Mandurama trainer Stephen Cleary started his new year off in the perfect way, as he saw Extortionate win her first career race after 14 previous starts.
The three-year-old red brindle bitch started from box three in Kennerson Park’s first race of the new year, the rightly named Welcome to 2018 Maiden (307 metres).
It was not the best start for greyhound, who started with $8 odds, after a disappointing jump from the box.
She settled into sixth place early but after a collision at the front of the pack, at the first corner, an opportunity for Extortionate to make a move to the front opened up.
Race favourite Shiwen Express ($2.60) was one of the victims of the collision and she quickly fell behind and eventually finished last.
Cosmic Speedway ($18) was another that suffered and the three-year-old light fawn dog was bumped back and finished second last.
Coming into the home straight, it was Rosedene Valor ($6) and Extortionate competing for the win.
With Rosedene Valor in the inside and Extortionate on the outside, the Cleary-trained bitch found her break and pulled away to win by 0.75 margins ahead of second.
“It’s a good start to the year,” Cleary said.
“Hopefully it keeps up.
“She came to me as a reasonably quick dog but she wasn’t putting in. We did a bit of work with her at home and it seems to be working.
“Shorter distances seem to be helping.”
Throughout her career, Extortionate has been on the back of some near misses – six seconds and four thirds – prior to her maiden win.
The first time win was something Cleary was finally glad to see.
“She’s three and a half. She’d want to [finally break through for a win],” he said.
“We’ll take her week by week now. We’ll see how we go.”
While Extortionate received the headlines for her win, Cleary’s one-year-old dark brindle dog Durama Lad finished third in the same race.
Paying $12 for a win, Durama Lad got through the race’s collision unscathed but was not fast enough to catch the front two.
Cleary was happy with how Durama Lad has been progressing.
“I’m happy with him. He’s a young dog, learning what it is all about,” he said.
“He’s mother [Flossy Flirt] won a few at Wentworth Park. Hopefully he can do that later on, but he is still learning.”
Durama Lad now has four thirds from his eight-race career, with those third placings his best results yet.
Other race results saw Mulberry Express finish fourth, Tipperary Mel in fifth and No Fernando in sixth.