JOHN Kennedy is a country Victorian car salesman, has been for most of his life.
One of his cheapest sales was a 12-month-old black greyhound bitch that has become a household name in pedigrees in this country.
It was Princess Diro (Black Diro-Glen Aussie) who Kennedy bred and hoped to race himself.
"I was in my early 20s and just into greyhound racing," said John, now 62. "My dad was a punter and I wanted to get into dogs. I headed down to Ararat to see Fred Homberg who was breeding a lot of dogs at the time.
"He had a litter by Nulla View-Bandalla for sale and I bought a bitch, paid $250 for her. She was the first dog I owned."
Bandalla had been a top class stayer.
Named Glen Aussie, the bitch was given to Max Tisdall to train. Glen Aussie had two race starts for Max, running fourth in a maiden at Sale (on the old track) and then a fifth at Traralgon.
"I was going into hospital at the time so I suggested John take her back," said Tisdall of Glen Aussie.
He remembers Glen Aussie as being a "beautiful bitch, great nature but only a plodder".
"But I never really got to find out," said Max. "She was only young when I had her and I could only give her those two race starts."
John Kennedy took Glen Aussie home and she came on season not long after. "Fred Booth was standing Black Diro at the time at Cranbourne and I decided to put Glen Aussie to him," he said.
Glen Aussie's entire litter was sold by Kennedy with the exception of a black bitch John kept for himself and reared to 12 months. He said he did not even follow the deeds of the rest of the litter.
He reared Princess Diro in his back yard and remembers her, and her mother, as being extremely docile.
"I had sold a car along the way to Robert Lynch and we got to talking about dogs one day and I said I had this black bitch pup at home," he said. "Lynch came and had a look at her and asked if he could buy a half share in her for $50."
"I was to get half of anything she won over $100."
Princess Diro, according to Kennedy, was no world beater. "But she won a qually at Warragul and another at Sale and then won three races.
"She was just a provincial dog."
Princess Diro was just two and a half when she whelped a litter of pups to Second Stage that would include the mighty Bowetzel.
"I had dogs with Peter Giles by this time," said John. "Lynch had sold all the pups from Princess Diro's litter but I got one and another from her second litter."
Glen Aussie, in the meantime, produced a second litter, this time by Giles' former smart Melbourne stayer Darcay.
"She had six pups in the litter and five of them won including a dog called Darla Gold who won 25 races," said John. "I had kept him for myself but eventually sold him to a friend.
"I'd sold the other five from the litter to Noel Rodda for $100 in total. Rodda had raced Alpine Emblem the litter brother to Bowetzel."
John Kennedy is still racing greyhounds today and owns Petite Mamselle (Carlisle Jack-Holly's Deb) a high class stayer in WA and a National Distance finalist. One of the in-breedings in Petite Mamselle's pedigree is to Bowetzel.
EVEN to this day, Robert Dore (or Bobby as he likes to be called), scratches his head when he sees the name Princess Diro among the pedigrees of the rich and famous in greyhound racing.
Bobby helped start the Traralgon track in Victoria. He was the club's initial vice-president and he's been breeding and racing great greyhounds for many decades.
Now retired, he was a hairdresser in Traralgon for much of his life. Around the 1970s one of his customers was Robert Lynch.
"He was a good few years older than me and I had known him for some time," said Bobby of Lynch.
"He'd been a cyclist in his younger days but in the 70s decided to get a couple of greyhounds."
One would be a Black Diro-Glen Aussie bitch he would call Princess Diro. No one would have guessed when Princess Diro was among the also-rans in Grade 5 distance events around Traralgon and Sale that she would become a broodbitch legend.
Her dynasty is so dominant today it is impossible to imagine greyhound racing without her impact.
Bobby Dore remembers Princess Diro well.
"She had a near side wrist problem that affected the way she walked," he said.
Dore reasons that could have been behind her moderate racetrack performances, but can never be sure. "She was not a bitch you took a great deal of notice of," he said.
Bobby reckons Lynch could do what some people might think as strange things when it came to training Princess Diro.
"I remember he trialled her over the distance after the last race at Traralgon one night and argued with us that the clock was wrong. He thought she had gone better than the time shown," said Bobby.
