The Victorian Parliament has just enacted a law which allows the Racing Integrity Commission and racing stewards to haul in to their inquiries any, âpeople of interest.â No longer does this apply only to licensed persons.
Failure to attend would render them liable to fines and even jail terms
Commissioner Sal Perna told the Herald Sun he will not, âgo out all guns blazing and ask questions of all sorts of people. You must use your judgement.â
Likewise, stewards, âmust show reasons they have good grounds for asking a person to attend an inquiry.â
The change follows a number of hassles in Victoria, notably the Damien Oliver case, where the jockey declined to attend the Commissionâs inquiry and where his ultimate penalty (by the stewards) was heavily criticised for being too late and too lenient. Oliver got 10 months for betting on another horse in a race he was riding in, something which must surely be the ultimate racing sin.
NSW gallops stewards must also be looking on enviously after they were frustrated by the refusal of big punter, Eddie Hayson, to attend hearings on the Waterhouse-Singleton case involving the fitness of More Joyous. Hayson has greyhound form after being responsible, amongst other incidents, for the Lucyâs Light scam at the Gold Coast greyhounds. However, there was no evidence of any illegality there. He simply beat the bookies by manipulating market prices with legal bets, after which their betting rules were adjusted big-time.
However, the change to the law in Victoria brings into question just how the Commission or the stewards will exercise their new powers. How do you define âgood groundsâ, for example? Will the practice spread to other states? And how big does a punter have to be to attract attention?Â A few hundred dollars will distort most greyhound pools these days.
I have no trouble with stewards implementing a âwarning offâ providing it is for good reason, and is subject to appeal (although whether it is policed properly is open to question). Anyway, for betting purposes, a warning-off means not a great deal in this electronic age. Racing NSW effectively âwarned offâ all the NT bookmakers at one stage, but it didnât get far with that, did it? The Northern Territory Racing Commission found serious problems with First Four betting at Ipswich in the Brunker vcase, but, in the end, Queensland stewards failed to act in any way â no suspensions, no warning off.
However, giving stewards the same power as a court of law is another matter altogether. They have no particular legal training, only past experience in similar matters. Further, most appeals from stewardsâ decisions can be made only to their employers â racing boards or committees set up for that purpose â which is a bit too circular in some minds. Only in a limited number of cases can offenders utilise independent tribunals staffed by qualified people. And it is an expensive process.
More to the point, there is reason to claim that greyhound stewards are often not up to the task in general. We have instanced on these pages many cases of irregular penalties for the same offense, stewardsâ decisions being overturned for inconsistency, poor assessment of form, and a lack of attention to dogs racing with injuries. In some of these cases, they compare poorly with stewards in other codes. That hardly inspires confidence in their ability to deal with even more complex matters.
But we do need them. For the last 150 years, crooks have never been far away from the racing scene, and will continue to be for the next 150. I would even like to see stewards armed with greater skills and more sophisticated systems, and to pay them more, providing only that they improve their performance.Â After all, in essence they are the industryâs managers-on-the-spot, so we need them to do more than just take swabs and thump fighters. However, like the dogs they supervise, they need to pass a stricter test before they qualify.
So, could stewards do more?
Hereâs an example (there would be many like it). The four semi-finals of the NSW Futurity and Derby at Newcastle last Friday featured substantial disruptions around the first turn*. Only one of four favourites won and many dogs were thrown off the track. Stewards saw fit to mention 23 of the 31 runners in their report as having suffered some sort of interference in that area alone.
There was nothing unusual about that as it happens routinely at The Gardens. Allegedly, the track was designed by âexpertsâ, according to advice from NCA management at the time, yet none of those involved had any significant greyhound experience. That showed in the original bend-siting of the 411m boxes, which later had to be shifted at great expense to the current 400m position. Unfortunately, the 600m bend start; the poor 515m first turn and a flattish home turn remain unchanged. These are basic design issues.
Given that stewards have independently noted the poor outcomes, why would they not also look at cause and effect and make recommendations about needed improvements to the layout?Â After all, they are watching all this three times a week and are responsible for the integrity of. In fact, the word integrity is usually worked into the titles of steward managers these days.
One definition of integrity comes from Macquarie dictionary: âsound, unimpaired or perfect conditionâ.Â That hardly seems to apply here, does it?
Nor does it apply to Wentworth Park, Gosford, Richmond, Dapto or Maitland where GRNSW has, at huge expense, approved tracks works over the last decade, all of which have proved disruptive to one extent or another. Or at other tracks such as Casino, Lismore, Bulli and Nowra, where similar problems occur but no attempt has been made to rectify them. Nor have stewards commented, so far as we know.
That leaves us with the question of whether we can place enough trust in the integrity of racing stewards to support any future action they might take. This is especially critical as stewards are not independent of state authorities, although there is a strong case that they should be.
* (Note: In general terms, the above hassles at The Gardens are readily viewed on race videos, but it will be impossible to make out exactly which dog suffered what because the sunlight and inadequate camera work prevent viewers from identifying the individual dogs. They are all black blurs).
With four heats of the Group 1 Galaxy held over Canningtonâs 715 metre distance, first and second placegetters received a rug in next weeks $80,000 race.
1st Sweet It Is
2nd Gold Affair Two
3rd Sassy Bullet
4th Freeway Ace
Robert Brittonâs Gold Affair Two ($2.60) pinged the boxes wearing the black rug to lead the field in the early stages. Sassy Bullet ($7.00), from the cherry, went with her for the first lap of the track. Victorian Sweet It Is ($2.05) played catch up after giving at least seven lengths to Gold Affair Two out of the boxes. Coming into the home straight Gold Affair Two began to look tired as fellow Victorian Sweet It Is stormed home to win the race in 41.99 for trainer Leonard Jones.
1st Ash Flash
3rd Houdini Monelli
4th Cheetah Zorro
WA stayers Black Typhos ($71.00), Freeway Force ($20.00) and Pedroâs Finest ($8.00) led the field early. Robert Brittonâs chaser Cheetah Zorro ($3.90) shot around the outside with the pink rug on to take front position from the three WA stayers. Paul Stuartâs chaser Ash Flash found himself in 6th position with a lot of work to do. Freeway Force took the lead back off Cheetah Zorro as they ran past the finishing post for the first time. Ash Flash put in the hard yards, working around the outside of Cheetah Zorro and Freeway Force; finally taking the lead at the 600 metre boxes, winning in 42.07.
1st Dyna Willow
3rd Em Three
Linda Brittonâs Reverberate ($5.50) flew out of box three to secure leading position in the early stages. Em Three ($10.00) put unwanted pressure on her WA rival, railing to snatch first position. Destini Fireball ($3.80), wearing the pink rug, did a lot of extra work around the outside of the field, sitting in first position for only a few lengths. Reverberate continued to push on despite the crowded pack. Steven Collins Dyna Willow shrugged of Destini Fireball, Reverberate and Em Three to win the third heat in 42.17.
1st Born Ali
2nd Infinite Wish
3rd Dyna Werribee
4th Maddison Dee
The last heat of the Perth Galaxy went to Victorian Born Ali, who jumped favourite at $2.50 from box two. Born Ali flew to the early lead, with Infinite Wish ($3.30) staying within a few lengths as the duo pulled away from the rest of the field. The Steven Collins trained Dyna Werribee ($5.00) played catch-up from third position. Born Ali didnât give Infinite Wish a look at the lead as she pulled away to win in the fastest qualifying time of 41.72.
WA qualified a steady three stayers into the Galaxy next Saturday night. It is a high class group of stayers making up the Galaxy field, which should produce an exciting and speedy final.
WA trainer Linda Britton dominated the Perth Cup heats on Saturday night, qualifying four of the eight finalists for the $140,000 race. It a was excellent night for Linda Brittonâs bitches, with all running impressive times to ensure their rugs in next weeks Group 1 event.
2nd General Destini
3rd Dannie Bale
4th Hawk Alone
Darren McDonald kicked off the Perth Cup heats winning with odds on favourite Keybow ($2.35) from box two. Fellow Victorian Hawk Alone was backed into second favourite, paying $3.60 for the win before the boxes opened. As the green light went on and the bunny flew past, General Destini, Keybow, Thunda Rama and Sunday Morning battled for the leading position heading into the first turn. Dannie Bale, from box eight, crossed to the fence clearly while the others worked hard for the front. It became a two dog race as the leading duo Keybow and General Destini hit the 700 metre boxes; as punters predicted, Keybow pulled away to win easily over General Destini and Dannie Bale in a time of 30.53.
1st Hillbilly Flash
2nd Blueyâs Fate
3rd Veyron Bale
4th Run Nitro Run
Paul Stuart gave WA their first chaser in the Perth Cup with Hillbilly Flash victorious. Jumping as $1.75 favourite from box one; punters had a lot of confident in the white and black dog. Meroslava, Blueyâs Fate and Hillbilly Flash lead the field out of the boxes. Hillbilly Flash took the outside route to sit in third position behind Blueyâs Fate and Meroslava. It was only a matter of time before Hillbilly Flash outclassed the two chasers in front; quickly snatching the lead and ensuring the win was all his, stoping the clock at a slick 30.36.
1st Saving Bundles
2nd Liara Allen
3rd Ritza Liam
Victorian Iona Seven held favouritism ($1.70) as handlers walked their dogs to the boxes. In the first upset of the night Saving Bundles for Linda Britton took out the third heat after making the most of a bad situation. Kenny Powers crossed straight to the rails out of the boxes, giving Iona Seven a clear pathway to the front of the field and as she was crossing to the rail, she clipped with fellow Victorian Liara Allen and fell. Unable to complete the course because of a suspected broken shoulder, she stayed in the arms of the kennel staff while the race continued. Saving Bundles found herself with a clear run around the outside, winning in a time of 30.56.
