Sweet moment for Clifton and McKenzie

Training partners Gavin Clifton and David McKenzie marked a career highlight last week.

By Jason Adams

Tynong North training partners Gavin Clifton and David McKenzie marked a career highlight on Thursday night as Candy Carrera produced a memorable win at Sandown Park.

She defied market expectations but it came as no surprise to those closest to ‘Candy’ given some impressive trials since arriving in Victoria.

They acquired her from Glen McKinley in New South Wales during August, a gentleman they met in 2017 simply by having a chat at Wentworth Park.

“When we had Princess Pout we went to Sydney for the Ladies Bracelet. He was a nice bloke in the cafeteria that started talking to us, it was as simple as that. We came home and followed his dogs, we kept in contact and things went from there,” said Clifton.

For Clifton and McKenzie’s Tynong North kennel Candy’s win was one of their proudest moments in the sport.

“We haven’t had her for too long but knowing we’re getting the best out of her is a really good feeling.”

The pair are cousins and have been training greyhounds together for nearly a decade. They live busy lives with McKenzie a fruit grower and Clifton a radiologist at Dandenong Hospital.

“Gav gets to my house at 6am every morning before going to work. Things do feel hard at times as we’re always under the pump but moments like this remind us why we do it. We love it and treat our dogs like our own kids,” said McKenzie.

For anyone that knows them it’s clear how much work they put in and the dedication they have for their passion of training greyhounds.

“Sometimes we doubt ourselves but we need to trust and believe in our own ability. Gav and I work well together, we have chats about things and it doesn’t become an argument, it’s just healthy discussion and we find a middle ground.”

They are regulars at Sandown Park and like all trainers have the ultimate goal of producing a TAB Melbourne Cup winner.

“We love this place. We trial our dogs a lot here because it’s where we want to win, especially in November. We believe we’ve got to breed our own, it’s the only way we’re going to get a Melbourne Cup winner. That’s the end game.”

Candy Carerra’s win was in the ‘Thank you Mick Floyd’ final named after the club’s outgoing Racing Manager Mick Floyd who has been one of the sport’s most influential people.

In the following race star sprinter Fernando Bluey showed off his electric speed to win the Free-For-All for trainer Kayla Cottrell.