Big night out west in Queensland tonight, with the Ipswich Gold Cup Final. It looks a match race between two dogs Surfin Kawati and Regal Lauryn, who clearly run many lengths faster then the other heat winners. So I wouldn’t be surprised to see them run the quinella.
Ipswich Greyhounds Race 8 Box 3 Surfin’ Kawati 10.04pm
It’s a late final tonight, as is the case with most racing broadcast on Sky2. I can’t go past Surfin’ Kawati who’s in blistering form and has been running the hands off the clock lately. With a 29.71, 29.81 win at Albion, then a flying 30.19 in his heat last week. Admittedly it was from box 1 where he excels from, but he’s been showing great early speed of late, and should have no trouble handling the middle box. All the runners have good early speed so he will need to be on his a game, but if he happens to clear them early it’s all over.
Hopefully once tonight’s race is behind him, he finds his way to Melbourne and gets his chance to take on the country’s best, because there is no reason why he can’t, and beat them in the process. He’s a super talented dog and deserves the chance. Regal Lauryn the only other danger, can also win and box 8 is perfect for her. If Surfin Kawati finds trouble or gets jammed up then, Regal Lauryn should he getting the cash.
The Meadows Greyhounds Race 7 Box 3 Hallelujah Henry 9.20pm
Big win by this dog two strats back who began steadily, then took of like a rocket mid race to race away for a solid 30.13 win. He’s boxed to improve on that performance tonight and looks the clear cut winner if he steps. After watching the replays and going through the field I can’t find a way he’ll get beat. He looks miles better then this field, and although he’s young and inexperienced, he does have quite a good racing brain; something most of the top race dogs have. He should be $2.50 here tonight and he looks a great bet mid way through the card here tonight at The Meadows.
Wentworth Park Greyhounds Race 4 Box 6 What Ya Got 8.28pm
All the mail is for box 1 runner Camouflage Model, who has been flying around Dapto in her last two starts but her 500m record is ordinary and she doesn’t always get out of the boxes. Big risk here from the red. I really like the chances of What Ya Got after her last two solid performances here. She was beaten both times, but she run near 30.00 dead each time and looks set to reproduce that here tonight.The only concern is box 6, but she does have enough early toe to cross them and if she does I expect her to win. Big chance and could be big overs.
Best of Luck
$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$
Hunter Valley trainer Graeme Barnett experienced the thrill of a lifetime on Saturday night when his only two dogs in work saluted in impressive fashion on Vic Peterâs final night at Wentworth Park.
Graeme and his wife Jenny, have a spectacular acreage property located at Reedy Creek, approximately 2 Â˝ hours from the Glebe circuit, where they breed, rear and train their own greyhounds, with much success.
Four-year-old Hotwire stepped out in the opening event over 720m, looking for his 17th win, after his last victory came at Lismore back in July. Barnett was confident of his chances, as retirement looms for this staying star, racking up his 9th victory at headquarters.
âI thought to myself if he is ever going to win another race that was itâ.
Placed at the back of the field for a majority of the race, Hotwire flashed home in the straight to produce a stunning come from behind victory, that had legendary caller Paul Ambrosoli jumping from his seat.
âHe owes me nothing. I would love to get another stayer like him and his litter is the best one Jenny and I have had since we have been training by ourselvesâ
By Big Daddy Cool out of Ima Stunner, the litter of 8 whelped during September of 2009, produced some talented chasers including; Cool Stunner (winner of 10 races ranging from 515 to 642m), Black Stunner (42.25 over 717m at Richmond and 35.05 over 600m at Unibet Gardens) and Cool Rush (winner of 13 races).
Barnett also rates sire Big Daddy Cool, the best sire he has used.
âBig Daddy Cool has been my best sire. I canât fault him, his been great for usâ.
Barnettâs other runner Edge was well supported in a competitive FFA lineup, with the added bonus of exiting from box one. Beginning fast from the inside alley, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Belle Tara, rounded up early leader Electro Storm at the top of the home turn to streak away by 2 lengths in a sensational time of 29.68.
A surprised Barnett was elated with the win and too secure his first double at Wentworth Park.
âIâve never got a double at Wentworth Park before so it was a great thrill. I thought Electro Storm would be the one to beat and honestly I was surprised when my dog passed him.â
Barnett received another huge thrill last month when Edge finished second in the Group Two Lismore Cup. After a successful campaign at the track back in June, winning two of his three starts, Edge returned to tackle the coveted Group race, winning his heat and coming tantilisingly close to claiming the $40,000 prize.
âThe Lismore Cup did wonders for him. He went off the boil for a while, his first two splits were good he just needed to get a bit stronger and he has.â
Edge now has 15 wins from just 38 starts next to his name and almost $50,000 in prize money.
Barnett juggles his establishment with being a full time shift worker, making each win worth all the dedication himself and his family devotes to their love affair with greyhounds.
Blacktown trainer Troy Vella stepped out in his maiden Group race last Saturday night with the well supporter Belfast Johnny who exited from box two.
Whata Good Size and Royal Sprite were labeled the early favourites with Belfast Johnny starting at $3.80. As the lids flew, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Wongawillisue shot away to lead the speedy Whata Good Size at the first turn and sprint away by 6.25 lengths in a race record time of 29.63.
As expected, trainer Vella was elated with the result and is now a Group One winning trainer.
âTo win the first ever Group race Iâve had a runner in is amazing. I was over the moon when I drew box two and I thought he had a good chance, but I didnât expect him to lead all the wayâ
âI was a bit worried when Whata Good Size was sitting right behind him but he showed how strong he was and to win by that margin was wonderfulâ
Belfast Johnny began his Vic Peters campaign with a solid second performance behind the talented Gimme Fuel in 29.90. Johnnyâs semi-final performance made him a genuine contender to take out the series after a sensational victory from box five, recording a sizzling 29.67, giving Vella plenty of hope for last nightâs final.
âHe had to do a lot of work last week from box five and I thought after that he had a good chance of winningâ.
âI couldnât even sit down and eat before the race. An hour or so before the race, it started to sink in how big the occasion was but once I got him out of the kennels I was okâ
Vella trains out of his backyard in Western Sydney with the help of his wife and 16-year-old daughter whilst he juggles a full time occupation.
âI am looking into getting a bigger place so we can rear and stuff like that but at the moment we are happy how things are going. My wife baths them, takes them to the vets for me when Iâm not at home and my daughter helps out a lot too when Iâm not there.â
âIt really is a team effort and I couldnât do it without themâ.
Vella has just two greyhounds in work including Belfast Johnnyâs sister, Belfast Kaiser, a winner of three races at Maitland including a fast personal best of 25.46 over 450m.
Belfast Johnnyâs next target is the Brisbane Cup, providing all things go to plan, Vella could be notching up his second Group One in a matter of weeks.
âHe pulled up well this morning and we are looking at the Brisbane Cup but nothings confirmed yet.â
âIt was just an absolute dream come true winning last night and it still hasnât sunk in yet I won a Group One race. Iâm really happy for the owners and hope he can continue to improve from hereâ.
Troy Vellaâs outstanding training performance last night showed that any type of trainer, no matter how big or small their property, can fulfill their dream. Last night we as we all witnessed something very special, the emergence of Belfast Johnny.
All eight runners went into tonightâs Group One Vic Peters Classic final with a genuine chance of taking out the title. As the lids opened, one dog had his eye firmly on the prize and made his trainer Troy Vella $75,000 richer.
Beginning beautiful from box two, the son of Cosmic Rumble and Wongawillisue was never headed in a blistering 29.63 display by 5.5 lengths, defeating Whata Good Size who was gallant in defeat for Jason Thompson and Avondale Porche flew home to run third for Beau Hedley.
Notching up his 8th win tonight from just 11 starts, Belfast Johnny turned heads last week when he clocked a flying 29.67 semi final win and before that sizzled around the one turn track at Maitland over the 450m, clocking a near-record personal best of 24.97.
A dream was realised tonight for Blacktown trainer Troy Vella, who trains just two greyhounds out of his Western Sydney backyard and can now call himself a Group One winning trainer.
A full wrap up and interview with Troy will be posted shortly.
Tonightâs Group OneVic Peters Classic final at Wentworth Park is not the field most enthusiasts expected, as there were plenty of upsets during last weekendâs semi finals over the 520m distance.
The box draw will again play its part tonight in proceedings with short priced favourites; Royal Sprite and Whata Good Size exiting from boxes one and eight respectively.
This epic encounter will be run and won at 9.47pm EDST, with successful connections to receive a juicy $75,000 for their efforts.
Box One â Royal Sprite ($3.50) (Magic Sprite x Elizabeth Royal) â Jane Carruthers:
Began well last week from box two and was hampered at the first turn. Flew home to run second behind Belfast Johnny in a flying 29.64. Is a deserving favourite from the pole position and will be very competitive if he gets a clear run.
Box Two â Belfast Johnny ($4.20) (Cosmic Rumble x Wongawillisue) â Troy Vella:
Was brilliant last week from box five after beginning well and sitting second behind the earlier leader, before streaking away to win by 6.25 lengths in a sizzling 29.67. Much better draw tonight and will be charging home once again.
Box Three â Folk Tails ($51.00) (Hurricane Luke x Cin Cin Shiraz) â Carly Absalom:
Was the rank outsider in her heat last week and began slow and got some luck at the first turn to sit 4th down the back straight. Ran home well to snatch second place, however is surrounded by class runners and will need to lift significantly.
Box Four â Frosty Vintage ($16.00) (Bombastic Shiraz x Frosty Fruits) â Craig Chappelow:
Regally bred chaser who upset a strong field from box six last week, leading all the way in a solid 29.90 performance. Surprisingly faded a bit in the home straight so will need to lift here as there will be plenty breathing down her neck.
Box Five â Avondale Porche ($4.40) (Knocka Norris x Micro Lee) â Beau Hedley:
Went into last week searching for her 10th consecutive win, however had to settle for second after missing the start and was squeezed out early. Used a rails run to perfection to sit second before storming home only beaten 1.25 lengths in 29.90. Faces a huge challenge to overcome box five but certainly has the ability.
Box Six â Soviet Missile ($21.00) (Whereâs Pedro x Jacinta Bale) â Toby Weekes:
Began solidly from the tricky box five last week and showed good speed on the home turn to finish 4 lengths second behind Evil Punk in a fast 29.70. Has drawn poorly again and will need some luck this week in a much harder field.
Box Seven â Evil Punk ($14.00) (Collision x Punk Angel) â James Coyle:
Was super impressive last week after beginning well and charged home at the finish to clock a speedy 29.70, with an excellent run home time of 11.74. Does face a tough test getting across from this wide draw but definitely has the ability to claim this.
Box Eight â Whata Good Size ($3.20) (Fear Zafonic x Surf Queen) â Jason Thompson:
It wouldnât be a group one final without the impact of champion trainer Jason Thompson and thatâs exactly what transpired last week as his charged stepped beautifully from box six and was never headed in a fast 29.82 performance. Drawn suitably out wide to get a clear run and a genuine contender to salute at the finish.
The NSW Office of Liquor & Gaming has this morning stated that expressions of interest are being called for interested persons wanting to be considered for appointment to the boards of Harness Racing NSW andNSW (GRNSW).
Mr Souris said the term of office of one member of Harness Racing NSW will expire on 2 February 2014, and the terms of office of two members ofNSW will expire on 9 February 2014, with replacements now being sought.
âThe NSW Government is committed to supporting the growth and economic viability of all three codes of racing – thoroughbreds, harness racing and greyhounds â and seeks quality candidates for these upcoming board positions,â Mr Souris said.
âHarness Racing NSW andNSW are the independent bodies responsible for controlling, supervising and regulating the harness racing and industries in our State.
âExpressions of interest are now being sought for interested persons wanting to be considered for appointment to the three upcoming vacant positions on the two boards.
âCandidates for appointment are required to have experience in a senior administrative role or experience at a senior level in one or more of the fields of business, finance, law, marketing, technology, commerce, regulatory administration or regulatory enforcement.
âA selection panel will be formed, and be assisted by a probity advisor, to recommend candidates for appointment based on merit and in accordance with the eligibility and skills-based criteria prescribed in the Harness Racing Act andAct.
âSelection will be determined on merit based on a candidateâs abilities, qualifications, experience and personal qualities. Proposed members will be required to undergo a probity assessment before appointment.
