We tend to forget how good some of our champions were. I wrote this piece about the mighty contribution made by Awesome Assassin. He was a great race dog as his stats testify. However what a mark he made as a Stud dog here and overseas. He produced 1031 litters from April 1997 to May 2010. These names can be added to the ones in the story. Paua To Burn, Whisky Assassin, Mid City Mandy, Jaimandy Coops, Proven Wizard, Run’s House, Ben’s Fury, Awesome Machine, Most Awesome, Proven Lethal, Collision, Fly On Bonnie, Harvey Bale, Hotshow Lil, Regal Bart, Our Spence, Flying Scott, Katella Bale, Path To Power, Grigorieva, Bertram Bale. Plus a host of American dog with the prefix “Pat C”. There is many more.
“OH” SO AWESOME
There is always a touch of disappointment when the really great champions of any era finally retire.
One of my favourite and certainly a favourite Australian wide was the mighty Awesome Assassin, officially retired back in September 1998. I ask the question has there ever been a greyhound more aptly named.
His extremely descriptive moniker provided editors and greyhound Journo’s Australia wide with a smorgasbord of brilliant banner headlines.
Luckily for us his reign in the top echelon of Australian sprinters and middle distance speedsters, lasted for over two years.
The owning partnership of Awesome Assassin consisted of Adam Mulday, Barry Moss and David Burns.
The Adbarave Syndicate had raced a couple of dogs without great success, but was always on a winner with the beautifully bred litter of pups by Light of Fire out of Tranquil Flame.
The litter consisted of one dog and five bitches, and the partnership selected the only dog, namely Awesome Assassin, and one of his sisters, who they later raced as Tranquil Light.
The pups were three months old when picked out, and went on to complete their rearing at a property in Nerrim South, Victoria.
There is an interesting story behind Awesome Assassin’s now famous name.
The boys had all their chosen nine names knocked back, and therefore it was left up to the ANZGA to name the black dog pup.
ANZGA/NCA staff member, Nick Richards was very happy with the name he derived, and granted it to the youngster.
It was a combination of three of the nine names that the partners submitted, which in most cases is what ANZGA staff try to do when left with the task of naming owner’s pups.
Awesome Assassin was broken in with glowing reports at Caesar Costa’s in Tooradin, Victoria.
He then had eight weeks of pre training with Gippsland mentor, Maidland Higgins.
The partnership had formed an agreement that their pups would be trained by leading Victorian conditioner Jason Thompson.
Thompson had trained both the sire and dam with outstanding success, and was very keen about the prospects of the offspring.
“When I picked him up from ‘Matey’, he predicted he would be the best stayer
Australia had ever seen.
“It was a big wrap at the time, and ironically I never got the chance to race him over a longer distance than 630 metres.
“So he may have been right, I have no doubt he would have been a pretty handy stayer,” Thompson told me when I interviewed him about the champ.
Almost immediately, Thompson knew he had a special greyhound.
“The first time I trialled him was over 311 metres at Cranbourne, he ran a very fast 18.01 seconds.
I then took him to Warragul and he clocked 24.30 seconds when he was only 17 months old.”
“The important aspect that struck me about him, was his temperament, he was the perfect dog to train.
“His attitude to everything he did right throughout his career was spot on.
Travelling kennelling, you name it.”
“He just has the best nature of any dog I’ve ever had anything to do with,” Thompson
Awesome Assassin commenced his racing career in June 1996, and as an indicator of what was to come, it was in spectacular fashion.
He won his maiden qualifying heat and Final at Bendigo in 24.28 and 24.12 respectively.
It was the start of a brilliant race career which saw him race in four states and win over a variety of distances, on all types of track shapes and surfaces.
Awesome Assassin at the end of the day, was no doubt best suited on a big horseshoe shaped track, that is not to say he didn’t handle two turns, which was demonstrated by his brilliant performance in winning the 1996 Silver Chief.
He made a clean sweep of the series, recording sub 30 seconds at Sandown in his three runs.