1st Zelemar Fever
2nd Te Amo
3rd Ritchie Rich
4th Mepunga Fearon
WA held the lead and favouritism with Zelemar Fever ($1.75) jumping from box seven and Te Amo ($5.00) rocketing out of box four. Te Amo caught Zelemar Fever by surprise as she put lengths on her kennel mate heading into the back straight; in a nail biting performance that looked to give Te Amo a rug in the Perth Cup, Zelemar Fever pushed through on the inside snatching the lead by only length in the fastest qualifying time of 30.30.
1st Allen Deed
2nd Ozzie Bullet
3rd Dyna Nalin
4th Gone To Heaven
Last years Perth Cup winner Dyna Nalin excited from box seven as the $3.10 favourite. Youngsterâs Gone To Heaven and Allen Deed second and third favourites, paying $3.40 and $3.70 respectively. It was Gone To Heaven with the yellow rug flashing to the front as the bunny went past. Dyna Nalin was left to make his usual come from behind effort from 5th position. Ozzie Bullet worked himself into second spot before using the outside of the track with Allen Deed to take the lead. Dyna Nalin was unable to get a clear run on the rails because Gone To Heaven refused to give up her position on the inside of the track; the 35 kilo Dyna Nalin checked off a 26 kilo Gone To Heaven, causing the pair to lose stride. The race was already won as the field turned into the home straight, with Allen Deed finding the front and extending to win in a time of 30.63.
1st High Recall
2nd Love Of Lauren
3rd Fancy Dreamer
4th Zipping Joe
Linda Brittonâs High Recall ($3.40) didnât give the other chasers a look as she landed on the bunny out of the boxes despite wearing the yellow rug. Love Of Lauren ($21.00) and Fancy Dreamer ($2.50) stayed in second and third place throughout, with very little chance to run down the daughter of High Earner, High Recall, who stopped the clock at 30.42.
1st Star Recall
2nd Ollie Bale
3rd By Magic
Linda Britton got her fourth chaser, Star Recall ($3.90), through to the Group 1 Perth Cup final. Littermate to the previous heat winner, High Recall, put in an almost identical performance to her sister from box five. Star Recall took her toughest competition out in Crump ($2.40) as she crossed to the lead to ensure the race was in her keeping in the early stages. Ollie Bale ($4.00) sat in second position despite receiving a check from Crump heading into the home straight. Star Recall produced a personal best and second fastest qualifying time of 30.38.
1st Sveta Monelli
2nd Jump The Queue
3rd Prue Bale
4th Awesome Project
David Hobby made it a WA dominated Perth Cup, qualifying his talented bitch Sveta Monelli in the last heat of the night. From box six Sveta Monelli ($2.80) worked hard and used her early speed to get her to the front of the field, with Prue Bale ($2.35) and Jump The Queue ($18.00). Sveta Monelli easily held on to win the race in 30.71, with Jump The Queue and Prue Bale a few lengths behind. Hello Knocka broke down on the first bend and tailed to the back of the field; the brave chaser finished the race with a broken hock.
WA came out of the heats with six chasers in the Perth Cup Final. Just the two interstate chasers in Keybow for Darren McDonald and Allen Deed for Andrea Daily made it through. Over the past few months of WA racing the standard of greyhound has lifted dramatically; nothing was a tougher test than the Perth Cup heats for our WA stars, who pulled through and showed that they are something in Australian.
Tasmaniaâs second-biggest series rounds out a huge four days of racing. Once youâve battled through the Perth and Healesville Cups over the weekend, itâs time to reload with eight full fields for the Group 2 Launceston Cup on Monday night.
The change in format to a three-week series has altered the dynamics of this yearâs race. Firstly, there is only four interstate entrants, with two of those originally from the Apple Isle, greatly bucking the trend of recent years. This shows not only the crowded nature of the calendar, but also the preference of the big kennels to travel only two consecutive weeks with their stars.
On the positive side of the equation is that the local trainers have gone all out for the stateâs only two-turn Group-level feature. With the Adelaide Cup, Brisbane Cup and Hobart Thousand all providing six or less heats, the change can only be seen as a success at this stage with a maximum 64 runners to face the starter.
For those unfamiliar with the tight Mowbray circuit, let it be known that inside draws are worth their weight in gold. It is awfully hard to come from further back than third around this place, so early speed combined with enough strength to run out the 515-metres makes results hard to predict.
Nonetheless, here is a summary of what punters may face come Monday night:
LAUNCESTON CUP HEAT ONE
Black Rip from the Shane Whitney kennel looks hard to beat in the opener. Heâs consistent from the boxes and will get plenty of room to move in the early stages from box three. He should be good enough to win from there in around the 30-second mark.
Sing the Song is the obvious danger, although the six-alley will make life tough. Given a clear run he has got the ability, but can only be taken on trust with Black Rip likely to be highballing early.
Tiger Toes races much better around the two-turn tracks and must be included for trifecta players. Street Talk is next best. Be prepared to risk Classic Spence from the poor draw, despite the 30.04 win last start.
LAUNCESTON CUP HEAT TWO
Buckle Up Wes deserves to make the finals and should do from box three. All the speed in the race is out wide, so if he can hold the rail, the race is over. Fast Turtle (box six) and Miss Kiss (box eight) will fly out of the boxes, but both struggle to run out the 515 in sub-30 time. Miss Kiss is the better of those two.
Look for Maurie Baba, Mumfordâs Son and Wynburn Wizard to run on late and put value into the trifecta.
LAUNCESTON CUP HEAT THREE
Heidi Go Seek for Angela Langton flies the flag for Victoria here. While being the most talented dog, and drawn to perfection in one, she will be very short and might be unders at her first look at the track and first run over more than 400 metres since September.
Nooeeâs Lad anticipates the start, and if he gets it right, will be literally three lengths in front by the time the others get off the mat. He will represent value, along with Hellyeah Missile from box eight. The Anthony Bullock-runner struggles to put two good runs together sometimes, but won last start by 14 lengths in 30.08 and with a repeat of that would go close.
Hard to find enthusiasm for anything else, although To Be Trew races best at here and only ever wins when no one expects it.
LAUNCESTON CUP HEAT FOUR
Hellyeah Bolt should bounce back here.
Last week, he missed the start by half a step and was bashed from every direction for the rest of the race. Forget than run ever happened and focus on the 29.55 personal best. Heâll find the rail unless Lashing Illusion gets in the way, but she is well up in grade.
Dominator Girl looks a certainly to run a place with the rails draw. She loves the track and will win if the favourite gets tangled up again.
Chosen Jewel has returned from W.A and belted a field on Thursday at Hobart. Looks a better dog at home again and will get a nice run into the race.Â Meanwhile, Sober Moment and Champagne Girl will be coming home hard at could run a place at odds.
LAUNCESTON CUP HEAT FIVE
Varcoe draws the red here at looks a great bet. His last start effort at Devonport was brilliant and there isnât a heap of strength in this one. Has been racing in the best grade possible for the majority of his career and this race is well within his capability.
Proven Fantasy is desperate for the rails, so this will give Teddy Tom Boy and Cosmic Fire a lovely passage in the frantic opening stages from boxes five and six respectively. Teddy Tom Boy is the better of those two greyhounds and has been in form of recent weeks.
If there is one to take a risk on, it could be Jeff The Tipster. Despite being the strongest dog in the race, itâs hard to see him getting a crack at them from box eight. He looms as a first turn victim here.
LAUNCESTON CUP HEAT SIX
Definitely one of the trickier races on the card, with a case to argue for every runner.
Pinto Pronto is the first dog to stand out with the good draw; however he hasnât been seen since December and wasnât going that well before the layoff. If the price is right and the dog is back to his best, should be a good bet.
Are Ate will probably be favourite after his Devonport Cup win, but prefers the one turn tracks and is drawn the yellow. Could well lead the race for a long way, but wonât set the clock on fire and others will be lining him up in the home straight.
Palooka gets the privilege of the cherry rug and races well at this course. Despite being up in class, and down in distance could well be the dog to upset the apple cart.
Chances also given to An That and Alvin Benz in a tough race.
LAUNCESTON CUP HEAT SEVEN
Bell Oh Moss looks the certain leader here, but that wonât necessarily guarantee a final berth. She hasnât been the same dog for the past couple of months and is suddenly suspect at the 515.Â Sheâll probably be favourite, but this isnât an open-shut kind of affair.
Bainâs Lane has hit a purple patch of form and wonât be too bothered by the wide draw. There isnât much pace around him and heâll get a lovely sit behind Bell Oh Moss.
Tic Tac Thomas was only a juvenile when he previously raced on the Apple Isle and has improved while racing in Victoria. Only being moderate from the boxes will work against the Jeff Britton trained chaser here, but he still appears a solid chance.
Those three should really fight it out, but you can add Hellyeah Fiona and Victorian Micky Mambo if looking for a surprise.
LAUNCESTON CUP HEAT EIGHT
Onto the final heat and it wouldnât surprise if the favourite was $4.00 when they jump.
While there are a host of possibilities, anyone who saw the run of Whodat Lass over the 600 two starts back will jump on board the Graeme Moate runner here. Despite the lack of early speed, it should get a nice trail behind Mighty Lomar and run over the top barring any bad luck.
Mighty Lomar wonât be that easy to get past though and comes into the race with good form, especially the 25.30 run at Devonport two starts back. Expect improvement with this being his second look at the track.
Rumbling Rick draws box seven here and is as capable as any of his rivals in this. Will need luck to get across but if it manages to do so, will break 30 and progress with ease.
