Neath trainer Margaret Bright received a huge surprise recently when she saw a team of strangers jump over her fence and invade her property in the Hunter Valley NSW. Bright was just one target of a recent RSPCA and GRNSW âcrackdownâ to bust alleged animal welfare issues within the sport. The search was reportedly one of three conducted in the area and has left local participants confused and irritated.
âOn Monday morning I had people jumping my fence at quarter to six in the morningâ, Margaret explained of the shocking situation, âI woke up and I just looked out the window to see what the weather was like and I had one guy in my front yard and one guy jumping my front fenceâ.
âI went to the door and they introduced themselves as RSPCA and GRNSW and I said âis there some problem? And they said, âWe have had a complaint that there is live baiting conducted on this property at 5 oâclock every morning using possums, cats and rabbitsââ.
âThey went through everything. They checked all of my dogs, they asked me if I have any cats or rabbits and I said âyes, my brother has a pet cat called Jessie, my granddaughter has a pet rabbit called Arthurâ and I said âother than that noâ. They went through everything- fridges, freezers, cupboards….you name itâ
âHe said he needed to inspect my entire property. He asked me every question under the sun. We had to follow them around the property, they went through every shedâ.
Ultimately, the search revealed nothing but healthy and happy greyhounds. With everything in perfect order, Bright wants to know why it was not made public that the raids uncovered no mistreatment. With recent allegations that the industry is rife with cruelty, corruption and collusion, releasing a statement on their positive findings could help to repair and rebuild the tarnished image and reputation of the industry.
âAt the end of the day everything was perfectly fine, but why donât they say that we have inspected greyhound properties, we have found no mistreatment and no problems with it? That way the RSPCA is putting out there that they have won and that they are doing their job, but also that we are doing our jobs by everything being perfectâ
âI asked were there any problems and if there was anything wrong and the RSPCA basically said to me that from every dog they saw on the property, there was not one dog that was in any bad condition. Their kennels were brilliant, everything was clean and they said âyou can hold your head highââ.
âThey have raided a few others and everything was fine but why donât they say the positive things like that? The RSPCA have raided, visited whatever word they want to use and all the inspections have found that there is no mistreatment of the greyhounds. So why donât they do that?â
The raids were conducted on Monday 14thÂ October- the day before the ABC aired a controversial 7.30 Report that alleged a plethora of uncorroborated accusations from race fixing and doping to animal cruelty. The RSPCA took a high profile stance though spokesperson Jade Norris, who alleged that “40% of all greyhounds bred never make it to the racetrack”. There were also claims that over 17,000 dogs are euthanized each year because they are not fast enough to race. These baseless claims were left unsubstantiated with no clear evidence to support them.
It had been widely publicised prior to the 7:30 Report going to air thatÂ NSW greyhound racing was to be presented in a predominantly negative light. Given the RSPCA were actively involved in the development of the 7:30 Report story, and knew in advance of the allegations to be levelled against the industry; the question must be asked – Was the timing of the raids influenced or encouraged by the ABC’s 7:30 Report? Did the RSPCA seek to manufacture a high profile media event to secure higher ratings and consequently justify its own questionable allegations?
Either way, the outcomes of the raids conducted by GRNSW and the RSPCA failed to make it to the air on the 7:30 Report; a report that many feel presented a one-sided and narrow insight into the greyhound racing industry.
âAs a trainer I feel it (7.30 report) was a one-sided misrepresentation of the greyhound industry. It was disgusting actually. They showed no positives of the greyhounds. For people to get on there and say they took a bitch and they were going to drown the pups, thatâs just not called for. The other part, as a trainer, that I felt was bad was the actual fact that they showed the race at Wentworth Park. That should not have been allowed- they are one off incidents and that is not whatis all aboutâ, Bright said.
âI didnât understand why it was so one-sided. The RSPCA sees cases of cruelty probably more-so in the domestic animal world than in the greyhound animal world. If you got the figures from the RSPCA as to many were born, how many were put-down and the cruelty cases that come through there- they would be way higher than the greyhound industry. They are putting it all onto us but their rate would be a hell of a lot higherâ
âWe have people rehoming such as GAP, the Belmont Vets and numerous other greyhound adoption organizations but it (the negative publicity) is detrimental to us rehoming them- people are not going to want them as pets because the industry has been portrayed in a bad lightâ
contacted both GRNSW and the RSPCA for official comment in aftermath of the 7:30 Report, but neither organisation would provide an official response.
contacted the RSPCA on a number of occasions by email and phone to comment on the factors behind the raids, the timing of the raids, and the outcomes; but the RSPCA failed to provide any information despite assurances to the contrary.
People get really annoyed when their odds-on favourite gets rolled but it happens more often than you think.
We had a look at the main meetings at four big tracks over the last 8 weeks â involving 502 races â and found that half of all these hotpots crashed out. Of the 119 odds-on starters, 49% won but 51% lost. Since they paid an average of under $1.70 this means that a dollar on each would result in a loss of at least 20% of your stake money.
Here is how they stacked up (Albion Park figures covered its two main weekly meetings).
|Wentworth Park||150 races||39 odds-on favourites||20 winners||49% lost|
|The Meadows||96 races||23 odds-on favourites||8 winners||65% lost|
|Sandown Park||96 races||14 odds-on favourites||7 winners||50% lost|
|Albion Park||160 races||43 odds-on favourites||23 winners||47% lost|
Two reasons for the failures seem to dominate. First, many gamblers have a sheep-like attitude and follow the favourite on down in price, even when it is not worth it. Thatâs the âbetter than bank interestâ syndrome. In some cases they may be betting when the price is better but the late money often tends to depress the price and so they get a surprise when the dividend emerges.
Changes like that seldom occur at the gallops but it is routine in the small greyhound pools.
The other factor is that the price may be terrible for the dog in question. Punters are assessing the dog on what it might do, or what it has done in the past, without properly considering its current form or its position in the race.
One example is Renegade Chief, sent out at $1.70 at The Meadows last week from box 3.Â It has had some good wins in the past but it had failed to win in its most recent six starts and was looking as though it lacked a bit of zip. In the event, it came out moderately and finished moderately, running fourth in average time. That form justified nearer $5.00 than odds-on yet the big move was still on.
Another was the in-form Farmor Las Vegas at $1.80 at Sandown last week. From box 8 it had to jump well, which it did, but three other dogs jumped quicker to make life difficult as they rounded the corner. Thatâs always a potential danger for outside dogs. The early pace was fairly predictable so those odds did not represent good value, never mind whether it was the best dog in the race or not.
Then an either-or situation prevailed at Albion Park on October 17 when that very smart racer Honey Bouquet drew the 8 box in a six-dog field. Seeing it listed at $4.50 in NSW, I thought that was great value and took an interest. In the event it just failed to cross the field and finished 3rd. But I would have been very disappointed as it finished up at $1.90 in NSW ($2.80 in Queensland). Smallish pools always pose that danger but the difference is stark. The following week, from the same box in an almost identical field, it managed to cross and lead even though its first sectional was almost identical to the previous week. But punters were wary this time and it paid $4.70 in NSW and $3.30 in Queensland. In neither of those races was an odds-on price justified. From the inside, maybe, but not from the 8, where luck plays a bigger part.
Obviously, both circumstances and ignorance of all the facts play a part in these ups and downs. Too many punters these days trust their emotions rather than the hard data (which they probably do not look at).
In that vein, consider this comment in a report on high school students by Fairfax Media (23 Oct), âenrolments in standard two-unit mathematics have declined steeply over the past decade and a significant proportion of students do not study maths at allâ. Could that be where these punters are coming from?
Whatever the influences, poor value on the Win tote would no doubt be a factor in the rise in popularity of exotic bets in recent times.
Wait, Thereâs More
The education of punters is not helped by the way tipsheets and formguides rate the runnersâ chances.
It has now become a universal habit for them to list the chances of each runner by some mysterious device which churns out a set of numbers like 100, 98, 96, 94 etc. Apparently, this is meant to tell us who the best and worst are. But what do the numbers mean? How can we apply them in practice?Â Of course, we canât. They are meaningless.
There was an extraordinary example in the TOPGUN where the GRV formguide rated all dogs in the range 100 down to 95. Two were at 100 â Ernie Bung Arrow and Dyna Nailin â and three were at 99 â Peter Rocket, Punch One Out and Tomac Bale. Those numbers bear no relationship whatever to the real pricing so how can that help the punter?
Pricing is the other conundrum. That same formguide, as well as the TAB and online bookies, display a list of odds for each dog. In every case those odds amounted to a book of around 130%, which is way outside what the totes (114%) or genuine bookies in a competitive market would charge. Itâs a complete rip-off for unsuspecting punters. They are trading uncertainty for a price that will never allow them to make a profit. Winners will never really be winners.
You might say the commercial operators are entitled to do what they like â buyer beware. So be it. But there is no excuse for state racing authorities to do likewise. Their responsibility is to serve and protect the public, not to lead them down the garden path.
The end effect is to degrade the concept of value pricing and instead encourage gamblers into quickie bets, much as would happen with a poker machine.
In either of these cases, those official formguides should tell the reader what the figures mean, how they were derived, and what the built-in profit was. Or, better still, get rid of the 100, 99, 98 nonsense.
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.
Sveta Monelli continued her winning streak by taking out the Group 2 All Stars Sprint over 530 metres for trainer David Hobby.
In a field that had talent jumping from every box, Sveta Monelli used her second consecutive box one to lead the race from start to finish in a quick 30.38.
WAâs magic man On Coin finished second after walking out of the boxes and finding trouble early. From box six he left his run home too late, missing out on the victory by half a length.
Mandurah Cup winner Te Amo was always in with a chance after crossing early from box eight to sit second for the majority of the race. Once On Coin changed gears she found herself in third place.
The early scratching of Linda Brittonâs Gomes saw De Wade for Paul Stuart start from box two. After jumping second with Sveta Monelli, Mandurah star De Wade faded in the later stages, holding off a late lunge by Linda Brittonâs Just Tripping.
Unfortunately as Samâs Sionara went to make her run up the back straight, she injured herself and failed to finish the race. With the vet concluding a broken metatarsal, Samâs Sionara looks to have motherhood on the cards after her recovery.
Racking up her 15th win, Sveta Monelli held off On Coin and doubled her winnings to over $80,000. A win, win for trainer David Hobby.
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 the majority of attention at The Meadows on Saturday night was firmly placed towards Topgun, there were six heats held of what is usually a very entertaining and quite unique series â The Group 1 Hume Cup.
With the Sale Cup being regarded as the âMiddle-distance Championship of Australiaâ, the Hume Cup is actually the only time we get to see top level racing conducted around a two-turn middle distance metropolitan track, and the 2013 version is another not likely to disappoint. Â Â
Things started out with an even affair, as three runners vied for favouritism in the opening heat. Just As Fancy would eventuate as the puntersâ elect from box one, with Destini Fireball and Infinite Wish also receiving plenty of support. It was Lektra Grey for the Lenehan-Dailly combination that would steal the show however, going back-to-back after a big-margin win over the longer trip at Sandown last week.
