Meet the Swimming Goat taking New Zealand by storm
MEET the record-breaking Northern Rivers dishlicker who is the talk of New Zealand greyhound racing.
Swimming Goat, owned by Stratheden's Allan Lang, will aim for an incredible 22nd consecutive victory when he races at Christchurch tomorrow.
The flying machine has won 28 of his 30 races - finishing second in the other two - broken track records and become a national racing star since heading across the Tasman.
Lang, who achieved similar stunning success as owner of champion greyhound Paw Licking earlier this decade, said it was "fantastic” watching Swimming Goat's success.
"It's been wonderful,” he said.
"You never think you'll get one that can win as many as this in a row - and he's not finished yet.”
Swimming Goat is a son of the 2011 Australian Greyhound of the Year El Grand Senor and Kingsbrae Molly, who won 11 times and placed nine times in a short but remarkably consistent 21-race career.
He was whelped in January 2014 among a litter bred by Stratheden's Toni Northfield - part of the renowned Northern Rivers greyhound racing family - and acquired his name in unusual circumstances.
"It was going to involve 'Flamingo' but my granddaughter couldn't pronounce that,” Lang said.
"Somehow by the end of the night Flamingo became Swimming Goat - and that's how it stayed.”
Swimming Goat raced initially for Lang at the Northern Rivers tracks before his owner-trainer decided to send him to race in New Zealand, where greyhounds race over short courses such as the 295m Christchurch track.
"It's not that he wasn't fast, but he couldn't run much further than 300 metres,” Lang said.
"There weren't many opportunities for him to race locally (under 300 metres), so I looked at New Zealand.
"It cost $3000 to send him New Zealand, so it wasn't a cheap decision, but I thought he'd go well there.”
Lang sent Swimming Goat to Rangiora trainer Calum Weir on recommendation from a friend and gun Victorian mentor Kel Greenough, who himself trained multiple group winner Paw Licking for Lang.
"Calum is a fine trainer and looks after his greyhounds very well,” Lang said.
"He messages me every week with what's happening with Swimming Goat and where he will race next so I can watch the race on TV.”
After finishing second on his Christchurch debut in March, Swimming Goat has smashed the previous New Zealand all-time record of 14 consecutive triumphs.
He has featured on NZ television, extended his overall career record to a remarkable 32 wins and five minor placings from 41 starts and broken the Christchurch track record too.
"Part of greyhound racing is knowing where to race your greyhounds in order to get the best out of them,” Lang said.
"He would have struggled to achieve his best here but over there he's been a star.
"Everyone has played a role in his success and its been a fantastic journey.”
Swimming Goat jumps from box one in race 11 at Christchurch tomorrow at 5.12pm (New South Wales time).