Tiza Gold is back from NSW and armed with good early pace and an affinity for Launceston brings this chaser right into calculations. She did struggle a little when in top grade during her Tassie days and looms more as a place chance.
From the others, Heliski is talented, Frytson is drawn well and Tiny Tilly can pull out a run. Should be a nice dividend if one can find a collect in the last heat.
NSW (GRNSW) stewards have finalised an inquiry into analystsâ reports that the urine sample taken from Shaylee after that greyhound won Race 1 at The Gardens meeting on 4 May 2013, had been analysed and confirmed to contain the testosterone metabolite 5 – beta androstane-3 alpha-17beta Diol at a level in excess of 10 ng/ml in urine as specified in GAR 83 (6) as an exempted level in urine taken from a bitch.
Evidence was taken from trainer Louise McGee, veterinary surgeon Dr Fergus Hay and Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory (ARFL) Science Manager Dr Adam Cawley. Written evidence was submitted from Ms McGee, ARFL Senior Veterinarian Dr Craig Suann, the ARFL, GRNSW and Racing Science Centre QLD.
The inquiry heard that Ms McGee, who keeps veterinary records for all greyhounds in her care and did so at all relevant times, had arranged for Dr Hay to administer 0.25 ml of testoprop as an oestrus suppressant approximately four-and-a-half days prior to Shaylee competing in The Gardens race. This was slightly inside the recommended guidelines of at least five days administration prior to racing and the six days recommended by GRNSW in November 2012.
Ms McGee subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge under GAR 83 (2) (a) in that she presented Shaylee for the race in question other than free of any prohibited substance in that the urine sample taken from the bitch after the race was found on confirmatory analysis to have contained 5beta-androstane, 3alpha-17 beta Diol in excess of the threshold level of 10 ng/ml.
Although Ms McGee’s reports were received well into the year and outside of the period of leniency extended by GRNSW and other greyhound jurisdictions in respect of matters involving this Category 3 prohibited substance, she was fined $1,750.
In assessing penalty, consideration was given to Ms McGee’s previously unblemished record of nearly 20 years of registration, a high number of cleared samples taken during this period, her guilty plea, the relatively low level of the substance reported which was consistent with the records kept by Ms McGee, personal references supplied and the absence of any significant kennel support for Shaylee.
Also considered were her personal circumstances in caring for her partner and many retired greyhounds, as well as racing and breeding stock.
Notwithstanding these factors a measure of negligence had been shown in the administration of testoprop slightly inside the recommended time and that a measure of general deterrence should be implied in these circumstances.
Shaylee was disqualified from the event and the final of the series run on 10 May 2013 under GAR 83 (5) and the placings amended accordingly.
Group One Paws Of Thunder winner Iona Seven has suffered a heavy fall in the third heat of the Perth Cup.
The Robert Britton trained bitch was crossing to find the front from box seven, but was tightened by Liara Allen driving up on her inside and Saving Bundles applying pressure on her outside.
She didn’t follow the field into the pen and was being attended to.
We have been informed that the early prognosis is a cracked shoulder. The area is very swollen and they aren’t 100% yet what damage has been done.
Mark Gattâs well performed chaser Ritza Hattie successfully avenged her second placing from last weekâs heat of the Group One National Futurity, with a strong display from box two in semi final two. After beginning moderately, the daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Midnight Flare, loomed up between runners around the first turn to sit in third place behind Jason Mackayâs smart youngster Zipping Delta. The two-time Group winner took full advantage of a rails run on the home turn, to streak away by two lengths in a speedy 29.55.
Semi final one of the Futurity was taken out by Keinbah owner-trainer Ryan Tredway and Little Satisfies. Having just one career win to her name, the daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Really Satisfies, dwelt at the start and suffered a heavy check at the first turn, before showing genuine speed down the back to sit in second place behind early leader Smashing Sally. In a last ditch effort, the $35.10 rank outsider lunged at the line to score by a head in 30.03. Jodie Lord qualified two runners for Fridayâs final with Cawbourne Cobra and Cawbourne Rev finishing third and fourth respectively.
Leading breeder Martin Hallinan has made an impact on this years Derby series and yesterday proved his charges will be very competitive in next Friday nights final by qualifying three runners. Hallinanâs best result was Zipping Brock trained by Peter Dapiran, who stepped out in semi-final two of the Derby with solid support from punters at $8.50. The son of Mantra Lad and Cho Chang jumped beautifully from box four and was never headed in a fast 29.56 display. Hallinanâs own runner Waymoreâs Blues, put in another solid performance from box one to finish second and $2.10 favourite Red Road was squeezed out at the start and failed to qualify, however Gattâs other chaser Ritza Raider ran a respectable third.
Semi final one went to the in-form Evil Punk for James Coyle, who exploded from box one and got a beautiful rails run to lead throughout in a speedy 29.59. Reserve runner Soviet Missile for Toby Weeks ran a gallant second at big odds of $18.60 to qualify and $1.60 favourite Boyce Road after finding early trouble, managed to run fourth and book his place in next weeks Group One final.
The box draws for next weeks $75,000 to the winner finals:
Group One National Futurity Final
1. Cawbourne Rev â Jodie Lord
2. Smashing Sally â Neil Falk
3. Queen Esther â Noelene Holloway
4. Rue De Kahn â Dean Swain
5. Little Satisfies â Ryan Tredway
6. Zipping Delta â Jason Mackay
7. Cawbourne Cobra â Jodie Lord
8. Ritza Hattie â Mark Gatt
Group One National Derby Final
1. Boyce Road â Mark Gatt
2. Evil Punk â James Coyle
3. Lochinvar Rossi â Robert Smith
4. Waymoreâs Blues â Martin Hallinan
5. Zipping Snoopy â Peter Dapiran
6. Soviet Missile â Toby Weekes
7. Ritza Raider â Mark Gatt
8. Zipping Brock â Peter Dapiran
2014 National Derby Semi Final Replays
2014 National Futurity Semi Final Replays
The Victorian feature racing spotlight will shine brightly on the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges this Sunday when eight heats of the greyhound racings richest straight track race in the world, the Healesville Cup will take place.
The race was first held in 1990 on the grass track over 340 metres, it was first won by the Victorian Greyhound of the Year, Eureka Man. 2011 saw the surface switch to loam and an additional 10 metres added to the race distance. Marbro Man took the event out that year for Kel Greenough who has two runners engaged in this yearâs heats.
It is an early start this Sunday at Healesville with plenty of quality racing on the card, including four semi-finals of the big maiden. Let’s take a look at the Cup Heats;
Race 5 – Lion Quality Products Healesville Cup – Heat 1 â 11:05am
A tough heat kicks off proceedings with a handful of chances. Lady Deedee (1) has raced well at the track with two wins from three starts and a fast 19.19 to her name. The concern is her past two starts which include a last placing at Healesville and a fourth over 400 metres at Warragul. The box is certainly in her favour and she does look to be a major player. Evie’s Entity (6) is the class runner of the field with 19 wins from 41 starts including a second in the Warragul Cup final last time out. She may need a little bit of room early given her moderate box manners but expect her to be flying home late.
Walkaway Blaze (7) won at the track last week in his second look at the venue. He registered 19.35 in the process and comes into calculations on the credence of that effort. Of the others, Sultan Of Swing (5) has won three from six at the track, Dirty Mary (8) has been consistent and has also gone a slick 19.17 in the past, while Frosty Jay Jay (4) also has his share of ability and has his first run at the track here.
Race 6 â LQP Trailer Accessories Healesville Cup – Heat 2 â 11:20am
Heat Two is headlined by the recent Cranbourne Cup winner Banjo Boy (2). The Ken Virtue trained star has won both starts at the Healesville track and has broken the magical 19-second barrier. He is clearly the one to beat in this race. The Darren McDonald trained youngster There’s A Earn (2) will have his first race start at the track in this heat. He has ability but may need a little luck with two quicker beginners drawn either side of him.
Nic Nat Nui (8) has won nine from 33 and also has his first go at the track for trainer Kelly Bravo. If he can use the wide alley to his advantage then he may get a clear run throughout the race. Hard Days Night (6) has a real penchant for the straight track with three wins and two seconds from just six goes at the venue. He has posted a fast 19.08 in the past and could be some hope. Of the others, Acclaimed Love has won three from five here, producing a best of 19.25 and is from a long line of quality New South Wales straight trackers.
Race 7 â LQP Air Compressors Healesville Cup – Heat 3 â 11:35am
Heat three showcases the recent Warragul Cup winner and Healesville flyer Walk Hard (8). The Nicole McRae trained conveyance will be storming home like a freight train at the business end of this race and has registered 18.82 at the track, faster than any other dog in these heats. He has won four from five at the track but, astonishingly, has his first start from the outside alley in his 34 race career. If he handles it, he will be winning here.
Cointreau Cap (1) has recently landed in the astute Darren McDonald kennels. He has a plethora of early speed and could give them something to catch. Demonstrous (6) has had 27 starts at Healesville, winning 7. He has registered a slick 19.04 in the past and could pose some threat on that basis.
Race 8 â LQP Battery Chargers Healesville Cup – Heat 4 â 11:50am
The speedy Paw Licking (8) will start a short priced favourite in Heat Four. The son of Elite State and Kingsbrae Di has won no less than 27 races from just 46 outings and has won at Healesville in 19.06. He has proven himself from wide alleys, winning four of eight from the pink, so the draw should not be a concern; he is the one to beat. Juddy Burst (1) has never missed a place at Healesville in five attempts and has posted a quick 19.05 here before. He has not won since November which makes him a bit of a risk but he is not without hope.