Paying $8.30 on the local TAB, Lektra Grey overcame a tardy start to find itself second with a lap to go. Just As Fancy was showing the way, after Supersonic Hawk and New Tibur had jumped well but continued to get in each otherâsâ way. Lektra Grey soon slipped into overdrive as the favourite started tiring, and came away for a commanding victory in 34.41.
Destini Fireball ran on nicely into second spot, while Paris Sparks added value to the trifecta in third.
Heat two was expected to be match-race between the two widest runners, Bookkeeper and Proven Impala, however it turned out to be more of a one-act affair. Bookkeeper for the Glenn Dainton kennel flew out of the pink alley, and gave nothing else a chance in an impressive lead-all-the-way performance. While the multiple Group-race winner, Proven Impala was second for the duration of the event, it was powerless to stop Bookkeeper, who ended up six lengths in front in a slashing 34.05.
It gives the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Smashing Amy his first crack at a Group 1 event.
Temlee Winner, Cintiarna, dominated the betting for the third heat and drawn the red rug it seemed a formality that she would bring up her second win in a row. But sealing her own fate in the opening stages, Cintiarna wanted to run up the track, crashing into Blue Giant and sending him tumbling to the ground.
This carnage allowed 20/1 outsider, Easton Bale, to set up a handy lead with a lap to go. Once the field had settled, Evieâs Entity would soon emerge out of the pack and throw down the gauntlet to Easton Bale, with the pair drawing level turning for home.
In a titanic struggle, Easton Bale and Evieâs Entity went stride for stride throughout the home straight, with Easton Bale getting the nod on the post, giving Andrea her second winner for the series in 34.66. Major League was very noticeable in the ground it made up on the leading duo, finishing just over a length from the winner in third place.
There was to be no boilover result in heat four, with Alpe Dâhuez taking it out at odds of around $4.10. Displaying the powerful finish that has seen him win 16 races previously, the Kelly Bravo-trained dog flashed along the rails to narrowly beat Especially and Magpie Bob in 34.60.
Especially was the lamplighter for most of the event with Magpie Bob close in pursuit. While the chasing brigade always looked to be winding up, they seemed to take an eternity to make up the ground, with Alpe Dâhuez only gaining the lead in the final bound.
Named after a French ski resort, the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Joop Muse has now won over both longer trips at The Meadows.
After all of the Topgun excitement had wound up, it was back on with heat five of the Hume Cup. Defending champion Jethro was drawn five for Kel Greenough, with Darwin Cup winner Take It All where it likes to be, near the rails, in box two.
But punters would be left scratching their heads once again, as Born Ali for Robert Britton would come away as victor, ahead of Hala Belle and Lukey Deez in a time of 34.37. It was a race where nothing made ground from the back, and Born Ali capitalised on a speedy getaway to simply run the others off their legs.
Jethro put in what was clearly the worst run since his comeback, finishing a clear last, while Take It All was in fourth position for entirety of the 600-metre journey.
Veteren trainer, Steven Collins had to wait until the final event to ensure one of his brigade progressed onto next week, as Dyna Willow won in 34.67. Settling second behind Our Pale Ale in the early stages, Dyna Willow proved too classy as the race went on, winning with a couple of lengths to spare.
Without a doubt though, the run of the race and possibly the entire meeting was that of Surf Mail. Starting from box four, the former Queenslander copped a severe check just after boxrise and was a clear last around the first bend. Making up close to ten lengths by the time the field reached the home turn, Surf Mail looked the winner before checking off two sets off heels at the crucial moment. Despite losing all momentum for a second time, he still picked himself up to run second behind Dyna Willow, putting the writing on the wall for a strong performance in the very near future.
The Group 1 $75,000-to-the-winner Hume Cup final will be run on the traditional pre-Melbourne Cup Silver Bullet meeting Monday 4th November.
G1 Hume Cup box draw
- Box 1- Â Â Â Alpe D’huez
- Box 2- Â Â Â Easton Bale
- Box 2- Â Â Â Proven Impala
- Box 4- Â Â Â Lektra Grey
- Box 5- Â Â Â Dyna Willow
- Box 6- Â Â Â Bookkeeper
- Box 7- Â Â Â Hala Belle
- Box 8- Â Â Â Born Ali
With Australia’s eight best sprinters engaged, nobody knew which way to look going into the Group 1 Topgun tonight (Saturday) at The Meadows. In the end it was the Paul Stuart-trained Dyna Nalin that claimed the $150,000 first prize and top honours for his home state, WA.
The favourite for the prestigious invite-only event was the freakish Punch One Out ($2.80) who looked ideally drawn in box two, however it was an open field with only one runnerÂ starting at double figure odds- Glen Gallon ($23.40)
When the lids flew open, six of the eight competitors charged towards the first turn in unison. The only two missing from the line were Punch One Out and theÂ South Australian sensation Ernie Bung Arrow.Â
With 24 powerful paws all vying for the top spot, things got a little tight. Dyna Nalin (box eight), who began surprisingly well, loomed ominously on the outside of the field before crossing Glen Gallon (number six) on the first turn. In doing so, Xylia Allen (number five), Spud Regis (number four) and Tomac Bale (number three) were all inconvenienced as the big black dog Â set out after Peter Rocket (number one) who managed to avoid interference and punch up along the rails and sprint away.
Down the back it was a race in two, although Dyna Nalin was still giving Peter Rocket a three length head start. As they approached the home turn, the pink rugged runner managed to level up with the Victorian and edge his way through to assume the lead along the inside. Once he straightened up, Dyna Nalin put the paw to the floor and sprinted away to score by 3.19 lengths in a slick 29.89s.
Peter Rocket battled on well to finish second ahead of the fast finishing Xylia Allen who pipped Tomac Bale on the line for a top three position.Â Champion sprinter Glen Gallon was very unlucky but lost no admirers when finishing fifth.Â
Dyna Nalin is now a dual group 1 winner after he took out the Group 1 Perth Cup in February this year. Â The 34 kilogram powerhouse has now won 26 races with eight minor placings from 40 career starts, while he is the first WA-trained chaser to take out the Topgun since the mighty Lindale Blue who triumphed in 2002.
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.
Working out big races like the TOPGUN is never easy because there is always a lot of talent involved.
However, at a track like The Meadows the local peculiarities are important, mainly the heavy bias to inside boxes and the importance of getting around that first turn on the rail.
Barring major interference, this year there are two runners that cannot win. Glen Gallon (6) and Dyna Nalin (8) are not only poorly boxed but will also be giving them a start. You canât do that in top events.
Xylia Allen (5) has much the same problem and will depend on accidents to be able to negotiate its way through the field, just as it had to do in the Geelong Cup (4th).
Ernie Bung Arrow (7) will give them a fright for a while but will stay off the track and should be overtaken by the time the home turn arrives.
Peter Rocket on the rails will do everything right but that may not be quite enough this time. Just outside it, Punch One Out (2) is the big rage yet it does not normally come out of the boxes brilliantly and depends on mustering speed on the way to the turn.
In turn, that will depend on whether Tomac Bale (3) leans on it on in the early stages â quite possible although both tend to race one or two off the rail â incidentally leaving the way clear for Peter Rocket to move up into the placings.
Either way, Spud Regis (4) is likely to lead the inside division and will also have room inside the flying Ernie Bung Arrow. They should be the leaders into the back straight. The only question with Spud Regis is that it has not raced for a month and we are dependent on the Daillys presenting it in hardened condition.
Spud Regis has won here previously in 29.63 and won its last race here in 29.83 on September 21. The odds are that it will lead into the home straight, after which itâs just a matter of whether the heavy hitters can round it up. If it is at its best, they will just miss out. Ernie will have disappeared, of course.
By the way, the GRV Watchdog shows Tomac Bale leading Spud Regis early. Not on my calculations, which are based on average sectional performances, not their occasional best run.
Good race, though.
Classy chaser Hellyeah Bolt (Dyna Lachlan â Flash Diamond) did exactly what his rivals wished he wouldn’t do last night at Tattersalls Park, by flying the lids, avoiding interference and leading throughout to take out the prestigious Minister’s Gift (461 metres) in brilliant fashion.
The Hellyeahraced, Paul Hili prepared chaser was never in danger of defeat as a raging $1.70 favourite, eventually scoring by better then two lengths in the time of 26.09.Â On a putrid night weather wise not conducive to fast times, only the Debbie Cannan prepared Varcoe (El Galo â Magic Dust) recorded a quicker winningÂ time for the 461 metres, when he took out the final event in the time of 26.03.
Club Foot (Mogambo â Von’s Angel) and Black Bessie (Where’s Pedro â Smart And Sassy) filled the placings in the Minister’s Gift and connections could be justifiably pleased with their efforts in resolutely chasing home the highly promising winner.best chaser to carry the Hellyeahcolours, Hellyeah Bolt has now won 10 of 16 lifetime outings while accumulating a purse of in excess of $41,000 and is to be respected in the best of company in the future.
Ipswich Greyhounds Race 5 Number 3 Black Book Bob 4:17pm (local time)
One of the most consistent greyhounds going around Queensland at present- Black Book Bob has had 55 starts for 21 wins and 17 minors. He won last start at the track in a quick 25.03 after finding trouble at his last few starts here and if he can run like that again today, they will have to be flying to catch him. Won’t be a big price, but he looks the winner from a suitable draw.
Geelong Greyhounds Race 5 Number 6 Zipping Will, 8:28pm (local time)
Zipping Will is a promising youngster in the Wayne Vassallo kennel. While he does not have much early toe, this race is not saturated with speed and that should give him a chance. Baby Pie is boxed terrifically on the rails and is quick early so she will probably prove the toughest to beat along with Dub Me In from the Peter Hunt camp in box three. Zipping Will, although drawn in box six, can feature, with a smart 25.34 Bendigo win to his name of late. If he can step cleanly, he does have enough talent to run with this lot.
Wentworth Park Greyhounds Race 6 Number 7 Yiche, 8:58pm (local time)
Not an easy race with a very even field and plenty that can clock handy times around headquarters. I am going to stick with Yiche in this one- he is drawn well out wide in box seven as he likes to use a bit of the track and he is a quick beginner which always helps. A few of these have shown early toe, but if this bloke begins as well as he has at the track then he will be right up there. He has slow beginners either side of him which should give him plenty of room to move early and if he can land on the Â bunny he may prove hard to catch. He has recorded a handy 30.13 at the track and that should go pretty close in this event.
Before the end of the weekend, Queensland conditioner Tony Brett may snare two interstate Group trophies.
Beginning well from box three, the daughter of Surf Lorian and Queen Lauryn was too strong for the Janette Finneran-trained Edge, storming home down the outside to score by two and a half lengths in a slick 29.96s. Brett, who also trains fellow finalist and litter sister Miss Lauryn, was pleased with the efforts of his tenacious brindle chaser
âShe went really well. It was a good night down there, plenty of people. The owner (Leonard Antonio) outlaid plenty of money to buy Queen Lauryn pups, as you could imagine, so to see him get a return was very fulfillingâ, Brett said.
