Andrew Paraskevas will be hoping for the best tomorrow night as American Monster (pictured with Ashlee Terry) contests the McKenna Memorial.
American Monster, the second fastest qualifier for the final, was outstanding in his heat when narrowly defeating Mepunga Rosie in 34.30.
“He was terrific – it was the first time in a long time that he’s pleasantly surprised me,” said Paraskevas.
“I wasn’t quite sure how he’d go to be honest, he’d never had a start over 595m – I didn’t know how he’d begin whether he’d lob or lead, I didn’t know what to expect.”
American Monster will jump from the coveted box one in tomorrow night’s $40,000 to-the-winner final and is currently the $3.50 favourite with tab.com.au.
“He’s feeling good as gold – he’s had an easy week.
“I haven’t had a good look at the field, I think main dangers are drawn out wide and don’t have a lot of early pace. I’m not sure if box one will suit him though he’s produced a few good runs from the draw. When he drew box two in a Traralgon Cup heat I thought that’d suit him to the ground but he wanted to shift off the track.”
American Monster has won 15 of his 29 career starts however his form has been patchy since returning from an injury lay off early this year.
“He got injured in a Silver Chief semi last December. Ever since then he’s been a bit hot and cold – he’s a very fast dog when he wants to be.”
The race will be American Monster’s first crack at a group triumph, the second for 33-year-old Paraskevas.
“I had a runner in a Healesville Cup prior to it being a TAB meeting, apart from that this is the first big race we’ve been in.
“It’d be a big thrill to win the race – not because of the prize money, although it’s handy it’s not about the money for us. It’d be great for the dog to add a race like this to his resume – he deserves it.”
While American Monster’s speed on the track speaks for itself, his beautiful nature off it stands out – a trait he shares with his brothers and sisters.
“Once we got them back from the breakers, we spent a lot of time with them at home – unfortunately not all of them were suited for racing. They’re all striking looking dogs with unique colours and patterns they were all adopted almost instantly through the Greyhound Adoption Program. “
Paraskevas’ partner, Ashlee Terry, has an enormous passion in finding homes for retired racers. Click here to see her story in May’s Greyhound Monthly.
“Ash has a passion for finding homes for all dogs – it’s a satisfying feeling knowing after their racing career they’ve gone to a loving home. It’s a huge part of our industry.”
American Monster wins his heat of the McKenna