BE it a Group 1 in Melbourne's Spring, or a mount in The Everest, leading jockey Brenton Avdulla doesn't have a problem with the pressure. But a maiden race at Richmond greyhounds last month... that's a different story.
"I felt more pressure on me when she had her first run at Richmond, than a lot of the Group 1 favourites I've ridden. I didn't want to have dragged the boys into a dud," Avdulla said.
"Darryl (Thomas) is a great trainer, he had her ready to go and she got the job done for us."
Avdulla had convinced several of his fellow Sydney jockeys to join him in greyhound ownership, and that night at Richmond a bitch called Best On Ground made a successful debut. A week later she won again.
Joining Avdulla are stars of the saddle Kerrin McEvoy, Tommy Berry, Nash Rawiller, last Saturday's dual Group 1 winner Regan Bayliss, Jason Collett, Tom Sherry, Winona Costin, and former jockey, now manager Tye Angland.
Avdulla had previously delved into ownership with co-owner Brad Canty and trainer Darryl Thomas with a dog called Fernando Hunter, and the trio have come together again with the other hoops with Best On Ground.
"After Fernando Hunter all the boys wanted to get involved," Avdulla explained.
"So I asked Darryl and Brad to help find us a couple of dogs.
"For us, this is a different kind of enjoyment. We obviously can't own a horse, and I wanted to get everyone involved and hopefully soon we can all go to the track and watch her race.
"It's great to be a part of the greyhound industry, which is going so well."
This Saturday Best On Ground will contest the heats of the Group 1 Peter Mosman at Wentworth Park. If she qualifies, the final is on October 16. That day, a few of her owners will be busy riding in the $15 million TAB Everest at Randwick.
McEvoy will be chasing his fourth Everest aboard last year's winner Classique Legend, Rawiller will ride Eduardo, Berry will be on Masked Crusader, Collett on Gytrash, and Bayliss on The Inferno.
"I said to Kerrin, if she happened to run well in that race next week, he'd have to put it on his top three career highlights."
A Peter Mosman as an owner would therefore sit somewhere among three Melbourne Cups, three Everests and a Golden Slipper.
"Let's just hope she makes it and we're allowed to head out there," said McEvoy.
"It could be a very big day's racing. I'd seen the fun that Brenton had with his first dog. He was keen to get a few of us involved and we all jumped in with him and it's been really exciting from the get go. We can't wait to get to the track and cheer her on. For us this is a fun way to enjoy yourself and be a part of another racing code and experience the excitement of being an owner, and to do it with your mates."
While Avdulla is full of praise for his trainer it is reciprocated.
"Having these blokes involved - and they are the very best in their industry too - is such a good thing for our game," Thomas said.
"Hopefully they get a lot of enjoyment out of this and encourage more people to get involved.
"Imagine if one of the boys rides the winner of the richest race in the country, then later that night is just another hopeful owner cheering their greyhound in a Group 1 race at Wenty."
This article was produced as part of an ACM partnership with Greyhound Racing NSW.
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