Fancy Amigo (4) has his first start at the track this Sunday but has shown his share of ability elsewhere and is in the Darren McDonald kennel, he may be worth a thought. Of the others, Denersur has won four from 10 at the track but is yet to flatter on the clock while First Blood (6) has been in good form on the circle at Shepparton and Horsham of late.
Race 9 â LQP Jump Start Systems Healesville Cup – Heat 5 â 12:06pm
Heat Five looks to be one of the more open heats. Transcend Time (8) is a quality conveyance and will exit the outside alley for trainer Wayne Vassallo. He won his only start at Healesville in 19.18 and has been racing in good company; he looks the obvious one to beat. Matâs Entity (3) has won 24 of his 43 career starts and never finished outside the top two at this track in four tries. He has a best of 19.23 and should land on the speed.
Billy Rocket (2) is a lightly raced dog who has gone very quick here in the past, registering 19.04 from a similar box. He will be another one who should be on the pace early and could make his own luck. Symmetry Lad (7) is a very consistent beginner who has his first look at the straight here. He has won six of his 16 races and could be a value hope at around double-figure odds.
Race 10 â LQP LED Spotlights Healesville Cup – Heat 6 â 12:22pm
Dark Warrior (8) will more than likely start favourite in Heat Six. He has won both of his career starts at the track and has posted a 19.10 from a wide alley. He should be able to use the box to his advantage here and go very close to winning. Release The Heat (6) has been placed in nine of his 10 races here and has won four of those, including a 19.15 effort. He may be a rough chance at odds.
Vapour Storm (1) is well boxed and has a 19.29 to his credit from and inside alley. He has only had one start back from a spell and failed to flatter, so he will need to be taken on trust. Zulu Zircon (4) is a young flying machine in the Jason Thompson kennel. He has his first look at the track but there is no reason why he cannot convert his circle form to the straight.
Race 11 â LQP Car Fridges Healesville Cup – Heat 7 â 12:43pm
Top Innings (2) will headline Heat Seven of the Cup for Anakie trainer Jeff Britton. The Silver Chief place-getter loves to fly the lids and is drawn to win the race. Premier Magpie (3) loves straight-tracking and has registered a couple of times in the low-nineteenâs during his four wins over this trip. He may be starting to get on a bit but he has won two of his last three and has to be considered.
Special Pup (4) is an interesting runner having his first start for Michelle Mallia-Magri after coming from Western Australia. He has won 17 from 33 including his last two and may be worth keeping an eye on. Texan (7) looks the best of the rest with three wins from seven starts over this trip including a 19.18 and a 19.19 which he produced two starts back.
Race 12 â LQP Load Restraints Healesville Cup – Heat 8 â 12:58pm
Hallelujah Henry (4) is an ultra-consistent chaser who has a real affinity with Healesville. He has won two of his three attempts at this trip and posted a flying 18.93. He is definitely the one they will have to catch here. Dyna Carnage (2) has won 10 from 21 career starts and is a promising chaser. He is not the fastest beginner but could be a hope with a clear crack at them.
Burj Khalifa (8) is an interesting runner. He won two-in-a-row at Appin, a straight track in New South Wales, before coming to Victoria and winning on debut over 300 metres at this track in the best on day; he could be a smoky. Premier Event (6) has a good record here winning two of his three starts and running 19.16. Coco Benz (1) has a terrific career record with 14 wins from 22 starts. She makes her Healesville debut but has to be a solid chance from the red alley.
Greyhounds WA Cannington is holding four heats of the Group 1 Galaxy over the 715 metre trip. A number of Australiaâs best stayers made the trip to try their luck against WAâs strongest chasers in hope of the Galaxy title and $80,000 to the winner.
Robert Brittonâs veteran stayer Gold Affair Two is set to start as $2.00 favourite from box seven. The fast beginner will prove hard to beat if she gets far enough in front of the field.
Victorian Sweet It Is is coming off an impeccable performance at Cranbourne where she jumped only fairly and gave seven lengths to a leading Infinite Wish, before snatching the victory on the line. Itâs hard to pass up this chaser after watching her last start replay. Sweet It Is will jump from box eight at $2.50 for the win.
It looks a hard task for a WA stayer to take out this heat; all are paying double figures for the win.
Ash Flash for trainer Paul Stuart is currently backed into $1.70 favouritism pre-post. She has jumped from boxes five and six in her last two starts and won in best of the night times over the staying journey. She has continued to improve in her three starts at Cannington and this week should prove no different. Jumping from box six again, she will only need to stay out of trouble to win the race.
Victorian Cheetah Zorro recently won the Group 1 Bold Trease. This week she will jump from box eight, making her journey that little bit harder. Despite her box draw and lack of experience at Cannington Cheeta Zorro is paying $3.50 to win the heat.
Veteran campaigner Pedroâs Finest is looking for his 41st win from 148 starts and is jumping from box one and paying $9.50. Itâs a tough ask for the veteran to come away with the win, but you wouldnât put it past him to sneak the victory.
Dyna Willow earned $2.00 favouritism over Destini Fireball ($2.10) after defeating him by 0.02 lengths in their last encounter. Dyna Willow will jump from box six and if she crosses the field to the rails without too much interference she is in with a great chance.
The Emilio Rinaldo trained Destini Fireball is in the twilight of his illustrious career. There is no doubt he has the ability to take out this heat even though he is winless in his last 14 starts, despite coming close in a number of finishes. The Cannington track and box eight might work in his favour.
Last week the Linda Britton trained Reverberate ($7.50) won the Galaxy Prelude whilst warming up for the heats. At her best she has the talent to defeat this field with ease, the question is; will her best be Saturday night?
The last heat of the Galaxy is set to be dominated by talented Victorian stayers according to punters. Born Ali, for trainer Robert Britton, is the favourite paying $2.80 and will jump from box two. She is making her debut on WA soil after coming off a fourth place in the Summer Plate at Wentworth Park last start. The little black bitch is a fast beginner and her inside box draw saves her time and reduces the amount of interference she will receive.
Angela Langtonâs stayer Infinite Wish is second favourite ($3.20) and will be jumping from box six, with a vacant box directly on her inside. She had her first start at Cannington last week for a win, which should give her an advantage above the rest of the field.
Maddison Dee is a class stayer and is paying $4.00 for the win in this strong field. The blue bitch is yet to race around Cannington, which could work against her.
All four winners and second placegetters will make it into the Group 1 Galaxy Final. Not only are they vying for their places in the final, but also the $10,000 they receive from winning the heat.
Itâs finally that time of year for WA racing; when a number of Australiaâs best greyhounds brave the heat for their working holiday in the West, with the end result a rug the Perth Cup final (530 metres) and a chance of winning $140,000.
General Destini has made the trip over to Perth for the second time. Last year he ran second in the Perth Cup heats from box four, running 30.56. Jumping from box one will increase his chance of winning the race dramatically, but he will have to improve on his best WA time of 30.43 if he is going to finish first across the line. Heâs currently paying $2.80 for the win.
Andrea Daillyâs Hawk Alone is set to jump second favourite ($3.00) from box three. He comes to Perth without a win at Cannington from his three starts, but strength should be on his side after having multiple starts over 600 metres at the Meadows.
Keybow for Darren McDonald is the fourth visiting greyhound in the first heat. The youngster with only 16 starts to his name is set to jump from box two, paying $3.20 for his first WA start. The black dog came second in the Cranbourne Cup two starts back over their 520 metre distance. He came home well, which should hold him in good stead for the extra 10 metres he has to run at Cannington.
All four WA representatives are in double figure odds, West On Santo for Linda Britton jumped well last week and is in career best form. Box six wonât do him any favours, even though his best time was run from box five, and the jump in class may be too much. Paul Stuartâs Dannie Bale (box eight) has the WA experience and time of 30.31, but his form of late has not been great.
WA holds favouritism in the second heat, with Paul Stuartâs chaser Hillbilly Flash jumping from box one and paying $2.00 in the pre-post markets. The white and black dog is searching for his fourth consecutive win and he ran a personal best time of 30.30 three starts back. He almost repeated his efforts last week running 30.35.
Victorian chaser Veyron Bale (box two) for trainer Andrea Dailly has had four starts at Cannington for one win in a time of 30.67. Two starts back at Wentworth Park he ran a best of the night performance over 520 metres in a heat of the Paws Of Thunder. The 520 metre trip at Wentworth Park is his longest distance recently, with multiple successful starts over 400 metres at Sale, Geelong and Ballarat; hopefully Canningtonâs 530 metres wonât knock him around too much.
Linda Brittonâs Enough Talking ($24.00) has run the second fastest recorded time coming into the heats. Although he is without a Cannington win for 14 starts, the black dog is slowly finding his form. He will have to do everything right from box six to win the race.
Victorian Iona Seven ($1.60) for trainer Robert Britton has been in hot form of late, winning the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder. She has drawn out wide for her two wins and drawing box seven in the Perth Cup heat cant come as too much of a disappointment.
Ben Abercrombieâs speedy beginner Burzynski is jumping from box one and paying $4.50 for the win. He has the capability to cause problems if he can find the lead early, but has not won at Cannington in six starts. However, if he finds himself in front of the field early on, it will be a hard task for chasers to run him down.
Steven Collinsâ Liara Allen ($6.00) is searching for her eighth win in her first start at Cannington. Her last three starts have been over distance, which should help her when it comes down to the final stages.
Zelemar Fever is the deserving $1.60 favourite in the fourth heat of the Perth Cup. She is in flying form of late, breaking the 30-second barrier on three occasions; running her personal best time of 29.90 last week. The little black bitch has had superb box draws recently; wearing the red rug in three of her past six starts. Jumping from box seven this week is her only hurdle.