"So the next morning, around 6.30, I'm told he took her to a trial track at Moe and she went around again."
But Lynch got Princess Diro to win three races, a 500m and 730m at Traralgon and a 622m at Sale. She had plenty of racing, mostly over long distances.
Dore even has a race book for April 15, 1976 when Princess Diro was engaged in a 730m Grade 5 at Traralgon. Her form read:
7th Traralgon 20-1 beaten 12 lengths
6th Traralgon 15-1 beaten 15.5 lengths
8th Sale 20-1 beaten 15 lengths
7th Traralgon 20-1 beaten 23 lengths
7th Sale 20-1 beaten 17 lengths
Hardly the stuff of champions and hardly what you would call broodbitch material, but by then Princess Diro had already produced a litter of pups to Second Stage.
Robert Lynch had approached Bobby Dore to take Princess Diro as a broodbitch. Dore declined.
"I had some outstanding race bitches at the time, like Noteworthy, and was content with them," said Bobby. "But Robert put Princess Diro to Second Stage because I was putting a couple of my bitches to him at the same time."
Dore even has a greyhound sale catalogue from June 22, 1975 at the Dandenong Selling Complex which has some of the pups by Second Stage-Princess Diro included.
"I remember Kevin Dagg who was running the sale was a bit short on entries so I suggested he give Lynch a ring and from that he got three of that litter, including two dogs," said Bobby.
"The two dogs from Princess Diro were sold for $250 and $200 and they turned out to be Bowetzel and Alpine Emblem. I'm not sure which pup was sold for what."
Alpine Emblem went on to be a multiple city winner, but Bowetzel became the superstar sprinter of his time winning the Champion of Champions Sprint at the Gabba among a host of top class performances.
Not long after that Bobby Dore headed to the US to live but has been back home for the past eight years and amazingly is now breeding with bitches that trace directly to Princess Diro.
With the success of Bowetzel, Lynch had a broodbitch goldmine on his hands.
He approached then leading studmaster and trainer Kevin Richards to take Princess Diro for her breeding career.
"We got her after she had produced Bowetzel and she lived with my family until she died as a 13-year-old," said Richards. "In fact, she became the pet of my eldest daughter Jemima."
Richards describes Princess Diro as "a lovely big black bitch". She had raced at 29kgs during her career.
"She had a great life with us at Blue Gums," he said.
For Richards, Princess Diro had litters to Lively Band in 1978, Satan's Legend in 1979 and Tangaloa in 1980 and again in 1981. Her litter to Second Stage that produced Bowetzel was whelped in 1974 and Princess Diro came back to racing after that.
To Satan's Legend she produced Shining Light who would become Warragul greyhound of the year.
"She was a very, very fast bitch, but a bugger. She had a couple of satisfactory trials. She did win a race at Olympic and another at Sandown," Richards said of Shining Light.
"She was absolutely brilliant early. She could get eight in front when she raced on a city track, but held on to win only twice."
Richards describes Shining Light as "a nice bitch who took a long time to break in". "She was iffy. The whole line was iffy, but I bred with Shining Light because she was so fast and I wanted that brilliant pace," he said.
Shining Light would produce Centrefire who was a top class race bitch for Richards.
"She was very good and she was also genuine," he said. "I looked after her a bit because I wanted her as a future broodbitch. She was just under being in the really top grade."
Centrefire was from Shining Light's 1987 litter to Richards' by then champion sire Chariot Supreme which also produced top flight galloper Pure Talent.
A Chariot Supreme-Shining Light litter in 1984 had produced champion Shining Chariot, Chariot Of Light, Chariot Power, Supa Dupa and Chariot's Desire who would also become a fine broodbitch, and Chariot Of Gods who would go to NZ to stand at stud.
Chariot's Desire would become dam of Voodoo Lady a broodbitch gem for Helen and Michael Ivers.
Richards, as would be expected, got to know this line inside out.
"The bitches were mostly a bit skunky but that didn't worry me because I had a lot of success with that sort of bitch. Mostly they didn't exert themselves on the track and left it for breeding later on," he said.
"But the dogs in the line all fired. They were the racers."
