Lavis still on winner with dogs
IF PAT Lavis reckons Mincin' Machine is handy, there is probably no need to argue.
Lavis's exciting newcomer goes from box one in the fourth and final Pop Northfield Memorial Maiden Series (411m) semi-final at Casino today having already impressed in his budding racing career.
The greyhound was the fastest winner from last Sunday's eight heats, bolting around for a debut win in 22.99 seconds.
With Mincin' Machine's similarly eye-catching brother, Western Dave, going in the first semi-final, owner/trainer Lavis was excited about the pair's chances of reaching the final.
"They are a pleasure to train," he said. "Mincin' Machine goes off the track (and) Western Dave is good as well.
"They are green as anything but to break 23 seconds and have half-a-dozen performance trials like Mincin' Machine has done is pretty good.
"It's a long way from the Pop Morson at Casino to Group standard but I think they'll be good."
The Pop Northfield race, named after a much-loved member of the Northfield greyhound racing clan, is one of the most sought-after races on the Northern Rivers circuit.
Today's final is the last feature race at Casino before the club switches its grass track of almost 80 years' standing at Queen Elizabeth Park to a loam surface.
"It's a race I always wanted to win," Lavis said.
"I'm friends with the Northfields (and) I'm never had a winner in it.
"And it's $8000 for the winner, which wouldn't be bad either."
Lavis is a regular face on the North Rivers tracks and currently has almost 30 greyhounds working.
He has enjoyed a decent 2014 with the likes of regular North Rivers winners Bogan Miss and Bogan Girl.
The 62-year-old became "hooked" on the sport more than 40 years ago after spotting a greyhound in a rescue pound and deciding to have a crack at racing.
His new pet won first up and Lavis has not stopped since.
"I think I live on cloud nine when it comes to greyhound racing," he said with a smile. "I love the lifestyle and I love training winners.
"It's a passion of mine - I find the harder I work, the luckier I get."
Mincin' Machine's toughest opponent could be Peter Simpson's Kingda Kahn (box two), who ran 23.19 seconds in the heats. Others to watch in the semi-finals include Genalaky Red, Jo See Kahn and Party Man.
Ten races are on the card at Casino and action starts at 12.56pm.