Linda Brittonâs second chaser Te Amo (box four) is without doubt a speedy bitch. Her downfall a lack of strength over the 530 metre trip, especially when she has greyhounds like Mepunga Fearon and Zelemar Fever to contend with.
Mepunga Fearon ($15.00) has drawn box six for his second start at Cannington. Last week he found trouble on the first corner but ran home well to finish third. Although this is a tough heat, his run last week will give him a helping hand.
WAâs traveling sensation and reigning Perth Cup winner Dyna Nalin will jump as the $2.00 favourite from box seven. He is yet to win since returning from a working vacation, finishing third and fifth. Despite his dip in form he is too talented to let the opportunity to take a second Perth Cup pass him by.
The Linda Britton trained Gone To Heaven has the least experience in the fifth heat, with only eight starts to her name. She has won on seven occasions, bit at her last start she finished fourth after finding trouble throughout. The sentimental bitch jumping from box five definitely has the speed to contend in the race. She ran her personal best time of 30.23 from the same box.
Andrea Daillyâs Allen Deed is jumping from box four paying $5.00 for the win. Heâs also inexperienced, with just 11 starts and six wins. He is yet to race at Cannington but muse be respected after his Silver Chief heat victory.
Dyna Beth for trainer Andrea Dailly is currently the $2.50 favourite and jumps from box three. Even without a win in her last four starts, the second place getter in the Melbourne Cup has enough class to take out the sixth heat of the Perth Cup.
Paul Stuartâs Fancy Dreamer has a perfect record from his six starts at Cannington and his fastest winning time of 30.22 from box six is the fastest of the WA competitors in the heat. He is currently paying $3.00 to win from box seven.
High Recall is a talented up and comer from the Britton kennels. She has won seven of her 10 starts, the majority of them in impressive times. The little black bitch ran her fastest time of 30.32 over the 530 metre trip two weeks ago. Her inexperience against this class of dogs will be her main issue.
Silver Chief winner Ollie Bale is set to jump as the $2.40 favourite from box six for Andrea Dailly. His first start at Cannington will prove a hard one, with Star Recall and Crump both past runners at Cannington and in good form.
Star Recall for Linda Britton is jumping from box five and paying $5.00 for the win. The little black bitch has won on five occasions from just eight starts. Her inexperience may work against her in this class, although her past four starts have all been wins at Mandurah. The jump in distance may also make things a little hard for the youngster.
Crump has returned to WA for his first Perth Cup series, after last travelling to WA for the Group 2 Derby. He won his Derby heat in an impressive 30.38, but he was unable to overcome box eight in the final finishing fourth to Boris Fields. Jumping from box four in the Perth Cup heats Crump is paying $3.80 to defeat this talented field.
Both Sveta Monelli and Prue Bale hold $2.50 favouritism in the last heat of the Perth Cup. Sveta Monelli has recently defeated the likes of On Coin and Zelemar Fever and is in career best form. She looks hard to beat from a WA perspective, even from box six.
Victorian Prue Bale has the red for only the second time in her career and sheâs a last start winner at the Meadows from box four. Prue Bale will not be able to give Sveta Monelli much room if she wants to secure a rug in the Perth Cup the following week.
Awesome Project ($7.50) for Darren McDonald is searching for his sixth consecutive win from mostly outside box draws. Wearing the pink rug on Saturday night shouldnât come as too much of a disappointment after his recent box draws and strength should be on his side after successfully competing over 600 metres at the Gosford racetrack.
Out of the 64 greyhounds that are competing in the $10,000 to the winner heats of the Perth Cup, only eight will earn their rugs and privilege to race in WAâs biggest event, the Perth Cup. The box drawn for the Perth Cup will be drawn out on Sunday the 2nd of February at the Greyhounds WA industry night.
As trainers prepare their greyhounds for the Perth Cup series they spare a thought for Brenda and John Crossley, who are unable to race their superstar On Coin, who fell two weeks ago and sustained a shoulder injury. On Coin would have been a serious contender in the Perth Cup heats.
Mark Gatt will head into tomorrowâs National Derby and Futurity semi finals at Unibet Gardens with an astonishing five runners across the four races and is set to dominate the two Group One finals next week.
Semi-final one of the National Futurity will see last weekâs bolter Lani Banarni (4), who upset Gattâs red-hot favourite Ritza Hattie in a blistering 29.40, exit from box four in a strong semi-final. Jodie Lord has three runners engaged in this race, with her best chance Cawbourne Whip (5). Despite finishing a disappointing fourth last week, she does have a 29.46 personal best at the track and can steal this from the squeeze box. Smashing Sally (8) trained by Neil Falk, has been very consistent of late and is looking for her fourth consecutive win and will get a nice run from the wide alley.
Series favourite Ritza Hattie (2) will step out in semi-final two of the Futurity final. She will be out to avenge her second placing last week and has a perfect opportunity from box two. The two-time Group winner began poorly last week, before making up a stack of ground to finish second in 29.40 and will be primed for this affair by master trainer Mark Gatt. Unbelief (4) for Troy Donaldson is going great guns at present, having won four races from her last five starts and she flew around The Gardens circuit last week in 29.65 from box five. If she begins well, expect her to give the favourite a run for her money in an attempt to keep her unbeaten record at the track in tact. Zipping Delta ran a super race last week to storm home for third in the fastest heat of the day, clocking 29.58. Despite being drawn inside a speedy runner, the Jason Mackay sprinter will only need a clear path to feature in the finish.
Semi-final one of the National Derby will see last weekâs fastest qualifier Boyce Road (7) step out from box seven at only his second ever look at the track. After jumping brilliantly from box six and clocking a blistering 29.33 last Friday, the Mark Gatt trained youngster could potentially lower his personal best. Evil Punk (1) has stepped up enormously at his past few starts against quality opposition and is drawn beautifully on the inside to really test these runners. The James Coyle trained chaser finished the race off nicely last week behind Waymoreâs Blues in a fast 29.65. Gattâs other runner Black Road (2) was airbourne in the early stages last week before fading at the finish, however a repeat performance of last week could see him really test the field early.
Red Road is another sensational Mark Gatt chaser and will step out in semi-final two of the National Derby. He was edged out by litter mate Boyce Road for time honours last week by 0.01, flying around The Gardens in 29.34. Despite drawing the tricky middle box, the winner of seven races from just nine starts, showed electrifying early speed last week from box eight and only needs to jump to be victorious once again. Astute breeder Martin Hallinan has drawn favourably once again with Waymoreâs Blues (1), who was ultra-impressive in his heat win last week, clocking a speedy 29.65. Gattâs other runner Ritza Raider (2) ran home very well in the latter stages last week behind Waymoreâs Blues and can run a cheeky race if he gets room to move early.
2014 National Derby Heats Replays
2014 National Futurity Heats Replays
We managed three winners from four selections on Monday night.
Tonight looks another great betting night, so let’s hope we can emulate Mondays performance.
Albion Park Greyhounds Race 10 Box 1 Glorified Gee, 9.54pm
We’ve gotta wait till the last race here at Albion tonight, but it should be worth the wait. Glorified Gee has been racing consistently at Ipswich recently and he comes up against a field he can beat, and a box he can win from. They’re a pretty ordinary bunch of dogs and it will be hard to sort out the placegetters.
Glorified Gee appears to be quite strong and he should be able to punch up and lead as the enter the first turn. Without much in the race that can run time, once in front he should be able to roll along and win. He is however first up over the trip so don’t go taking short odds.
About $3.00 will be about the right price for the son of Fear Zafonic.
Angle Park Greyhounds Race 5 Box 4 Kaylarikki, 8.38pm
This fellow has a huge motor and always storms to the line in his races. He’s had a few goes over 600 and races very well at the trip. He’s going to get back in the bunch again tonight, but he’s drawn close enough to the rails to find a spot early. Once he gets into clear room he should be able to run down Victa Scott, the early leader.
Most of these are slow beginners and that will go against Kaylarikki, but he’s in good enough form to win this. Punters looking to find some value might find it in taking the boxed exacta with early leader Victa Scott and strong finisher Kaylarikki,
At a cost of $2.00 for 100%
Dapto Greyhounds Race 5 Box 1 Rexroth, 8.55pm
This fellow is not well boxed and that is a cause for concern. He likes to get off the track when the lids fly open. But if he pings he might find the outside runners hold him in on the rail and if they do he should be mighty hard to beat. He’s not racing well and only stopped the clock in a moderate 29.88 at The Gardens in a stewards trial. But he has a PB of 29.85 here and he does seem to race well at Dapto.
Genetic Jenny is the main danger and she should be in this for a long way.
As long as Rexroth starts at $3.00- $4.00 he looks a real chance, despite the box.
Hobart Greyhounds Race 2 Box 6 Kalaway Crusty, 7.58pm
This fellow only went down by a small margin last start and should get the job done here tonight with natural improvement. He’s boxed well on the outside, but does only come away from the boxes fairly, so he does need to steer clear of trouble until he can wind up and hit top gear. Most of these do look to be pretty ordinary, and he does appear to have some race winning ability.
As long as he starts at $4.00 he’s worth having a go at for the win and in the multiples.
Blockbuster could be the danger if he comes away quickly and finds the top.
Sandown Greyhounds Race 8 Box 1 Gold Town, 9.35pm
Greyhound followers will no doubt be aware of the talent Gold Town has, but he has been disappointing of late when he threatened to win a few. He’s drawn the rails and that’s a perfect draw for him tonight in this. His winning chances hinge on Innocent Till and his ability to ping and hold out the outside division. If he can, and Gold Town can also jump and get up along the rails, Gold Town will finish very strongly.