His most brilliant performance was during a purple patch of form, commencing on March 25, 1997 when he recorded 23.84 seconds at Warragul.
If that effort wasn’t enough, he came out a week later on April 2 and recorded a staggering 24.99 seconds at Ballarat.
The two starts at Warragul and Ballarat were both records, and could only be broken by the likes of Brett Lee.
“I always thought that record winning run at Warragul was his best effort, and he proved his liking for big tracks, as every time he stepped on them, he ran exceptionally fast times. Places like Bulli, Horsham, Ballarat, suited him perfectly,” stated Thompson.
It’s not common knowledge but practically every time Thompson trialled Awesome Assassin on a track he hadn’t been to, he either broke the record or ran close to it.
If there was a chink in his amour, it would be that he wasn’t lightning fast over the
first 60 metres.
At the end of his career, it was probably the reason he wasn’t successful in Group
One races. However, there were plenty of feature wins along the way.
Besides the Silver Chief, he won the Rooty Hill RSL Gold Plate at Bulli in New South Wales, the Sale Cup and was a runner up in the 1997 Top Gun, both in Victoria.
He also was a finalist in the Golden Easter Egg at Wentworth Park, and the Cranbourne, Warragul and Traralgon Cups, all in Victoria.
During 1998, Thompson embarked on campaigns, which saw him, race over some middle distances. It produced stunning results and more records to his increasing number.
Mounting injuries and an unprecedented demand at stud forced connections to make a decision as to whether to continue racing, or launch into a stud career permanently.
“We all felt that he owed us nothing and deserved his retirement. He was carrying a number of injuries and I would have hated to have seen him break down completely, being forced to leave the racetrack in those circumstances was not the end we wanted for the dog,” Thompson said.
His attraction to breeders was no doubt his ability to break track records, as Awesome Assassin retired the holder of eight, making him the only greyhound to go close to the mighty Zoom Top’s record of holding ten at one time.
The champ started 69 times for 38 wins and 21 placings, his prizemoney totalled close to $150,000.
He held track records at Ballarat (450 metres, 24.99 and 550 metres, 30.98), Warragul (424 metres, 23.84), Geelong (600 metres, 34.00), Sale (511 metres, 29.27 and 630 metres, 36.27), Traralgon (513 metres, 29.66) and Horsham over 480 metres in 27.15 seconds.
He also won from every box and his other best winning times included Geelong (457 metres, 26.09), Wentworth Park (520 metres, 30.27), Sale (424 metres, 23.81), Shepparton (440 metres, 24.66) and Sandown Park over 515 metres in 29.96 seconds.
Incredibly whilst he raced over the last 12 months of his career, he servicing in excess of 120 bitches.
While he current tally numbers 670 services’ he has never been more popular serving full books over the last few of months. That is no doubt due to some of the brilliant progeny he has had hit the racetracks over the last few years.
Awesome Assassin served some sensational brood bitches amongst his first crop, and that situation has not waned in the ensuing years, I was always of the opinion he would be an outstanding success at stud, but like all champs he had his detractors. No doubt they are all now quite silent.
Awesome Assassin has sired a host of city winners in all states here is a list of some of the better dogs he has had race. Modern Assassin, Awesome Machine, Winsome Dollars, Awesome Ability, Floodfawn, Awesome Havoc, Capabilty, Bach’s Maestro, Brooklyn Mist, Carnival Gig, Old Desy Keysy, Proven Assassin, Proven Wizard, She’s Awesome, Viter Assassin, Regal Tiger, Audrey Elaine, Basil Brench, Awesome Thoughts, Fly On Bonnie, Go Shoopa, Grigoreva, Hotshow Jackson, Hotshow Elly, Winsome Duchess, Ramanauskas and Your Awesome.
Awesome Assassin stands at Meadow Park Stud in Cranbourne beside his sire Light of Fire, and along with No Intent and Ashigga.
Thompson trains his successful team of race dogs and looks after stud duties as well in what is a very busy operation.
The big black superstar may be gone from the racetrack, but I’m sure he is set to leave his mark for many years to come.