âFull selection criteria for the board appointments is prescribed in Sections 6 and 7 of both Acts which can be viewed online at www.legislation.nsw.gov.auâ
Expressions of interest can be made in writing, clearly marked private and confidential, to:
Mr John Braddock
Harness Racing NSW/ NSW Appointments
Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing
GPO Box 7060
SYDNEY NSW 2001
Further information may be requested by email on email@example.com
Closing date for expressions of interest is Wednesday 20 November 2013.
Mr Souris said the boards of Harness Racing NSW andNSW consist of five members each, with membership being for a term of up to four years.
- to control, supervise and regulate in the State;
- to register clubs, greyhound trial tracks, greyhounds, owners and trainers of greyhounds, bookmakers for and other persons associated with ;
- to initiate, develop and implement policies considered conductive to the promotion, strategic development and welfare of the industry;
- to distribute money received as a result of commercial arrangements required by the Totalizator Act 1997; and
- to allocate to clubs the dates on which they may conduct meetings.
Jason Thompsonâs sensational week continued last night when the underrated Whata Good Size scored a fantastic win in the first semi-final of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic at Wentworth Park.Â Thompson trains the freakish Black Magic Opal which broke the 450 metre track record on Thursday night and now looks set to feature heavily in the $75,000 to the winner feature in Sydney next Saturday night.
Whata Good Size only began evenly from box six but showed an incredible turn of foot to find the front in the run to the line on the first occasion. Once he put his paws in front, the son of Fear Zafonic and Surf Queen crossed swiftly to the rails and never looked like being defeated from that point in time- extending his lead to score by seven and one quarter lengths in a quick 29.82s. Running on well into second position was Folk Tails ($55.70) for Carly Absalom.
The black sprinter qualified for the semi-finals after running a promising second behind Royal Sprite in his heat. The 28 kilogram dog appeared to have derived great benefit from a look at the track last week and took his record to 17 wins and nine minor placings from 30 career starts.
Whata Good Size went to the boxes as the second favourite ($3.10). Race favourite Gimme Fuel ($1.90) was never out of trouble from box five, finishing back in seventh position.
The second semi-final went to the exciting Belfast Johnny for Blacktown mentor Troy Vella. The Cosmic Rumble dog only began averagely from box five but appreciated a vacant box on his direct inside, quickly mustering enough pace to park himself in second position going around the first turn. Belfast Johnny quickly balanced himself up down the back and dashed along the outside of Bella Senora to assume the lead. Straightening for home he was never in any danger, defeating the super strong Royal Sprite by six and one quarter lengths in a blistering 29.67s. The odds on favourite, Ritza Hattie ($1.60), only began averagely from the cherry and was always chasing gallantly, however she could only manage third behind the tearaway leader which was running some hot times up in front.
Belfast Johnny is turning into an above average pup- winning six of his nine starts including a near track record performance at Maitland (24.97s) back in August.
Avondale Porche went into the semi-finals undefeated after nine starts, but after a sloppy beginning her chances were instantly slashed in the third qualifier.Â The regally bred Frosty Vintage, however, flew the lids- clocking a sensational split of 5.38 in the run to the post, setting up a big break entering the back straight. Avondale Porche was quick to get back into stride, railing through into second position and setting out in pursuit of the race leader, but she couldnât quite get there on the line- going down by one and one quarter lengths to Craig Chappelowâs promising youngster who clocked a nippy 29.90s for the 520 metre trip.
Frosty Vintage is a beautifully bred son of Bombastic Shiraz and prolific producer Frosty Fruits- making him a maternal brother to some great chasers such as Flavours, Goodesy, Pulp and Little Sparkle. With plenty of talent of his own, the black dog is sure to make his presence felt when he jumps in the Group 1 final next Saturday.
The fourth and final semi-final went to James Coyleâs Evil Punk who showed great field sense to find the rails from box four and take control of the race down the back. The black son of Collision sprinted away from his opposition and in the process lowered his personal best over the track and distance from 29.98s to a terrific 29.70s. Now a winner of eight from 29, Evil Punk lowered the colours of Tasmanian sensation Buckle Up Wes ($1.70) which found interference from box six.Â Soviet Missile ran on well to snare second position and a spot in the lucrative final when finishing three and a half lengths behind the winner.
The box draw for the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic is as follows:
- Box 1: Royal Sprite
- Box 2: Belfast Johnny
- Box 3: Folk Tails
- Box 4: Frosty Vintage
- Box 5: Avondale Porche
- Box 6: Soviet Missile
- Box 7: Evil Punk
- Box 8: Whata Good Size
First Reserve: Living Proof
Second Reserve: Waylin Joy
Wentworth Park specialist Royal Sprite will go into Saturday nightâs November 9, Group 1Vic Peters (520m) final as the race favourite after drawing the cherished box one rug.
A sensational list of eight finalists was brought together following four semi finals at the Glebe circuit on November 2.
The opening semi saw fastest heat qualifier Gimme Fuel start the punters elect, however it was Jason Thompson prepared Whata Good Size which stepped the best winning in 29.82 over Folk Tails and Cawbourne Brodie. Thompson will be shooting for back to back Vic Peters titles after claiming the event in 2012 with Proven Nitro.
Belfast Johnny for Troy Vella won the second qualifier in impressive fashion, showing strong mid race dash, Belfast Johnny won by 6 Â˝ lengths over Royal Sprite, which finished strongly to secure his third Group race final position for the year.
The third semi saw Frosty Vintage atone for her heat run, where she was run down on the line. The 29.90 victory saw the daughter of Frosty Fruits lead from start to finish, ending Avondale Porcheâs unbeaten run. Avondale Porche held out a late lunge from Living Proof to secure trainer Beau Hedley a spot in Saturdayâs $75,000 to the winner final.
In the final qualifier, Evil Punk was the strongest finisher, running down early leader Another Call to stop the clock at 29.70, four lengths clear of Soviet Missile which sees trainer Toby Weekes line up in his first Group 1 Final.
Saturdayâs oncourse events will include a mechanical bull ride from 6pm.
The box draw for the Group 1Vic Peters Final is:
Group 1Vic Peters Final
Box 1 – Royal Sprite – Jane Carruthers
Box 2 – Belfast Johnny – Troy Vella
Box 3 – Folk Tails – Carly Absalom
Box 4 – Frosty Vintage – Craig Chappelow
Box 5 – Avondale Porche – Beau Hedley
Box 6 – Soviet Missile – Toby Weekes
Box 7 – Evil Punk – James Coyle
Box 8 – Whata Good Size – Jason Thompson
1st Res – Living Proog – Glenn Rounds
2nd Res – Waylin Joy – Paul Bigeni
It is funny to sit back and hear the stories about how various racing enthusiasts became hooked on our great sport. Many are born into the industry and havepulsing through their veins from birth. However for some, like Somersby trainer Dawn Garrett, their introductions are more of a coincidence- yet the racing fever is no less severe
âI have been involved on and off in the sport for 38 years. I was only very young when I got introduced to greyhounds- my parents didnât have them, but I got introduced to them through Tricia and Sam Cauchi when they used to live down in Sydney at Box Hillâ, Garrett explained
âMy mum used to sell Tupperware and Trish had a Tupperware Party and me and my sister went out with mum. The dogs were there, I have always loved animals, and I just fell in love with them and it went from thereâ
When Garrett purchased a white and black bitch in 2006, she could have had no idea what the daughter of Solve The Puzzle and Racy Princess would go on to achieve.
âI bought her as a pup off Neal Gray and I was very lucky to get her actually. She was the only bitch in the litter and he had three dog pups for sale. At the time I was staying up at Grafton and I saw them advertised. Â I always loved Solve The Puzzle, so I came down to have a look at them and he knew I was wanting a bitch and he said âseeing as how you come all that way if you want to buy the bitch you can buy herââ
âIt was just lucky for me that he changed his mind and sold her to me rather than one of the dogsâ
Racing under the moniker Little Egyptian, Garrettâs little darling turned into a nice little money spinner. The 25 kilogram pocket rocket won 11 races with 20 minor placings from 73 career starts
âI was very happy with what she did on the track. She never won a race in town but I think she would have had I had the proper opportunityâ
âI took her to Albion where she led but got run down. She still ran second and the dog that beat her turned out to be a handy stayer up thereâ
âI trialled her and she did a toe and I could never get her back right after that. She tore the ligaments and had she not done that and I kept going with her I would have gone back to Albion with her over the 600 and I reckon she would have won a race thereâ
While she was a handy racebitch, it was when she made the move to the breeding barn that her talent shone through, producing a pup that would mature into arguably Australiaâs fastest bitch, Punch One Out
âI wasnât even sure whether she would throw anything- I just had the opportunity to breed with her which was really good and she has surprised me with what she has thrownâ
Garrett chose the sensational speedster Knocka Norris for Little Egyptianâs first litter- a decision that has proved to be a masterstroke, just not for the reason she was expecting
âI always liked the dog on the track- he was a lovely looking dog and he was very fast. I was hoping he would have put a bit of early pace into the pups- but that didnât quite happenâ, Garrett laughed.
Garrett kept one pup from the litter of eight- selling the rest.
âI kept one, Pride Of Egypt, and I sold the rest because I wasnât sure whether she would throwâ
âGrant (Fennelly- owner/trainer Punch One Out) bought her and a dog- One Inch Punch- and we reared them here for him and he took them up there when they were about 12 months old. He got her very cheap actually- I sold them all cheap because I didnât know what they would be, I just wanted to place them and have them sold. He actually only paid $800 for herâ
While the whole litter is talented, there is no doubt that Punch One Out is a standout. The black bitch is a dual track record holder at Wentworth Park (29.27s) and Richmond (29.90s) while she also took out the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park last month. After finishing unplaced in the Group 1 Topgun last week, Punch One Out will be aiming to redeem herself next Thursday when she lines up for the four dog Group 3 Shootout at Sandown.
âThis is the first actual litter that I have bred completely by myself. I have whelped other bitches over the years, but this is the first litter I have bred out of my own bitch. She (Little Egyptian) has just really amazed me with the sort of pups she could produceâ
âItâs exciting to think that my little girl produced that and it is exciting to see them get in the group races. I would love to see her win the Shootout next weekâ
âThere has been a couple of people that have knocked the litter a bit- they were quick to criticize her (Punch One Out)- when she broke the record at Wenty they all said the track was lightning fast. But she won that Group race up at Albion a few weeks ago, so she (Little Egyptian) is a Group producer now and if she could win this Shootout it would be absolutely lovelyâ
âI follow all of them- I watch them all to see how they go. They are not mine, but they are like mine because I whelped them and reared them, so it is nice to follow them and see how they goâ
Garrett is awaiting the return of her chaser from the litter, Pride Of Egypt, which has been sidelined for almost a month. The white and black dog has a stack of talent- winning 10 from 24 with seven minor placings. His last start was at Wentworth Park where he ran unplaced behind Lucy Wires in the Group 3 Sydney Cup
âHe just wasnât right with his tonsils- they were a bit sore and it did tell on him in the race. I think had he been right then, he probably would have gone very close to winning it. The time was only average and especially with Smart Valentino out of the race it really opened it right up and he had trialled a lot quicker there than what they ranâ
âHopefully he will come back a lot better- he has had a lot of trouble with his tonsils. I have had them out and he is ready to start work againâ
It will be an exciting and hectic few months for Garrett with the next litter out of Little Egyptian off to the breakers soon and the valuable broodbitch ready to whelp in the next week
âIâm just waiting to see what the next litter are like- they are 12 months old to El Grand Senor, I kept two of themâ
âI am sending them away to be broken in on the first of next month so it is going to be interesting to see how they go and she is about to whelp again back to Knocka Norris- this time next week she should have themâ
âI went back to Knocka again because after what she threw in the first litter, I really had to go back there. I managed to get another straw off Sam a fair while back. She is definitely in pup and she looks nice and bigâ
Londonderry trainer Majella Ferguson is on the comeback from a quiet few months in the training department, with a small kennel that is certainly proving to be a case of quality over quantity.
Exciting prospect Cyclone Simone has made an instant impression since returning to the track earlier this month- winning two from two and taking her record to three from five overall. The daughter of champion sire Bombastic Shiraz was bred by Ferguson out of her highly talented racebitch Smashing Amy.
