FOR the Barnes family, Thursday’s $10,000 Bill and Peg Miller Memorial final (516m) at Dubbo is truly a family affair.
Dennis and Ann Barnes, of Cudal, have qualified three dogs for the final - Fancy Lola, Fancy Chance and Fancy Top.
Fancy Lola ran the fastest heat time overall, clocking 29.75, while Fancy Chance also won its heat. Fancy Top progressed after finishing second.
Chris Pratt, the Barnes’ son-in-law, also help out with the dogs’ training, and on race day.
To top off the family connection, the series is named after Ann’s late parents.
“Winning this race would mean everything, especially to my wife,” Dennis Barnes said.
“It was a very emotional day for us when we qualified three dogs, I can only imagine how it would be if one of them manages to win. We wouldn’t care which of the three won, it would just be great for any of them to get up.”
Winning will be tougher after Tuesday’s barrier draw though, with Fancy Top and Fancy Chance drawing boxes five and six respectively, while Fancy Lola drew the dreaded box eight.
“It was a bit disappointing, obviously we were hoping for one, two or three with Lola especially,” Barnes said.
“But they’re in there now, anything can happen. The difference is the [five] other dogs around them, they’re much stronger. The dog in box one (Monsoon Rain) has a lot of pace, and the dog in two (Oh So Striking) is one of the strongest dogs getting around at the moment. The track record holder is also running in this final.”
Despite the less than ideal barrier draw, Fancy Lola has proven she can handle the outside running after winning her heat from box seven last week.
“Their preparation has been spot on though, everything has gone to plan. It’s been perfect really so we’ll just have to see what happens I think,” Barnes said.
The $10,000 Bill and Peg Miller Memorial final (516m) jumps at 3.34pm at Dubbo’s Dawson Park.