The heartache behind the cheers

31st March 2021

Posted in: Latest News

Caption: There’s been plenty of tears, but it was time for cheers when owner/breeder Clint Kratzmann, (centre) and training duo Mick and Selena Zammit celebrated Oh Mickey being named the Queensland Greyhound of the Year at the recent awards ceremony (Photo: Box 1 Photography) 

By TERRY WILSON

SOME family heartache that led to Clint Kratzmann transferring a smart young dog to Mick and Selena Zammit has had a happy ending with the announcement of Oh Mickey as Racing Queensland’s Greyhound Of The Year.

The recently retired Oh Mickey (Fernando Bale-Iona Champion) went into the Queensland 2020 TAB Greyhound of the Year awards night as a firm favourite to take the major honours – against two other nominations Farmor Beach (Wayne Scott) and Classy Ethics (Jeff Crawford) – and was duly announced as 2020’s best performer.

Oh Mickey was retired after sustaining a stopper bone injury.

He exited the racetracks with 18 wins and seven placings from 32 starts and earned in excess of $200,000 in stakes.

Oh Mickey’s success gave Mick and Selena Zammit their first GOTY. In fact, Mick later revealed that this was the first time he had ever had a finalist in the major award.

Last year Oh Mickey had 29 starts and in a brilliant season he won the Group 1 National Derby and the Group 2 Richmond Derby back to back.

The award covered some emotional bitter-sweet territory, Kratzmann detailing events that led to Oh Mickey ending up with the Zammits at Willow Vale.

He originally trained the dog, which he bred from Iona Champion (a purchase from the late Troy Donaldson of Maitland).

“Oh Mickey had four starts up here and I rang Troy so we could get a good preparation for the National Derby with him down there,” said Kratzmann.

“We did that and pulled it off, but Troy then passed away in his sleep in August when he was only 38. It was a brain aneurysm.”

Kratzmann subsequently took the dog to Richmond for the Derby, but then events at home led to Oh Mickey being passed over to the Zammits.

“Oh Mickey had about 14 or 15 starts when my youngest son Rhys had a major fit, to the point where I had to call an ambulance,” he said.

“He has since been diagnosed with epilepsy

“With any dog a lot of work goes into it, but with a dog like that you have to be 100 per cent, you have to live for the dog.

“But I knew I had to live for my son. A dog is a dog, but the dog had to play second fiddle training-wise.

“So I rang Mick and I believe it was the right thing to do.”

Selena Zammit was a modest recipient when talking about the GOTY award. She said all the hard work had been done by Kratzmann.

“Mike and I came right in at the end of the dog’s career, so all accolades should go to Troy and Clint,” she said.

“He came to us as a champion.”

But Kratzmann was not about to let that one go by without a comment.

“The dog ran its best time under the Zammits,” he said.

With his son’s health issues improving Kratzmann still has a couple of young dogs, including two pups from a repeat mating between Fernando Bale and Iona Champion.

2020 TAB Queensland Greyhound Award Winners

  • Queensland Greyhound of the Year – Oh Mickey
  • Brisbane Trainers Strike Rate Award – Mike Stephenson
  • Brisbane Sire of the Year – Fernando Bale
  • Brisbane Leading Owner Award – Cynthia Elson
  • Brisbane Dam of the Year – Cyndie’s Magic
  • Brisbane Greyhound of the Year – Big Boy Bruce
  • Bundaberg Greyhound of the Year – Savuro
  • Capalaba Greyhound of the Year – Columbian King
  • Ipswich Greyhound of the Year – Spring Rock
  • Rockhampton Greyhound of the Year – Remember Col
  • Townsville Greyhound of the Year – Segredo
  • Brisbane Trainer of the Year – Cynthia Elson
  • Bundaberg Trainer of the Year – Paul Burgess
  • Capalaba Trainer of the Year – Terry Priest
  • Ipswich Trainer of the Year – Pauline Byers
  • Rockhampton Trainer of the Year – Darren Taylor
  • Townsville Trainer of the Year – Rhonda Essery
  • Young Achiever – Jemma Daley
  • Woman in Racing – Pauline Byers
  • Outstanding Contribution Award – Lorraine Horton
  • Run of the Year – Sennachie
  • QRIC Welfare Award – Jo Wooler
  • Hall of Fame (Person) – Mick O’Byrne
  • Hall of Fame (Greyhound) – High Earner