Smashing Amy was owned by Fergusonâs family and won fifteen races throughout her career, including the NSW Distance Championship at Wentworth Park, after which she represented the state in the National final at Perth. Although she didnât emerge from the series as a winner, Smashing Amy was no doubt talented- something which she has passed onto her progeny.
Aside from Cyclone Simone, the litter also includes the brilliant middle distance dynamo Bookkeeper. Bookkeeper stole the Topgun limelight momentarily over the weekend when he broke Nellie Noodlesâ 34.07s track record over the 600 metre trip at The Meadows, clocking a scintillating 34.05s in a heat of the Group 1 Hume Cup.
âShe was fast as a sprinter and fast as a stayer. She was a little bit moody but she was really goodâ, Ferguson explained of her former star, Smashing Amy.
âShe was a really good bitch. We bred the six of them at home, but we had a lot of pups at the time. We had Irreplaceableâs pups so we actually sold all of themâ
âThe people that own her, Ben and Wayne Carey, are friends of mine and she is their first dog. They are really nice people, they bought her as a pup and they let us rear her and do everything- she got broken-in and then came straight back to us”
It has not been a smooth introduction to racing for the first-time owners. While Cyclone Simone clearly has an abundance of talent, as is all too common with fast greyhounds, she has been plagued by injury problems for much of her career.
âItâs been really hard because they knew that they had a good dogâ, Ferguson said.
âShe has been a nightmare injury wise. She started off good but then she kept doing her pinsâ
âShe is three next February- she was really late starting. When we got her coming back last time we changed all her training- people were saying donât put her up the straight because she has done her pins, so we were thinking how do we get her fit?â
âWe put her around the circle but that wasnât doing any good so we decided to free gallop her in the paddock every day for about six weeks before we brought her backâ
Cyclone Simone debuted at The Gardens in July, defeating the highly talented Premier Mozz in a slick 29.85s. The black bitch was luckless in her next start at the track before finishing fourth at Dapto at her third track appearance. After this, she was trialled post-to-post at Wentworth Park and was then nominated for her first start at headquarters.
âYou wouldnât believe it- we had her ready and we were going to put her in at Wenty and she chased a duck in the let-out yard and ran straight into the fenceâ
Cyclone Simone returned to the track just under two weeks ago at Maitland, recording a slick 25.36s (BON) over the 450 metre trip. She then ventured back to Dapto, scoring in a heat of a 1-2 wins series by seven and a half lengths in a fast 29.78s.
The pint-sized powerhouse will return to Dapto tomorrow for the final; however she faces a much tougher challenge from box five. Despite being the only runner in the field to break the 30-second barrier at the track, the undefeated Rain Bale for Simon Rhodes is lining up from box seven and looks to have plenty of talent of her own.
Ferguson is hopeful of a good result from the lightly raced bitch and gives her a good chance despite the draw
âShe goes nice early and if she finds the front sheâll be winning, but this race is a little bit tricky because she had the two the other day and the one box was vacant, so it was a big advantage- but she does go niceâ
âHer first split was good but I notice that there are a couple of dogs in it that have got a couple of nice splits- that one of Simon Rhodes (Rain Bale) goes alright but at least it is drawn on her outsideâ
âI donât think the five will worry her because I was watching her the other day- after she came out she sort of moved out to the centre of the track a little bitâ.
All going well, Ferguson would like to target some feature events with Cyclone Simone in the future. Despite being lightly raced, because she is almost three, Cyclone Simone has missed many of the age restricted seriesâ and will subsequently have to compete in open class
âWe might have a look at The Gardens or possibly something like the Soldiers Saddle at Bathurst. Because she is that little bit late starting she misses things like the Laurels and a few of those age races- she missed the Vic Peters. She is very new to racing realistically, but she should be able to race on and I think she has a pretty bright future because she does go nice and as you can see when she leads she is fairly strongâ
Cyclone Simone is not the only exciting prospect in Fergusonâs kennel at present. Knocka Norris youngster Bleiswijk Billy is developing a handy little record for himself with three wins and a second from four starts at Maitland. The white greyhound got down to 25.43s at his last effort at the showground- indicating that he has some ability too.
The consistent Electro Storm has been flying the flag for the Ferguson kennels at Wentworth Park recently- clocking two blistering wins in 29.69s and 29.83s respectively before finding trouble at his last three starts. The son of Bit Chili is a classy customer and is sure to be back on the winnerâs list in upcoming weeks.
Possibly most exciting of all is the resilient Unexplained who is on the comeback from injury. The Whereâs Pedro â Stylish Scene dog has only had three trials since he started making his comeback, but broke the Richmond track record at his most recent preparation run- clocking a breathtaking 22.21s over the 400 metres
âUnexplained actually broke the track record at Richmond after the last on Wednesday. He has torn both hips- he did the first one and then we brought him back and he won at Ballarat and then he tore the second one in Melbourne, but he appears to have come back bigger and better than everâ
âHis run home was sensational over 400-it was just beyond belief. Thatâs the best he has ever gone there. He is possibly going to go to Melbourne or to Hobart- we are thinking the Ballarat Cup or the Hobart Thousand with himâ.
âHe has been a great dog and he is a fast dog- a very fast dogâ.
Ferguson also has high hopes for the final Stylish Scene litter by Brett Lee. The pups are half brothers and sisters to Unexplained and full relations to Group winners Irreplaceable and Dazzle You
âWe are very excited about our Brett Lee- Stylish Scene litter- it is her last litter and they are eleven months oldâ
âThey are the nicest pups I have ever seen.Â It has been amazing what she has thrown. She had eleven pups in her first litter (x Brett Lee)- they all won, there was six city winners and two group winnersâ.
10 heats stacked with talented youngsters were conducted over the 400m distance at Maitland this past Thursday, with one greyhound setting an extremely high standard heading into this week’s $7,000 to the winner final.
Izzy Marlow, trained by Mavis Moran, stepped out in heat one and blitzed her rivals by 9.25 lengths in a flying time of 22.64. Now labelled the series favourite, with no other greyhound coming close to her time standard, as the rest of the heats were conducted throughout the afternoon. After beginning well from box one, the 27kg bitch found trouble early before gapping her rivals around the turn, accelerating away at the finish. Evident of another star on the rise for boom sire Lochinvar Marlow, bred out of owner Kevin Gordonâs bitch Lochinvar Lass, is certain to be a force to reckoned with this coming Thursday.
Second fastest qualifier, Wong Valley for Emu Plainâs trainer Robert Macmurray, began well from box two in heat two and took advantage of a rails run on the home turn to sprint away and score by 3.5 lengths in a slick 22.81. Ronald Marsdenâs Hardaway Grand was equally impressive in heat five, scoring at healthy odds ($10.30), in a fast 22.83, with plenty of room for improvement.
With plenty of upsets during the heats, the biggest came in heat six when Lenny Enlim stepped out as a $23.80 outsider, holding out pre-race favourite Hardaway Law at the finish by a head in a solid 22.88 performance. Certain to have put a huge smile on trainer Len Haaringâs face, making the 3-hour trek from Cooks Gap, worth every second.
The all-important box draw for the final on Thursday afternoon will be conducted tomorrow.
While the focus of the industry was on the Group 1 Topgun at The Meadows last night, the youngsters also brought their best for the heats of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic at Wentworth Park.
The first heat went to one of many interstate competitors entered in the series, as Gimme Fuel ($3.00 favourite) led from go to whoa from box four. The Kelly Bravo-prepared pup never looked in danger after he landed in front, accelerating away from the rest of the field to score by four and one quarter lengths in a scintillating BON 29.64s. The son of Dyna Lachlan has been racing well in Victoria where he had won six from nine prior to last night, with his Sydney performance one of his most impressive displays to date. Local chaser Belfast Johnny ran a great race from box five Â to finish second while Lorraine Royâs Pleiades ran a fantastic race to finish third albeit over eight lengths off the winner.
While the first heat went to the favourite, the second went to an outsider when Waylin Joy triumphed at a massive $40.90. As expected, the majority of the money came for the exceptional bitch Ritza Hattie, but she had a tough run from box five when Lachlan Bomber collided with her just after the start. Waylin Joy was a clear last going passed the post on the first occasion and had to do plenty of work to navigate his way into a handy position down the back. As the race leader, Another Call, got weary entering the home straight, Waylin Joy pushed his way to the front along the rails and kicked clear to win by three lengths in a handy 30.01s. Ritza Hattie was resilient after finding trouble but could only manage second place. Nelirian filled the placings for Norman Rilen.
Avondale Porche remains undefeated after her efforts in taking out the third heat. The Knocka Norris bitch was taking on the Canberra Cup winner, Zipping Willow, but proved too tough throughout the run when notching up her ninth career win in 29.83s. Beginning flawlessly from box three, the blue bitch led all the way and fought off a mid-race challenge from Zipping Willow down the back for young gun trainer Beau Hedley. Soviet Missile ran second at big odds ($41.10) for Toby Weekes, while Ritza Liam rounded up the trifecta in third. Zipping Willow faded slightly to finish fourth, just fewer than four lengths off the winner.
Jane Curruthers scored a win with a member of her talented Magic Sprite x Elizabeth Royal litter in the fourth heat. Royal Sprite began brilliantly from box one and never gave anything else a chance, carving out a slick 29.77s over the 520 metres. The black dog has now won nine from 21 with five minor placings. Jason Thompsonâs Whata Good Size never left the winner alone, stalking him for the entire trip. However when the leading pair entered the straight, Royal Sprite was just a shade to strong, extending his lead to score by two and a half lengths at the finish.
The fifth heat went to Tasmanian sprinter Buckle Up Wes who managed to overcome a wide box eight draw to score convincingly in 29.93s. The son of Collision was having his second start at the track after running a blistering 29.82s in September, but raced like a track specialist as he rounded up the field entering the back straight. The black dog then drew clear to win by four and three quarter lengths on the line. Trained by Ted Medhurst, Buckle Up Wes has developed a promising record now with 12 wins from 19 starts.
The sixth and final heat went to yet another outsider when Lachâs Wish saluted at $22.30. The race was led by lid-pinger Bella Senora as the field charged out of the straight, but she quickly tired and faded back to finish an eventual fourth. Taking up the lead was the regally bred Frosty Vintage from box eight, however he was no match for Lachâs Wish on the line who charged home along the inside to bring up her fifth career win. Â The blue bitch, whichthe scales at just 26 kilograms, stopped the clock in a speedy 30.01 and will move on to next weekâs semi-finals looking a good chance at odds. Frosty Vintage was a little bit disappointing as the $3.90 second elect, but he will get a chance to redeem himself this Saturday.
The box draw for the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic semi-finals will be released this Tuesday along with the draw for the remainder of the meeting.
While tonightâs Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun is the definite highlight of an exciting night of racing nationwide, six sensational heats of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic will also be staged at Wentworth Park. Â Open to greyhound whelped after April 1st 2011, the final will offer a whopping $75,000 to connections in two weeksâ time.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat One- 8:10pm
There are multiple chances in this race with the money likely to be coming for numbers four, five, seven and eight.
Number four, Gimme Fuel (currently $2.30 fixed price with), is trained in Victoria by Kelly Bravo. The son of Dyna Lachlan has only had nine starts but has clocked some sizzling times down south including a slick 27.90s over the â500â at Bendigo three starts ago. With some average beginners on his inside, he should get every chance to bounce straight on the bunny and bound away.
Number five, Belfast Johnny (currently $3.20 fixed price with Sportsbet), has been ultra-impressive in his eight race starts- clocking a near track record 24.97s at Maitland three starts ago.Â After that performance he debuted at headquarters with a fast 30.05s performance followed by a luckless fourth here at his last attempt. He isnât electrifying out of the boxes but has great speed when he hits the ground. If Gimme Fuel can begin on his inside, he might get a nice cart across into the race.
Number seven, Cut Me Off (currently $4.00 fixed price with Sportsbet), is from the consistent Lagogiane kennel but is the most inexperienced runner in the field- only having had four starts prior to tonight. While he is no doubt talented, as shown by his promising times at Maitland (25.25s) and Wentworth Park (30.10s), he is also a slow beginner and will have to jump a lot better to be able to find the fence from box seven.
