Stairway to Heaven

Blind Bight’s Alan Hunter, 75, is a late starter to greyhound racing, but he has wasted no time climbing the sport’s ‘stairway to heaven’.

Ironically, Hunter is managing director of Mount Waverley-based family business Staircom, which is Victoria’s largest staircase manufacturer.

The spritely septuagenarian was introduced to greyhound racing by his son Brett, 42. And since then, Hunter has taken his greyhound racing passion step-by-step.

“I bought a couple of pups from the Dawsons in Trafalgar around 15 years ago and, as they say, the rest is history,” Hunter said.

A former top junior tennis player, Hunter at one stage came under the tutelage of the iconic “Old Fox”, Henry “Harry” Hopman – captain/coach of 22 Australian Davis Cup teams between 1938 and 1967.

He also recalls having “a couple of practice sets” with legendary 24-time singles Grand Slam winner Margaret Court (nee Smith) on the hallowed grass of Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club in the 1960s.

Hunter went on to assist coaching the Shell Squads – for boys and girls between 14-17 years old – and was state grade manager at Vermont South in 1993.

But these days he is ‘serving an ace’ with a May 2018 Fernando Bale x Naughty Cazza litter. (Hunter’s foundation brood matron, Naughty Cazza is two weeks in pup following a repeat mating to former champion Fernando Bale.)

Hunter says the litter of six are all city class, and one of them is Fernando Bluey who will contest the $5000-to-the-winner Cannonball Sprint final (400m) – Race 5, 8.28pm – at Geelong on Friday night.

A winner of three races from only six starts, Fernando Bluey registered the fastest heat time of 22.60sec.

WATCH: Fernando Bluey (3) win his Cannonball Sprint heat in 22.60sec (Best).

“I had $200 on him at $14 last week,” Hunter said. “There’ll be no margin for error from box four in the final, but I still think he’s a good each-way chance.”

Hunter says Fernando Bluey is “probably stronger in the run home than the rest of the field”. “He’s a mad railer and if he leads the field early, he’ll win.”

However, Hunter is concerned about Mighty Max Gone in box one. “If he does everything right and gets out in front, then they won’t catch him.”

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