By Jeff Collerson
CESAR Millan won international fame as television's Dog Whisperer but here in NSW little Bonnie Pringle, just six years old, could well be greyhound racing's version.
Bonnie, whose mother Danielle owns Midnight Starlet, a finalist in Saturday night's GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park, selected the prized inside trap for her mum's greyhound in the blind box draw conducted after Friday's Chase semi-finals.
Bonnie gets to have first pick of a pup from each of the litters her family breeds annually on their property at Clergate, near Orange, and she has an uncanny knack of finding a potential star.
"I'm not surprised she found box one for Midnight Starlet because Bonnie seems to have an innate sense when it comes to greyhounds,'' her dad David said.
"She insists on being in the whelping yard whenever a litter is born, and loves to help clean up and dry off each puppy.
"Then she will assist when the pups first begin to lap up milk.
"If Bonnie chooses say, a black puppy from a litter of six virtually identically coloured youngsters, she can walk into their yard the next day and go straight to the one she has chosen, when even I can't tell them apart.
"She hasn't got it wrong yet and just seems to have the knack of being at one with greyhounds.''
COSMIC Bonus was easily fastest heat winner from last week's Masters Meteor heats at Wentworth Park and the dog pulled up "perfectly'' according to trainer Evelyn Harris.
Cosmic Bonus notched his 35th win in 75 starts with his all-the-way heat win in 29.87sec, and goes into Saturday night's $100,000 to the winner final as the only winner to get under the 30sec mark.
"He had a 400m hand-slip on the track on my property near Grafton on Monday and I will top him off for Saturday with a swim in the Clarence River on Tuesday,'' Harris said.
"Most of the successful thoroughbred trainers in our area swim their horses in the river and they swear by that as an ideal pre-race treatment.
"Box one is good just as long as Cosmic Bonus uses it.
"Previously he has been inclined to push up the track in the run to the first turn but he handled box one superbly when he won over 484m at Casino in the fastest time of the meeting on October 5.''
A win on Saturday will lift Cosmic Bonus, a son of Evelyn Harris' former smart sprinter Dark And Stormy, up to a heady $282,460 in earnings.
SKY Wave nudged their greyhound Off The Leash out of Saturday night's GRNSW + Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase final but the four new owners who make up the On The Leash Syndicate remain "over the moon'' at seeing the first dog they have raced in the $25,000 to the winner Chase Consolation at WP.
Off The Leash, who was sidelined for seven months after fracturing a hock in February, bounced back to win in a slick 30.06sec at Wentworth Park on October 6 in a Chase City Qualifier, before chasing home Sky Wave in 29.85 in last week's Million Dollar Chase semi-final.
Although Off The Leash seems to have a reputation of being suited by a wide draw, connections believe he is ideally positioned in box one in Saturday's Consolation final.