narrowly ran second to Bendigo Cup winner Vanderworp.
“He’s just starting to peak now,” Turner stated.
“In his early runs back you could see he was getting tired but his race fitness has improved out of sight.
“(Bundles Galore) is doing so well that the Vet where he had the operation after his injury wants to get a photo of him to put on the wall because he’s been such a success story.”
The appeal of a dog like Bundles Galore, not only for Turner but for all racing fans, is his thrilling racing style.
He crawls out the traps like a lethargic sloth but he charges home with irrepressible running power inherited from his sire, Dyna Nalin.
“I used to love watching Dyna Nalin, dogs like that are exciting, and he’s very similar,” Turner said.
Having a big engine is only one part of the equation, even a strong race dog won’t be effective unless it has the track sense to go with it.
“Bundles is good at navigating his way through a field,” Turner said.
“He needs to the way he starts!”
Bundles Galore will book his ticket to the Sandown Nationals if he takes out the WA Sprint Championship on Thursday.
Turner admits the race is Bundles Galore’s greatest challenge to date.
“We do have a few things in our favour,” he said.
“The short turnaround from heats to final and the fact that the weather is likely to be heavy again should suit him.
“But it’s a great field and if a dog like West On Augie gets away he’s going to be hard to run down.
“All you can do is put them in the boxes and see how you go.”
Whatever happens you can bet Bundles Galore will be fighting it out at the finish.
By James Broadhurst