HINDSIGHT is a wonderful thing, specially when it comes to finding the reasons why a pedigree may or may not have worked.
Such is life with greyhound breeding "experts".
Which brings us to recent Adelaide Cup and The Temlee winner Whippy's Image, the daughter of much underrated sire Solve The Puzzle and Twirly Girl, yet another from the Dennis, and now Mathew, Reid line of superstars.
Named after Dennis' former high class staying bitch of the 1980s, Association Cup winner Whip Tip, Whippy's Image could fly from the moment the Reids put her into training.
She'd already won a Lismore Classic and Molly Campbell Silver Dollars before Dennis and Mathew decided to send her to Jason Thompson in Victoria to be trained.
She was the first Group 1 Adelaide Cup winner for all the bitch's connections.
So wherein lies the strengths of her pedigree?
There are many. Some judicious nicks, a couple of perfect balances and linebreeding, as well as a damline that has been working since the early 1980s.
Dam Twirly Girl won seven races, four at Albion Park including a 30.43 best, as well as a quick 25.86 at the Gold Coast.
Her claim to fame, however, was in defeat when beaten just under four lengths behind littermate Annie's Commando in a 32.57 track record at Beenleigh in the final Queensland Cup run at that track in 2003.
Both were trained at the time by mercurial Mick Zammit.
Twirly Girl was a half sister to Qld Derby winner Road Closed (by another Reid champion in Questions-Gotta Return), and the Just The Best dog Halla's Rocket a Group 1 placegetter and now at stud in Ireland.
Gotta Return was a smart galloper who was out of Gotta Be Solid, a Gabba 558m track record holder during her race career.
Dennis Reid put Gotta Return to Elle's Commando because he wanted to utilize the impact of Temlee (via his son Tempix). "I wanted to get Temlee as close as possible, and thought this was one way, through Tempix who was a very fine race dog," he told The Journal.
Twirly Girl always showed above average ability but an injury when she was young may have prevented her from reaching the heights she was destined for.
"In those days we would walk the dogs along the road in the front of our property," said Dennis. "A car came past and Twirly Girl charged off after it, but flipped over on her butt.
"She was lame for a very long time and I think she may have injured her pelvis."
At stud Twirly Girl was put to Go Wild Teddy for her first mating and showed she could produce with a litter that included Boiling Jet, Bogan Road, Bony Mountain, Poppy's Angel, Poppy's Princess.
While the litter was full of city winners, Reid eventually sold them all off after they failed to produce the goods in feature races.
The next litter for Twirly Girl was to Solve The Puzzle.
"We went there because we wanted to bring back some New Tears blood into our damline," said Mathew. New Tears is the second sire of Solve The Puzzle.
While Dennis and Mathew are the first to admit the males in the mating "are complete idiots", the two bitches Whippy's Image and Dark Marne are just what they are looking for.
Whippy's Image, when she hit the line in 29.40 to win the Group 1 Adelaide Cup, had taken her record to 16 starts for 13 wins and more than $80,000 in stakes.
Clover Park, Reid's former champion staying bitch of the 1980s, and winner of the Association Cup and Gabba Gold Cup, earned $72,000 in all her race career.
The mating of Solve The Puzzle-Twirly Girl is an inspired one.
"We wanted to diversify our line, get some New Tears back in, but try to get rid of a problem we were having with dogs that were frightened," said Dennis.
"Whippy's Image has no fear whatsoever."
Jason Thompson, who now trains Whippy's Image for the Reids, told Dennis the morning after the Adelaide Cup victory of an amazing story about the bitch and the pre-race parade on Cup night.
While the entertainment was going on, and the runners were parading for the final, some of the finalists were falling apart. But not Whippy's Image who relished the night.
"The more the entertainment got going, the more the bitch wagged her tail," said Dennis. "Nothing fazes her."
Whippy's Image carries a Sires Sex Balance (through the male New Tears, and the female Gotta Be Solid) and linebreeding 4x4 to the great Pretty Short, so often the source of the Reid family's success.
Twirly Girl herself carries in-breeding 4x4 to the litter brother and sister Like A Blessing and Chariot Supreme (Waverly Supreme*-Mixed Blessings).
Solve The Puzzle also has Chariot Supreme in his sireline so this in-breeding is repeated again in Whippy's Image.
But it doesn't stop there. There is also that fabulous nick between Centrefire and her full brother Shining Chariot 3x4. And Solve The Puzzle also carries a cross of Bowetzel who is a half brother to the dam of both Centrefire and Shining Chariot.
Over the almost 30 years the Reid family have dominated greyhound racing in this country, their greatest success has come when their dogs carry close in-breeding.
Whippy's Image certainly proves this.
However, a quick look at the Go Wild Teddy-Twirly Girl mating shows that Boiling Jet, Bony Mountain etc carried none of these balances, nicks and crosses.
Dennis and Mathew have since sold Twirly Girl and she is reported in pup to Excite Ability in the Dean Turley kennel.
That mating too produces balances to Brother Fox and his close relation Pretty Short, and an infusion of New Tears. It looks just the recipe for success.
Some time ago the Reids bought a frozen straw for Solve The Puzzle. They plan to use it on Must Command a litter sister to both Annie's Commando and Twirly Girl.
Light Of Fire
Solve The Puzzle
Shining Chariot (Chariot Supreme-Shining Light)
Gotta Be Solid