Tenacious Punk ready to rock Wenty


Trainer James Coyle with Golden Easter Egg finalist Evil Punk. Picture: CRAIG GOLDING

Trainer James Coyle with Golden Easter Egg finalist Evil Punk. Picture: CRAIG GOLDING

From a vintage where age-defying tactics are the norm, James Coyle reckons the wrinkles are a blessing.

They're just starting to blur the tattoos of two greyhounds - naturally one clad in a red rug and the other a pink one - on each side of his neck.

"I'm lucky I'm getting a few [wrinkles] ... as it's starting to hide them," the 60-year-old said.

He can laugh about them now, but he wasn't so cheerful when he decided to go under the needle in the first place.

"I actually only got them nine years ago when my wife [Irene] died," he said. "I think I was feeling sorry for myself. I always said I was going to get them and I just did it one night."

Irene's death (from breast cancer) not only triggered a spur-of-the-moment trip to the tattoo parlour, it also was the catalyst for Coyle to give up his job.

He decided to ditch a gig as a truckie for a bulk distributor and "muck around" with a few dogs. He had been in and out of the sport since a teenager, often travelling to the now defunct Moss Vale track with a neighbour.

And after returning for good, he stands to earn almost as much money as he could have amassed behind the wheel for the past decade in just 30 seconds with Evil Punk, the second favourite for Saturday night's $250,000-to-the-winner Golden Easter Egg.

"He's been in everything and it would be awesome to do it, but I don't hold my breath because I don't like getting disappointed," Coyle said.

"The money is there and it's great if I get it. It will probably help my daughter and granddaughter more than anything, but I'm just happy the way I'm doing things anyway."

If Evil Punk (box six) can somehow overcome Tasmania's red-hot favourite Buckle Up Wes (box one), then Coyle will have certainly earned it.

Evil Punk was runner-up in the Group 1 National Derby, Richmond Derby and The Collerson, and his Egg prospects were considered to be in disarray a little over a week ago.

He led the field in his heat on April 5 before the lure malfunctioned, resulting in the dog crashing heavily as his rivals converged on the motionless lure.

Stewards rightly invoked a rule to 'parachute' Evil Punk through to the semi-finals. But it was scant consolation to Coyle, who watched the dog tumble at the first turn in his final start prior to the Egg series.

"I couldn't tell you the hours we put into him after the second fall," Coyle said.

"It was a lot of hours - a lot of machining, lasering, salt baths. We really went to a lot of effort to get him right."

But Evil Punk powered into the final with an impressive semi-final win, joining Magic Display as the only other NSW-prepared greyhound in the state's biggest race.


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