Derek Faulknall’s 2018 couldn’t have gotten off to a better start after registering his first win at Sandown Park yesterday.
Royal Solo was winless in 16 starts prior to the club’s opening event of 2018 and Faulknall held out little hope of winning the club’s opening event of the new year. But his white and fawn dog had different plans, timing the start brilliantly to lead from box rise before settling third through the first turn. Switching to the outside down the back straight, Royal Solo scouted wide around the leaders turning for home to record his maiden win and give Faulknall a memorable start to the new year.
“Isn’t it ever! Me and the wife, we’re over the moon!” said the affable Welshman after the race.
“If you look at his previous starts, he’s been stuck in the box! He won a qualifier at Ballarat early in his career and he shot out of the boxes, went excellent. Ever since then he’s scratched at the boxes and he’s never come out straight.
“He’s run fourth at Shepparton, then seventh and fourth at the Meadows, so he has a little bit of ability but he’s been 20 lengths fourth which is why I held out no hope!”
Despite his pessimism, Faulknall did have $10 each way on his charge, an astute investment given the son of Pharoah King paid $47.50 for the win.
“Even better!” Faulknall continued. “My missus will be sitting on the couch crying!”
Faulknall had dallied in thoroughbred ownership for years but found it much more financially viable to get involved in greyhound racing. He took up training around eight months ago and Royal Solo is one of two greyhounds he has in work, his maiden win just reward for months of work.
“A few people questioned why we persevered with him but I’m glad we did. We look after them royally, he’ll be riding home in the front seat with on the way home tonight!”
Derek Faulknall with his first Sandown winner, Flying Solo