âComing to the home turn I could see her winding up and I thought then that they wouldnât hold her outâ
Going into the race, punters did not show much love for the 27 kilogram bitch- sending her out at $10. However, with a good beginning, Brett knew that she had the talent to be competitive against the classy line-up.
âShe tends to want to get a bit wide in her races and she needed to jump to be any chance. She can jump, which she did on Tuesday night, but she can also miss it a little bitâ
âI went down knowing my race would be run and won within the first ten metres. If she came out and ran wide, which she did, but was still able to hold the front I knew she would be a good chance. The other runner I had, Miss Lauryn- her sister, she doesnât have as much acceleration but she tends to come home pretty strong. It was a case of who managed to get the run through and did everything right and she (Regal Lauryn) was just too goodâ.
Brett has also drawn comparisons between the two bitches and their champion mother- a winner of 28 races including five Group events (2008 Group 2 Bogie Leigh Queensland Futurity, 2008 Group 1 Solo Sapphire Classic,Â 2009 Group 1 Cartwright Property Gold Cup, 2009 Group 3 Darwin Cup and the 2009 Group Two All Stars Sprint). Although they may not be quite as accomplished on the racetrack, Brett said that they do share similar racing styles.
âShe (Regal Lauryn) races a lot like her mum- she has a little bit of a flat spot through the second section and then she starts to get wound up again. I knew if she could stay with him (Edge-leader), probably two or three lengths off him, that she could be right there at the finish even though she still tracks wide.
âThe litter before this one she had a dog called Harry The Great and he equalled the 331 record at Albion Park. She has thrown on but these two girls have probably been the best and they are probably the closest to the way she racedâ.
Brett believes that they should both be able to continue on and become competitive little bitches in some upcoming feature events. In particular, he believes that Miss Lauryn will turn into a handy stayer.
She (Miss Lauryn) ran second in the Darwin Cup and Regal Lauryn won the Eric Thompson Maiden, which is the biggest maiden at Albion Park for the year, and she won the Ipswich Young Guns- they are not Group races but they are the bigger sort of races up here in Queenslandâ
âNow she has knocked this one off she has a nice resume behind her. She is the type of girl that could be a group dog if it wasnât for her bad habits, but unfortunately thatâs just the way she races. If things go her way she looks very good but, if not, she tends to find a bit of trouble and can look very ordinary- she is a tough one to trainâ
âThe other sister, Miss Lauryn- that didnât win, in the coming months I think she could turn out to be a really good stayerâ
âTheyâll both run 600, no dramas, and Iâm pretty confident Miss Lauryn will run 700- I just donât know whether this girl (Regal Lauryn) will. We have just got to work out whether we keep her over the 500 or whether to step her up. I reckon, come the end of the year, a race like the Sale Cup over the 650 is where they will beâ.
âUntil then, the Brisbane Cup at the end of the year for Regal Lauryn and we have probably got to look for better races for her now because, like I said, when she jumps she has got the ability- to break 30 at Lismore on Tuesday night was a really good runâ
The Grandchester mentor is now looking to add another feature to an already successful week- this time at the highest level. On Saturday night, the sunshine stateâs golden boy, Glen Gallon, will contest the prestigious Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun at The Meadows as he aims to become Australiaâs highest stakes earner at what will also be his final race start.
âWe mapped out a way we would like to finish him up just after he won the Brisbane Cup and that was the aim- to make the Topgun. It was great to get an invite and then to make the final eight and have him go out in this raceâ
Brett said the son of Flying Stanley and Incoherent is in terrific order ahead of his racing swansong.
âHe is excellent. Since he got beaten about a fortnight ago weâve just sort of mapped it out and he is primed and ready. He has got to be able to get out of the boxes a bit better than normal so weâve done all the work in that department and just freshened him up a little bit- he just seemed to lack a bit of spark at his last couple at Albion Parkâ
While Brett says that Glen Gallon can never be discounted, he also acknowledges that it is a sensational field. The astute trainer considers fellow Queenslander Punch One Out as the biggest threat to the winner of 37 races
âPunch One Out- I really know how good this bitch is and if you give her an inch I donât think there is any dog that can beat her. If I could back a dog now for the Shootout in a couple of weeks, she would be it. I think she is the fastest dog in Australia without any doubtâ
âHe will be ready to go and if the breaks come his way and it is his turn to win, he will. He is going as good as he ever has. Being in box six in such a great race- he will need things to go his way- but give him half a chance and he wonât let you downâ.
There is no doubt that Glen Gallon will be the sentimental favourite for many enthusiasts when he aims for his fifth Group 1 win and to take his prizemoney earnings up to almost $770,000. Win, lose or draw he is guaranteed a life of luxury at Brettâs home where he will stand at stud.
âWeâre just going to keep him at home- he is moving from the racing kennels to our backyard, about 50 metres away. He has got to get used to being a pet which will be interestingâ
âI will stand him here. He has about ten litters on the ground already and we have sold quite a few straws. His breeding career has taken off really nice. I think he is going to get the numbers and the quality of bitches to get a real chance at the stud game and I think he will make a super stud dogâ
âWeâve never sort of kept any as pets before, but he is pretty special so we decided to keep him here. We put our hands up to keep him here and even if his stud career doesnât kick on he is still going to live here for the rest of his life and he is going to get a good homeâ.
The invitation-only Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun is race eight at The Meadows on Saturday night and will jump at 9:52pm Victorian time.
Regal Lauryn Wins The 2013 Lismore Cup
Punters with online bookmakerÂÂ think this Saturdayâs Top Gun final is a battle of two â signalling out Punch One Out and Ernie Bung Arrow as the ones to beat.
The duo have attracted almost the identical amount of money with absolute daylight to the rest of the field. Punch One Out is now the outright favourite, firming from $6.50 into $4.20 in the last two weeks, while Ernie Bung Arrow remains one of the outside hopes at $7.50.
Tomac Bale ($4.20 out to $4.50) and Spud Regis ($4.00 out to $4.80) have both drifted in betting, as has Dyna Nalin ($6.50 out to $8.00).
âIf the early money is anything to go by, itâll be Punch One Out and Tomac Bale fighting it out at the death for the cash but we do expect late support for a number of the other star runners in this gun field,âÂ Sportsbet’s Ben Hawes said.
2013 Topgun Betting Market & Odds
(prices in brackets from 16 October)
$4.20Â Â Punch One OutÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (in from $6.50)
$4.50Â Â Tomac BaleÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $4.20)
$4.80Â Â Spud RegisÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $4.00)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
$5.50Â Â Peter RocketÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (steady)
$6.50Â Â Xylia AllenÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $5.00)
$7.50Â Â Ernie Bung ArrowÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $7.00)
$8.00Â Â Dyna NalinÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $6.50)
$12Â Â Â Â Â Gold TownÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (steady)
$16Â Â Â Â Â Marcus JoeÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (steady)
$21Â Â Â Â Â Glen GallinÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (steady)
Topgun punters can claim a $500
Sportsbet $500 Free Topgun Bet
One of NSWâs leading trainers has spoken out regarding the shape of the Parliamentary Inquiry sought by the NSW Greyhound Action Group, the reputation of the industry was dragged through the mud last week with a controversial story aired on the ABCâs 7.30 Report.industry after one of the most turbulent and testing times within the sport.Â As participants prepare to face the
The program alleged widespread doping, cruelty and collusion within the sport and whipped social media sites into a storm in its wake. The general public, outraged by unsubstantiated claims of high euthanasia rates and mass over breeding; and fuelled by animal welfare activists; launched an unprecedented attack on the industry via social media onand . Those attacks have seen greyhound industry participants join the debate to defend their sport where New South Wales (GRNSW) and Greyhounds Australiasia (GA) failed to do so.
Greyhound industry trainers, owners, breeders and enthusiasts are justifiably irate overÂ unverifiedÂ claims made on the 7:30 report by the RSPCA which alleged 17,000 greyhounds are killed each year in the industry; and from another that “greyhounds are hit on the head with hammers” to euthanaise them. The claims, which border on the irresponsible if not fictional; have demonised greyhound trainers in the public eye. Despite requests, GRNSW and Greyhounds Australiasia (GA)Â failed take the opportunity to defend the industry on the tv program and rebuke the wild accusations, leaving most greyhound trainers to take the task on themselves.
Andy Lord is one such trainer. Lord, who is based at Gunning, is one of the most successful trainers in the state. He was the NSW trainer of the year two years in a row in 2011 and 2012 and hasÂ produced countless city dogs and proven group performers throughout his 35 year involvement with the industry. Lord was left disgusted after viewing the ABC’s story and has stepped forward to defend the reputation of theindustry and address the allegations.
âI thought it (7.30 report) was a disgraceâ, Lord stated.
âIâm an owner, Iâm a trainer, Iâm a breeder. I love greyhounds. Iâm not doing this for money. This business about hitting dogs on the head with a hammer and shooting dogs……..shooting dogs went out years ago. If I caught anyone hitting a dog on the head with a hammer; Iâd hit them on the head with a hammer and I think most greyhound people would.”
âThe two people that they did interview- which were Mark Azzopardi and Chris Arletos- they may have said some good things too, but they didnât put them on there. Thatâs the trouble.These people want to sensationalise these things and make it look really bad. I think there should be a law that they should be able to prove what they say before they go doing sh*t like that.”
Amongst the baseless claims presented as fact on the 7:30 report were claims from RSPCA spokesperson Jade Norris that 40% of greyhounds bred never go on to race. Janet Flann, who runs a greyhound “rescue” website; claims greyhounds are subject to widespread cruelty, Â ”They bludgeon them to death. That’s quite common. But shooting is quite common. If they get to the vets to be euthanaised properly they’re lucky.” An anÂ unattributed claim by the 7:30 report itself was that “17,000 greyhounds are killed in Australia each year”.
These unsubstantiated figures, paired with the accusations of widespread animal cruelty, has further enraged participants after the reporter and those who made the claims failed to provide evidence to support their allegations.approached the RSPCA to substantiate their claims in the days after the program aired but the RSPCA failed to respond to repeated requests by email and phone.
While he cannot speak for the industry as a whole, Lord has revealed tothe statistics of his kennel over the past few years.
âIt doesnât matter what industry youâre in. It doesnât matter whether youâre taking your kids to little athletics and they break their leg out on the field. Itâs not something you want to see happen to your kid, is it? Look at track and field, look at horse racing, do they realise how many horses go through the knackery each year? They have got a hide to talk about how many greyhounds get put down.”
âAs far as their numbers, I donât know what the numbers are and how many dogs get put down. But I can tell you, and I have a record of this, in the last four years Cawbourne Racing has bred approximately 300 dogs.”
âNow Ted Humphries puts our dogs down and out of them 300 dogs we have probably euthanaised 20 dogs, for various reasons. We had pups that got snake bite. We have got no control over that. We have had pups that smashed legs in the paddock in freak accidents and we have had dogs that have just got too old and beyond us helping them and them helping themselves. Our records can be checked and thatâs where weâre at.”