The race is littered with talent and we can’t forget Banjo Boy, who has drawn box 8 here in this. If he pings and gets across well that makes Gold Towns task all that much harder.
Very tough race with multiple winning chances, so make sure odds of $5.00 or more are achieved about Gold Town.
Best of luck
$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$
How would you like to own a dog that has won more than half its 103 races, including six of its last eight and earned $194,000 in prize money? Is there another dog racing that can equal that performance? Black Magic Opal, perhaps, and one or two others. But they are rare.
Stagger has done that and is still going strong at 4 years and 5 months of age. He is off again at Traralgon tomorrow. Just last Sunday he bolted in at Sale in a smart 24.69 in a Veterans field, but most of his starts have been against all comers, including an unplaced finish in Walk Hardâs roughly run heat of the Warragul Cup. Note that, going into the six heats, only three starters had earned more cash than Stagger â Black Magic Opal, Paw Licking and Spud Regis â and all three had the advantage of picking up big prizes in town. Stagger had done it the hard way.
Leading up to that race, he had also won in 16.75 at Traralgon and 21.85 at Shepparton, both really quick runs.
By Primo Uno out of Instructed First, Stagger was bred, owned and is trained by Garry Selkrig of Devon Meadows. Both trainer and dog deserve credit for maintaining its form over such a long period, with only one break of any consequence in mid-2013. The dog won five races in succession in mid-2012, four in a row later that year, and four times since then has won three in a row.
Stagger has started at fifteen different tracks over varying distances from 298m to 535m, winning at every one, bar a single start at Bulli. He is a reliable beginner, rather than a brilliant one, but quickly runs to the lead before the turn. Thatâs a big contrast to his dad, a wonderful galloper, but one which could not get out of a box to save his life (but has still sired many top performers).
No doubt his best performances have been over the tough Horsham 480m trip, where he has broken the 27 seconds mark three times. Thatâs the mark of a hard chaser and this dog certainly fills the bill.
But are there more such veterans around? Not long ago I instanced a similar, although not quite so brilliant career by Burnt Fuse, but others are not easy to find. Victoria programs regular Veterans races, but they have almost disappeared in NSW and Queensland, and are not common in SA. Why is this so? Almost invariably, these runners put up consistent performances, their form is well known to punters and they can often run top times â Stagger’s run at Sale was easily the best of the meeting.
Injuries or loss of interest can be a barrier for many but is there enough encouragement for owners and trainers to support a bigger Veterans circuit? Such dogs can often lose a fraction of their early dash but more often than not they can still run good overall times, no matter their age (Staggerâs sectional at Sale was a modest 5.34). It seems the industry may be losing an opportunity to widen public interest as well as improve the economics of dog ownership.
After all, half the Aussie Test team is over 30 years old, while Li Na is rising 32 years of age and has just picked up a cool $2.6 million in winning the Australian Open. Many promising youngsters fell by the wayside
Speaking of tennis, it is remarkable the similarities between sports. Stanislas Wawrinka, up against a better credentialled opponent in the menâs singles, got stuck into him early and quickly dominated the way the match was conducted. His running numbers would have been 1121. Rafa never really got back into the race, despite picking up a set when Stan missed a few forehands. Rafaâs injury was unfortunate but the stage had already been set by then.
For all his abilities, Rafaâs main strength is really his defence. He will get the ball back from anywhere and just waits for the opportunity to unleash his magic forehand. But Stan would not let him do it, or not often enough. He took the initiative and that decided the race.
How often is the greyhound race run the same way? Put up a flighty performer against a hard chaser and you would want to be on the chaser most of the time. Given a chance, he is the one that dominates the running of the race, especially at the finish. A classic example was Walk Hard v Paw Licking in the Warragul Cup final.
Of course, experience also counts, which is also why there should be more Veterans races.
FIELDS FALLING AWAY?
A couple of readers expressed sorrow at the shift from locally graded fields to the current computer-dominated system, reasoning that the club grader always had the opportunity to ring around and get extras to fill up the program. (See previous article, IS ANYBODY WORRIED ABOUT THE PRODUCT, 27 January).
There is some validity in that thought, and also in the ability of some managers to initiate more interesting races.
Unfortunately, history will not be re-visited, if for no other reason than that some may not have done the right thing in the past. Besides, what sort of dog are you going to get when you twist a trainerâs arm to get more nominations?
In any event, that still does not solve the problem of the lack of numbers. The supply and demand formula has got out of whack. We either breed more dogs, cut the number of races, or run short fields. They are the only options.
This year marks the sixth time the NCA Derby, or National Derby, has been run at the Gardens venue and the 52nd running overall. As befitting a race of its stature, there are almost as many âback storiesâ to the winners as there have been runnings of what, for one year, was the richest event in the country.
The first National Derby, as it was then called, took place in July 1963. Run over 580 yards (530 metres) on grass at Wentworth Park, the winner was the oft-underrated Keen Linen (see below), who defeated Mulga Bay by two lengths, with the Victorianâs Minsby and The Stripper third and fourth respectively. The smart Saskaview was also unplaced. First prize money was ÂŁ1,500, which supplanted the Australian Cup as the richest race in the country. The following year the Australian Cup was back on its pedestal after the prize money was raised to keep it as the nationâs richest race.
From 1963 until 1986 the Derby was run over 530 metres on grass at Wentworth Park. In 1987 it was conducted over 457 metres at Harold Park. In 1988 it returned to the refurbished Wentworth Park circuit, over 520 metres on grass (to 1993). Between 1994 and 2008 the Derby was run on the loam surface at Wentworth Park and since 2009 has been held over 515 metres at the Gardens.
When Is The Race Run
From 1988 until the present the Derby final has been run in February. At the start it was held in July, until 1974. From 1975 to 1987 the final was held in either March or April.
Biggest Winning Margins
General Jeff (1980) won by an ever-widening nine lengths, Baguio (1976) scored by eight lengths, and Roman Earl (1966) by five lengths.
Closest Winning Margins
As befitting a race that is meant to showcase the best young male sprinters, 11 of the 51 finals have seen the winner score by half a length or less. The closest finish was in 1965 when Mister Moss stormed home to down the Victorian Billy Vee by half a head. Flying Myobb (1964), Steelflex (1974), Brother Knows (2006), and Bogie King (2011) all won by just a head. Lord Tegimi (1982), Inch Time (1984), Shy Sultan (1987), and Comrade In Arms (1997) won their Derbies by a neck.
Most Successful Trainer/s
Christine Coleman holds the record with four victories (General Jeff, 1980; Handicap, 1981; Inch Time, 1984; Dallas Man 1995) ahead of Allen Wheeler with two (Steelflex in 1974 and 1975).
Only Dual Winner/s
Only the one: Steelflex in 1974 and 1975. The Wheeler-owned and trained speedster won by a head in 1974 at only his third start in a race, then failed to win again at Wentworth Park in seven subsequent starts (five seconds, one third, one fourth) before taking the 1975 final by three-quarters of a length.
Only Reserve/s To Win
There have been two winners to wear the green and white striped rug of the number nine reserve: 1985, Rapid Supreme, and 1987, Shy Sultan. The 1970 winner, Arthurâs Desire, had been beaten in his non-betting heat and was first reserve for his semi-final, but gained a start from box one and scored easily.
Silent Retreat (third 1969, seventh 1970), Woolley Wilson (second 1972, third 1973), Steelflex (won 1974 and 1975), Alpha Brava (third 1975 and 1976), and Gallant World (fourth 1983, second 1984)
Some Beaten Stars
Apart from the likes of dual finalists such as Silent Retreat, Woolley Wilson, and Alpha Brava, there are stars such as Best Sun (third 1965), Munich Boy (third 1967), Miloâs Charm (second 1971), Ragsie (fourth 1972), Cabernet (fifth 1972), Tientsin Tosca (second 1974), Early Copy (fourth 1974), Temlee (sixth 1974), Ungwilla Lad (second 1975), Fine Arama (second 1978), Acclaim Star (fifth 1979), Fast Sapphire (seventh 1979), Gliderâs Son (seventh 1981), Legendary Kid (third 1986), Credibility (second 1992), Alastic Rebel (fourth 1992), Deanneâs Dancer (second 1994), Forest Fin (third 1995), Roanokee (third 1997), Faithful Hawk (second 1999), Stately Bird (third 2000), Go Wild Teddy (second 2001), Arvoâs Junior (fourth 2003), Whisky Assassin (fourth 2004), Sun Hero (seventh 2004), Size Can Matter (third 2008), and St Pierre (eighth 2010) reveal an amazing depth to so many Derby finals.
Set for the inaugural NCA Derby, the sensational sprinter Black Top shocked his fans when he was eliminated in his non-betting heat. One source suggests he turned in the boxes while Bill Bracht claimed in his bookÂ Greyhounds and Mechanical Lure RacingÂ the champion had his âhind foot caught in the back door of the starting box when the lids opened.â The final fell to Black Topâs litter brother, Keen Linen.
Every winner from 1963 to 1982 inclusive boasted Chief Havoc somewhere in their pedigree.
An incredible 12 Greyhounds of the Year in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland have either been winners or finalists in the Derby: Roman Earl, Ragsie, Acclaim Star, Fast Sapphire, Gliderâs Son, Worth Doing, Faithful Hawk, Go Wild Teddy, Slater, Roanokee, Size Can Matter, and Whisky Assassin.
The might of champion trainer Ted Medhurst’s kennel has never been more evident than in Thursday night’s $10,500 Maiden Thousand Final (461 metres) to be conducted at Tattersalls Park in Hobart.
