Houdini Boy Receives Vic Stayer of the Year Accolade

Houdini Boy, one of the most exciting stayers seen in recent years, has been named Victorian Stayer of the Year at Sunday's Victorian Greyhound Awards.

Gerard Guthrie

20 September 2021

Houdini Boy, one of the most exciting stayers – make that greyhounds full-stop – Australia has seen in recent years, has been named Victorian Stayer of the Year at Sunday night’s Victorian Greyhound Awards.

Bred and trained by Kel Greenough, Houdini Boy lived up to his ‘magical’ moniker, producing his own array of ‘escape acts’, regularly coming from seemingly impossible positions courtesy of barnstorming finishing bursts that became his trademark.

Before the staying sensation’s breathtaking career ended prematurely, when injured as odds-on favourite in the G1 Super Stayers Final at The Meadows in February, the son of Zambora Brockie and Pechey captivated audiences with his electrifying ‘get back, run home’ pattern.

In the 2020/21 period, Houdini Boy won 10 of his 21 starts, highlighted by three Group victories, two at G1 level, the Sale Cup (650m) and Zoom Top invitational (725m).

HOUDINI BOY AT STUD

“This is a pretty big shock, actually,” owner Mark Ruff said to GRV’s Molly Haines when informed of Houdini Boy’s Stayer of the Year accolade.

“He was one of our first dogs and during COVID he was the highlight for us. I guess he was our COVID relief!

“It was a heart-breaking thing when he broke down, but luckily he’s got a good life ahead of him.

“He’s at Newhaven Stud, with Nick (De la Roche) and I believe he’s got a bit of a limp, but he’s enjoying life and he’s enjoying his new occupation!”

Being named Stayer of the Year, ahead of the likes of Mark Delbridge’s star duo Zipping Rambo and Christo Bale, continued a fairy tale introduction to greyhound racing for his novice owner Ruff, who’s enjoyed the ultimate in the thoroughbred code, part-owning Melbourne Cup winners Rekindling (2017) and Twilight Payment (2020).

As fate would have it, the first greyhound Ruff owned was Pechey, which would go on to become Houdini Boy’s mother.

“We were at a kids’ basketball tournament,” Ruff recalled.

“Just a few dads and we were a bit bored, so we spent the afternoon on the punt. I’ve always had racehorses and the boys wanted to get a racehorse but I said, ‘You know what, why don’t we get a dog’.

“Everyone agreed but no one thought I would do it!”