âNone of us trainers and none of us breeders want to put greyhounds down, but the sad fact is that somewhere through their life we have to euthanaise them for various reasons. One, they may break their leg on a track and it canât be fixed. The dog’s in a lot of pain and we have to make a decision on the spot. Now weâve had that dog for two years, three years….it has earned us money, itâs our pride and joy and we donât want to hurt the dog. You see people crying their eyes out they get that upset. Itâs like them losing a kid.”
The 7:30 report claimed that greyhound adoption programs only accounted for a small percentage of greyhounds who are not currently racing, but the obvious truth behind the sensational claims went unsaid. Many trainers, such as Lord, keep their retired greyhounds as pets or rehome them privately.
âWe rehome dogs. The only condition that we rehome dogs on is that we want to know where they are going and we want to know what is going to happen with themâ, Lord said.
âI know Paul Wheeler is very passionate about the sport and is passionate about his dogs, he must love greyhounds to be doing what he is doing because he has made plenty of money he could leave the industry now and be quite wealthy.”
While acknowledging that there is a minute percentage of âbadâ trainers within the industry, Lord also disputes the cruelty claims presented by the 7.30 report, indicating that he, like most participants, treats his dogs with love and care.
âIt doesnât matter whether itâs greyhounds, poodles, racing cars or even a pie shop; there is always going to be one bad egg in the basket. That bad egg eventually will get caught out and he will be dealt with.”
â99.9% of greyhound people do not take kindly to people being cruel to animals.”
âIt is a little bit like Ted Humphries, and I know Ted quite well. He has made accusations, trainers have made accusations and the 7.30 report has made accusations. Unless they have got proof, well really they should go and stick it where it fits. You canât go around accusing people saying greyhound trainers are doing this, greyhound trainers are doing that without any proof. The RSPCA and the board raided four properties yesterday and you know what they found? Iâll tell you what they found, they did find something….they found a bunch of really well fed dogs.”
made repeated requests to the RSPCA to verify the raids, on what basis they had been conducted and the outcomes. Specifically was extremely interested in the timing of the raids, which were allegedly held the morning prior to the day the 7:30 report aired. Those requests for information from the RSPCA have all gone unanswered.
Aside from animal welfare concerns, the 7:30 report sought to give credence to allegations that the sport was saturated with drug use and race fixing. The allegations were supported by greyhound trainer Chris Artelos who made the startling allegation that “80 per cent of greyhound trainers are looking for something to dope their dogs’. Arletos himself has had a positive swab to Heptaminol in 2006 which resulted in a three month disqualification.
GRNSW have confirmed that in the past 12 months 5,562 swabs were performed, an increase of 47%Â on the previous year. With over 10,000 races conducted annually in New South Wales, only 35 positive swabs were confirmed.
âGRNSW, in fairness to them, 3-4 years ago they were so far behind the 8 ball as far as Victoria goes. Since then they have implemented that many great things infor us, for them (and) for everybody and thatâs what they are doing now.”
âI donât mind speaking out and Iâll tell it how it is. There is a few more improvements that need to be put in place in this game and once theyâre done, what more can we honestly do?”
âI think their concerns are ridiculous.”
âThey need to categorise these swabs. 70% of these swabs are whatâs called therapeutic drugs. A therapeutic drug is a drug that helps. Itâs not a drug that hinders or harms.”
However, one problem that Lord does see with the industry relates to the swabbing issues and the sensitivity of modern drug testing techniques.
âMy biggest beef with the industry at the moment- I think the stewards, the CEO and the trainers; I think everybody is doing the right thing…but the biggest problem is (that) I think the swabbing is out of hand.”
âThe only reason I say this- if they want to swab every race, then swab every race- but they still need to have their machines set at a reasonable level so that environmental contamination doesn’t come into play.”
âA lot of these positive swabs we are getting at the moment, away from testosterone, are environmental contamination. Is it going to get to the stage in years to come where our empty yards (at the track) are going to be concrete?â
âFootballers go to Wentworth Park and for arguments sake they train on the field….not to say that footballers snort coke or snort speed or whatever; but what if someone is snorting coke or snorting speed and urinated on that grass and the dogs licked it? Is it possible for that dog to then get a positive swab?â
âThe answer is yes because the machines are set that low that environmental contamination comes into play. This is why in America now they have levels on everything. Itâs not to say that everyone can go out and coke their dog, they have already tried and tested to say that the amount of nanograms they have found is not enough to make a dog run fast. Â But it is a safe level to say that if you’re over that level then youâre in big big trouble, but if youâre under that level they donât even report it, itâs environmental contamination.â
âThatâs where my biggest beef is. They are trying to do the right thing with swabbing and keeping everybody honest and thatâs fine; thatâs fair enough. But when people are getting punished for things that they didnât do, thatâs wrong. As far as the game goes prizemoney is great, racing is great, I donât have any problems.”
âI donât think NSW needs an independent inquiry. I think NSW needs a board of greyhound trainers and vets…and we can take our concerns to the stewards or to Brent Hogan and we can sit down with them and actually try and nut a few things out to make things reasonable.”
âI donât know where it is going to end up but I honestly believe that the greyhound industry is going good.”
This Saturday Night the Meadows plays host to the 21stÂ edition of the invitation-only Group 1 Topgun.Â With a wonderful field of sprinters engaged the race features champion greyhounds from 4 different states. Victoria, Â South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia â each entrant with their own realistic chance of taking out the first prize and the title of Topgun winner.Â Â This yearâs event will also be the final race of champion Queensland greyhound Glen Gallon, who with victory would surpass Miata as Australiaâs highest stake winning greyhound.
As Greyhound racingâs most controversial race, arguments have continued around the Topgun format since the first running in 1993 when the race finished in a dead heat between Golden Currency and Worth Backing.Â The Topgun creates media attention and is marketing genius. It gets participants talking and butting heads, participants argue for and against and ultimately the result is media attention on a race that many donât believe should exist, let alone carry the status that it does.Â A walk up start, Group 1 status and $150,000 to the winner.Â These arguments add to the aurora of the event, the build-up, the spectacle.Â It is what the industry needs â fuelling discussions between participants, stakeholders, observers and punters alike.
Adding to the furore to this yearâs event is the drawing of champion greyhound Xylia Allen in box 5. Whilst definitely deserving her place in the final field, Bate is facing nine months on the sidelines if an appeal before VCAT is not successful. GRV have since approved the transfer of Bate’s team to his son in law Peter Hunt. Some would say that in fairness to others in the industry, Bates punishment should have affected his whole team, not just changed the name of the dogâs trainer.Victoria have done themselves and the integrity of the industry no favours by allowing Hall of Fame trainer Graeme Bate to be listed as her trainer.Â Recently disqualified for elevated Testosterone levels
Nevertheless, the aurora of controversy surrounding the Topgun will continue and with a quality field assembled,looks into each of the 8 finalists and 2 reserve runnerâs chances.
Sky Channel TOPGUN â The Meadows Race 8 â 525meters â 9:52PM Vic Time
Box 1Â â Peter Rocket (Whereâs Pedro â Belron Blue) â Vic
The Keith Hellmuth-trained Victorian sensation has been a wonderful performer since first gracing the track some 49 starts ago.Â With a career record of 20 wins and 19 placingâs, the August 2010 whelp has won in excess of $225,000 in prizemoney. With group wins in the Group 1 Megastar and the Group 2 Horsham Cup he is a multiple group finalist capable of running sub 30 at
the Meadows. With wonderful track form (12 starts â 5 wins and 6 placingâs) he looks well drawn in the cherry with the bonus of a wide runner drawn to his outside. Should have room to move early.
Box 2Â â Punch One Out (Knocka Norris â Little Egyptian) â Qld
Owned and Trained by Grant Fennelly, the 27 kilogram speed machine is coming off her first group win when successful at her most recent start- the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup when running a flying 29.75 (BON) at Albion Park.Â Often mistaken as being a he, she is a flying machine as evidenced by track records at Wentworth Park and Richmond.Â With 44 career starts resulting in 22 wins and 14 placings, the February 2011 whelp has won in excess of $125,000 in prizemoney.Â She is a speed machine capable of anything on her day.Â Whilst yet to win at the Meadows (1 start â 1 third),, she did trial just .10 seconds outside the track record last week when scorching in a solo trial running 29.55.Â Well drawn and with fast beginner to her immediate outside she will have every chance.
Box 3Â â Tomac Bale (Dyna Lachlan â Princess Bale) â Vic
The first of three finalists for Australiaâs greyhound dynasty The Wheeler Family.Â Trained by Victorian Mentor Mark Delbridge, Tomac Bale headlines a kennel who have had an amazing 2013.Â Loves the Meadows with 7 wins from 11 starts here including a 29.67 PB. Group 2 winner of the Launching Pad, he is a multiple group finalist and was second at his most recent start, the Group 1 Adelaide Cup Final. 23 starts resulting in 12 wins and 4 placingâs and in excess of $150,000 in prizemoney.Â If he begins will take plenty of catching. A speed machine who can be risky (at times) at box rise â followers will know his chances in the first few strides.
Box 4Â â Spud Regis (Bombastic Shiraz â Phiona) â Vic
December 2010 whelp who has faced criticism and negative comments about his invitation into this yearâs event.Â Returning from a brief stud career, his last performance was very impressive winning at this track and trip in BOD 29.83 one month ago. Track specialist with 10 starts resulting in 6 wins and 1 placing. The son of legendary greyhound Bombastic Shiraz, he is himself a 3 time group winner including the 2012 Group 1 Adelaide Cup, Group 3 SA Derby and Group 1 Australian Cup. With 31 careers starts returning 16 wins and 10 placingâs, he has been a superstar on the track winning $450,000 in prizemoney.Â In the kennel of leading Victorian Mentor Andrea Dailly, Spud Regis will have plenty of support despite the awkward draw in box 4.Â He is a tenacious chaser who is brilliant early â a win would not surprise despite a limited preparation.
Box 5Â â Xylia Allen (Turanza Bale â Tayah Bale) â Vic
Champion bitch who has had a wonderful 2013 campaign, including 4 Group wins (3 Group 1âs) â Group 1 National Sprint, Group 1 Sapphire Crown, Group 1 Peter Mosman and Group 2 Launceston Cup.Â Tenacious chaser who would run through a brick wall. Can be tardy early but does have excellent race awareness and field sense. 42 Career starts resulting in 17 wins and 16 placingâs including $377,000 in earnings.Â Fast PB of 29.63 at this track and distance. Second of the Wheeler runners and is a winning chance.
Box 6Â â Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley â Incoherent) â Qld
Queensland Champion and third on the overall all-time prizemoney list with $618,000 in career earnings. Regular group performer in the hands of leading Queensland mentor Tony Brett. The four year old superstar is having his final race start before retiring to stud and is looking for his 4thÂ Group 1 win (Brisbane Cup 2011, Winter Cup 2012 and 2013).Â A TOPGUN win would take his prizemoney past the great Miata as the all-time highest.Â 70 career starts resulting in 37 wins and 15 placingâs. Champion dog sure to be well supported in this despite the terrible draw.
