When lightly-raced youngster Baby Talk suffered an early career hiccup, trainer John Paraskevas and son Andrew decided to follow a proven path that worked wonders with her sire, American Monster.
After winning her first three starts at Sale (2) and Ballarat, Baby Talk’s flying start came to an abrupt halt when finishing down the track at Warrnambool.
But she bounced back immediately last Sunday at her Healesville debut, setting the pace in the heats of the Super Sprint (1-4 wins) series over 300m, with a family affinity for coursing key to the turnaround.
“She put in a shocker at Warrnambool,” Andrew Paraskevas conceded candidly.
“We normally give our young dogs two or three field trials, at least, before they race but because of the restrictions around trialling in April/May due to COVID-19 we couldn’t educate them the way we normally would.
“So when Baby Talk didn’t lead she didn’t know what to do. She got crowded up and looked all at sea.
“After Warrnambool we decided to do something different. When we took her dad, American Monster, coursing it really turned his career around so we thought we’d try it with her to spark her up a bit.”
After a successful coursing foray at Lang Lang, where she won a puppy event, Baby Talk returned to the racetrack in Healesville’s Super Series heats.
Drawn in box one (see below), Baby Talk ($3.50) was an impressive 16.72s winner over favourite Dimensional ($2.60), claiming her fourth win from five starts, however the move to six for Sunday’s $3000 to-the-winner final is a huge concern.
“She went well; dad was rapt,” said Andrew.
“She’d had a couple of looks at Healesville. All our dogs go there early doors as part of their pre-training.
“We don’t know a lot about her yet because she hasn’t had many starts. But she seems to like the inside and she has a bit of early pace and the inside at Healesville suits dogs with pace.
“But six is a shocking draw for the final. Not so much the box but the way the dogs are drawn around her.
“The five (Feel The Thunder) wants to run up to the outside, the seven (Commander Kay) wants to come in and the pink (Dimensional), which she beat in her heat, looks like a pinkie so it’s probably the main danger.
“If she can clear them and get out in front she’s a chance but it’s a really awkward draw.”
Andrew says it’s pleasing to see American Monster, a Group 1 placegetter, having success with the first of a very limited number of matings, while adding the unique circumstances created by COVID-19 have created a rare opportunity to spend time with his dad through their shared passion for greyhound racing.
“Dad works in hospitality so we’ve probably spent more time together in the last four months than we have in the last four years,” he offered.
“It’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise.”