Number eight, Bit Betta (currently $8.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) probably has the most early pace and he is more than capable of finding the front, despite being drawn in the pink. He is yet to race over the â500â but if he can find the front and skip away, he is a chance.Â Last start he won by 13.25 lengths at Richmond where he recorded aÂ flying 22.41s- he may be worth a sneaky bet at odds.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Two- 8:28pm
The favourite in the second heat will undoubtedly be the exciting Ritza Hattie (currently $2.30 fixed price with Sportsbet). The Mark Gatt- trained bitch was a brilliant winner at Nowra last start where she clocked a new track record 29.53s, however she is awkwardly drawn in the five. While she is freakishly fast it is a much tougher assignment tonight.
Paired with the bad draw, Ritza Hattie also has the talented Lachlan Bomber (currently $4.80 fixed price with Sportsbet) drawn directly on her inside. The Sharron Webster-trained dog is a head case for the outside which may bring everything undone for the super bitch drawn to his right.
Mike Marlow (currently $5.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) is enjoying a great run of form at present, but he too may it difficult from box seven.Â He is more than capable of jumping straight to the front, but he will need to do just that to avoid the imminent danger likely to affect the two runners on his inside.Â Big chance if he can do so, although he does get a bit weary near the line.
Victorian Nelirian (currently $5.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) is ideally drawn in the one to avoid trouble and scoot away, as is lid pinger Another Call (currently $7.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) in box three, however he struggles near the line and will need them to jam up behind him.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Three- 9:10pm
Zipping Willow (currently $3.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) received an invitation to tonightâs Group 1 Topgun but didnât quite make the final eight. The Group 3 winner will be looking to show everyone why she should have been selected when she jumps from box eight. Although it is a tricky box, she is an excellent beginner with a best time of 29.59s at the track. If she steps cleanly they will have a tough time running her down.
Avondale Porche (currently $2.80 fixed price with Sportsbet) is undefeated from eight starts but will face her acid test here tonight. The Knocka Norris bitch is boxed terrifically in the three and is a sensational beginner. Punters will be hoping she can bounce to the front and that Zipping Willow is unable to cross from out wide. If she is leading out of the first turn, she will win.
Number four, Dingâs Chance (currently $6.00 fixed price with Sportsbet), is another promising type having won 14 of his 28 starts. The son of Mogambo won in 30.10s at his track debut last week and will represent a genuine winning chance at generous odds from the blue.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Four- 9:27pm
Pantone Green (currently $7.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) ran a blistering 5.33s first section here last week and if he can repeat that tonight there is not much that will lead him despite being drawn poorly in the green. Whether the son of Magic Sprite can hold on to the top spot against a high class field is another question, but he is capable of putting on a cheeky display out in front.
The class runner of the field is Jason Thompsonâs Whata Good Size (currently $2.20 fixed price with Sportsbet), however he will have to get out of box five quick to avoid being chopped off by Pantone Green. On the bunny he is capable of running some sizzling sectionals and as a proven performer in this type of grade, he is hard to go passed.
Rails runner Royal Sprite (currently $2.40 fixed price with Sportsbet) could be absolutely anything however he needs the breaks to go his way as he is usually a very poor beginner. From box one he should get the opportunity to push up along the inside and go out after the leader but, depending who is out in front, he might find it difficult to reel the frontrunner in if it is carving some slick time. Nevertheless, if he can begin with them, he is more than capable of landing the cash having rocketed around the Glebe circuit in a hot 29.67s.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Five- 9:47pm
Kelly Bravo has another member of the Dyna Lachlan x Runway Model litter engaged in the fifth qualifier, with Siennaâs Dream (currently $4.60 fixed price with Sportsbet) exiting box four. The fawn bitch has only had six starts but has won four of those down in Victoria around Horsham (23.33s) and Geelong (25.86s). She has plenty of early pace so she should be up with the leaders in the early stages, but the two turns are completely different to the one turn tracks that she has been racing on. One would have to hope and trust that she has some two-turn experience before putting the money on at slim odds.
Tasmanian chaser Buckle Up Wes (currently $2.40 fixed price with Sportsbet) has to contend with box eight, however he does have the advantage of a run on the track. The black speedster showed great early toe at the track three starts back when zipping around in 29.82s. A repeat performance of that will make him the one to beat.
Another interstate raider, Living Proof (currently $3.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) looks a great chance in this race. The Collide dog will be aiming for four wins on the trot when he jumps from box three after recent wins at Sandown (29.76s), Warragul (26.07s), and the Meadows (30.04s). He isnât overly quick out of the boxes but does have good pace when he hits the ground- he will only need to avoid interference in the first few strides to be able to balance up and be very competitive.
The best of the local hopes would appear to be box five starter King Cobber (currently $5.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) for Frank Hurst. The Swift Fancy youngster has won three from eight including 30.37s over the track and distance, but he lacks genuine zip and will need luck in this classy event from the poor draw.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Six- 10:12pm
Queenslander Placid Planet (currently $2.60 fixed price with Sportsbet) looks to have plenty of talent with five wins and six minors to his name after 12 starts up north. Trained by in form mentor Troy Sharpe, Placid Planet will be aiming to make it a hatrick of wins after two good wins at Albion Park- his most recent in a sub 30 time. Box four is not ideal, but there does not appear to be any blistering speed underneath him.
Frosty Vintage (currently $4.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) has recorded a good 30.66s at Richmond recently which is fast enough to be right in this if he can transfer that form to headquarters. The regally bred pup is a little bit hit and miss- if he brings his A-game he is more than capable of winning but he will have to be on his best behaviour, especially from box eight
Being Good (currently $4.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) has put the times on the board at Gosford (29.89s) and Richmond (30.63) but she is a slow beginner and may find it hard from the seven.
Other than that it is a pretty even race. The surprise runner may be Bella Senora (currently $9.00 fixed price with Sportsbet). The Adam Wade-trained bitch has been racing well at Maitland against some seasoned and well-performed campaigners. She is not a very tough bitch but she has good speed and if she finds the front she may prove a challenge for some of these inexperienced youngsters to run down.
The Tony Brett-trained Regal Lauryn was all class last night when she took out the Group 2 Lismore Workers Club Cup in the stateâs Northern Rivers region. Beginning well from box three, the red brindle bitch was able to muster plenty of speed and park herself on the outside of the early leader, Edge, as the field raced through the first turn.
Charging down the back straight, Edge managed to put a slight gap on his Queensland opponent. However, as the pair swung for home, Regal Lauryn knuckled down to the task and unleashed a sensational finishing burst, storming down the outside to assume the lead and kick clear for victory. The daughter of Surf Lorian stopped the clock in a slick 29.96s, two and a half lengths ahead of Edge who was gallant in defeat. The well supported Battistuzzi had no luck from box five but managed to fill the minor placings.
Regal Lauryn was one of two runners for top Queensland mentor Tony Brett. Punters sent Regal Lauryn to the boxes at the generous odds of $10, while her litter sister, Miss Lauryn, went around at $7.20. The talented bitch was drawn awkwardly in box four and was never in contention after an average beginning.
The bitches, as their names suggest, are out of the great Queen Lauryn- a multiple group race victor who won 28 of her 48 track appearances and earned over $277,000 for her efforts.
While they may not be as fast as their champion mother, Regal Lauryn and Miss Lauryn are by no means slouches. The dynamic duo have won 22 races between themselves and share a combined prizemoney total in excess of $100,000.
Whelped in January 2011, they appear to have plenty of racing left in them and, based on last nightâs efforts, it will come as no surprise to see either of them standing on the feature race dais in the near future.
Regal Lauryn Wins The 2013 Lismore Cup
In a simply breath-taking performance last Saturday night, Â up-and-coming superstar Ritza Hattie produced a carbon copy of her blistering semi-final win with a stunning 29.53 track record run at Nowra.
Going into the final of the $25,000 Group Three Nowra Puppy Classic as the heavy favourite, the daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and proven producer Midnight Flare, didnât disappoint backers as she stepped beautifully from the four alley to score by 7.25 lengths and set a new track record over the 520m distance. The record was previously held by More Space (29.58), set back in October of 2010.
Ritza Hattie also equaled the first sectional record of 4.31 and as predicted by her astute trainer Mark Gatt, had further improvement heading into the final.
âHonestly it didnât surprise me that she run that sort of time. Sheâs improved around a tenth every week during the series and I think she can still improve some moreâ
âShe did everything I wanted her too and I got really excited when I saw her in front at the first turnâ.
âWinning that race was awesome, especially after coming second last year. It just makes all the hard work worth itâ.
Gattâs next task for his sensational protĂŠgĂŠ is this Saturday nights Group One Vic Peters Classic heats at Wentworth Park. Seemingly a large step up in grade is merely a challenge for Ritza Hattie, who will chase her sixth consecutive win when she exists from box five in heat two.
âShe has done everything Iâve asked of her and this will just be a test of her mentality. She has all the physical abilities to be competitive so it will be good experience for her to race against this class of greyhoundsâ
âIt is a big step up to the next level, but Iâm just interested to see how she handles it and hopefully she learns a bit from the experience as wellâ
‘Thereâs a lot of hustle and bustle in these types of races, some dogs can handle it and some canât, only time will tellâ Gatt added.
Despite Ritza Hattie making her debut at the Wentworth Park circuit this weekend, Gatt is confident of her chances from the awkward middle draw.
âShe has trialled at the track and went well so Iâm expecting her to go ok if she can overcome the box. She only has to run in the first five to get through to next week so it will be great to see if she can progress furtherâ
âMy main concern will be her handling the hustle and bustle of the race and hopefully she can overcome it and have a shot at some bigger races at the track in the futureâ
Gatt also has Ritza Liam engaged in heat three, coming up with box five against a hot field including the unbeaten Avondale Porche and Group winner Zipping Willow.
âYou can pretty much forget Ritza Liamâs run last week, he couldnât get across from that draw and got into a heap of troubleâ
âAgain, itâs a big test for him as well, but for me itâs all about the experience and how they handle this kind of fieldâ
Mark Gatt is experiencing a superb run of winners at present, having secured a brilliant victory at headquarters last week with notable distance runner Gradence saluting over the 520m in 29.82. This performance was another illustration of the versatility Gatt possess as a trainer, certain to etch his name into the records books once again in the near future.
Master trainer Mark Gatt was optimistic of his three semi-finalists chances this past Monday afternoon and rightly so with the talented trio blistering their rivals and securing their spot in tonightâs $25,000 to the winner final.
Ritza Hattie began Gattâs campaign in stunning fashion, lowering her personal best at the track to a scorching 29.64. After beginning brilliantly from box four, gapped her rivals to score by 6.75 lengths and head into the final as the heavy favourite. Despite these outstanding performances, Gatt remains modest of her chances tomorrow night.
âI think she still has some improvement in her yetâ.
âShe came out with them on Monday but just burnt them off after that. Box four will be tough in the final, she really needs to begin well.â
âI know she can win it, itâs just a matter of her doing everything rightâ.
Ritza Hattieâs litter brothers Ritza Liam and Ritza Danny added to the Gatt brothers celebrations by scoring impressive wins in their semi-finals clocking 30.11 and 30.25 respectively.
âThey’re both good dogs and are starting to learn how to race by going around other dogs but it will be hard for them out wideâ
âIâm just hoping they donât bring each other unstuck, usually your dogs find each other in the race, hopefully that doesnât happenâ.
With the odds stacked in Gattâs favour, there is never a certainty inas was the lesson learnt in the Group Two Black Top in which Jason Mackay has 5 runners engaged, only to finish second.
âYou never count your chickens in, anything can happen. Even though I have three in the final, I was in a similar position last year and came second, so Iâm just waiting to see what happensâ.
âAll three have had a perfect preparation and Iâll just be glad to get them kenneled and know Iâve done everything I can at giving them the best possible chanceâ.
âThe rest is up to themâ Gatt added.
Group Three Nowra Spring Puppy Classic Preview (7.40pm EDST):Â
Box One â My Bella Rose â Allan Manwaring ($26): has had a consistent series placing third in her heat and semi-final after being the early leader. Does have genuine early pace and this suitable box draw can help her run a cheeky race.
Box Two â Folk Tails â Carly Absalom ($18): flew home to run third last week behind Ritza Danny and finished third the previous week, clocking a personal best time of 30.46. Will need to improve her box manners significantly to test this hot field.Â
Box Three â Fantastic Barb â Jason Fletcher ($7.50): impeccably bred greyhound with the second fastest personal best of the field with 30.01. Has been competitive throughout the series and can run another solid race from this draw.