Box 7Â â Ernie Bung Arrow (Lochinvar Marlow â Slipperâs Tonic) â SA
Up and coming superstar from South Australia in the hands of popular mentor Ken Gill.Â The November 2011 whelp is the baby of the field and has only faced the starter on 14 occasions for 13 wins and 1 second. Last start Group 1 Adelaide Cup winner where he was ultra-impressive in what was his toughest test to date.Â The TOPGUN will be his first start at the Meadows and outside of South Australia. Trialled well and is sure to be improved after having his first look. Exceptional from the boxes, he has the ability to lead and is a definite winning chance.
Box 8Â â Dyna Nalin (Ashom Bale â Tally Bale) â WA
West Australian speed machine and the third runner owned by the Wheeler dynasty.Â In the hands of leading WA trainer Paul Stuart (Miata) who is no stranger to winning big events away from home.Â Strong chaser who was victorious in winning the Group 1 Perth Cup in devastating fashion. Well drawn in box 8 as he can be a little tardy at box rise.Â Group performer who possesses a powerful motor and can finish over the top of these.Â Career earnings in excess of $278,000 from 38 starts for 25 wins and 7 placingâs.Â Has raced well at the Meadows with 3 starts resulting in 2 wins and a second including a 29.89 PB. Winning chance.
Box 9Â â Gold Town (Surf Lorian â Golden Gwen) Vic
Trained by Lara mentor Peter Hunt, Gold Town has been a group performer throughout his 64 start career. Does have wonderful Meadows form with 19 starts resulting in 5 wins and 11 placings.Â Was in outstanding racing form prior to last start, when he fell in a heat of the Group 2 Geelong Cup.Â Recent form includes fast wins at Wentworth Park (Group 2 Bob Payne winner in 29.59BON) and Geelong (29.81B). Bank balance in excess of $191,000 â he is a strong greyhound capable of surprising if fortunate of gaining a start.
Box 10Â â Marcus Joe (Velocette â Mojo Glory) Vic
Out of form recently, including a last start fall in a heat of the Group 2 Geelong Cup series.Â The April 2011 whelp is owned and trained by Marcus Hill mentor Barry Maloney.Â Has an incredible 29.66 PB at the Meadows and did win the Group 1 Maturity here in July 2013 beating Dyna Nalin. Â 25 career starts resulting in 7 wins and 10 placingâs he has close to $150,000 in career earnings. Is in a strong winning chance if he can rediscover his earlier career form
SelectionsÂ â 2, 3, 8 and 1
With the race full of chances and conjecture, this yearâs winner will not only be added to the honour role, but will be listed alongside some of Australiaâs all-time greats – including: Rapid Journey (1998), No Intent (2001), Bombastic Shiraz (2003) and Meticulous (2007) as well as a host of famous Australian greyhounds of years gone by.
Albion Park Greyhounds Race 8Â Box 4 Yogi Blue, 9.11pm
He got the job done for us on Tuesday and he will back up here again tonight, where he will hopefully do the same.Â Only 4 starts back he run a super 29.96 when running second behind the freakishly talented Punch One Out. The run was simply brilliant, burning out of the boxes and running a fast 5.63 first section, a flying middle section, and a very strong run home.Â He got the job done at both ends and expect him to repeat the same here again tonight.Â The only concern I have is the fact he has a very ordinary record here at Albion.Â I put the super performance down to the fact he caught the lure at Angle Park two starts prior and he may of been thinking the same was going to happen at Albion, as his runs haven’t been anywhere as good since.Â Apart from all that he looks the winner amongst a very, very tough field of quality chasers.Â If he jumps then his best 5.63 first section will see him 2 lengths in front as they pass the winning post for the first time.Â Once he finds the top it will be super tough to run him down if he’s out in the bunny and burning.Â However if he doesn’t jump then it’s a super open race and near impossible to find the winner.Â He’ll be super odds and stick with him.
Angle Park Greyhounds Race 4Â Box 1 Full Beer Fridge, 8.15pm
This fellow has been very disappointing of late, despite performing soundly.Â He’s come up with the cherry here and that should be the telling factor in him winning.Â He’s got the early speed and can lead and lead all the way.Â Even though he’s only stopped the clock at a moderate 30.27, I have no doubt he can go far quicker if he has a full blooded go.Â I’m not so sure he’s fair dinkum yet, and this is his best chance to better his PB.Â There’s slow beginners boxed outside him and this should make his task of finding the front so much easier.Â The dangers, well there isn’t 1 in particular, there all very even apart from this fellow, and I think he’s a great bet here tonight of he turns up ready to race.
Dapto Greyhounds Race 5Â Box 4 Our Money Box, 8.55pm
Big chance given here to this girl,Â Our Money Box, who should find the front early and tear away from them here in the early stages.Â It’s a tough, tight circuit and the two strong chases are Where’s Keroma and Proven Polka, but both dogs are slow beginners and will need to navigate their way through the field to get out and chase after Our Money Box.Â This is her first go at the 600 here at Dapto, but she’s had a few attempts before over the trip.Â She went well at the Gardens, and she should repeat that performance here tonight.Â If she’s pings and takes off, and the two favs find a little trouble, she can certainly pinch this at odds.Â She’s about the only thing I can find at Dapto tonight that I like and will be worth the punt.
Hobart Greyhounds Race 8Â Box 5 Cointreau Cap, 9.44pm
With a huge motor this fellow won’t take long to return to the winners circle and tonight looks great chance after his solid performance last week.Â He has returned from a stint in Victoria, where he went fairly but failed more times than not.Â Back here in easy grade, he should prove far too speedy and strong for a solid line up of Tassie’s dogs.Â He’s run a fast 25.91 here and he should be able to go a length or so quicker if he pings and runs.Â He’s the quickest dog in the race and he should be about $3.00 so at that price he looks a worthy bet here tonight.Â The dangers Battek Boss and Nicholas Jack, Â who are both boxed well and will certainly test him.
Sandown Greyhounds Race 4Â Box 7 Leprechaun Macey, 8.08pm
We tipped her last Saturday night at The Meadows and she was run down right on the line.Â I expect her to go one better here tonight.Â She’s quick early and she should find the top from the get go.Â Once in front, she does wind right up and carve out some good sectionals. She had no trouble with the trip and is getting stronger with each run.Â She’s only had the 16 starts so she’s still got improvement left in her.Â There’s nothing super strong Â engaged in this, so I don’t see how they can run her down.Â She should start close to favourite but in supremely confident she’ll get the Job done here tonight.Â Tonight’s best bet.
Best of Luck
$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$
Black Magic Opalâs 25.11 win in the Geelong Cup was not just in track record time. It was also an Australian, and probably world, speed record of 18.32 m/sec for mechanical hare racing on a loam track around at least one turn. Thatâs equivalent to a 66 km/hr average over the 460m trip.
In fact, it is also faster than anything ever recorded on grass tracks, which are normally quicker due to the greater purchase dogs obtain on the that surface.
Checks of race times in the UK and America show that nothing really gets close to Black Magic Opalâs speed, particularly over distances beyond 400m. Few overseas tracks have records much better than the 17.0 to 17.5 m/sec bracket. However, in Americaâs case, its tracks reputedly have very soft surfaces which would not help speed.
Sometimes public information can be selective. For example, the website answers.com lists Brett Leeâs great 28.88 run at Angle Park as the fastest ever. That was a wonderful effort, never since threatened, yet it was well short of Black Magic Opalâs run, reflecting a speed of only 17.84 m/sec.
That does give the lie to statistics, though, as track layouts, surfaces and conditions can affect times. So, too, the characteristics of the dogs involved, particularly their galloping habits and railing abilities. Brett Leeâs time was around two turns, not one, and Angle Park is a fairly tight track.
Fairly naturally, the need to negotiate two turns makes a significant difference to the average speed. So consider how fast Black Magic Opal has run over different distances since February 2013 and some comparisons with Brett Lee.
|One Turn Tracks||Black Magic Opal||Brett Lee|
|Geelong 460m||18.32 m/sec||18.01 m/sec (457m)|
|Maitland 450m||18.06 m/sec||N/A|
|Shepparton 450m||18.05 m/sec||18.17 m/sec|
|Bendigo 425m||18.05 m/sec||Trialled only|
|Ballarat 450m||17.98 m/sec||18.04 m/sec (Old track)|
|Sale 440m||17.82 m/sec||Trialled only|
|Two Turn Tracks||Black Magic Opal||Brett Lee|
|Wentworth Park 520m||17.56 m/sec||*|
|Sandown Park 515m||17.48 m/sec||*|
*The nature of these tracks has changed since a decade ago so comparisons are not valid.
During that recent period Black Magic Opal has competed around one turn on 13 occasions and won them all, which is an amazing record in itself. In the same period it has won four and lost four around two turns, the losses all occurring from outside boxes.
Certainly, the evidence over longer trips would suggest Brett Lee is well ahead overall yet speed is still speed, isnât it?
Having said all that, it is instructive to look at record speeds achieved all over Australia. We have data for 336 different trips, some lightly used long ones, of course. The top 40 are headed by four straight tracks, followed by Geelong 460m. The next 35 trips all show record speeds of 18.00 m/sec or better and all but one are one-turn trips. The exception is Potts Park 530m (29.45 = 18.00 m/sec) which perhaps throws doubt on the timer or the precise distance. Still, it is a grass track.
The next 128 trips fall into the range 17.50-17.99 m/sec. Therefore, we can say (barring the odd correction) that effectively 60% of Australian track records are equal to or faster than almost anything in other countries.
Interim conclusions would be that …
- 1.Â Â Â Â Â Â Australian dogs are faster, or
- 2.Â Â Â Â Â Â Training and other support systems are better, or
- 3.Â Â Â Â Â Â Australian tracks are more conducive to fast times, or
- 4.Â Â Â Â Â Â Some combination of the above three.
You could also say that dogs in the current era are significantly faster than those of two or three decades ago.
How times change. As a colleague has mentioned, in 1967 that great sprinter, The Shoe, busted the record at the wonderful old Harold Park track, running 26.0 for the 457m (500 yards) trip, which was then claimed as a world record. That is a speed of only 17.57 m/sec â and on grass. What would Black Magic Opal have done there? Or any of our top gallopers today?
Even further back, I have no doubt the world 400m record would have been busted many times by a black flash from the Hunter â Travelling Lad â which routinely led top grade fields at Harold Park by six lengths up the back straight. You had to watch closely to spot it as the lighting was murky there. But, alas, he would stop dead with 50m to go and never made any record books.
For interest, here are the top speeds attained at our major circle tracks, all in the 515m-530m range.
|Angle Park||17.83 m/sec||Brett Lee|
|The Meadows||17.83 m/sec||Heston Bale|
|Sandown Park||17.78 m/sec||Bekim Bale|
|Launceston||17.70 m/sec||Xylia Allen|
|Albion Park||17.59 m/sec||Made To Size|
(It is no surprise that Albion Park is at the bottom of this list, given its dubious cambers on both the first and home turns. Angle Parkâs top position is entirely due to Brett Leeâs run. Otherwise it would score around 17.60, reflecting its relatively shorter straights).
