When Chips And Trains graces the race track for the first time at Cannington on Wednesday, he will be racing for more than just bragging rights and prize money.
Stepping out for his debut in a 520 metre maiden, Chips And Trains will be running in memory of Pippa Rea, who tragically died after a brave battle with brain cancer.
“It’s news you certainly don’t want to receive and it hits you for six, said Virginia Rea, Pippa’s mother on Tabradio.
“Pippa had a tumour that was inoperable and incurable.
“It attacks all the cranial nerves which basically provide our bodily functions from swallowing to breathing to moving your limbs.
“It is very aggressive and only occurs in young children and unfortunately Pippa was one that it chose to occur in.
“She received that diagnosis when she was nine and passed away when she was 11 which was three years ago now.”
Pippa was born and raised in Warrnambool, a regional centre and former port city on the south-western coast of Victoria.
But it was in Perth with Hall Of Fame trainer Linda Britton and her partner, Chris Halse, that her love of greyhounds was fostered.
“My sister is Eleanor Britton so through her name she has been married into the Britton family,” Virginia said.
“They have been living in Mandurah for about 20 years and we would come for family holidays.
“When Pippa was about three years of age she started going out to Linda’s because she loved the animals and the dogs.
“As she grew up she would get little jobs and bottle feed all the pups coming through.
“She would clip their nails and pat and cuddle them.
“And eventually she would start naming all the kennel names.”
Sadly, Pippa won’t see Chips And Dreams in the flesh, but her connection to the Collide dog is indelibly linked.
“A friend of Pippa’s would send her messages when she was getting treatment,” Virginia said.
“He used to tell her on video messages that he wanted to come over and play with her trains and eat her chips.
“She told Linda that the only racing dog name she ever wanted was Chips And Trains.
“12-months after Pippa passed we went back to WA and Linda had a new litter of pups.
“There was this one pup that kept catching my eye and I said to Linda what is it about that pup.
“She said that must be the dog we need to name Chips And Trains.”
Aside from emotional support, Chips And Trains will be fancied to score a first-up win after showing promise in a trial hit out.
If he can channel Pippa’s courage, strength and bravery on the track, he is on course to launch his racing career on a winning note.
“It will be a beautiful night and I’m hoping he runs very fast, Virginia said.
“Pippa was an incredibly fast runner and won all the races at school by a long way.
“Let’s hope Chips And Trains can follow in her footsteps.”
Chips And Trains will contest Try The Chef’s Special. The third race on the programme gets underway at 7:22pm.