Box Four â Ritza Hattie â Mark Gatt ($1.50): The undoubted superstar of the series who blitzed in her heat and semi-final, recording a low-flying personal best on Monday of 29.64 from box four. Only has to repeat last weekâs performance to secure her 5th consecutive victory.
Box Five â Genetic Jenny â Judith Fisher ($23): Ran a respectable second behind Ritza Liam, clocking a personal best of 30.31. Has solid career form and can improve on last weekâs performance, however will have to overcome the difficult middle draw.Â
Box Six â Sutton Flight â John Thorpe ($23): was extremely gallant in defeat last week behind Ritza Hattie and clocked a fast personal best of 30.06. Can be competitive at the finish once again, but will need some luck from this draw.
Box Seven â Ritza Danny â Mark Gatt ($5): Chasing his fourth consecutive win after an impressive display on Monday, chasing down the leader, clocking 30.25. After sitting second early, whizzed passed the early leader on the home turn to accelerate away by 8.75 lengths. Has shown plenty of ability in all his races and can challenge this field at the finish.
Box Eight â Ritza Liam â Mark Gatt ($6.50): Second fastest semi-final qualifier, clocking a fast personal best of 30.11. Â Had every excuse to lose the race after being checked at the start and the first turn and made his way through to field to draw away at the finish. Can get some luck from this wide draw and very capable of saluting at the finish.
NSW trainers Eileen and Gary Robertson made a lucky escape on Thursday afternoon, as one of the stateâs most menacing bushfires loomed ominously close to their house and property.Â The Robertsons are located on Cabbage Tree Road at Williamtown, which has been heavily affected by the fire- with the Williamtown Airport closed until further notice and residents asked to evacuate the area.
âWe have been affected by the Heatherbrae fireâ, Eileen Robertson explained, âWe are on Cabbage Tree Road, between Nelsons Bay Road and Masonite Road. They had the normal fires on Sunday where they were doing back burning, but this one apparently was deliberately lit- so weâve been toldâ.
The thought of fire engulfing their property is every trainerâs worst nightmare and it was a horrendous time for the Robertsons with nearly 40 dogs to save
âWe went out yesterday, I was supposed to be going into town to get some stuff for the dogs and Rachael (Eileenâs daughter) said, âOh mum I have a funny feeling. How about if we get in my car and just go around and have a look and see what the other things have been doing since the fire on Sundayââ.
âWe had only gone from here; we went through to Tomago, went up to Heatherbrae and came back through. We got to Masonite Road and I got the emergency call on my phone to evacuate nowâ
âWithin the hour we had to get 38 dogs off the property. Connie Honnery text me and said âare you okâ and I said âno if you can get down here with trailers, I have 38 dogs to get outââ.
âShe brought Natasha Benhard down with her and I had that many people ringing through to find out what they could do to helpâ
âI had to wait for people to come. Connie Honnery and all them were three quarters of an hour away. Â They got so close and then they got turned away. They said that they couldnât go up thereâ
The Robertsons had to battle the approaching blaze as they loaded up their precious chasers, before taking them to Unibet Gardens.
âWe just had to bundle dogs in cars and trailers and get them out. I had about nine of them in the back of the car, four in the trailer and one in the front seat. I had dogs everywhere, there was about three or four car loadsâ.
âAll the grass and trees next door got burnt, but we were very very lucky. When we looked down the back and the winds were blowing a gale you could just see this big red fireball coming and we still had more dogs to get out- we thought we were in big troubleâ.
âYou couldnât see- all you could see was this red and blue smoke. I have never seen a big fireball like it and it was just there. I was picking up dogs and chucking them in cars and making sure every dog had a muzzle on because there were dogs that hadnât been with the other dogs and I had to make sure they werenât going to fightâ
The Robertsons were assisted at the Gardens by track manager, Kayla Spliet, as well as some other local trainers willing to lend a hand
âKayla did a fantastic job with me yesterday, getting water bowls and everything like that to look after the dogs in there and she was taking them out and emptying them out for meâ
âI couldnât thank anybody enough- Terry Callen came over and he had a bag of kibble and bowls and god knows what else.â
âPeople have still been ringing this morning saying are you ok? Can we do anything? Itâs just a real good feeling to know that people still care about you â.
It was great news for the family this morning. After a terrifying night, they found out their house had been spared.Â However, it has still left its mark on the property and surrounding area, acting as a reminder of how close they came to losing everything
âIt has all worked out for the betterâ.
âI was expecting to come home here and not find the house. I was that down. As soon as I got in the car I thought âIâve lost my bloody houseâ and I started to get all worked up. I knew I had to calm down because the dogs would feel that I was getting upset and that makes them all upsetâ.
The Robertsons should be able to take their greyhounds home tomorrow. For now they are being lovingly looked after by Sonya and Garry Greene, Natasha and Michael Benhard and Connie and Peter Honnery.
The experience also highlighted the wonderful people we have within our sport. In one familiyâs time of need, thefraternity united to do everything they could to help out, proving just how kind-hearted participants are
âWe get a bad report from the 7.30 report saying all us dog people are bad people and I thought they need to know this side of the story- how all these people came to give a hand. It was unbelievable. I had people offering me clothing and that sort of stuff- but I said I was right- the main thing I got out was the dogs and the dog papersâ.
PHOTOS SHOWING HOW CLOSE THE FIRE CAME
Hunter Valley trainer Michael Lill is experiencing the ride of his life at present, having returned to the art of training after dabbling into the craft 2-years ago. Lill and his wife Michelle spent the majority of their time creating their own breeding and training establishment at Greta, approximately one-hour North of Newcastle.
Lillâs first taste of major success came in 2008, when he bred a litter by Hallucinate out of Special Sauce, which produced Jason Mackayâs champion sprinter Big Bunga. A winner of 26 races including the Group Two Tweed Heads Galaxy in 2010, Big Bungaâs litter sister Thickness, is responsible for Lillâs current talented sprinter, Hot Sauce.
He broke in ok and has just kept on improving every time we have trialled him. He’s that type of dog that could basically train himself, he does everything rightâ.
Stepping out on debut at Unibet Gardens two weeks ago, the youngster at just 19 months of age, blew away his opposition in a flying 22.78 over the 400m. In almost a carbon copy performance last Saturday night, exiting from box six, was flawless once again in clocking a fast 22.81, much to the delight of his trainer.
âI knew he could go ok but I was very surprised when he run that time in his maiden. Last weekâs performance just touched my heart, particularly from that tricky box, I was so proud of himâ said Lill.
âEven though his very young, he just told us he was ready to race. His got that mentality and attitude and is very easy to trainâ Lill added.
Lill is adamant his rewards are the result of a team effort, with glowing praise for his wife Michelle, whom he met whilst working at John Hawkes Racing in Sydney
âI couldnât do any of this without my wife. I work crazy hours; sometimes I start at 3am and do the dogs before I go. Every time I come home the dogs are done exactly how I want them.â
âSheâs amazing and I canât say enough about how fantastic she has been in helping me and its great to see weâre having some success.â
Lill is currently preparing Hot Sauceâs littermates for their race track debuts, with pleasing reports regarding their progress.
âNess Quick is going really well in her trials and Thinner has got plenty of ability which is very exciting. We have been really blessed as the whole litter can runâ.
Having established himself as a successful breeder, Lillâs reasoning behind selecting Elite Blue Size for his broodbitch Thickness resulted from witnessing Big Bungaâs biggest victory at Tweed Heads.
âElite Blue Size ran second to Big Bunga in the Tweed Heads Galaxy and I thought it was a super run by him. He probably hasnât been as popular at stud as I thought he would but that didnât deter me from using him and it seems to be paying offâ.
Lill recently sold a litter of pups by Donât Knocka Him out of Special Sauce that are 5 months of age and should provide interesting viewing for breeding enthusiasts once they hit the race track.
At present, Lill and his family are ecstatic with their establishment and patience is Lillâs key factor to being a successful trainer.
âPatience is everything in this sport. We treat each greyhound as an individual and you need to treat them that wayâ.
With no greater sacrifices evident than those made by the Lill family, proves that anyone, no matter what their situation, can succeed in this wonderful sport and be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams.
NSW (GRNSW) today received confirmation from RSPCA NSW that there is no evidence to suggest acts of animal cruelty are occurring in the industry in NSW.
GRNSW made contact with RSPCA NSW after it was made aware that the ABCâs 7.30 program was to air a story this evening on theindustry dealing with allegations of animal cruelty.
Allparticipants in NSW are bound by GRNSWâs Code of Practice and the Rules which outline animal welfare standards, as well as strict management and care practices that are appropriate to the physical and behavioural needs of greyhounds.
GRNSW has a zero tolerance policy for participants who do not meet our animal welfare standards. Any trainer found ending the life of a greyhound in an inhumane manner or mistreating the greyhounds in their care in some other way is not welcome in our sport. They would not only be violating the rules ofand our code of practice, but could also be committing a criminal offence under the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
GRNSW is committed to improving the welfare of greyhounds in NSW. Since assuming responsibility for animal welfare in 2009, GRNSW has set about launching numerous initiatives to ensure that the welfare of all animals is a primary consideration for all participants in the greyhound industry. This commitment will ramp up over the next 12 months, with $1.3 million to be invested on greyhound welfare in that period.
By encouraging smarter breeding practices, ensuring safer racing and providing greater re-homing opportunities, GRNSW is confident it will provide a better life for greyhounds after racing.
The 7.30 program is also expected to air allegations by former Wentworth Park on-course veterinarian Dr Ted Humphries about participants using banned substances on their greyhounds.
This is not the first time Dr Humphries has made allegations of this nature to the media, however, he continues to ignore GRNSWâs requests asking him to provide evidence to support his allegations.
GRNSW has also repeatedly invited Dr Humphries to discuss his concerns with our Integrity Department, but he has never replied.
Maintaining the integrity ofis at the heart of what GRNSW does, it is a core function of the organisation and integral to maintaining punter confidence in the sport and a level playing field for participants.
Over the last year GRNSW ramped up its drug detection activities taking 5,562 samples – a 47 per cent increase on the level of swabbing in the previous year. The increase in swabs carried out across all winning greyhounds and at random was made possible after GRNSW nearly doubled its swabbing budget for 2012/13 following an increase in positive swabs in the previous year.
The increase in the detection of prohibited substances coincides with GRNSWâs enhanced approach to race day integrity operations.
This includes the establishment of a âcontrol roomâ at GRNSWâs head office in Rhodes, which receives live feeds of the race broadcast footage, surveillance footage from the kennel blocks and utilises video conferencing equipment to facilitate communication between the tracks and office in real time together with modern bet monitoring tools.
As has been widely reported, greyhound racing stewards in at least two states have been sitting an numerous positives swab inquiries, mostly to elevated Testosterone levels.
Last month West Australian Racing and Wagering West Australia (RWWA) stewards handed Wayne Jacobson a nine month disqualification for what was considered “a high level” offence.
As if prompted in too action by today’s GRV RADB decision in to their leading trainer,New South Wales (GRNSW) stewards have finally formally announced the worst kept secret in ; Jason Mackay is to front the GRNSW stewards over several positive swabs to elevated Testosterone threshold levels.
GRNSW have advised that having “received advice from the accredited laboratories of the findings of levels of the testosterone metabolite 5beta-androstane-3alpha, 17beta-diol above the threshold concentration of 10 nanograms per millilitre in urine samples taken from four greyhounds trained by Jason Mackay at meetings in NSW in February and March this year.”
The reports concern the greyhounds Punch One Out and Sometimes Speedy, which raced at The Gardens on 15 February 2013, Yarramundi Flash from The Gardens on 22 February 2013 and Zipping Tess from the Wentworth Park meeting on 23 March 2013.
The Punch One Out and Sometimes Speedy positive swabs relate directly to the 2013 National Futurity Final when Mackay’s greyhounds finished first and second in the $75,000 to to the winner event.
The Zipping Tess positive swab originates from her win in a heat of the 2013 Ultra Sense series. Zipping Tess ran last in the final as a $6.60 third favourite.
According to GRNSW, the finding from the fourth Zipping Tess sample was only confirmed today. No explanation was forthcoming from GRNSW as to the reasons behind the seven month delay from race night swab to second “B” sample confirmation.
