‘Paw' Patrol Ushers In New Wheeler Era

A new era for Australia’s most successful breeders, the Wheeler family, has commenced in auspicious, perhaps ominous, fashion.

A new era for Australia's most successful breeders, the Wheeler family, has commenced in auspicious, perhaps ominous, fashion.

The first runners with the Paw prefix, introduced to honour the late, great industry icon Paul Alexander Wheeler (initials PAW), have hit Victorian tracks in a big way in recent weeks.

In March, Jan Wheeler, Paul Wheeler's wife, revealed exclusively to The Greyhound Recorder that the universally revered Bale suffix would be replaced by the Paw prefix to ensure her husband's "legacy lived on".

"It is different seeing those letters up there," Jan said.

"It just gives me the feeling Paul is still here and part of it all and we're still connected."

Fittingly, the first starter bearing the Paw name was a winner.

The aptly-named Paw Xander, a July '22 son of Aussie Infrared and dual Group 1 winner Dyna Patty, trained by Mark Delbridge, saluted on debut at Sale on May 5.

Paw Zelini winning at The Meadows on Wednesday. Photo: Jason McKeown.

"It was special to have the first starter and the first winner," Lisa Delbridge said.

"It just worked out that we had one of the first lots with the Paw name, along with the Grenfells and Colemans.

"A lot of people have said to me they didn't realise whose dogs they were until they had a closer look.

"It's really nice that they're named in Paul's honour, not that they weren't before, but having his initials makes it more sentimental."

Since then, the Paw winners have been coming thick and fast.

That historic first win was followed by a Delbridge double at The Meadows three nights later, via the regally bred Paw Grady, a July '22 son of Allen Deed and champion Fanta Bale, and Paw Whistler, a litter brother to Paw Xander.

Then at Geelong last Friday, Samantha Grenfell claimed a treble, courtesy of Paw Lou Lou and Paw Nicholls (both Need My Moneynow x Fortuna Bale) and Paw Cardan (Kinda Cruel Red x Rilynn Bale).

Paw Jasmin winning at The Meadows on Wednesday. Photo: Jason McKeown.

The Delbridges secured another Meadows double on Wednesday, with Paw Yasmin and Paw Zelini, also from the Aussie Infrared x Dyna Patty litter, opening their accounts.

"We sent the Delbridges a good one, but didn't tell Mark which one it was," Jan explained.

"The ones that have raced so far are the okay ones, but there's a very good one that hasn't started yet.

"Mark's worked out which one it is now and he rang Brendan (son) asking about the dog's papers, which he never does.

"Mark doesn't get excited, but he is about this dog!"

Paw Whistler (box 2) and Paw Grady (box 4) will clash in the opening race at The Meadows on Saturday night, a maiden final.

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"Neither have a lot of pace and they're quite strong," Lisa Delbridge said.

"Paw Grady is probably slower early than Paw Whistler, but ‘Grady' has a bit of a motor."

Paw Tika, a daughter of the great Fernando Bale and Helma Bale, was also victorious on Wednesday, at Ballarat for Samantha Grenfell.

Rob Camilleri and Debbie Coleman have also been in on the early Paw Action, with Paw Usami and Paw Waldo, littermates by Dyna Tron out of Hadeel Bale, successful at Traralgon and Warrnambool, respectively.

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