Several other animal breeds may be quicker than greyhounds but only over very short distances. The cheetah has been variously timed at 25 m/sec or more for very short bursts but its run is well and truly finished after 200m or so. African antelopes and gazelles are similarly fast early but no information is available on their performances over longer trips.
Humans are well down the scale with Usain Boltâs 100m world record only just over half a fast as the greyhound at 9.58 m/sec.
Of course, if well publicised, the capabilities of the greyhound would be interesting to many. Here is one example; âWhile he is going at full tilt the dogâs heart rate can rise to 300-360 beats/minute, (which) means that the greyhound heart can contract and refill with blood five times per second during a race allowing oxygen to be transported at a phenomenal rate to supply the needs of the muscles. At maximum acceleration a greyhound can reach a speed of 72 kph within its first 6 strides from a standing start. No other animal (except the cheetah) has that degree of acceleration.â Stanley Coren PhD, FRSC in Canine Corner, 2009.
Also of interest are these comments on the breedâs physiology on The Green Collar Program (2013), âGreyhounds have a larger heart and higher blood pressure than other breeds of dog. Their blood is extra rich in oxygen-carrying red blood cells and they have about 4% more blood than other dogs. The special qualities of their blood makes greyhounds highly valued as canine blood donors. Their body weight is made up of 16% fat which is less than half the amount of other dog breeds of similar size. The high percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibres in their bodies aids speed, not endurance. Greyhounds run and hunt using their sight (60%), sense of small (20%) and hearing (20%). Other dogs use their senses differently depending on what they were bred to doâ.
- Breeding: Magic Sprite-Awesome Opal
- Whelped: 17 May 2011
- Race Record: 30 starts, 23 wins, 4 seconds at 18 October 2013
- Owner: Black Opal
- Trainer: Jason Thompson
BLACK MAGIC OPAL
Black Magic Opal’s World Record Run
Albion Park Greyhounds Race 8Â Box 7 Eleazar,Â 5.10pm
Who would of thought that Waynie Boy, who defeated Eleazar last week, was going to run a scorching 34.86 over the 600? Â No one! He absolutely flew and it’s no wonder Eleazar couldn’t get near him.Â He’s not engaged in this today so she only needs a safe start and clear passage to totally kill these here in this.Â Big things were expected early on for this girl and although she’s delivered she is still a little green.Â I know she will start the favourite but she’s a deserving one and should win this race here today with ease.Â Great bet and no excuses if she gets beat.
Angle Park Greyhounds Race 7Â Box 2 Suntory Gold ,Â 2.22pm
A heat of the breeders prelude and I’m going with the interstate runner in Suntory Gold.Â She’s clearly the class runner after solid wins at Horsham and Sandown, and she’s certainly got a big motor.Â She’s got good early toe and can fire out of a box when she needs to.Â From box two she should be the first main contender to find the top and, once she does that, it will make her very hard to reel in.Â Farmeroo is the main danger and he’s going great guns at present too.Â He’s yet to set the world on fire but he’s been getting the job done week in week out.Â His record is fantastic here and he will take full advantage of the outside box.Â Expect him to fire up early and be the hardest for our selection to beat.
Bulli Greyhounds Race 1Â Box 5 Premier Lee,Â 7.08pm
This fellow will represent the value here in this race at Bulli.Â He’s a fast dog who relishes racing around the one turn track here in NSW.Â He’s gone well here over the short trip and performed well over the longer- so the distance will not faze him. He can, at times, come out running, and if he does that here tonight watch out.Â The favourite will be the talented Spring Eddie who can really fly when things go his way. But, although his record here Â is ordinary, Â Premier Lee will be very hard to beat with clear running.Â Premier Lee for me, for the value.Â Or a great exotics race.
Best of luck.
$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$
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 protĂ©gĂ© 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.
It is a massive night ahead for the Northern Rivers with Lismore hosting the Group 2 Lismore Cup. Six banana benders are lining up in the feature and they appear to have the race at their mercy with only twoÂ NSW dogs standing in their way. Â One of which, Battistuzzi, was the quickest qualify when running a scorching 29.97.Â The action kicks of atÂ 6.42pmÂ NSW time.
Ipswich Greyhounds Race 8Â Box 5 Yogi Blue,Â 5.12pm
Yogi Blue is an interesting animal. I’ve spoken to his own, George Zammit, before and he’s been upbeat about the dog.Â Early on in his career he was very weak and struggled with the 500, but in the past few months he’s found added strength in the run to the line.Â A while back he recorded a flying 30.28 win and then headed across to the Adelaide Derby where he had superstarÂ Ernie Bung Arrow clearly beat but decided to turn his head.Â Since then he’s come back here and been very up and down.Â But, he trialled in front of the stewards at Ipswich, and went a scorching 30.25. If he repeats that here today, he’ll be in one race and the rest will be in another.Â The only danger is the equally talentedÂ Celtic Diva, who has also recorded and flying 30.33 here.Â These two look clear cut, but Yogi looks the clear winner for mine.Â Great bet.
Lismore Greyhounds Race 8Â Box 6 Shabeky,Â 9.05pm
Lismore Cup final and what Â a cracking race it will be.Â I’m going with Shabeky, who posses a huge motor when on song and is capable of breaking 30.00 here.Â Her run last week in the heat was brilliant and it really shows her tremendous talent.Â But it will all boil down to who gets the fly and who comes out running and receives the breaks.Â Box 6 makes it tough, but she does have early speed to offset the horror box draw.Â She should clear most of the runners surrounding her and look to race up outside box 1 runner, Miners Moss.Â She’s far quicker then he is and if she draws level with him early on, she’ll take care of him.Â If she jumps and finds the top she’ll win. However, there’s realistically 6 other dogs who can win this and its really hard to split them. Punters should be able to achieve odds of $5.00 about Shabeky and, if not, I suggest staying out and watching a great race.
Horsham Greyhounds Race 5Â Box 1 Ozzy Bale,Â 8.09pm
I was disappointed by not backing Ozzy Bale last start at Sandown.Â I knew he was nearing a win, but I couldn’t make a case for him from box 7. He won and won well on that occasion, so I’ll stick with him here from the cherry.Â He’s a fast dog and looks to be getting better with racing.Â He should lob handy in this, and will look to rail and rave away in this.Â He’s capable of running fast times and he should get down to about 27.30 here tonight.Â The only danger is the young up and comer Wise Chief, who flew around Sandown, and stopped the clock at a fast 29.55, but he’s young and less experienced then Ozzy Bale, and will have to contend with box 3.Â Stick with Ozzy Bale- he should get the cash.
Best Of Luck
$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$
Bright Agricola took out the Harold Park Derby for owner Schute Saxon and trainer George Bunn, scoring over 800 yards (732 metres) at Harold Park, just five weeks after springing a toe. His owner said if it hadnât been the Derby he would not have run him.
On the same night, Dreamâs Image won the 1949 Two-Year-Old Produce Stakes over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park by half a length from the politically-incorrectly named Chief Nigger.
Edie Beauchamp collected $15,000 for winning the 2005 Canberra Cup, the first year the event had been given Group status. The Cup was first run in 1979.
Queensland invitee Black Enforcer won the 2005 Topgun for trainer Tony Brett.
Awesome McLaren won the 1997 South Australian Derby in 29.79, just 4/100ths outside the race record set four years earlier.
El Grand Senor downed Enry Walt and Snozz in the 2010 Topgun, at the Meadows, running 17.48 for the second section and clipping 4/100ths off his own record for that section.
Tasmanian sprinter Awesome Cole narrowly annexed the 2004 Canberra Cup, using box one to full advantage.
Cindeen Shelby took out the 2009 Topgun, becoming the first NSW winner since Placard in 2000. Sired by 2003 Topgun winner Bombastic Shiraz, Cindeen Shelby had run officially seventh the previous year in the Topgun. She also emulated the feat of Wylie Boy in winning the Topgun at the second attempt.
One of the fastest sprinters of all time, The Smoother, won at his first start in 1969, scoring by a widening 12 lengths over 400 yards (366 metres) up the Wyong straight in 20.4, the best time of the meeting.
The final of the 1976 Sydney Cup, postponed from the abandoned meeting of the 16th, was run on a Monday evening and saw Glahda defeat the Victorian stayer Minnie Jubilee with Camden Glider (later the dam of NSW Greyhound of the Year Gliderâs Son, and Peter Glider) third.
Recognised as the first great greyhound of Queensland night racing, Top Simbi won his maiden race over 558 metres at the Gabba in 1972 by 16 lengths.
Bobâs One became the first NSW greyhound to win the Ipswich Cup since Whip Tip 11 years earlier when he scored in the 1999 version, defeating Ngarutao by three-quarters of a length and earning $15,000.
The Reg Kay-trained Foolâs State won the 2004 Ipswich Cup in a race record 30.52, scoring by almost six lengths and earning $20,000.
Jaimandy Coops picked up a massive $140,000 for snaring the 2006 Topgun, run at Sandown. Jaimandy Coops scored by almost five lengths from evergreen Train A Journey, running 29.48, just 8/100ths outside the race record.
David Bale and Desalle Bale ran first and second for trainer Graeme Bate in the 2012 Topgun. David Bale won by just a head and earned a whopping $150,000 for his 29.92 romp at The Meadows. David Bale had only been first reserve, and gained a start from box 8 when NSW representative Bye Bye Bucks was scratched.
Victorian star Tegimi won the 1978 Vic Peters Memorial Classic by five lengths over 457 metres at Harold Park. After striking interference when second in his semi-final, Tegimi was only first reserve for the final, but gained a run from box two when fellow Victorian Basmarg was scratched. He was the fourth Victorian to win the prestigious classic since its inception in 1951.
Brilliant sprinter Head Honcho (later a top-rank sire) won the 1993 Shepparton Cup for trainer Jason Thompson, downing the smart Tranquil Flame.
Albion Park Greyhounds Race 3Â Box 6 Rowdy Yates, 7.26pm
Albion Park was great to us last Thursday, with Ah Gee Lass saluting on the line at $10.00.Â So, let’s hope this fellow can get the job done here as well tonight.Â He won’t be starting at those odds though and is more likely to jump at around $2.40 but he clearly looks the the one they have to beat in a very ordinary race. He’s got great early toe and should be out and in front early on here, however he’s only managed to win the one race out of 13 and that’s a worry.Â But, he’s well overdue and has a huge amount on time on this field.Â He’s in form and went well at Ipswich last start, before being run down by a strong runner.Â With panels on this field, punters can back him with supreme confidence.
