The Britton family was celebrating overtime on Wednesday night when outsider Leo’s Gift caused a boil-over in the Group 2 Warrnambool Cup, upsetting warm favourite Striker Light.
Trained by Robert Britton, who’s currently holidaying in the United States, Leo’s Gift was a wedding present to Britton’s daughter Tamara and husband Adam Tenadii, and he’s been a gift that keeps on giving.
His surprise all-the-way Cup triumph reaped a $47,000 purse and took his earnings to a tick under $130,000.
“Two weeks before my sister Tamara was getting married a couple of years ago I wanted to buy her a greyhound pup as a present, so I asked my dad to find one and we presented him to her at the wedding,” Tim Britton, Robert’s son and Tamara’s brother, explained.
“We brought the four month old pup to the reception and he was a huge hit.
“So Tamara owns him and I have a small share. I was just hoping he’d go on to win a couple of races, but to win a Group race with him is unbelievable.”
Leo’s Gift had been racing consistently without setting the world on fire over 500 metres in town in recent weeks before making a winning Warrnambool debut with an all-the-way 25.35sec heat victory.
At his 49th start, and just his second in a Group event, having finished unplaced in last year’s South Australian Derby, Leo’s Gift started at $15.20 from box five.
Golden Easter Egg heroine Striker Light, chasing her first feature trophy in her home state, was the $2.90 favourite from box two, head of Anthony Azzopardi’s fastest qualifier Lucky Chap, another Easter Egg finalist, which exited the four alley as a $4.30 chance.
Leo’s Gift was best to begin, while Striker Light jumped fairly and Lucky Chap was moving into a threatening position before a check put him out of play.
Leo’s Gift turned for home ahead of Raw Ability and Striker Light and refused to relinquish his advantage, defeating Striker Light by three-quarters of a length in a slick 25.08sec, his 16th win from 49 starts.
“Dad is in America right now and I’ve just come back from there. Dad bought a farm in Abilene (Kansas) and I’ve been rearing pups there for him,” Tim said.
“I’ve just completed my second six month stint there and the plan is to continue rearing litters there.
“We plan to sell a lot of the pups at the greyhound auctions held regularly in Abilene and if we get a really good one we might bring it to Australia to race.”
Check out LEO’S GIFT’s massive run from Box 5 to win the 2017 Warrnambool Cup
*This article was compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Andrew Copley.