The Big Story On The Back Page
Written By Peter Oliver Wednesday 30th January 2013
With a name of Back Page Lead, it was always meant to attract attention. Strangely however, this daughter of Brett Lee has done the contrary and raced very successfully for the best part of 18 months without any real fanfare.
Owned by Geoff Slattery and bred by AFL champion Tony Lockett, Back Page Lead is part of a tremendous family. The Brett Lee x Wave To Tammy litter has produced 6 individual city winners including Au Revoir, Exclusivity and Unequivocally. Wave to Tammy herself was a super bitch based in NSW, and was out of Rumble Spirit; the famous mother of Collide and Collision amongst others, while boom sprinter Renegade Chief sits closely in the family tree via another Rumble Spirit bitch, Teeze.
Without delay, Back Page Lead began its career in glory as it was successful at attempt number one in July 2011 with a maiden win at Sandown. The modest time of 30.42 didn’t suggest the makings of a champion, but would be the start of a long career for this true bred-and-butter dog.
Never straying from the metropolitan surroundings of Melbourne in its early part of its career, it only took the greyhound seven starts to find its second victory over the 600m in 35.74. Her form started to wain as connections tried the 700m journeys before a return to the sprint trip saw a 30.56 win at The Meadows – one that looks good in hindsight considering the feats of the second dog, Katie Merry.
Greener pastures beckoned however, and Back Page Lead was sent to Tassie and the kennels of Mick Stringer in December 2011. Not for the first time, the greyhound took one attempt to make an impression; a 29.92 win around Launceston was a good way to debut in its new home.
Over the next year, Back Page Lead would become one of the Apple Isle’s most versatile dogs, amassing multiple wins across all three tracks. While never improving that 29.92 set on debut around Mowbray’s sprint trip, she did win over the 600m in 35.33m, as well as three wins over both the 461-metre (26.29 PB) and 599-metres (34.38 PB) at Hobart and both of Devonport’s 452 and 580 metre courses (25.72 & 33.32 best).
Fast forward to late 2012, and a return to the mainland was arranged. The new found confidence found in our southernmost state would be put to the test, when new trainer Steven White would send it around the challenging NSW circuits, where most readers would become familiar with the 27kg chaser.
True to form, the travel didn’t faze the black flyer one bit, winning second up at Bulli over 515m in a Best-of-night 29.40. Increasing his already impressive record and ability to win over a massive variety of tracks and distances, Back Page Lead would now win at Richmond’s 535m in 30.88 and in the big smoke of Wentworth Park, running 30.23 over 520m.
Going from strength to strength, a chance at Group glory beckoned recently when it contested the Group 2 Summer Cup at Wenty, ironically running second in the heats to one of its main rivals from the Tasmanian days, Bell Haven. Qualifying for the final, she would eventually go down behind Irma Bale, placing third in one of his career best performances.
As recent as last Saturday, Back Page lead would take out the 720m event at Wentworth Park as even-money favourite, taking its total record to 19 wins and 17 placings from 57 starts. Those 19 wins have been strewed across three different states, eight different tracks and 14 different distances, making it one of Australia’s most honest, versatile, and hence underrated chasers. A continuing career of such merit has flown under the radar for so long; an unusual occurrence, for a chaser whose name is destined for the spotlight.