When Richards put Centrefire to New Tears she produced Light Of Fire winner of the Melbourne Cup, Silver Chief and Traralgon Cup and greyhound of the year in Victoria.
Centrefire was an exception to the damline. "She wasn't iffy, and she was a good race bitch," Richards said.
Centrefire's litter sister Starlite Spirit would produced champion stayer Keon Star.
Fawn Scout (by Shan's View)
Princess Diro is an extremely interesting broodbitch.
While she was not particularly in-bred, her most famous producing daughter Shining Light was in-bred three times to Venetian Rose (third dam of Temlee) twice through Satan's Legend her sire and once through Princess Diro through her sire Black Diro a son of Venetian Court.
It is also interesting that her famous son Bowetzel had huge in-breeding to females. He was a relatively successful sire with Kid Scandal etc, but his real worth was as a broodbitch sire with greats like Highly Blessed, Spread Eagled, Eureka Man, Jurassic Vapour, Fair Sentence, Malawi's Prince, Hua, New Wish etc etc.
Bowetzel had doubles of such influential broodbitches as Gorgeous Babe, Brenda Gay and Blue Linen.
Maybe that accounts for why the double-up today of Shining Chariot and his sister Centrefire is such a great cross.
Gemdalina (Rocket Jet-Gorgeous Babe)
Top Linen (Fine Linen-Brenda Gay)
Venetian Court (by Brenda's Babe)
NB Bowetzel carries in-breeding to the littermates Gemdelina (in Second Stage) and her brother Magic Babe and sister Early Jet (Rocket Jet-Gorgeous Babe).
He also carries four crosses of the famous broodbitch Blue Linen (three through her son Fine Linen and one through his sister Yululla... this is the double-up behind Black Top). Blue Linen was in-bred to the half brothers Peter Limes and Andrew Hawk.
Temora Lee (out of sister to Venetian Court)
Gold Grotto (by Venetian Court)
Ann's Judy (by Fawn Scout)
Nulla View (by Fawn Scout)
NB Shining Light carried a double-up of the famed Victorian sire Venetian Court, but her sire Satan's Legend also had his sister Venetian Babe in his sireline.
There is a double-up of the famous imported broodbitch Tapestry, through her daughters Woburn Lass in Gold Grotto's damline, and she is the third dam of Black Diro sire of Princess Diro.
Amazingly, there is even further in-breeding in Shining Light in the fact she has the relatively insignificant male Darkie Bobs in the immediate damline of Satan's Legend.
Darkie Bobs is a litter brother to Brenda's Babe the grandsire of Venetian Court.
Combining Bowetzel and Shining Light in a pedigree brings in an absolute saturation of some of the greatest broodbitch names this country has seen.
There are Venetian Rose four times, Gorgeous Babe 10 times and Brenda Gay seven times all within the first eight generations.
And by extension of this, the link between Shining Light's champion son Shining Chariot and his full sister Centrefire (Chariot Supreme-Shining Light) is just as potent.
When you consider Bowetzel is the damsire of champion sire and now huge broodbitch sire influence Malawi's Prince and the champion broodbitch Wee Sal, then you can see how easily he links up with his half sister Shining Light and her offspring Centrefire and Shining Chariot.
Some of the better quality examples of this nick working are:
Bob's One, Hypo Havoc, Brokenwood, Magnacarter, Bahama Image, Shayne's Champ, Amazing Dancer, Nimuay, Placard, Awesome Machine, Hotshow Lil, Knockabout Wok, Puzzle Prize, Modern Assassin, Most Awesome, Trewking, Collision, Dancing Habit, Pororoca, Classy Customer, Foreign Legion, Smack Wallop, Trewly Special, Black Enforcer, Estella, Miss Bekkie Lee, Maureen Shirly, Panicked, Que, Regal Brett, Winsome Min, Winsome Lesson, Betty's Angel, Immortal Love, Tamala Park, Big Moose, Cool Effort, Carnage Maker, Eluthra, Flashing Floods, Jinderra Flame, Migrate, Nitro Nori, Que Sera Sera, Run's House, Super Hornet, Tarawi Gem, Whippy's Image, Winsome History, Tasman Queen, Miss Beeslee, Dana Gretel, Sky Hazzard, Cindeen Shelby, Teaman Titch, Nitro Burst, Queen Lauryn, Vulture Street, Keeko Bale, Queen Rose etc etc.