Half the field are occupants of Medhurst’s Mangalore complex and to make it harder for the opposition, they will occupy the two inside and the two outside boxes, in what promises to be a wonderful contest.
Medhurst will box Groovy Lane (Velocette â Come Over Nova), Homeward (High Earner â In Top Gear), Mystic Falls (Bit Chili â Wongawillilesley) and Real Caution (Dyna Lachlan â Topline Relly), with the former the fastest qualifier with a time of 26.06.
Despite the dominance of the Medhurst kennel during the qualifying events, Brighton trainer Shane Whitney is quietly confident that his representative, Arome Peche (Dyna Lachlan â Last Serenade), will give connections a great sight.
Best known for his previous association with the outstanding stayers Chinatown lad and Fallen Zorro, Whitney has been enjoying a great run of success in recent weeks with his small team and is naturally hoping that it will continue in Thursday night’s feature.
Raced by Les Winter and Frank Katranjac, Arome Peche has raced on only two occasions for a win and second placing and is generally regarded as a big improver.
âHe is usually a very fast beginner, but last week he was slow out and headed for the rail, which ultimately brought about his undoing.â Whitney explained this week.
âI know the yellow box is not ideal, but I believe that he has the speed to lead this field and if that happens, he will take plenty of catching. My father Gavin won the race about fifteen years ago with Tick Two Five, so I am naturally hoping that I can also be seen in the winners circle on Thursday night.â
Another of the Whitney team that has excelled in recent weeks is the former New South Wales chaser Black Rip (Goodesy â Richmond Fox), whomade it three in a row by taking out the Big Dog Front Runner Oil Invitation (515 metres) at the LGRC meeting on Monday night.
âI heard on the grapevine that Black Rip was for sale, so I arranged aheaded by my father to purchase him. We are all having plenty of fun because he has won six of eleven starts for us,â he explained.
The chaser will now contest the Curtains and Blinds Launceston Cup Heats which commence on Monday night and culminate in a $40,000 to the winner final on Monday night February 17.
Meanwhile astute Moonah trainer Graeme Moate was seen in the winnerâs circle at the NWGRC meeting on Tuesday afternoon when the smart bitch Whodat Lass (Big Daddy Cool â Shanlyn Lass) was successful in the $4,340Distance Championship Final (580 metres).
The bitch gave nothing else a chance after finding the premier position early in the event from the pink box and has now won seven of 20 Tasmanian outings since debuting here in August.
$10,500 MAIDEN THOUSAND FINAL (461 METRES)
1. Mystic Falls (Bit Chili â Wongawillilesley) TedMedhurst
2. Real Caution (Dyna Lachlan â Topline Relly) Ted Medhurst)
3. Wee Fire (Lochinvar Marlow â Arrow On Fire) Margaret Rossendell
4. Midnight Bird (High Earner â Superlicious) Michael Dobson
5. Arome Peche (Dyna Lachlan â Last Serenade) Shane Whitney
6. Captain Dylan (Collision â Lightning Moss) Allan Anderson
7. Homeward (High Earner â In Top Gear) Ted Medhurst
8. Groovy Lane (Velocette â Come Over Nova) Ted Medhurst
9. Pacha Queen (Dyna Lachlan â Wicked Witch) Em 1 Harold Cameron
10. Spring Fall (Bit Chili â Wongawillilesley) Em 2 Ted Medhurst
First reserve Gradence (9) has emerged victorious in the Group 3Cyril Rowe Plate at Bulli. Gradence, trained by Mark Gatt, gained a start from box one after Gatt’s other chaser, Ritza Ryder, was scratched. Spring Eddie (2), Zipping Logan (3) and My Signature (4) were the best away at box rise, with Spring Eddie holding the slight ascendancy. Gradence began terribly, coming up with the lids. Around the turn, Spring Eddie and Zipping Logan shot clear by the better part of five lengths and the race looked to be between them, but Gradence (9) emerged clear from the pack and began to reel them in quickly. Down the home straight, long odds hope Zipping Logan took over the tiring Spring Eddie, with Gradence unleashed a withering burst to claim Zipping Logan in the shadows of the post by half a length. Knockaâs Return finished strongly for third. The winning time was 26.47.
The favourite, My Signature, was probably the hard-luck story of the race after finding interference when crossing to the fence to lead.
Gradence is a black and white dog by Vapour Whirl-Ding’s Rocket (Saintly Crew-Dingâs Beauty) and this win brings up his his 22nd victory from 79 starts. The $25,000 purse brings his career earnings in excess of $125,000.
2014 Cyril Rowe Plate Final
New Keinbah trial track owners Robert and Natina Howard have been working tirelessly over the past six weeks to finalise their preparations for the re-opening of this much-loved facility this Saturday morning.
Located near Cessnock in the Hunter Valley, the iconic straight track has two distances over the 269m and a grueling 360m. New turf having been laid as well as the installation of a new motor and rollers.
The takeover has created an enormous amount of interest from trainers, as participants welcomed the stunning transformation with positive feedback at the tracks open day last Sunday.
The track will trial Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, with private trials available on Thursdays and on Tuesday in the twilight timeslot.
The track will provide a fantastic opportunity for trainers to condition their chasers and educate their youngsters. New holding kennels, drinks facilities and rest area are just some of the exciting new features available at the track.
A record crowd attended Wentworth Park in 1972 to watch a non-betting hurdle race. The runners had come up from Victoria. The winner was Cheeky Student. On the same night, Miloâs Charm won the Surf Lifesaverâs Cup by four lengths from Amethyst Queen.
Gunnadoo Magic, trained by Robert Britton, joined Rellarena (1974 & 1975), High Intensity (1988 & 1989) and Magic Stroller (1990 & 1991), as a dual winner of the Roy Maidment Memorial, run over 715 metres at Sandown Park, when scoring in the 2009 running.
Amorous Angie, after winning at her first five starts, all at Ballina, was beaten for the first time when unplaced at Lismore, in 1950. She would later go on to be a finalist in the 1951 Hobart Thousand, running fifth behind Pleasant Foam.
Call Me Casey won the 1993 Association Cup, over 720 metres at Wentworth Park, defeating True Temptation and Equability. This was the first Association Cup run on the new loam surface at Wentworth Park.
Dreamâs Image became the highest stakes-winning greyhound in Australia, in 1952, taking his earnings to ÂŁ3,003 and eclipsing the previous mark set by Erinâs Ace in late 1949.
Win Sheen won the first running of the Launceston Cup, in 1936.
Macareena set a new track record of 31.4 for 580 yards (530 metres) at Wentworth Park in 1954 when she used box one to full advantage to score by eight lengths over the smart Farloc. It was Macareenaâs 22nd win in just 29 starts.
Equability won the 1992 Association Cup over 720 metres at Wentworth Park, the last conducted on grass. Equability scored by eight lengths and set a new race record of 42.40. The win was Equabilityâs seventh victory in 12 starts at the track, and the win was her ninth on end.
Elwick Boy took out the first running of the Hobart Cup, in 1935. The race would later become known as the Hobart Thousand and reign as the richest event in the country for many years. The race was run over 410 yards (375 metres) with the heats run earlier in the day and first and second going through to the final, which was worth ÂŁ20 to the winner.
Sueâs A Credit took her record at Hobart to seven wins from nine starts when she annexed the 1973 Hobart Thousand, the first run over 500 metres. Sueâs A Credit ran a track record 29.3 for trainer Leo Burnett.
National Lass won the 1986 Wentworth Park Gold Cup, over 722 metres, by a head from Western Beau, running a race record 42.81, clipping 7/100ths off Kawati Boyâs 1978 mark.
Sure As won the 2012 NCA Derby, run at the Gardens, defeating Direct Bullet by three lengths to earn $75,000 for trainer Syd Swain.
NSW sprinter Neat Brandy won the 1950 Hobart Thousand by a short head from Nippy Bug before a record crowd of 9,000 people.
The last meeting was held at the Gabba track in Brisbane, in 1993. The last race was won by Pretty Boy Buddy, trained by Don Gammon.
Top-class stayer Tonightâs Wish downed NSW contender John Beam by four lengths in the 1999 Dandenong Dry Cleaners Stake (later the DDC Launching Pad), run over 715 metres at Sandown Park. Tonightâs Wish had won the same race in 1997 and then been an unplaced finalist in 1998.
