Tallygaroopna greyhound racing stalwarts Theo and Fay Van Taarling have spent a virtual lifetime in the sport.
According to Theo, 66, the husband-and-wife team started training in 1974, prior to a 15-year break to raise three children, and then resumed their greyhound racing passion in the early 1990s.
Tonight, the Van Taarlings will rug four runners at ‘home track’ Shepparton and will be a part of Australian greyhound history when their greyhounds’ races are beamed live into the US.
“As far as our best chance is concerned, I think it’s a toss of the coin between Twilight Flame and Shock Value,” Theo said.
Here’s how Theo assesses “Team Van Taarlings” chances:
Call Me Tanya, Race 4 Box 2, 7.57pm
“She’s only learning but improving all the time… She likes the rails as it gives her the opportunity to muster speed… I give her a place chance.”
The Watchdog says: Struggled since her debut win, can run a drum.
Twilight Flame, Race 4 Box 3, 7.57pm
“She’s in a similar boat to Call Me Tanya… She has good acceleration once she hits the ground… I think she can win, but she’ll need luck.”
The Watchdog says: Never headed here three starts back, can threaten.
Watchdog Tips: Market Jack (7); Two Times Ebony (6); Twilight Flame (3); Our Flying Bolt (5)
Suggested Bet: Trifecta 6,7/3,5,6,7/1,2,3,5,6,7 ($10 - 41.67%)
Grudge, Race 6 Box 3, 8.37pm
“For some reason, he doesn’t seem to race well at Shepparton… He’s slow early but does finish strongly… However, he’s probably better suited over 500 metres.”
The Watchdog says: Better than form, can cause an upset if steps.
Watchdog Tips: Sprite Halo (7); My Name’s Wally (5); Grudge (3); Dewana Be Sure (2)
Suggested Bet: Trifecta 5,7/2,3,5,7/2,3,5,6,7,8 ($10 - 41.67%)
Shock Value, Race 9 Box 7, 9.39pm
“She comes out quickly… I give her a good chance to finish top three… She’s also suited out wide and hopefully can stay out of trouble.”
The Watchdog says: Beaten in all three runs this trip, place best.
Watchdog Tips: Oriental Gale (2); Weeona Polly (1); Sweet Harriet (5); Red Wine Fever (6)
Suggested Bet: Trifecta 1,2/1,2,5,6/1,2,5,6,7,8 ($10 - 41.67%)
Meanwhile, the Van Taarlings’ son, Sean, has Twilight Psycho in Race 1 Box 2 at 7.02pm.
“She was off the scene for around eight months, but has improved with every start since resuming,” Theo said. “Bad box manners are her problem, but she’s a great chance if she comes away with them.”
Pawnote: In a first for Victorian and Australian greyhound racing, races 4-12 at Shepparton will be broadcast into North America with a potential wagering audience of millions of people.
GRV has teamed with Sky Racing and TAB to initially broadcast Australian greyhound racing throughout the US via skyracingworld.com and online wagering companies.
And Theo Van Taarling is full of praise for our sport’s push into the North American market.
“It’s a growing business now… Hopefully it expands into other countries,” Theo said. “It can only be good for the industry that our sport is being showcased to the US. Obviously, it’s great publicity for Victorian and Australian greyhound racing.”
You can now watch every Victorian greyhound race live and free via The Watchdog mobile form guide app, or follow ‘Watchdog Racing’ on Twitter or Facebook.
- Peter Quilty