Mackay has been notified of the findings and an inquiry into the analysts reports will be conducted at the offices of GRNSW on Tuesday 12th November 2013.
The 50th anniversary of the Sydney Cup (720 metres), the oldest of the four main Sydney-based distance races, proved to be an historic event in more ways than might have been expected.
Obviously, being the 50th anniversary of a race first run in 1963 was significant enough, but the presence of Tasmanian star stayer Bell Haven added to the sense of occasion. The 2012 victor was attempting to become only the second greyhound in the long history of the race to win it twice. Finally, the presence of the American-bred stayer Lucy Wires perhaps gives a glimpse of the gradual globalization of our sport.
The records show that only the great Miss High Lo has been successful in defending a Sydney Cup title. Miss High Lo won the 1973 Sydney Cup by five lengths over the-then 722 metres on grass, running a race record 42.88. She returned in 1974 and was even more devastating, scoring by nine lengths in 42.85, obviously breaking her own race record. That record stood until the track was closed for remodeling in 1986.
Bell Haven faced a daunting task in trying to retain the title as no less than five other previous winners have made it into back-to-back finals and failed to lift the cup for that second time.
The first of these was the greyhound considered by many to be the greatest to ever grace an Australian racetrack: Zoom Top. In 1968 the Fawn Flash had defeated the champion Victorian stayer Miram Miss by four lengths in 43.2, breaking the existing track record.
A year later, Zoom Top won her heat of the Sydney Cup in a new track record time of 42.9 and looked to have a mortgage on the final. Yet she struck severe interference at the first turn in the final, her sister Busyâs Charm falling and Zoom Top was forced to hurdle her to avoid the same fate. Zoom Top made up a huge amount of ground but had to be content with fourth behind Our Vent.
In 1980 Henryâs Girl took the final but in 1981 she was unplaced behind Supreme Hiwai.
These were the only three to win and attempt to defend their title on the âoldâ Wentworth Park track.
In 1998 Gallant Seagull scored on the loam circuit but could only run fourth in 1999 behind the brilliant Queensland stayer Kobble Creek.
Resigned scored in the 2004 final, defeating the more fancied Classy Customer. The next year Resigned was third, beaten almost eight lengths, behind Royal Riddle and Texas Gold, the winner equaling the track record.
Royal Riddle in turn made the 2006 final but could only run fifth to the Queenslander Quidame.
So, Bell Haven is in exalted company when it comes to trying to defend a Sydney Cup title.
As an aside, there have been 11 other greyhounds who have made a Sydney Cup final twice, but only two of these have managed to win the event at this second attempt. The first was Pleasure OâHope who was unplaced behind Supreme Hiwai in 1981 but came back for a strong win in 1982 and the South Australian star Raven Kelly, second to Trojan Tears in 1993, deservedly won the 1994 version.
Lucy Wiresâ victory this year is (and I stand to be corrected on this) the first major race to fall to an American-bred greyhound in Australian history. Of course, very few greyhounds born and bred in the United States have ever made it to these shores, unlike a period in the 1960s and 1970s when quite a few Irish racers were imported and some acquitted themselves in great style (Which Chariot and Smooth Approach are two that spring readily to mind).
Lucy Wires, of course, has done all her racing in Australia, but she still deserves to be recognized as the pathfinder for the US breeding and racing industry.
Tasmanian stayer Bell Haven will return to the mainland tonight to defend her title in the Group 3 Bohemia Crystal Sydney Cup at Wentworth Park. Â Bell Haven claimed the race last year when defeating Ebby Miss by three lengths in a speedy 42.25s. However, she will face a tough test tonight when she exits box four in the $25,000 to the winner final.
The Ted Medhurst-trained greyhound has only been lightly raced since finishing second behind Lashing Jill in the Tasmanian Distance Championship- with her last start heat performance just her second start back since August. Â Beginning well from box six, the black bitch parked behind the leader for much of the race and stuck on well to finish second behind the fast finishing Set Sail South.
Medhurst said that he had specifically targeted the Sydney Cup series with Bell Haven, rather than some of the other staying features that have been held around the nation in recent weeks. Given that it was her first run back for nearly a month, Medhurst was also pleased with her performance last Saturday
âI was pleased with her run last week. She has had a few injury problems which we have tried to manage and I think we have got a hold of them nowâ
âWe purposely decided that as she started to get on (in age) that we would basically race her at Wentworth Park- about every month they have a decent race up there and she has shown a real liking for the trackâ.
âThe only other distance race that was on was at The Meadows and, although she got beat a nose there in a Group 1, she is yet to win on the track. So, we decided to avoid the Meadows this time and just concentrate on the Wentworth Park raceâ.
Heading into the event, Medhurst considers it to be a fairly even affair. The Mangalore mentor admits that he would have preferred to see his distance diva drawn out wide, but still thinks she can feature in the finish if she places herself prominently in the early stages.
âI think that the wider the draw for her, the better. Itâs a very strong and even field. The depth of the field is very strong so if any of the four, five or even six top contenders do something wrong the other dogs will beat themâ
âIf we have a bit of luck we will be there, but if we have a bit of bad luck we mightnât beâ
âI havenât had a real good look at the speed maps of the race, but to be a winning chance I think she would want to be in the first four early. As I said, there are some really good dogs in there which are just as good as her and you canât give them too much of a startâ.
Medhurst also believes that Bell Haven will have derived confidence from last weekâs run, with her previous start at the Glebe circuit a rough and tough event from the get-go
âI think the run last week brought her forward a little bit and has done her confidence a bit of good. Last time she raced she got flattened and got bumped a fair bit, but last week to run a nice even race and get to the line good we were pleased and conversely her confidence seems to have lifted a bitâ
The daughter of Head Bound and Itâs A She left for Sydney yesterday in order to prepare for tonightâs feature. Following their usual routine, Bell Haven will be handled by group winning trainer Debbie Cannan . Cannan part owns the bitch with fellow Tasmanian Russel Milner, who also owned former TOPGUN hero No Intent.
âShe has followed the same regime this week as she does every time that she races interstate- she flies out the day before the race and she will be back home the day after the raceâ.
âDebâs the type of person that it doesnât matter whether they run last or win, she still loves them. She loves the animal and she gives them a kiss and pat every time she sees them irrespective of whether itâs before or after the raceâ
At just over three and a half years of age, Bell Haven is entering the twilight stage of her career. With a great record of 62 starts for 26 wins and 18 minor placings, Medhurst says that he is happy to continue racing her until she decides she has had enough of the racing caper
âShe is marvellous, we think the world of her and itâs all about her. When she is not Bell Haven and if she doesnât perform well for a few starts in a row then we will seriously consider retirement.â
âShe has done everything for us and the main thing is her, we just think the world of her- the owners love her. Â I just respect her so much because of the traveling she has done. She has been so unlucky in a couple of big races but in our eyes she has been just magnificentâ
âTo win a Sydney Cup with her last year was a dream and if we could do that with her again it would be wonderful- more for the dog than anybody elseâ.
The Group 3 Bohemia Crystal Sydney Cup is race eight tonight at Wentworth Park and will jump at 9:47pm.
Master Thirlmere trainer Mark Gatt is remaining modest towards his chances in this yearâs Nowra Spring Puppy Classic, despite having three runners qualify for this Mondayâs semi-finals of the $25,000 to the winner event, including fastest heat winner Ritza Hattie.
Blowing her rivals away from box 2 in a near-record 29.74, this sizzling sprinter has made a stunning start to her short career, having recorded five wins and four minor placings from just nine starts. Gattâs newest sensation recorded her third consecutive win on Monday, much to the delight of her astute trainer.
âShe went really well on Monday, she uses the inside boxes so well. She still does a few little things wrong in her races which will improve with experience but I just hope she can jump on the bunny again this weekâ said Gatt.
Gatt was favourite to score a treble of winners last Monday, however had to settle for second in heat one as Jason Fletcherâs Fantastic Barb, a half-sister to multiple group winning chaser El Brooklyn, sprinted away at the finish, clocking an impressive time of 30.01. Fletcher will head into this week with plenty of confidence after Fantastic Barb came up with box one against Ritza Hattie in semi-final one.
Ritza Danny also impressed enthusiasts last week with a positive performance from box four. After beginning well and getting a rails run at the finish, accelerated away in a smart time of 30.20. The victory added another brilliant personal best to some outstanding times recorded at Dapto (29.60) and Richmond (30.54). According to his trainer, there is plenty of improvement in store for this talented greyhound.
His got plenty of ability he just hasnât learned how to use it yet. He will sit behind a dog and wait for the run, he wont go around a dog so thatâs a bit frustrating, he just needs to get some luckâ.
Gatt had two runners in last years final and suffered shock defeat at the hands of Steve Whiteâs star chaser Amadeus Strikes. Looking to go one better this year, Gatt is adamant his taking it one race at a time.
âI know all my runners qualified and Ritza Hattie ran the fastest heat time, but I was in this position last year and came second. Iâm just hoping to get as many through to the final as possible and hope for some luckâ.
This extremely talented litter by Bombastic Shiraz out of Gattâs brilliant producer Midnight Flare are giving their trainer plenty of reasons to smile, with stunning performances week after week and are yet to reach two years of age.
âRitza Hattie is definitely the pick of them and is one of the best she (Midnight Flare) has produced. Ritza Rita was very fast and unfortunately broke down before she got her chance but Midnight Flare has given us some very special dogsâ.
Other heat winners from last Monday included; Good Odds Demon trained by Frank Hurt, impressive in clocking 30.14, Willieâs Tale for Valetta McDonald (30.23) and Tarzan Luke for Ruth Matic (30.66).
Nowra Spring Puppy Classic Semi-Final One:
- Fantastic Barb â Jason Fletcher
- Sizzling Sally â Charlie Gatt
- Sutton Flight â John Thorpe
- Ritza Hattie â Mark Gatt
- Alpine Alley â Ruth Matic
- Dark Simon â Allan Manwaring
- Willieâs Tale â Valetta Mcdonald
- Cocktail Party â Kayla-Jane Coleman
Nowra Spring Puppy Classic Semi-Final Two:
- Ritza Liam â Mark Gatt
- Tarzan Luke â Ruth Matic
- My Bella Rose â Allan Manwaring
- Minkara Yarmi â John Hartley
- Good Odds Demon â Frank Hurst
- Mike Lowrie â Frances Harris
- Watch Me Ignite â Kayla-Jane Coleman
- Genetic Jenny â Judith Fisher
Nowra Spring Puppy Classic Semi-Final Three:
- Bo Bonnie â John Thorpe
- Ritza Danny â Mark Gatt
- Lady Million â Dennis Gialanze
- Clan Annie â Karen Midson
- Obee One â Leslie Thompson
- Thunder Buddy â Jeffory Alaban
- Folk Tails â Carly Absalom
- Argo Alley â Ruth Matic
In a sport where longevity is rarer than a 100/1 winner, Paul Barnes is a survivor. Last Friday, he decided it was time to end a long career in the racing industry that spans back to 1980.
For Barnes the formula is simple âYou just don’t play politics. You just walk down the middle of that road, that’s the only way to survive.â It was that basic, yet effective approach that led to many successes for Barnes.
When you talk to Paul Barnes you hear passion and it becomes obvious that everything he does is, what he believes to be, in the best interests of the industry. There is also little doubt that one of the reasons that this self taught pioneer has outlasted so many is his underpinning, old fashioned morals.
âMy integrity is worth more than anything to me. That is the way I was brought up by my Mum and that’s the way I am.â
Barnesâ first role in the industry was an unenviable one, taking on the task of re-opening the Lithgow trots. He then ventured north to Maryborough in Queensland where he also built a club from the ground up. He then took over the role of secretary at Penrith greyhounds before he began his final role at Bulli, a role which lasted some twenty one years.
Barnes built his reputation on being proactive and forthright and learnt plenty in those early days with the fledgling trotting clubs.
âWhen you re-open clubs you learn a lot of things. You learn to cut costs and how to do things that are successful.â
It is no doubt that this is where Barnes developed his âhands onâ style. If there was ever the slightest hint of a hiccup at a meeting, he was always the first there and not afraid to get his hands dirty.
Barnes faith in his own ability and preparedness to try things may not have always endeared him to his peers at first, but more often than not, they would be onside soon after.
