Tyson Trump was just two months shy of his third birthday when he made his long-awaited TAB track debut on Healesville Cup day (September 10). His trainer Peter Craig (pictured with Tyson Trump) reveals the pathway that led to his greyhound’s twolength win that day as a red-hot $1.60 favourite.
Q. When did Tyson Trump come into your care and at what stage of his education/development was he?
I was given Tyson to train in July last year when he was 20 months old. He had been to the education centre twice and wasn’t going too well. He would chase well behind the drag lure but not the carriage (regular) lure. I was having some fun with his brother and sister and suggested to Leigh (Jennings), his owner/breeder, that I have a try using the drag lure at Lang Lang and hopefully progress from there. I do enjoy a challenge.
Q. Why did it take so long for Tyson to have his first TAB start?
It hasn’t been until recently that I was confident he would complete the course at a TAB track. Tyson has been in the kennel for 14 months and has rarely taken two steps forward in a row – it’s usually been one step forward, one backwards, or in the case of Sandown it was 30 metres forward and turned around and came 30 metres back, or when he stopped to check out the back of the 520 boxes in a 311 trial at Cranbourne. You might get this from a pup during early education but not at two plus years of age. I have had some success in the past if you can make small progressive steps with problem children like Tyson. Getting them to chase the drag lure with conviction is the first step, then coursing the dog behind the drag is an easy progression. Once the dog learns the ritual of being put in the slips at the coursing, I have found they seem to associate being put in the slips with the excitement of the chase and are less worried by the carriage lure and your chances of getting them to improve. From there the next step is coursing behind the carriage lure and Longwood is perfect for that. If they can get through that step the progression to a track like Healesville is possible.
Q. Tyson coursed a number of times during the 2017 season. How did he fare?
The Coursing season is relatively short so whilst he started at most meetings, seven race days in four months certainly isn’t overtaxing for a race dog and it’s an easy task to keep him up for this length of time and at the same time work on his issues.
Tyson started the season with a bang! After success at a Catch on to Coursing meeting at Lang Lang (in April) and then the first Lang Lang meeting of the year, we were hopeful he may progress further but he struggled away from Lang Lang. Whilst his record for the season was ordinary, a few of the days saw him just go down in quick time or to some handy greyhounds.
But he did progress and when given the opportunity in a final, he proved the three runs in a day were right up his alley.
Finishing runner-up to Better Than This in a final at Lang Lang by less than two lengths showed he has ability. The key to the season was to get him going at Longwood for the Waterloo Cup meeting and whilst the season didn’t end like it started, he wasn’t disgraced.
Q. How has coursing helped Tyson?
Tyson isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, so the repetition of chasing the lure a few times in a day is probably the thing that got it through a thick skull! He is now a very fit greyhound that is a lot more experienced than the maiden dogs he met at Healesville and I think that experience is very important with maidens. It isn’t the first time I have coursed dogs before they went to the track and they always get out of maiden class early in their careers.
Q. Were you ever of the mindset that Tyson may not ever be a TAB track dog?
Yes, most weeks between July 2016 and May 2017. Tyson got his racing name just after the US election, I told Leigh, Tyson would have to win the unwinnable just like Donald (Trump)! However, the plan was always to race him on a TAB track once the coursing season finished, if he was chasing well enough.
Q. He was a hot favourite ($1.60) in his debut win. What do you put that down to?
Either the Corporate bookies have never seen him trial, or someone at the ICG meeting that week took me seriously when I declared him.
Q. What does the future hold for Tyson? Has he got potential to race on the circle? Will he return for the 2018 coursing season?
I hope he likes the drive to Healesville. I’m not too sure about the circle but never say never. If he gets the hang of straight track racing and his times start to replicate what he can run behind the drag lure then it’s possible. Tyson has now won first up at the Coursing and first up at Healesville, so watch out if he appears somewhere on the circle (laughs)!
*Peter Craig is the President of the National Coursing Association
EDUCATIONAL VIDEOS: COURSING