[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="315" caption="Controversial 2008 Victorian Greyhound Of The Year El Galo"][/caption]In a decision that was no surprise to anyone who followed greyhound racing in 2008, El Galo was last night named 2008 Victorian Greyhound Of The Year.
In what may still be a public relations disaster for the GRV, El Galo defeated runners-up Gunnadoo Magic and Regal Thyme for the coveted award but still has an inquiry to be heard for a positive swab stemming from the 2008 Group 1 Topgun. A race in which he defeated Regal Thyme.
Last night's result may also bring GRV investigating Stewards under increasing pressure to only hand out a "light" penalty for the Topgun offence if found guilty, or no penalty at all; with the deferred inquiry to be heard on February 17th 2009.
Controversy has reigned since the Victorian Greyhound Of The Year Finalists and Australian Greyhound Of The Year Finalists were named as to the whether or not a Greyhound Of The Year Award should being given to a greyhound that has returned a positive swab during that year.
Similar to coveted awards in other sporting codes, such as the Brownlow Medal; there is increasing pressure being brought to ensure any greyhound that incurs a "foul" during the racing year be excluded from consideration for a Greyhound Of The Year award.
An Australian Racing Greyhound Poll on the subject currently has around two thirds of voters in favour of excludng any greyhound from winning a Greyhound Of The Year Award if they have returned a positive swab during that year.
Trained by Jason Thompson and owned by de facto partner Seona Hood, El Galo undoubtedly had a edge of his rivals last night based on 2008 performances where he raced 34 times for 24 wins and 8 placings.
Amongst those 24 wins were four country cups and two Group 1 races, the 2008 TAB Topgun and 2008 Brisbane Cup. Although El Galo may still lose that Topgun win in favour of Regal Thyme if the inquiry finds him guilty.