Sport

Special link established between Lachie’s Legacy and local track

By Aydin Payne

Just before 7.06 pm on Monday, December 2, a contingent of family and friends were celebrating the first victory of greyhound Lachie's Legacy.

The momentous win came at Shepparton, in the first race of the 12-race meeting, leaving a special link with the connection's of Lachie's Legacy and the track.

But there is a far more special story entwined to the greyhound that broke through for its maiden victory.

The Mark Johnson-trained runner is named after Lachlan Poulter, who died following a game of football last year.

Poulter had been playing for Dunnstown Football Club in the Central Highlands Football League when he collapsed and died.

He was only 25.

Following Poulter's death, his family organised the foundation ‘'Lachie's Legacy” that helps to allow anyone to have access to playing football through providing funding for equipment, uniforms, access to facilities and skill development.

Poulter had started up an ownership syndicate with close friends before his death, with that same group titled The Canine Crew deciding to name their greyhound after the foundation.

Speaking following Lachie's Legacy's maiden win at Shepparton, Johnson said friends and family of Poulter were thrilled with the outcome.

“They're over the moon, they're really thrilled,” Johnson said.

“It's a memory thing for a lot of people, every time he races they think about Lachie.

“It's interesting how a greyhound can have a connection to people — it's pretty special.”

Johnson has been involved with the greyhound since the start of this year and got involved when one of Poulter's close friends Lachlan Green asked if he wanted to train the dog.

With no idea of the greyhound's backstory before agreeing Johnson soon discovered the special link he would soon grow to have when the dog was named in March.

“I knew nothing about the backstory when Lachie (Green) asked if I'd be keen to train,” Johnson said.

“After a few weeks of training they named him in March and that was when he told me about Lachie and what happened.

“And straight away I felt pressure and expectation to do well, but the syndicate didn't put any on me and have been wonderful to work with.”

Last week's win was Lachie's Legacy's 11th start, with the lightly-raced runner finishing the 450 m race in 25.64 seconds.

A clean jump from box seven allowed the large greyhound to charge across and control the lead from start to finish in dominant style.

“I always thought he'd be a great runner,” Johnson said.

“He's got some good size about him and the other night he showed just how well he can run.

“It was great to get the first win for the syndicate because a portion of the prizemoney goes towards the foundation.

“Hopefully he can replicate that run many more times to come.”

Johnson revealed he hadn't fully grasped the sense of the legacy left behind by the young footballer until July 27.

The Gippsland trainer was invited along to the CHFL Lachie's Legacy Round match between Dunnstown and Learmonth, that helped to raise funds for the foundation and celebrate the life of Poulter.

“I was completely blown away about how many people were there and how many people had been touched by this young man,” he said.

“And even to see the special connection the dog had with everyone, it was quite something to see.

“Although it's a sad story, it's nice to see some good come out of it.”