dam of: ALPINE EMBLEM (Top grade Melb sprinter)
SHINING LIGHT (Warragul GOTY, 2nd Warragul Sprint C'ship)
BOWETZEL (1977 Champion Of Champions Sprint (Gba), 1977 Champ Of Champs Sprint Vic Fnl (Opk), 1977 Italian Cup (Opk), 1977 American Independence Day Tphy (Opk), TR Cranbourne 520m, Outstanding sire)
1st dam: GLEN AUSSIE
2nd dam: BANDALLA (finalist 1967 Christmas Gift-stayers (Hpk). Top grade Melb stayer)
2nd dam of: BIAFRA'S SON (1978 Brownes Gold Cup (Can)
3rd dam of: NIGGER BLOCK (TR Strathalbyn 319m)
3rd dam: SANDALLA (1962 Richmond Oaks)
3rd dam of: FRANK'S PRIDE (Top grade Harold Park sprinter)
PEP'S PINKIE (TR Canberra 732m)
PEP'S ZERO (Top grade Harold Park sprinter, TR Wyong 366m)
SISTER ZERO (1975 Angus & Coote Classic (Bul)
4th dam of: CERTAIN REMARK (1983 Geneveive Nat Cup (Opk), 1983 Genevieve Nat Cup NSW Fnl)
CAROL'S COPY (1981 Jockeys & Trainers Cup (Wpk), TR Singleton 932m)
5th dam of: THE FIRST POST (1988 Champion Stakes (Gaw)
PARIS IN SPRING (1987 Bi-Annual Classic (Hpk), 1987 Ladies Bracelet (Hpk)
6th dam of: WALK THE PATH (1994 SA Waterloo Cup (coursing)
PAT'S VENDETTA (Top class sprinter)
RAAD (TR Appin 366m)
WELCOME BANNER (1997 New Year Tphy (Wpk), TR Wagga 400m)
7th dam of: TONI'S CURRENCY (Top class Adelaide sprinter)
MALDON MALAWI (2000 Bendigo Puppy Classic)
8th dam of: BEERS THE ANSWER (2000 Peter Mosman Memorial (Sin)
YO YO'S FLYER (2005 SA Bred Classic (Apk)
SATANIC CURRENCY (2005 SA Coursing Oaks)
Princess Diro bred on through her daughters Darjeeling, Flapper Cindy, Miss Cannibal, Panama Diro, Second Jenny, Shining Light and Temora Sarre.
* TEMORA SARRE
2nd dam of: BLACK MAESTRO (1992 Vic Coursing Derby)
* MISS CANNIBAL
dam of: DROVER DAVE (1987 Robinvale Cup)
* PANAMA DIRO
2nd dam of: KING OF TALENT (1996 Ballarat Cup)
* SECOND JENNY
2nd dam of: GOING NATIONAL (1989 Launceston Cup, Sire)
dam of: GHOSTLY LIGHT (Silver Chief finalist)
SHADOW WARRIOR (TR Cannington 295m)
2nd dam of: TAMBO LEGEND (1993 Sale Sprint C'ship)
WISE MAN SAM (1992 Spring Gift (Can)
* FLAPPER CINDY
2nd dam of: ELUSIVE ACTION (Sire)
MIDLAND HIGHWAY (Silver Chief finalist)
DRAG RACER (1989 Sale Puppy Classic)
3rd dam of: SMOKEY SUNRISE (Top grade Melb sprinter)
4th dam of: HOT TRISTARC (2001 Christmas Gift (Can)
BOLT OF SILVER (2000 Christmas Gift (Wpk), 1999 Diamond Jubilee Tphy (Wpk)
* SHINING LIGHT
dam of: CHARIOT OF LIGHT (Top grade Melb sprinter)
CHARIOT OF GODS (1986 Warragul Cup, Sire in NZ)
CENTREFIRE (Top grade Melb sprinter)
SHINING CHARIOT (1985 Traralgon Puppy Classic, 1986 Nat Sprint C'ship Vic Fnl (Opk), 1987 Ballarat Cup, 1987 Cranbourne Cup, Outstanding sire)
