Unbeaten Reject Chasing Feature Maiden Crown

A bit of honest banter between good mates has led to one of Victoria’s brightest young sprinting prospects being dubbed a reject.

Adam Dobbin

26 November 2020

A bit of banter between good mates has led to one of Victoria’s brightest young sprinting prospects being dubbed a reject.

His name is Mepunga Reject, the unbeaten son of Barcia Bale favourite for Friday night’s GRV Vicbred Maiden Final (515m) at Sandown Park for powerful owner and trainer combination Barry Smith and Jeff Britton.

“It’s a bit odd for a talented young greyhound to be called a reject but there’s a story behind it don’t worry,” said owner Barry Smith.

“I gave the mum Mepunga Midget to a mate of mine Alan Rippon to breed with on the deal that I get two pups from the litter.

“When it came time to pick my two I told Alan to let me know which ones he was keeping so I knew which ones to choose from.

“Alan said to pick anything – a dog and a bitch – from the litter. So we opened the gate and a dog was right there waiting so I said okay I’ll take him and Alan turned around and said ‘no you can’t have him, he’s mine!’

“So I said to Alan I’d take another dog up the back and call him Mepunga Reject. Which I did.”

Winner of his heat and semi-final of the $15,000-to-the-winner maiden series in times of 29.51 and 29.42, Mepunga Reject, just 19 months of age, looks every bit a topline prospect in the making.

But from box five on Friday night both Smith and trainer Jeff Britton are remaining cautiously optimistic about the prospects of their exciting up and comer.

“Box five will make things difficult for him … he’s still very young and learning,” Britton said.

“His heat win was the first 500 of his life and he’s showing all the right signs that he can go on with it.

“We’re lucky enough to have a really good batch of young dogs at the moment we’ve been educating and in trials he’s been leading the way.

“He’s running time but he still needs to take the next step. If he does we can start thinking about races like the Silver Chief and National Derby.”

Britton and partner Angela Langton are represented by four finalists in Friday night’s feature maiden final with Britton declaring Westar Manson the next best of his chances.

“Some of his early trials have been on par with Mepunga Reject – he just hasn’t drawn a box yet which is the same again on Friday,” Britton said.

“The dog to beat is Jason Thompson’s pup (Major Sacrifice) off the red. Good draws for young dogs is a big advantage. If Mepunga Reject gets beat we won’t be too disappointed. He’s still young and learning.”

While Britton won’t play a part in Friday night’s two group 1 events, the Anakie trainer has a sprinkling of top chances on the remainder of the card.

Mepunga Knight (box 1) and Mepunga Missile (box 5) take their place in the $15,000-to-the-winner Provincial Plate Final (515m) while Weblec Ace has drawn box one in the Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m).

“I haven’t had a good look at the field but from box one over the 595m Weblec Ace should be very competitive,” Britton said.

“In the provincial final I was hoping Mepunga Missile would draw inside. He wasn’t far off the record at Geelong the other night … he’s not doing much right in his races but has a lot of ability.

“Mepunga Knight has plenty of speed and is getting stronger. He should lead off the red and give a good sight.”