From reserve to finals hope
FROM tears to cheers in a few hours - Brian Partridge and Love Kills have already had an unforgettable time in this year's Group 2 Lismore Workers Club Cup (520m).
The sprinter was originally a reserve for the third heat of the Group 2 race last Friday, but made the most of a late scratching to earn a place in the final.
First-time Stratheden-based trainer Partridge was preparing to attend a funeral in Brisbane when he learned of his greyhound's call-up to the race, the latest leg of the Thank Dog It's Friday series.
After paying his respects and returning to the Northern Rivers for the race, Love Kills produced a storming run to win his heat and qualify for this Friday's final, one of the most prestigious dates on the state's greyhound racing calendar.
"We spent the whole day in tears and then we had a night like that," Partridge said.
"I suppose it's the highs and lows of racing.
"I'm finding it hard concentrating on anything but the final.
"To be in a big race like this with a live chance on your home track is something you dream about.
"It doesn't get better."
The $8.70 shot was slow to jump in his heat but showed devastating speed to see off the field with a winning time of 30.35.
Victory took Love Kills' overall record to a solid seven wins and 11 other placings from 24 starts. He finished third in July's Group 1 Winter Cup at Albion Park behind top drawer sprinters Flash Reality and Buckle Up Wes and also has a decent record at Lismore, with three triumphs from seven starts.
Not a bad effort from a greyhound whose racing career was in doubt after he broke a leg as a pup while chasing around the paddock.
"He has fought back and had a notable career," Partridge said.
"He has great racing sense and acceleration.
"I'm a hobby trainer with a capital H (but) he governs my life to some extent.
"He is a free-roaming dog (and) we don't kennel him. You can usually find him in the kitchen or up to something."
Love Kills should have plenty of support in the final, including Partridge's twin 12-year-old sons, when he jumps from box one.
"He's got a bit of a fan base now," Partridge said.
"He loves a pat.
"Getting to Group finals with him is mind-blowing. It will be amazing to walk out in the final with him."
Lismore Workers Club Cup box draw:
1. Love Kills; 2. Bill's Fantasy; 3. Mal Rose Hi; 4. Walk With Faith; 5. Outa Tempo; 6. Fusaichi Kahn; 7. Yogi Blue; 8. Birkdale Beauty. Reserves: Dulcie Dee, Intensive Storm.