When the Chris Halse-trained Grand Larceny heads to the boxes for Friday night’s Great Western Final (405m) at Mandurah it could prove to be one of the great greyhound racing stories Western Australia has seen.
During the early hours of December 21, 2016, Grand Larceny, or Bruno as he is known around the Halse kennel, went missing.
Grand Larceny was only 10 months old when thieves cut a hole in the fence at the property, which allowed him and four other dogs out of the kennel.
The thieves had stolen a car, then stolen Grand Larceny, which left Halse shattered at the prospect of losing the pup.
“We were feeding pups on one half of the property, then we heard all of the raucous,” he said.
“We saw four dogs running out on the road, and we thought we had got them all back in the kennels.
“We then had a count and we were missing one.
“We were gutted.”
Installing CCTV cameras all over the property would have been a significant investment for Halse, but on this warm December day, the investment paid off.
Halse had also feared the gentle nature of Grand Larceny and the pups around him meant they would have thought the thieves would be coming up to give them a pat.
“We went back to the CCTV and we saw the people cutting a hole in the fence stealing him, and the other pups followed,” he said.
“The people crashed the car down the road they then ditched the car and ditched the dog.”
Halse notified Police of the incident, and also called TABradio to inform as many people as he could about what had occurred.
The CCTV cameras gave Halse and the police a good lead as to where they may find the missing pup, but with dense bush land between properties in the Nambeelup area where Halse is based, it was not going to be an easy task.
After more than five hours of searching Halse, together with kennel worker Luke Townsend, found the missing pup.
“Luke and I went through the bush screaming out puppies, puppies…and eventually he came running out to us,” he said.
“He came out and wasn’t distressed at all.
“He probably had a drink, and thought it’s too hot out there, and laid down in some shade.
“Dogs are amazing animals.”
Not only did Grand Larceny have to survive the morning in the hot weather, Halse was also surprised how he got out of the car crash alive.
The son of the only dual Perth Cup winner High Earner made his racetrack debut on October 24 last year at Mandurah, where he finished second as a short price favourite.
Despite the defeat, just making it to the racetrack had been a victory in itself for Halse and Grand Larceny.
This Friday, Grand Larceny faces his biggest test on the track.
After his two length win in the heat of the Great Western last Friday night, he now gets the chance to take his earnings beyond the $20,000 mark in Friday night’s $9,000 final where he is drawn box six.
Halse said he is excited at what Grand Larceny, a winner at six of 17 career starts, could become and what could happen on Friday night.
“He’s still learning and I think he can get stronger,” he said,
“We had High Earner here for one of his Perth Cups and the older he got, the better he got.
“He’s got to be some sort of chance, I like where he is drawn.
“He’s going to make a terrific pet one day.”