PURE TALENT (1989 Shepparton Cup, 1989 Vic Breeders Stake (Spk), 1990 Warragul Cup, 1990 The Black Douglas (Opk), Sire)
2nd dam of: CROWNED HONCHO (1995 New Star Classic (Wta), 1996 Legerwood Puppy Classic (Wta), 1996 Geelong Cannonball, TR Geelong 347m)
OBESE GODFREY (1996 Wangaratta Cup)
KEON STAR (1995 McKenna Mem (Spk), 1995 Carlton Cup (Spk), 1995 WP Gold Cup (Wpk), 1995 Nat Dist C'ship Vic Fnl (Opk), 1996 West End SA Distance Title (Apk), TR Warragul 699m, Cranbourne 699m, Sire)
WARY'S DESIRE (1993 Launceston Cup)
TREASURY BOND (1993 Aust Dist Challenge NSW Fnl (Wpk)
HOUSTON ROCKET (1996 Gosford Goldmine)
GUNMETAL BLUE (TR Gunnedah 440m)
QUICK EDDIE (1993 Harbour City Bowl (Wpk), Sire)
LIGHT OF FIRE (1994 Vic GOTY, 1994 Traralgon Cup, 1994 Melb Cup (Spk), 1994 Silver Chief (Opk), Top class sire)
3rd dam of: SPEEDY HONCHO (1997 Winter Cup (Gee)
XIA FIRE (1999 New Star Classic (Wta)
INTENSITY (TR Bulli 472m)
POWER THRILLER (1998 Traralgon Cup)
LICKETY SPLIT (1994 Coonamble Maiden Sweepstakes)
AMAZING DANCER (2000 NCA Gold Cup (Wpk), 2000 Alb Pk Gold Cup)
TRICKY WIND (1996 Vic Peters Mem (Wpk), 1996 CUB Maiden Classic (Dap)
4th dam of: JUST TOMMY (2003 Sale Puppy Classic)
MISTER ODESSA (TR Wyong 366m)
CAPTAIN ODESSA (2005 Lithgow Golden Muzzle)
QUEEN AMIDALA (1999 Dapto Leagues Club Maiden Classic)
THUNDER CREEK (Top class Brisbane sprinter, NZ sire)
TRICKY CREEK (2001 Brisbane Cup (BGC), 2002 Brisbane Cup (BGC)
AUTUMN HARVEST (TR Warrnambool 570m)
TOP DIAMOND (TR WP 280m)
LUCY'S LIGHT (2005 Eric Thompson Mem (Gct), 2006 Winter Chase (BGC), 2006 Presidents Cup (BGC), TR Alb Pk 710m)
BONNIE CREEK (2004 Stayers Cup (Apk)
CLASSY CREEK (TR Gold Coast 650m)
QUIDAME (2006 Stayers Cup (Mea), 2006 Sydney Cup (Wpk), 2006 Darwin Cup, 2005 Young Guns (Ips), 2005 Ips Futurity)
TEXAS GOLD (2005 NSW GOTY, 2005 Nat Dist C'ship (Wpk), 2005 Nat Dist C'ship NSW Fnl (Wpk), 2005 Dillon Mem (Spk), 2005 Bold Trease Carnival Cup (Spk), 2006 Lizrene Classic (Spk), TR WP 720m, Maitland 565m, The Gardens 715m)
5th dam of: EYE EYE SKIPPER (TR Dapto 295m)
ALL SO TRICKY (2004 Singleton Silver Bullet)
RICKY TIM (2006 Devonport Cup)
SUPER HORNET (2007 Ipswich Gold Cup, 2007 Young Guns (BGC), 2008 Clem Jones Cup (BGC)
TECHNOMAN (2007 Hume Cup (Mea), 2007 Qld Cup (BGC), 2007 Presidents Cup (BGC)
One of the best examples of in-breeding to Princess Diro and her siblings is former top staying bitch Miss Jaydee.
Check out her pedigree. It is a saturation of the Princess Diro damline.
* Additional information, Peter Rose and Darren McKenzie.