Bitter Melbourne Cup disappointment has translated to The Phoenix excitement and anticipation for Lisa Cockerell and her middle distance ‘magician’ Hector Fawley.
On Wednesday Hector Fawley was unveiled as slot holder Total Container Solutions' runner in the third staging of the $1.65 million The Phoenix (525m), the world's richest greyhound race, at The Meadows on Saturday week, December 16.
At his most recent start, Hector Fawley was edged out by eventual Melbourne Cup third placegetter Mac's Damage in a Cup heat, storming home from a clear last to be beaten a nose in one of the most memorable runs of 2023."It's very, very humbling and exciting. To think that he's been chosen to go in a race like The Phoenix is amazing."
"It's still so raw," said Lisa Cockerell.
"Everyone has been saying it's one of the best losing runs of the year, but I'd rather it be one of the best winning runs!"
While Hector Fawley, winner of the Group 1 Hume Cup over 600m at The Meadows on the opening night of the $4.1 million Dream Chasers Festival, was denied a shot at Melbourne Cup glory, the enormity of his performance in defeat convinced Total Container Solutions to secure him as their Phoenix representative.
"That run was awesome; that pretty well put me over the line to get him," Shane O'Hehir from TCS told The Phoenix Flight Path podcast.
"There's about ten of us in our group. We've got some very good people with us, all the Brittons, David Geall and Jarrod Sharp.
"We looked at a few dogs, but 'Hector' stood out. That last run at Sandown, where he was just unlucky on the line, that was the run when we knew we wanted to pick him for this race.
"There's a few people doubting his '500' ability, everyone knows he can run 600m, but we've got no problems at all."
Total Container Solutions have a proven record in selecting greyhounds for slot races, after Crumble Monelli won the $500,000 The Sandgroper at Cannington in April.
Just weeks after celebrating their first G1 success with their home-bred son of Bernardo and Rolanda Hooch, who's named after a Minister for Magic in the Harry Potter series, the Cockerell-family are now dreaming of The Phoenix's $1 million winner's purse.
After confirmation of his inclusion in The Phoenix, Hector Fawley, winner of 17 of his 43 starts, is an $8.50 chance with Sportsbet ahead of Sunday morning's crucial box draw.
"We'll supply the dog, and we'll make sure he's 110 per cent ready, and it's up to Total Container Solutions to choose the right box!" Lisa quipped.
"I would really like to draw near the rail – one or two, or even box three at a pinch!
"It's very, very humbling and exciting. To think that he's been chosen to go in a race like The Phoenix is amazing.
"There's a lot of fast early dogs in the race, but if he's within striking distance, he can do it. He'll give it everything because that's what he always does.
"We're so proud of him. He's the apple of our eyes!"
for The Phoenix
(odds thanks to Sportsbet)
RSN – Big Energy ($3)
Good Blokes Society – Alpha Zulu ($5
)Greyhounds HQ – Postman Pat ($5)
Racing Queensland – Jay Is Jay ($8)
Ladbrokes – Schillaci ($14)
Tabcorp – Pass The Buck ($8.50)
Total Container Solutions – Hector Fawley ($8.50)
Sportsbet – to be confirmed