âWhen I worked for the NCA I used to get in trouble for not doing what they said, but I was successful at Penrith. I used to say if what I’m doing doesn’t work, then kick me in the ass and I never got many kicks in the ass.â
One of Paul Barnesâ most notable legacies was his notion to create and promote his own feature events rather than just take what he was given.
âI used to email and ring trainers. That’s what you had to do or you didn’t get the people. And, as you know, back then we used to get all the interstate dogs coming to Bulli. Trainers like Jason Thompson and Peter Daprain loved coming, I used to ring them up and send them info all the time. And you had to talk to the media. I’d always send all the information into the newspapers to make sure we got the coverage.â
Barnes even had his own brief stint in the media himself early on in his career and learnt some valuable lessons.
âI used to write for the paper in Maryborough and do all the trotting form. One thing I learnt is to be careful what you write. One trainer was going to shoot me after I wrote that his horse couldn’t win, even if it was running against me, he didn’t like that.â
Barnes was a believer in hosting highest quality races over the longer distances. He was a pioneer in this pursuit and made every attempt to minimise four hundred metre races, believing they weren’t conducive to quality turnover.
âI’d still like to see the grading done by the clubs. We have no say in the races we get now and sometimes there’s more four hundred metre races than anything else. Unfortunately, as a result, there’s plenty of trainers who only want to run dogs over that distance now.â
Barnes has seen plenty of good dogs at Bulli over his enduring tenure and says heâs seen none quicker than Barcia Bale. But when it came to track specialists he had another preference.
âThe best actual Bulli dog I saw was Kirstyâs Crown, she won eighteen or nineteen races on the old track. And a dog of Jason Thompsonâs that won a Gold Plate was also pretty handy too, Whisky Assassin.â
When I asked Barnes what he found most difficult about the job in its current form it was apparent that nothing was ever something he didn’t enjoy.
âIf I had to pick one I’d probably say the tussling with GRNSW. They have introduced a lot of standards that I may not necessarily think are needed and it puts a lot of extra work back on the clubs. But that’s the way the governance of the sport is going. To be honest, I never found anything too hard about the job.â
Barnes was also at his candid best when divulging his thoughts on the upcoming inquiry into the sport.
âIt’s about time. I was representing Bulli when the distribution deal was presented to us and said at the time that I’m not happy with it, it’s a joke. They just wanted to get the money and it absolutely stuffed the industry. Some people weren’t happy that I stood up and told them what I felt but it’s the truth and it has come back to bite them.â
And it is Barnes straightforward style that is one of the essential elements to his success.
âI’ve never just towed the line if I didn’t agree with something. That is why I probably wasn’t one of GRNSWâs favourite people. I called a spade a spade and if I thought I was right, I wouldn’t back down. If you believe in something you’ve got to keep going at it haven’t you?â
Barnes believes the perfect distribution model was the one they had before the TAB was privatised.
âIf I could change one thing in the sport I would go back to that model. That way the clubs that are performing prosper and the ones that aren’t just disappear if they don’t improve their ways, that’s how it was and that’s how it should be. Under that scheme we were able to pay more prizemoney at Bulli because I studied the scheme and how it worked and did everything I could to improve our turnover. In four to five years Bulli went from near the bottom of the distribution pile to up near the top. But nothing will change while you have the current people running the sport.â
The Bulli club also operated the Appin Way track and Barnes laments the loss of the straight track.
âIt’s a shame, it’s a good venue and the poor straight track dogs haven’t got a place to race any more. That’s the part that stinks, the dogs that can’t go around the bend, what are you going to do with them? It’s another nail in the coffin of the industry.â
When it comes to the future of the Bulli circuit, Barnes would hate to see it go the same way.
âIt’s hard to predict what will happen, itâs a tough environment now, sponsors are hard to get and that’s one of the problems with it. I just hope it keeps going because I think it’s the best track in Australiaâ
Despite a myriad of achievements in the sport, it is that last comment that makes it obvious which one that Barnes is most proud of. After the grass track was all but washed away in floods during 1998, a new loam surface was built with plenty of input from Barnes.
âIf there’s one legacy I’ve left the industry it’s the best track in Australia. That is my design and it took five sets of plans before I got what I wanted.â
If one passion drives Barnes more than racing, it is cricket and he is definitely not about to slow down in retirement. At his peak, the leg spinning all-rounder played first grade in the world’s strongest grade competition; Sydney grade. He regularly came up against both state and national players and more than held his own. He currently plays in the fourth grade Shires competition and in the over 50âs competition. Barnes also represents New South Wales in the over 60âs and recently averaged over a hundred with the willow in a tournament on the Sunshine Coast.
Paul Barnes is the sort of man you can sit and talk to for hours, knowing that you’ll come away richer for the experience. He will definitely be a loss to theindustry.
Kaylaâs Tiger, the little pup that survived parvovirus, gave her trainer Len Haaring one of his most meaningful and emotional wins on Monday afternoon when she triumphed in the Silver Maiden Final at Coonamble. As detailed by Australian Racing Greyhound before the race, Kaylaâs Tiger was bred by Mudgee trainer Robert Milne and was his pick of the litter before he tragically passed away last year. Haaring, a close friend of Milne, reared and races the surviving six members of the litter, with Kaylaâs Tiger fittingly owned by Milneâs son Darryl.
After a poor beginning in her heat on Saturday, Kaylaâs Tiger still managed to qualify for the consolation event in the fastest time courtesy of a 17.57s performance when running second to Midnight Rhythm. Going into the final, Haaring was hoping for success but remained apprehensive.
âWe didnât think she was going to do it actually. I was hoping that she would jump a little bit better than what she did the other day but she actually jumped worse- she jumped last. She gathered speed very quickly and she got herself just into second going into the first corner and then the dogs that were on the outside of her squeezed her out a bit and she got checked back to about fourth or fifth. But, within a twinkling of an eye, she got going again and she lobbed back into second. She was chasing the leader and halfway down the home straight she snuck inside it and won by a length and a half. It was goodâ.
âWe were very happy. It couldnât have been better. It was probably fitting in a way that she had to do it tough in the end because everything has been tough for her. She ran a pretty good time (17.62s) consideringâ.
âShe was always going to be a bit of a chance. She had the speed, all she needed was a little bit of luck to get through the field, and I think she just made her own luckâ.
Haaring said after the race that it was a very emotional win for all involved. The Cooks Gap based trainer believes that Milne would have been cheering and still had a part to play in the outcome of the race.
âWe were all crying…It gave us the opportunity to say a few words at the track. I had a little bit of trouble at one stage, but I got through it pretty wellâ.
âBob would have been out of control. He would have been very happy and he would have been telling everybody that he won, I think everyone in the place would have known that he wonâ.
âIâm sure he helped her because when she copped a check she just seemed to find another hole to come through. We were really worried, especially when she got the knock on the corner. It just happened very quicklyâ.
The next step for Kaylaâs Tiger and her littermates looks to be yet another field trip- this time to the Hunter Valley
âI have been trying to decide between going back to Dubbo where all of the pups have been going, or going somewhere new and I think I am now leaning towards going somewhere new, probably Maitland. There is the Future Stars there and I had one that I had to scratch from the Coonamble series that might just be ready in time for that and a couple didnât do so well at the Carnival. I will probably give Kaylaâs Tiger a couple of looks while Iâm up thereâ.
With plenty of potential, a stack of support and some guidance from above, it appears that Haaring is set for a successful stint on the racetrack with this very exciting young litter.
The Racing Appeals Tribunal has refused to hear an appeal lodged by trainer Mark Azzopardi against a two year disqualification.
Racing Appeals Tribunal Magistrate Ian McRae refused the appeal on the grounds that Mr Azzopardi lodged the appeal three days outside the time frame that is required under the Racing Appeals Tribunal Act 1983 and Racing Appeals Tribunal Regulation 2010.
Under the legislation, Mr Azzopardi was required to lodge his appeal by no later than midnight on 27 September 2013, but did not do so until 30 September 2013.
Mr McRae determined that the Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear the appeal.
Greyhound Racing NSW disqualified Mr Azzopardi for two years after he was found guilty under GAR 83 (2) (a) following inquiries into the analysts findings of benzoylecgonine, a metabolite of cocaine, in the urine sample taken from Transcend Time at Maitland on 28 March 2013.
The Coonamble Racing Carnival is officially done and dusted for another year. The grass track was host to 71 events over the October long weekend, with top honours going to Dubbo trainer Charmaine Roberts who took out 10 races, including the $10,000 to the winner Global Hr Pty Ltd Gold Maiden final.
âWe took eleven dogs but they raced 16 times because obviously some of them backed up. We won 10 races, we ran two seconds and had four unplacedâ, Roberts explained.
âThis year was really good because all of them, except two dogs that belong to Marty and Fiona Hallinan (Zipping Ozzy & Zipping Gilbert), were our own that we bred out of our own bitches. When you have dogs like that it makes it a little bit more specialâ.
Robertsâ enormous weekend kicked off during the first meeting on Friday where she trained a winning treble.Â The first to salute was Zipping Ozzy who overcame an awkward draw in box four to salute by four and one quarter lengths in the fifth event.Â The son of Bit Chili and Natalie Rass was having his first race start on Friday, as was his litter brother, Zipping Gilbert, who began well from an identical draw to land the cash in race six. Also breaking his maiden status during the first meeting was Obama Keeping who handled box six to perfection when scoring in a handy 30.97s over the 530 metre trip.
Robertsâ runners returned to the track that night, taking out a double during the 11 race card. Batman Keeping got the ball rolling in race two, annihilating his competitors by four and a half lengths in 17.81s. In the following event, Pin High proved too good for his fellow canines, sprinting away with a 23.37s success over the 400 metre start.
Saturday was a much quieter day for Keeping Kennels with four starters resulting in three winners. During the morning meeting, the consistent Roobak stepped out for her sixth start and recorded her third career victory from box eight. The Mantra Lad bitch defeated Pat Parelliâs Devine Amrak by two and one quarter lengths in 17.66s.
Saturday afternoon saw twelve heats of the Global Hr Pty Ltd Sprint, of which Roberts took out two. Littermates Hummer Keeping and Maloo Keeping motored along in their respective qualifiers to salute in an identical time of 17.60s.
Heading into Mondayâs main event, Robertsâ reveals that she thought Hummer Keeping held the key to unlocking Coonamble glory
âI was probably more confident in her. I thought she might jump in front and then they might jam up and they wouldnât catch herâ.
âTo be quite honest he (Maloo Keeping) is the quickest dog, he broke in the quickest and everything like that, but he is not really quick out of the boxes, Hummer (Keeping) is. We have trialled them together and he (Maloo Keeping) has never beaten her (Hummer Keeping) out of the boxes. She would beat him out two to three lengths out every time but he would run over the top of her. She has never ever missed the start in any of the trials we have given her- and she missed the kick in the heat but she was still lucky enough to win- then she missed it in the final and you canât miss the start in finals, she got spat out the backâ.
However, when the lids flew open, it was Maloo Keeping that rose to the challenge. The son of Cosmic Rumble and Cody Keeping did not let a horror box five worry him as he rocketed to the line three and a half lengths ahead of Spring Spaniard in 17.66s.
âIt was really good and I was really excited after all the hard work you put into themâ.
âWe do only live two hours away but by the time you go up there and trial the dogs, turn around and come back, the whole day is goneâ.
âWe have won it a couple of times but it is nice to win it againâ.
The win in the Gold Final came after Romeo Keeping scored earlier in the day. Beginning well from box two, the 34.2 kilogram powerhouse was too strong, notching up his first career victory in 23.64s.
Roberts, who has been attending the Carnival for around 12 years, is no stranger to success in the maiden final, taking out the decider on two other occasions.
â12-15 years we have been going. It is always good to support the club. Even throughout the year we go up there just to support them and race there. We didnât do that as much this year because we didnât have as many dogs- these dogs have only come to hand the last month or so. We havenât had a lot of dogs racing this year but if Coonamble race and we have the dogs we take them up because it helps them out as a club and it gives the dogs a different track and a different environmentâ.
âWe won it in 2005. We won first and third and the bitch that we won it with won off box five. We got the quinella again in 2009 with the one boxâ.
While Maloo Keeping took out the main event, Roberts believes that her maiden winner from Friday night will emerge as her best chaser from the weekend
âA dog we had in a 500 metre race called Obama Keeping will probably make a nice stayer later on but he is only young. He won his maiden 500 metre heat but he only came second in the final. Just where he was and where he came from was a really good runâ.