Angle Park Greyhounds Race 9Â Box 8, Betsy Allen,9.18pm
The usual staying race here, but we won’t be seeing the old champ who generally wins each week go around.Â Kalden Mayhem has been retired and his dominate reign over the S.A staying ranks is over.Â So, that leaves the title vacant for a new stayer to take over.Â Betsy Allen isn’t that dog but she is a very talented animal and has won here over the trip in good time.Â She always races well and generally leads in her races. On top of that, box 8 is perfect for her and she should bounce straight out and take the lead.Â She’s been racing very consistently lately over the 600, and the step back up will suit.Â Expect her to lead all the way.Â Go Caviar, the main danger, won here last week, but she wasn’t very impressive. She was slow to begin and took far to long to reel on some very plain dogs.Â In the end she won as she liked, but it was far from convincing and she’ll need to improve a lot here to turn the tables on Betsy Allen.Â But she’s capable and is the main danger.
Launceston Greyhounds Race 4Â Box 1 Happy Tiger,Â 8.42pm
The Tas middle distance championship, and Happy Tiger looks to have a mortgage on the race.Â There will be plenty of money for the talented Jeff The Tipster but I doubt he can beat the perfectly boxed and in form Happy Tiger.Â He’s unbeaten from box 1 and loves the inside box.Â He returned last week here with a solid win against some ordinary opposition and he was impressive in maintaining the recent form he showed when winning at Sandown.Â He’s only had the one go here and he failed, but don’t expect him to fail here tonight.Â He’s boxed perfectly on the rail and he should land 3rd or 4th early and simply over power them.Â The only concern is that Jeff The Tipster pings and gets the fly, If he does then it will make it super tough for Happy Tiger.
Shepparton Greyhounds Race 7Â Box 5 Zambora GunÂ 9.10pm
I’m confident this fellow can win, but I’m more confident you can lay the favourite Matt’s Enity.Â There’s no doubt he’s a flying machine but I doubt he can hold off dogs as fast over the longer trip of 450.Â He’s quite weak and does paddle over the final 30m over the 400 so the 450 is going to really test him.Â All Zambora Gun needs to do is stay in touch with him early and he’ll over power him with ease in the run to the line.Â Majestic Lee is also capable of doing the same thing with a clear run and his best jump.Â But the Gun’s in form and he won well at Sandown recently.Â A few back he scorched around the track at Bulli and showed tremendous speed and strength, so stick with him here tonight and, if he comes out and gets close, he’ll win.
Best of Luck
$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$
Itâs happened before and it will happen again. The selective nonsense pumped out by the ABC 7:30 program on greyhound practices does nobody any good, including the ABC and its shoddy journalism. Unfortunately, the subject will rear its head once again when the inquiry by the Greens/Shooters alliance in the NSW parliament gets up a head of steam later in the year.
But itâs not much good protesting now. The milk has been spilt. However, note that virtually none of the mainstream media bothered to pick it up, as they did for the announcement of the equally poorly-based political inquiry nearly two months ago. Clearly, they regarded the program as half-baked and old hat. Even so, the anti-greyhound groups jumped at the chance to push their biased and often inaccurate viewpoints. They donât seem to realise that greyhounds actually like to race â itâs in their DNA â just as humans like to compete on the golf course or the football field.
Indeed, the RSPCA, supposedly experts in the field, should be pointing that out.
But why did it occur in the first place? It seems some bright spark in the ABC hit upon the idea on a slow news day, perhaps prompted by some personal feelings about the greyhound. Itâs not unusual for the ABC to create its own agenda and then look for the means to support it â any means will do.
But that is always going to be a possibility. The real key is that the idea, and the TV presentation, fell on poorly prepared ground. Poorly prepared, that is, by the state racing authorities as well as Greyhounds Australasia, which tend to concentrate on insiders rather than the public.
While the ABC is notorious for its slanted views, it would have had little background information to guide it in this case. What it did get from officials was after the event and largely put to one side because it did not fit its theme. Sadly, public support for the greyhound breed andis minimal, largely because they do not understand what it is all about. Too many industry insiders â many of whom were rightly offended by the program â fail to realise that this is how the real world works.
The vast majority of publicity about greyhounds always has been nasty â dating from the days of live hare coursing and later re-inforced by periodic stories about drugs, injuries and the like. Ironically, the codeâs attack on drug use has been arguably its greatest single advance over the years, and its biggest success, even by comparison with other sports. Yet the general public does not know that.
The good news is that this is fixable. Not by pumping out media releases after the damage has been done but by educating and informing the public beforehand. Not with a quickie effort but with a continuing program to establish and maintain a positive image of the breed, its long history, its unique purity and its athletic prowess.
That is the responsibility of greyhound boards and managements everywhere. Itâs their first responsibility, really. But they are not carrying it out. They are clearly not able to bring to bear the commercial, marketing and PR skills required. Besides that, they operate as individual fiefdoms and the only national body â Greyhounds Australasia â it noted more for what it does not do than what it does. Too often, greyhound authorities are hired or appointed as administrators, not modern business managers. Bureaucracies are all very fine and necessary things â and we need them,too – but they are no good at flogging stuff. They do not move with the times but simply react to them â as we have seen again here (which also explains why greyhound organisational structures have not changed over the past 50 years or so).
If that capacity is lacking then the industry must go outside to employ it. What is needed is an ongoing contract with a skilled PR/Marketing organisation to develop and push a national campaign to provide all that missing information, to demonstrate to the public all the positive aspects of the business, and to ensure that media people have easy access to data, ideas, concepts and contacts should they need it.
The code is now paying out around $100 million a year in stake money. To fund the contract it needs to take out 1% of that cash and invest it in the future. Thatâs about $15 out of the average prize. That would not only ensure the code is seen in a better light but it would undoubtedly return serious dividends over time as more people seeas an attractive recreation â whether as owners, trainers or punters, or even as workers. That sort of outcome will never be achieved by accident. It has to be built.
All states must put their shoulder to the wheel. Assign responsibility for the project to somebody with commercial nous and let them get on with it. Authorities need only to set it up, fund it and support it.
Something the ABC Missed
Marvellous to see old stager Burnt Fuse – 4 years 8 months – rack up its 37thÂ win from 97 starts at Ballarat, running a best-of-night 22.27 in doing it. And an equally smart 30.43 at Cranbourne by Rockadore at 4 years 2 months.
There should be more Veterans races in other states. They are all win-win, especially for owners. They would also do no harm to the industry image, given the nonsense being pushed at the moment by the ABC and so-called animal lovers, who come out of the woodwork on these occasions.
With an energetic national program organised, the opportunity would be there to tie it in with Masters series in other sports, just as the Miata-Black Caviar association returned huge dividends. The stories would be endless.
Go for it!
Albion Park Greyhounds Race 7 Number 1 New Gleam, 7:09pm (Local Time)
The favourite in this race is likely to be number six, Blue Bird, who boasts the record of nine starts for six wins and two minors- with a best time of 30.20 over the track and distance. However, she is first up since July and isn’t drawn very well. Also, while she does have excellent speed when she hits the ground, she can be tardy out of the boxes which doesn’t help. Bralyn Casey on her inside is the class runner but she doesn’t have a very good strike rate at the track. New Gleam on the other hand returns to the track after a 30.33 win here last start. If Blue Bird jumps she will win but, if she does anything wrong, this bloke is boxed to feature.
Sale Greyhounds Race 5 Number 1 Salegrey’s Late, 7:19pm (Local Time)
While she has only faced the starter on four occasions, Salegrey’s Late has done enough to suggest that she can win from the cherry in this race. Â The daughter of El Grand Senor failed at her last start after a poor beginning but prior to that she had recorded two smart wins over the 440 at Sale running 25.14 and 25.25 respectively. She demonstrated good early pace in both of those runs and from the inside draw she should land straight on the bunny or at least be able to push her way up along the rail once she hits the ground. She won’t be big odds but she should be around the $3 mark which is a nice little investment. Don’t take any silly odds because there are a couple of handy dogs in the race- the favourite is likely to be Royale Revenge, another youngster, although he has to overcome an awkward draw in box six.
Wagga Greyhounds Race 6 Number 8 Swanky Amelia, 7:46pm (Local Time)
There is not much value to be had, and although she isn’t boxed terribly well, Swanky Amelia should be able to land the cash here. She has only had three starts for two wins but both of her victories have been in best of day times at Wagga (18.68) and Temora (19.37). While some race well and have gone quicker here, most are out of form. She has everything going for her and should be able to muster enough speed and circle her opponents in this event.
Smart chaser Hellyeah Bolt (Dyna Lachlan â Flash Diamond) is likely to be favourite for the rich Minister’s Gift Final (461 metres) to be conducted at Thursday night’s HGRC meeting at Tattersalls Park in Hobart.
The lightly raced Paul Hili prepared, Hellyeahowned chaser is the winner of eight of 14 lifetime outings, including a recent Angle Park victory and can boast a Tattersalls Park pb of 25.75 for the journey.
Despite having succumbed to the Mick Stringer prepared Club Foot ( Mogambo â Von’s Angel) in last Tuesday’s qualifying heat at the Devonport Raceway when he was inconvenienced, Hellyeah Bolt is expected to bounce back and prove to be the testing material on Thursday night.
The Mangalore based Stringer will be represented by both Club Foot and Orange Boy ( Aston Galilee â Patsy Anne) in the Minister’s Gift and although very happy with their condition, has great respect for Hellyeah Bolt.
âHe is a class act and if able to obtain a clear run is obviously the greyhound to beat, but in saying that I am not conceding defeat,â he explained.
âI would have liked to draw wider with Orange Boy, but he is racing very well and Club Foot is not crashing down to the rail like he was, in fact they have both matured and will give a great sight.â
âIf either of them are in front of Hellyeah Bolt when the field settles, believe me they will take plenty of running down.â
The astute Stringer is no stranger to Minister’s Gift success, having won the annual feature last year with the the very good Bearville Phil ( Give Me Five â Von’s Angel).
Meanwhile fellow Mangalore mentor Allan Anderson is not overjoyed at the prospect of Lashing Illusion (Lilli Pilli Lad â Illusion), the winner of eight of 28 lifetime outings, attempting to win the Minister’s Gift from the red box.
âThe inside box at Tattersalls Park does not appear to be as advantageous as it is at either of the other two Tasmanian tracks,â he explained.
âI would have preferred drawing elsewhere with Lashing Illusion, but then she is racing well and cannot be excluded from the winning chances.
âIt is a very hot field and I rate Hellyeah Bolt and Club Foot, which is well drawn, as the main dangers.â
Anderson is currently enjoying a great run of success with his team, but has received a bad report about his kennel star Lashing Jill ( Lilli Pilli Lad â Illusion), which at her most recent run in August rocketed home for third placing behind Smart Valentino in the National Distance Championship.
âShe remained in Victoria after the Distance Championship, but I am told that she was injured in a trial and will probably not race again,â he explained.
