A WARRNAMBOOL trainer and three high-profile jockeys are getting a thrill from a whole different kind of racing.
The Correct Weight syndicate - comprising high profile jockeys Jye McNeil, John Allen and Harry Coffey, trainer Daniel Bowman and mate Paul McDowall - have taken to greyhound racing with unbridled passion.
They're enjoying the ride with a chaser called On The Bit, prepared by Anakie trainer Matt Lanigan and it's impossible to rein in their enthusiasm.
On The Bit started racing in March, winning his first three races. He made it four from six when successful this past week on Warrnambool Cup night.
"Matt and I come from Swan Hill," Coffey said. "We played in the same footy league, and he was a very good cricketer. Basically, we got to know each other through our love of sport.
"He was training greyhounds while working at the local Telstra shop at the time and I'd often mention my family and friends were interested in owning a greyhound. Daniel's in-laws lived next door to Matt's father, Gerald."
We're having fun, it's a great experience... Both codes are similar, but it's interesting to see the different methods of preparing the dogs for racing. And we're receiving, not giving, the feedback.Harry Coffey
Coffey added owning On The Bit was "not just enjoyment but experience".
"We're having fun, it's a great experience... Both codes are similar, but it's interesting to see the different methods of preparing the dogs for racing. And we're receiving, not giving, the feedback.
"It's a good group of blokes and we're rapt to be supporting Matt.
"He did a very good job with the first dog he trained for us and when it retired, we said 'get us another one'.
"The entire syndicate were able to make it to Warrnambool Cup night as we'd been riding at the annual Warrnambool May Carnival.
"Matt had some pressure on him, but he came through with the goods."
When the opportunity came up to get involved with On The Bit, McNeil quipped: "We went down to the bank and got some money out."
The Melbourne Cup-winning jockey said it was tough to compare watching a greyhound from the sidelines to riding a horse to a win.
"It's a different kind of excitement. We're on the other side of the fence, relaxed and without the pressure. We can watch it all unfold from a different perspective," he said.
"That's the first time I've seen him race. People went out of their way to make the night special. We were able to go out onto the track after his race and have a pat and a photo. It was a memorable night."
McNeil rode two winners - Ocular and Tooradin - on the last day of Warrnambool's horse racing May Carnival.
But the obvious highlight of his career as a hoop is winning last year's Melbourne Cup on Irish raider, Twilight Payment.
Ironically, the Correct Weight syndicate's greyhound racing foray is akin to the 'race that stops a nation'.
Metaphorically speaking, they're just passing the post the first time around. And they realise there's a long straight ahead.
"At this stage, we're just enjoying this bloke. But, long term, the intention is to stay in the industry," McNeil said.
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