With such a successful weekend all-round, Roberts also reflects on what she enjoys most about the Carnival and why she continues to make the trip every year
âIt is really good especially for young dogs to go up there and sit in the trailer just for a weekend. It really does improve a hell of a lot of dogs, sitting in the trailer, getting in and out every couple of hours to have a wee and walk around. Some dogs love it. The dog that we won with on Friday night is a little bit highly strung and I was a little bit worried about him going up there but he relaxed really wellâŚ he was fresh as a button and ripping the grass upâŚhe absolutely loved itâ.
âIt is an experience.Â There is nothing at Coonamble and the crowd was probably a little bit down on what it normally is but you certainly canât bottle what happens thereâ
Amongst the racing, punting, heat and alcohol that is the Coonamble Racing Carnival, emerged a touching story over the weekend.
Cooks Gap trainer Len Haaring has two runners engaged in the final meeting tomorrow afternoon and is hoping that one in particular can go close to the prize. Haaring trains the talented Kaylaâs Tiger that earned herself a spot in the Silver Maiden Final when running second to Midnight Rhythm in her heat on Saturday.Â The brindle bitch by El Grand Senor out of Kayla Enlim was bred by Mudgee mentor Bob Milne who sadly passed away just over a year ago.
âBob was a friend of mine that I have known for years in the greyhounds and he bred the Kayla Enlim litter. This is the first litter that she has hadâ, Haaring explained.
âKayla won about fifteen or sixteen races. She won over 300, 400, 500 and 600. She was a very versatile bitch. She was looking like being greyhound of the year at Bathurst until she broke down in the middle of the year. She was miles ahead in the greyhound of the year at the time and it took them until about October to catch up to herâ.
âShe took quite a few years to come on season. Bob was waiting very patiently for this particular litter. He had ones with Natalie Enlim and Chloe Milne but he just wanted really badly to get a litter out of Kayla. Eventually it came trueâ.
Once he had his much anticipated litter on the ground, Milne had to fight to ensure that they survived. Tragically when the pups were just seven weeks old they contracted the dreaded parvovirus.
âHe had two litters at the time, one out of Chloe Milne and the one out Kayla. He had 21 pups all up- 12 out of one litter and nine out of the other litter- and unfortunately 15 of them had to be put down. There were only six survivorsâ
âBob was pretty distraught about the whole thing. It was initially Chloeâs pups- they all went and he was very upset about that. He had the two litters at once and Chloeâs litter all had it but Kaylaâs litter were showing no signs of it. Then all of a sudden after the Chloe ones went, the Kayla ones started showing symptoms and the next thing you know they started to go. It just destroyed himâ
âI went down there and we discussed the six remaining pups and he said that the vet reckoned that we could save a few of them but it was going to cost at least $1000, probably $1200 a pup to do itâ
âI mentioned that I was looking for another pup for one of my pups at home who was his own. I told him I was prepared to put some money in to try and save a couple and Bob wanted to do that, so we talked his son Darryl into saving two as wellâ.
Remarkably, all six pups defied the odds by surviving. The littermates were then transferred to Haaringâs property to be reared. Just as things were starting to get back on track came the sudden passing of Milne in September last year.
âHe loved his greyhounds and I guess ultimately because of his love for the greyhounds thatâs why he died. He checked himself out of hospital too early when he went in there with heart problems, because he had to go look after his greyhounds. Instead of ringing someone up to go feed them for him he decided âno Iâm going homeâ when they hadnât finished testing him and he passed away that nightâ, Haaring recalled.
After Milneâs sad passing, Haaring continued on with the youngsters, along with Milneâs son Darryl. Haaring now trains all six chasers with Kaylaâs Tiger upstaging her littermates on Saturday when running the fastest second and third fastest overall time to qualify for the final. Fittingly, the 28 kilogram bitch was Milneâs pick of the litter.
âBob always wanted a brindle pup that looked like Kayla and she is the one that made it into the Silver finalâ.
âI think he would be out of this world, I donât think you would be able to hold him down he would be that excitedâ.
Kaylaâs Tiger will have to contend with an awkward draw in box four tomorrow afternoon when she contests her second race start. Although it is not ideal, Haaring believes she can overcome the draw if she begins well.
âIâm apprehensive but confident. Iâm confident but she has been beginning a bit ordinary. She has got some awesome speed about her so if she gets a clear run she will win but she has to get oneâ.
âI donât think any box would be a worry as long as she gets a clear run, she has just got to find her way through them. She has gone quicker than what she went in the heatsâ.
Although it would have been a fairy tale ending for Haaring to take out the Gold final, with a little bit of luck and perhaps a touch of guidance from up above, Kaylaâs Tiger might be able to star in the Silver final.
Also in the final meeting tomorrow afternoon is Banditâs Moo who is contesting the www.australianracinggreyhound.com Best 8 Final over 530 metres. The heats saw some speedy competitors vie for their spot in the $2000 final with Banditâs Moo coming up with box two after finishing fourth behind Apollo Ohno.Â The daughter of Velocette and Bandit Milne has won over the track and distance but will have to put her best paws forward tomorrow.
âBanditâs Moo is one of Darrylâs dogs. She has never delivered but she has got ability, she just always seems to be able to find trouble. It doesnât matter what box she has, she always finds another dog to mix up with. The race will be tough for her although she does have a good box in box two. It is going to be hard for her to win but she is in it. You never know, there might be a bit of trouble happening around her rather than her causing the troubleâ, Haaring laughed.
Both finals are during the third of three meetings held tomorrow.is also sponsoring a consolation race (race five) before the Best 8 final (race six). The Gold, Silver and Bronze finals will be races eight, nine and 10 respectively.
Ipswich Greyhounds Race 7 Box 5 So Swanky 5.53pm
Big chance here for So Swanky to pinch this. She flew the lids here last start in a flying 5.36 first sectional but was over taken mid race and relegated to 3rd overall, beaten 4 lengths. She should once again ping and less these here, and with the added run under her belt she may keep going here tonight in this. The main danger is boxed immediately to her outside in Part The Sea. He too can begin, and will rush forward outside of So Swanky, both dogs should clear out and drag race each other throughout. Part The Sea, is the stronger of the two so, So Swanky will need to get a few lengths head start here. Great bet and gets here chance.
Casino Greyhounds Race 10 Box 2 Vodca Sprite 3.20pm
The daughter of Magic Sprite gets her chance here today, stepping up to the 484m journey. She won well here a few starts ago before finding trouble in her last few. She should find the top here and that will help he cause here significantly. She appears if the longer trip will suit, but I doubt she can go much quicker then about 27.90. She is well boxed though and a big chance. The hardest to beat will be the super talented Dollar Note, but he’s drawn the pink and will need to find his way across early on. He’s stopped the clock at 27.85 here before and I have no doubt from an inside box he’s capable of going 27.40. Luck in running will be the most important factor here today. 2 the value, 8 the fav. Great quinella.
Wentworth Park Greyhounds Race 3 Box 7 Shoe Laces Lady 7.58pm
I like the chances of Shoe Laces Lady here in this, but only if she starts at odds. I’ve been a fan of this bitch since she started racing and have tipped her a few times before with success. Her last start second beaten a length was in near track record time herself and it was a career best run for the daughter of Cool Effort; who surprised everyone with her blistering performance. It’s a big step up here though, and it’s going to be a super effort to score first up over 700 and first up on the track. She’s quite capable and meets a fair field of dogs who are also stepping up. Win, loose or draw here tonight, she’s sure to be improved and I suggest following her in the future.
Best Of Luck
$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$
Bringelly trainer Mark Wilcox is enjoying a dream run at present with his highly talented kennel going great guns on the racetrack. Of the eight greyhounds he has in work, seven are littermates which Wilcox bred himself out of his handy race bitch Winning Shiraz.
âThey are going really good at the momentâ, Wilcox said about his team of chasers, âWe raced the dam and bred them ourselvesâ.
For her first litter, Wilcox went to prominent sire Knocka Norris. The result has been a litter of 100% winners, who all look to have very exciting futures
âI just liked the dog (Knocka Norris). Blood wise it also agreed with her so that was it. We needed some luck, but we got someâ.
The litter includes Buster Shiraz, Cool Maddie Ross, Coonawarra Gold, Highly Respected, Knockaâs Return, Natural Player and Winning Knocka.
The star of the litter at this point in time is the well-performed Knockaâs Return. The striking red brindle and white performer has put together 14 wins from just 29 starts including some slick times at Bulli (26.16s), Maitland (25.05s),Â and Wentworth Park (29.82s). Knockaâs Return has been racing some stiff opposition from the get-go, facing greyhounds such as Black Magic Opal, Billy Buzzard and Jagger Swagger. At just his 12th start he finished second in the Maitland Gold Cup Consolation behind grand campaigner Dinkum, in a field good enough to have been the main event.
âHe is going along very well. He is very fast dog but his box manners let him down a little bit. He is actually starting to get a little bit better at that and we should be taking him down to Melbourne shortly to give him a go down thereâ.
âHe handles the two turns perfectly, except his box manners. He gets back in his races so he is still learning a bit that way but we are going to take him down to Sandown and see how he handles that and we might have a crack at the Geelong Cupâ.
Coming along nicely are last start winners Highly Respected and Coonawarra Gold who both saluted at Bulli last night.
Highly Respected has now won two in a row at the Slacky Flat track after clocking a quick 22.48s over the 400m the week prior. Returning last night, the youngster proved too strong for the Jodie Lord-trained Cawbourne Rocka, scoring by two and one quarter lengths in 22.43s. The 31 kilogram speedster had been racing well over the 472m at Bulli and 450m at Maitland before a short freshen-up and will now be built up to the longer distance again before heading to Sydney for a crack at a city win.
Coonawarra Gold also excelled last night, with an all the way display from box one. The red fawn bitch took her record to 14 starts for five wins and two seconds when clocking a sizzling 26.36s from the cherry.
Scratched from Bulli last night was the exciting Natural Player. The blue brindle speedster could be anything with nine wins and a second to his name from just 10 starts.
The only litter member not likely to get the â500â at this stage is Winning Knocka. Despite being a bit of an enigma, he has still recorded five wins and five minors from 16 starts
âHe is a very funny dogâ, Wilcox said âHe has had a lot of injuries but he looks to be a 400 metre dog so we will just poke around with him over the 400sâ.
Buster Shiraz is the complete opposite of Winning Knocka and has faced the starter on just eleven occasions. From that he has already put together five wins and six minor placings. The red brindle chaser raced tenaciously behind boom pup Zac Marlow two starts back at Maitland, taking ground off the son of Lochinvar Marlow when defeated by one and one quarter lengths in 25.35s.
âHe is a very good dogâ, Wilcox said, âOnce again, a bit like Knockaâs Return, he is very slow out of the boxes. But, time wise he is just as fast as Knockaâs Returnâ.
Last, but certainly not least, is Cool Maddie Ross who is the most inexperienced from the litter but looks just as talented. From five starts she has notched up two wins and two minors. However, due to injury, she has not been seen on the track since June. Wilcox currently has her on the comeback and is hoping she can go on to have as much success as her brothers and sister.
âShe has been injury prone; she has had a few broken toes. She actually broke in the best but she had a mishap at Wentworth Park about two months ago and she is just coming back from that nowâ.
Wilcox rates Knockaâs Return as the best in the litter, which in itself, is the best litter he has bred after a 35 year involvement in the sport.
âTheir mother, Winning Shiraz, was from a very good litter but these ones seem to be extra goodâ.
âThey are all different in their own ways but the pick of them would be Knockaâs Return- he is the best. Natural Player is not far off it and I think if we get him to run 500 he will be just as good. They should all get the 500 except for Winning Knocka- he is a bit of a ratbagâ.
Wilcox recalls the best greyhound that he has trained, Fine Thought, but says some of these youngsters may be just as good, even though it is early days.
âFine Thought won 28 races and was a track record holder. He was a very good dog. A couple of them have it- itâs younger days but they are coming along nicelyâ.
There will be busy times ahead for Wilcox with Winning Shiraz recently mated to exciting young sire Magic Sprite. After the success of the first litter the pups are sure to generate plenty of interest, with Wilcox also revealing that some will be up for sale.