âI believe that she will be returning to my kennel next week, but what the future holds for her I am not sure.â
MINISTER’S GIFT (461 Metres) 1st $10,000 2nd $2,850 3rd $1,430 4th $130
- Lashing Illusion (Allan Anderson)
- Palooka (Neville Allison)
- Pipstar (Robin Grubb)
- Orange Boy (Mick Stringer)
- Hellyeah Bolt (Paul Hili)
- Blinking Becky (Paul Hili)
- Club Foot (Mick Stringer)
- Black Bessie (Ian Callinan)
- Molly’s Legacy (Noelene Garwood) Em 1
- Sentry Duty (Mick Stringer) Em 2
Black Magic Opal took another step Friday night to confirming what we already knew; he is Australiaâs best one-turn sprinter.
In what appeared on paper as one of the best provincial cups for some time, Jason Thompsonâs black superstar simply blew the Geelong Cup field away in a record-breaking performance that left all witnessing it in awe.
The Group 2 final was always going to be a speed battle, with only Xylia Allen and Crump coming from further back than second to win a heat, and in reality the race was won within the opening 70 metres.
With Paw Licking drawing eight, and Farmor Las Vegas in box two, all eyes were watching to see if the odds-on Black Magic Opal could muster enough pace to obtain clear running room. Despite having broken the track record last week, the pace shown out of box four by the son of Magic Sprite and Awesome Opal had to be seen to be believed.
He simply left his rivals for dead in the opening stages, bursting into view as the lids opened and leaving some exceptional dogs in top gear trying to keep up.
As it became apparent that neither Farmor Las Vegas nor Paw Licking were going to cut the margin back in time, onlookers got the impression that something special was starting to unfold.
Black Magic Opal crossed the line with two lengths to spare, but his time of 25.11 is what put the exclamation mark on the remarkable victory. Shaving over two lengths off his own track record, Black Magic Opal displayed similar tendencies to the Legends of yesteryear, running sectionals that others simply cannot match, on an occasion when it mattered most.
Farmor Las Vegas actually ran 25.24, eclipsing the old record in a meritorious defeat, while Paw Licking ran third in a time of 25.39.
Xylia Allen was slowly away as usual and was afforded no favours from box seven, becoming tangled up on the home turn and forced to run along the outside fence, gaining little ground on red-hot runners up front.
The rest were beaten off for speed and subsequently involved in some first turn interference, of which Crump was most affected, crashing to the deck but escaping with some lacerations and a 7-day stand-down.
But for the winning connections, including trainers Jason Thompson and Seona Hood, it justifies the speedstersâ highly publicised move from NSW, where the Maitland Cup winner was supposedly sold for $100,000. However, with this second black-type title, already $40,000 of that outlay has been re-couped.
Black Magic Opalâs overall record goes to 30 starts for 23 wins, 4 placings which converts to an amazing strike rate of 87%.
In a similar vein, another former NSW greyhound is starting to hit top form at the right time of year, co-incidentally winning on the same Geelong program.
Jagger Swagger, now under the care of Devon Meadows trainer, Wayne Vassallo brought up his twentieth career win, but more notably his first win on Victorian soil with a gritty effort from box six.
After only a fair getaway, the $1.40 favourite had to do it tough for the majority of the 460 metres, with dogs all around making life difficult. But showing the tenacity befitting a chaser of such calibre, Jagger Swagger put the foot down and took control of the race in the concluding stages.
Stopping the clock at 25.67, it was a solid performance, and looms as an ideal lead up for the richer events heading to the Victorian tracks in coming months.
Black Magic Opal’s Track Record Geelong Cup Win
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.
Banjup trainer John Carmody is Western Australiaâs very own charming Irishman. Unlike most, Carmody has two very special ladies that he can call his own- his wife Diane and sprinter Meroslava.
âWomen, they are incredible!â John Carmody confessed.
Meroslava will face one of her biggest challenges to date in the heats of the Group 2 All Stars Sprint at Cannington on Saturday night.
The red-fawn bitch by Did I Entertain out of Emzie has found herself up against Mandurah Cup winner Te Amo, National Sprint representative Rumbling Rick and talented chaser Sveta Monelli.
âI do think it is a very difficult heat she has drawn, it has lots of early pace.â
âI think box three is a good box for her in that field, but she will have to be on her toes to match this lot going down the straight to the first bend.â
âWhen she has won she has always lead and I canât really see her leading in this heat.â
John Carmody rates Linda Brittonâs duo, Rumbling Rick and Te Amo, as the dogs that pose the biggest challenge in his heat.
âTe Amo has a great chance, she is doing her best work at the moment,â
After an injury-induced spell on the sidelines, Rumbling Rick is making his return to the Cannington racetrack and Carmody believes that his time off wonât hinder his chances of taking out the heat.
âI think he will come into this pretty fresh and ready to rock and roll,â
âHe has the time on the board and is a proven big time performer.â
Minus one toe, Meroslava will have her work cut out for her. Early on in her career, the 30-kilo bitch fell victim to the Cannington racetrack, breaking her toe.
Carmody spent most of the night in tears because he was worried her racing career had come to a sudden end.
âWe went to the vet to have it x-rayed and it was in that many pieces it just couldn’t be put back together, so the decision was made to take the toe off.â
âItâs on her front foot, the first toe, so it puts pressure on the rest of them,â
âI think she has done extremely well to have won the races that she has won with that toe off, itâs the most important toe.â
Her more than pleasing efforts have seen her rein victory on 10 occasions and collect 10 minor placingâs from 32 starts.
Her biggest moment incame when she defeated WAâs fastest greyhound, On Coin, in the Westchase final.
Meroslava jumped quickly from box eight on that occasion and led the field all the way to the line. To add to the excitement she also recorded a personal best time of 30.46.
Both Diane and John Carmody could not believe their bitch had won the final, giving her little to no chance before the race.
âWe didnât give her the best chance with On Coin in the race, he is capable of running all sorts of times.â
âShe put the right foot forward that night,â
âI was quiet excited about it, really because she is a WA bred dog and I think we should all be trying to breed in WA.â
The decision to put Did I Entertain over Emzie was made after the dog made a short visit to Carmodyâs kennels.
âHe stopped with me for three weeks for the Nationals and I saw how much of a lovely temperament the dog had.â
âHe was a beautiful kennel dog,â
âHe is a brother to Bit Chili, a full brother in blood, but a later litter.â
âI had a good look at his form in New South Wales, he was a very well performed dog in Sydney but severely underrated,â
John Carmody believes he got everything he expected out of the Did I Entertain-Emzie litter.
âThey are all really nice kennel dogs. They donât even get off their beds when you bring the food in; they just wait until you put the dish on the floor.â
âThis (Meroslava) little girl is very close to me and she is a very good looking bitch with a beautiful temperament so she will not be parting from me.â
âShe is my pet really.â
Carmody has cut down to six race dogs in his kennel, the lowest number of dogs he has had in a decade. He believes age is catching up on him and he would also like to take a few more holidays.
âOld age slows you down a bit,â
âYou do have to realise that when you get to my age, youâre just not able to do the amount of dogs you were once able to do.â
Despite reducing his number of race dogs, Carmody wants to continue to breed with his bitch Emzie.
âI want to mate her to Kinloch Brae next.â
âThere are great wraps on Kinloch Brae, he is an American sire standing at stud in Ireland.â
Carmody recently brought two, five-month-old Kinloch Brae puppies. He is more then impressed with there get up and go attitude.
âI thought that he might add more fire in Emzies pups, so I will take the chance and go to Kinloch Brae.â
Carmody began training greyhounds the day that Cannington opened itâs gates. Although he took a break away from, his love for the game brought him back after two years.
âI have always loved the sport.â
Nothing would make Carmody happier than to see Meroslava lead this talented heat but, with a field of fast beginners, she is going to have to be at her best.
âI would have been confident in making the final if I had an easier heat but I think this a particularly good heat.â
âHer best time is down the back straight, if she can lead, she will pull away from them there, but she does weaken a bit running to the line,â
âIt has got so many good beginners in it, she is going to find it difficult.â
Being a competitive stayer is a tough gig for any greyhound. Having to chase hard around three bends for over 40 seconds, riding bumps and checks, relying on stamina more than sheer speed, is often too much for one animal to handle.
There are a select few however, who make a living out of this brutal caper, but even then, it is normally for a shortened time before a return to sprint trips beckon.
But for a dog to not only compete, but consistently win over the âhalf-mileâ trip on more than 100 occasions is the mark of a very special creature, hence the impressive legacy that South Australian stayer, Kalden Mayhem will leave behind.
Originally owned and trained by Dan Biddle in Western Australia, Kalden Mayhem is part of a super litter by Big Daddy Cool out of Abbadale Gold. In the early days, it was his Group winning littermates Kalden Athena and Pillow Torque that stole the limelight, making their names on the Eastern seaboard, while Mayhem stayed at home to pay his keep at Canningtonâs Saturday night fixture.
But in late 2010, Kalden Mayhem made a debut appearance at Angle Park over the 515 metres. Running 29.83 in an easy win, it would earmark the start of a marathon journey in the Festival State.
While the rest of the litter had peaked and eventually enjoyed retirement, Kalden Mayhem kept on keeping on, backing up week after week, seemingly without injury or form lapses, and over last three years has forged his name as the king of Angle Parkâs longest trip.
But on a run-of-the-mill Thursday night meeting at Angle Park, Kalden Mayhem entered the 731-metres boxes for the 37th time. As was so often the case, he would be sent out as favourite, expected to dispatch his rivals with his usual dominance. But this time the fire and flair had seemingly disappeared. The finishing burst that we had almost taken for granted just wasnât happening, and unable to match it with his much younger competitors, he finished a distant fifth without ever really challenging for a higher position.
Sky Channel viewers would soon learn it was to be his swansong, and so became a sombre end to a career that deserved much more fanfare, more recognition and more acknowledgment.
This is a greyhound whose career numbers wonât be matched in this state, nor any other, for a long time to come. 123 career starts, spanning 41 months, for a total of 58 wins , 12 seconds and 18 thirds. From those 58 victories, an amazing 23 of them were completed over the 731 metres of Angle Park at a strike rate of 64% with his final win being completed at four years and ten months of age.
Box draws were never an issue for the 31kg blue chaser, as he won from every box at least four times, with a combined total 26 wins coming from either the three of four alley.
Courtesy of two qualifications to the National Distance Championship (2011 & 2013), Kalden Mayhem made appearances at over ten different tracks and thirteen different distances, including Albion Park, Sandown, The Meadows, Cannington and Wentworth Park as well as every track in W.A and three tracks in S.A.
It all culminated in a total career purse of $196,000; a higher total than other recent greats of South Australian racing in Scull Murphy, Satanic Cash and Lion Hearted.
This is a chaser who did his job week in, week out, for longer and more consistently than anyone could have imagined. While he never managed to eclipse a Group race final, the Biddle and Murray households can rest assured that their man had shone through as the brightest star in a constellation litter.
There will no doubt be dogs in the future that dominate the staying ranks with arguably more talent, but if they do it in the fashion that Kalden Mayhem did, they deserve to be regarded as a true champion.
Well Done Kalden Mayhem on a fabulous career, and on behalf of all South Australian greyhound fans, thank you for providing us with memories of a truly unbreakable stayer.