The Darren Johnstone trained Molly Anne (1st) and Miss Imperious (2nd) impress at Saturday night's Ipswich meeting. Picture:
The Darren Johnstone trained Molly Anne (1st) and Miss Imperious (2nd) impress at Saturday night's Ipswich meeting. Picture:

Gamble pays off for husband, wife


THREE years ago, Darren Johnstone and wife Sue were running their post office when Darren decided to take a gamble and turn to greyhound training.

He came up trumps. The kennel has been racing dogs for just on two years and Johnstone has made amazing progress.

He now sits atop the Ipswich male trainers' premiership. He is fourth in the owner's premiership having bought or bred most of his own dogs.

It's no fluke the kennel has broken out in 2020.

Having been in business his whole life, Johnstone had a blueprint of where he wanted to get to from the start. He is ticking all the boxes so far.

"Before I started training, I did my research went out and bought about a dozen pups,'' Johnstone said.

"A lot of those are in the prime of their careers now and have paid the bills.

"I knew I had to grow and get owners and Kelly Waltisbuhl was the first to bring me dogs Truthiness, and Miss Imperious who have turned into two of my best dogs.

"Having multiple winners every week and the race callers giving you a bit of a rap is a huge help. I just had two dogs come to the kennel this week from a new set of owners.

"It's good to know we're starting to get a reputation."

Johnstone has a lot of love for all his dogs.

Although the perennial placegetters provide the prize money to keep the machine ticking along, the trainer tipped a couple he thought had big futures, one over the sprint trip and one as a stayer.

"I'm really excited about Molly Anne's potential as a stayer,'' he said. "She's only had a dozen starts so I'd been holding her back from going further but last Saturday at Ipswich (630 metres) was the perfect starting point and she went out and got it done.

"It's not that she's a bad 520 metre bitch. She'd won five of 12 over the shorts before Saturday. I just see all the traits in her to hopefully become my first successful stayer."

Johnstone is more than happy to keep Truthiness where he is. The winner of seven from 19 starts is not far away from Thursday night racing.

"Truthiness was a 31 second dog around Ipswich when he was first racing and he's just gradually got stronger and stronger,'' the trainer said. "His most recent win there was in 30.58. He's come a long way.

"He won in good time at Capalaba on Sunday. Now he's got a couple of fourth/fifth grades left at Ipswich and he'll be off to Albion."

If you're doing your form and see D. Johnstone in the book at Ipswich pay attention, because they just keep winning.

Roy Baby relishes Queensland debut

PARK Ridge trainer Tarquin Neil looks to have a good prospect in Roy Baby, the former NSW pup making a winning debut over the dashing 288 for the kennel, in good time too 17.03.

Originally trained by Ricky Brewer at Richmond, the dog had two starts including one win at his home circuit. He has been off the scene for two months before his first up performance last Friday.

Well-bred out of star stud dog Dyna Double One and Combined Effort a well performed bitch herself around NSW tracks, it's well worth keeping an eye on his progress.

Watershed win for Major Rose

DARREN Russell's bitch Major Rose started his career in a blaze of glory, smashing the 288m track record in a 16.58 eight length romp in August last year.

There was plenty of chatter that the son of Magic Sprite and Trenty's Rose could be anything, but it's hard to live up to breaking a track record at start two.

The dog won another few races over the short course until Russell was ready to step him up. He's been an enigma ever since, sometimes brilliant other times just ordinary, but if was the good Major Rose who took out a hot fifth grade final over the 431 last Friday.

The field featured the likes of Barcol Boy, Spring Curly, Aston Poker, Spring Cleo and race favourite and kennel mate Best Fit.

Major Rose had only scraped into the final finishing fourth in his heat but was well backed late from the red.

The money was right - second around the first turn and he took over from Spring Curly down the back holding a margin to the line, a good 25.18 clip.

The dog's seven wins have come in streaks and hopefully hitting the frame first can catapult his confidence going forward.

President finds form at Ipswich

THREE weeks ago, Capalaba president John Catton's Jaydo's Jet was a 13 start maiden. The Fernando Bale product always found at least one better in his 520m races at Albion Park and Ipswich.

Searching for that elusive win, Catton dropped the dog back in trip to the 431m maiden heat on May 5. The Jet went straight to the front and got home in 24.96.

Not only had he got the monkey off his back but the two-year-old had broken the 25 second barrier at his first time of asking, a time you'd likely see from chiselled veterans.

He came back a week later and proved it was no fluke tearing them to bits by five and a half lengths in the final in a 24.99 gallop.

As good as the pair of wins were, he got it all his own way from boxes one and two and was faced with the eight in Saturday night's Novice.

He flew the lids again but so did most of the field inside him leaving him posted four wide on the first turn. The dog showed great race sense not crashing for the fence, weaving his way through runners down the back.

It looked like he would sit down to fight it out with Tony Brett's speedy Buzzer Beater. But he went right on by to win by five lengths, the 25.32 time markedly slower but the performance much more impactful.

Final Plea delivers

WHEN Final Plea went .09 off the 395m Albion Park track record late last month, Justin Bowe declared the dog was ready to win at the 520 metres, which he did in dominant fashion last Saturday night.

Missing the kick from box four the dog was able to recover and get to the rail on the first turn, the locally trained dog using all his local knowledge to take the shortest way home.

He picked up about five runners from the post to the back straight, the race a no contest in the end as he surged away from Group Two Futurity winner Zipping Cosmo in 30.54.

If the dog can bring his box manners with him for his 520 metre runs he's going to be a force to be reckoned with going forward.

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