Yogi Blue surges to Group win
"A DREAM come true" - that's how Peter O'Reilly has described earning his first Group win in the latest leg of the Thank Dog It's Friday series at Lismore.
The Queensland owner/trainer saw his sprinter Yogi Blue win the 2014 Lismore Workers Club Cup (520m) in thrilling fashion.
Jumping from box seven in last Friday's race, Yogi Blue produced a superb finish to surge clear of challenger Bill's Fantasy and earn O'Reilly the $40,000 top prize.
It was a first Group win for O'Reilly, who has been a trainer for five years, and a welcome win for his experienced greyhound after missing out in a handful of other Group finals.
"It is a dream come true, especially after all the effort he has put in during his career," O'Reilly said.
"You try so hard to win these races and then it finally happens.
"I'm still trying to get over it all."
Yogi Blue ($4.40) and Bill's Fantasy ($4.70) duelled it out for most of the race before the former sped clear down the home straight to win by almost two lengths.
Outa Tempo ($7.50) took third.
O'Reilly, whose daughter Amy is a promising trainer, said it had been a nerve-wracking finish to the race.
"I was thinking, 'please don't get beaten by a nose'," the 50-year-old said.
'When I realised he had won, it was brilliant.
"I don't drink, so we didn't celebrate too much afterwards. I just wanted to soak it up."
Yogi Blue has been nominated for Ipswich on Thursday but then will likely enjoy a well-deserved break.
O'Reilly said he would aim for the Group 3 Ipswich Gold Cup (520m), which starts with heats on November 8.
There should be plenty of races left in the greyhound, whose career record now stands at 24 wins from 80 starts.
"I think he's got another six months of racing left in him," O'Reilly said.
"What will the prizemoney go on? Probably the mortgage, unfortunately - there's no escaping that."
The Thank Dog It's Friday series showcases the best greyhound racing at regional NSW tracks in a primetime Friday night timeslot.
Meanwhile, racing continues at Lismore tonight.
Talented pup Brute Crown in race seven, Buenos Cloud in race eight and Cosmic Cruiser in the ninth all look strong contenders.
Ten races are on the card and action starts at 6.40pm.