The final of the Group 3Cyril Rowe Plate takes place at Bulli on Wednesday at 9:25pm, which is Race 8 on the card. My Signature (4) is the favourite to take out the race after an impressive debut at the track in the heats. Belfast Johnny (5) is on the second line of betting, with Knocka’s Return the third favourite after being the fastest heat winner. This is a tough final, with plenty of chances.
|Comments: Mark Gatt (Trainer) -Â ”I think he’s well boxed. He’s an older dog now but he’ll be trying. He is in good shape for the race.”||
|Trainer unavailable for comment. ARG opinion is – Has speed early but will need to be a clear leader to be in with a chance as there are faster and stronger dogs in the field.||
|Trainer unavailable for comment. ARG opinion is – Has good form at the track but will need to improve on his personal best to be in the finish.||
|Trainer unavailable for comment. ARG opinion is -Could not have been more impressive last week running 26.08. Right in this.||
|Comments: Troy Vella (Trainer) – “If he jumps with them I know he can go close but he didn’t jump too good last week. We’ve been doing a bit of work with him since last weekâs run, so we are expecting him to go pretty good. He will be very competitive. He missed the kick badly from the eight last week because of the silent lure at Bulli. He seems to fight a bit harder when heâs in the middle of the pack to push through.”||
|Trainer unavailable for comment. ARG opinion is -Strong dog who just needs some room to move in the early stages of the race. If he gets the room, watch him unwind at the finish. Big hope.||
|Comments: Clay Mullens (Trainer) – “He’s not the fastest dog in the race, but anything can happen. He will be better for the run this week. I was really impressed with his run last week. I would rather the rail, but being such a long straight the outside won’t bother him too much. He’s definitely the improver.”Â||
|Ron Oldfield (Kennel Representative) -“He jumped well last week and handled the outside box and got himself across to the fence and led. I’m hoping that he will come out just as well this week. He’s drawn the eight but he’s got a fair bit of speed underneath him. He went well last week and he’s pulled up okay himself so we’re hoping that heâll go okay. I think there’s a few chances in the race. When you’ve got box eight, you’ve got to get across seven good dogs. It’s not easy, you’ve got to put everything together and you’ve got to jump well and show pace and you’ve got to go left to get across them. If you stay out on the track they’ll hunt up underneath you. We hope he’s a chance.”||
|CommentsÂ - Slow beginner who will need luck early to be a chance at the finish.||
|Comments:Â Was very unlucky last week when trying to make a run in the first half of the race. A chance if he gets a suitable draw.||
As stated, this is a tough race on paper. There’s plenty of early speed amongst Spring Eddie (2), My Signature (4), Belfast Johnny (5) and Osteria Mozza (8). Belfast Johnny is still adjusting to the silent lure and if he times the start well in the final, he will be hard to beat. If My Signature leads, he will be hard to run down. Knocka’s Return (6) is a very fast animal and if he can get a clear run, is capable of anything. Zipping Logan (3) doesn’t have a bad record at Bulli, while Fast Archer (7) is the natural improver with this race being his second run back from a spell. If any dog makes a mistake in the race, the experienced Ritza Ryder (1) will be there to capitalise. He loves Bulli and has won a feature event at the track previously.
2014 Cyril Rowe Plate Heats
Tonightâs 2014 Gosford Mega Maiden Series Final was taken out by the Robert Smith trained Lochinvar Impact in a steady 30.11.
As the talented group of youngsters arrived at the boxes, the market suggested that this would be a three dog contest. Lochinvar Impact, War Room for Orange based mentor Steve Jones and Moonshine Pearl for the in-form David Pringle kennel dominated the betting.
Reco Marlow threw a spanner in the works early with a 4.43 opening split to lead clearly. Lochinvar Impact got a clear run early and loomed as an instant danger to the early leader. While the leaders got clear, Moonshine Pearl was checked out the back after stumbling shortly after boxrise.
Lochinvar Impact quickly put pay to Reco Marlow and was left a long way in front. War Room managed to thread his way through the field and was an enormous run to finish second after finding a lot of early bother.
Although the time of 30.11 in the final was average, the 29.86 and 29.87 heat runs from Lochinvar Impact and War Room suggest that both of these dogs have extremely bright futures.
We will see Lochinvar Impact in action on Friday in a semi-final of the Group One National Derby at The Gardens. He has drawn box three and will meet Mark Gattâs up and coming superstar Red Road.
2014 Gosford Mega Maiden Final
The weather in Horsham is expected to hit 42 degrees today.
Due to this extreme weather forecast GRV has cancelled today’s meeting.
The 3 finalist for the Queensland Greyhound of the Year have been announced with Xylia Allen, Glen Gallon and Starliner set to do battle off the track to claim this prestigious title.
With wonderful track performances throughout 2013, the judging panel will have a tough decision in crowning the greyhound of the year winner. The awards night, to be held on March 14th 2014 at Kedron Wavell Services Club will also recognise the following performances from a great 2013 year of Queensland:
2013 Brisbane GRC Greyhound of the Year
2013 Bundaberg GRC Greyhound of the Year
2013 Cairns GRC Greyhound of the Year
2013 Capalaba GRC Greyhound of the Year
2013 Ipswich GRC Greyhound of the Year
2013 Rockhampton GRC Greyhound of the Year
2013 Townsville GRC Greyhound of the Year
Brisbane Leading Owner
Brisbane Leading Trainer
Brisbane Trainers Strike Rate
Brisbane Sire of the Year
Brisbane Broodbitch of the Year
Women in Racing Award
Young Achiever of the Year
Top Simbi Award
Hall of Fame
2013 Greyhound of the Year
The 2013 Greyhound of Year Finalists:
GLEN GALLON (Flying Stanley – Incoherent)
Tony Brett trained chaser will be looking to secure his first Queensland Greyhound Of The Year title after being a finalist in 2012. He was a winner of the Group 1 Winter Cup, going back to back after his success in 2012. He’s a retired superstar who raced against the best throughout his illustrious career.
Albion Park 2013 record of 12 starts for 8 wins and 2 placings including multiple sub 30 second performances.
Top grade performances in every one of his race track performances.
2013 overall record – 21 starts – 11 wins and 4 placings.
STARLINER (Pure Octane – Borgata)
Gary Pettersen trained chaser who excelled over the Albion Park 600m trip, highlighted by his Group 3 Big Dog Cup success. Starliner will be named the 2013 Albion Park Greyhound of the Year after starting at the track 32 times for 13 wins and 15 placings – winning the award based on a point system.
The white flash was a revelation in 2013 and much was written about the Northern NSW chaser, who was simply brilliant at headquarters, winning races over the 520m, 600m and 720m journeys.
2013 overall record – 40 starts – 18 wins and 16 placings.
XYLIA ALLEN (Turanza Bale – Tayah Bale)
Jenny Hunt trained superstar who dominated racing Australia wide. In Queensland she started 6 times for 2 wins and 3 placing’s including being a three time Group finalists at Albion Park, with her results including – 2nd in the Group 2 Futurity, 3rd in the Group 1 Winter Cup and 4th in the Group 1 Brisbane Cup.
Victorian trained chaser who is eligible for the Queensland Award after starting the minimum six races in Queensland. She was a multiple group finalists who certainly clocked up the travel miles in 2013 and will be favourite to win this award after her efforts in Queensland and other states.
Controversy will surround any award won by this super bitch after the suspension of her previous trainer Graeme Bate for multiple positive swabs in 2013.
2013 overall record – 40 starts – 16 wins and 15 placings, including winning 5 Group races and qualifying for many other group finals. Three time Group 1 Winner, including the Sapphire Crown, National Sprint and Peter Mosman Classic. Group 2 Launceston Cup winner and Group 3 Sandown Shootout winner.
ARG wishes all finalists the best of luck and congratulations go to award winners on their contributions toin Queensland for 2013.
Albion Park Greyhounds Race 9 Box 6 Ben’s House, 10.30pm
600 Meter race and this fellow is the standout performer. I don’t believe Yogi Blue will get the trip, so side with Ben’s House.
Angle Park Greyhounds Race 3 Box 8 Sammy’s Sister, 7.16pm
Has been going great guns of late and will only need to slide across to threaten in this.
Launceston Greyhounds Race 5 Box 1 Chicka Scott, 9.03pm
Flying machine who’s drawn his box. Looks the winner and will get every chance.
Shepparton Greyhounds Race 6 Box 8 Question Bale, 9.30pm
Young dog who’s been racing consistently. He’s got early toe and is boxed to win.
Best of luck
$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$
Itâs hard to believe but last Friday Wentworth Park managed to put on only nine races. Apparently, in the whole state there were not another eight takers to chase after the $3,300 first prize on offer. They would not have had to run fast â a modest 30.50 would have done it in three of the eight sprints on offer. Stayers might have had a go in the four-dog field over 720m, never mind that the not-too-consistent Smart Valentino had the one box and could have won on three legs.
That a few were up in Newcastle for feature races is hardly an excuse. Not many better dogs nominate for Friday meetings in town anyway. And Saturday night was not bursting at the seams as two races there were short of a full field as well. So where have they all gone?
The short answer is that we have not had the numbers for a long time now. We have run out of dogs, and those that are available are tending to race more often. In a previous article, (A COSTLY SQUEEZE PLAY, 6 January), we related how the Australian dog population has barely been maintaining a level over the last decade. Starters have been kept up only by dragging more pups out of each litter and putting them in low grade races.
For more background, consider what has been happening over the last month in the bigger four greyhound states. The figures below cover a representative sample of 1,132 races in 99 meetings, split about one third in the city and two thirds at provincial tracks. (There is some overlap in these figures)
These made up 18.6% of all races. While they are very necessary, they are also clogging up TAB meetings, often during prime time, when they should be parked out of harmâs way. Always unpredictable, they are for gamblers only, not punters.
Trips below 411m:
These accounted for 32.5% of the total and most involved some sort of bend start, thereby creating a higher risk for both dogs and punters. They have been rising in popularity with trainers, who obviously view their chances better than in longer races. Even newly constructed sub-350m races have been added to the program in recent years, while the NSW GBOTA has resurrected 280m jumping competitions at Wenty for reasons best known to itself.
Traditional grades have been discarded in favour of Tier 3 and C Class events limited to slow or inexperienced dogs. Together with Non Penalty races in Victoria and Novice races, they now make up 23.7% of all races and are generally worth avoiding because of inconsistent performances. To that group you might add all the Restricted Win races designed to give unsuccessful dogs a chance to win money.
Only just over 7% of races were over a distance (595m-plus), but more than half of those had short fields and many low standard runners, indicating that the breedâs stamina is falling away. Indeed, that view is supported by erratic results and the relatively poor times being run in most staying races.
In total, up to a quarter of all races started with fewer than eight runners, which is not a new deal as it has been going on for months and even years now. Not only does that amplify the numbers story, but it also impacts on betting turnover as there will be less enthusiasm for exotic bets. At the same time, competition for spots is not strong, so lesser types will be getting a run and probably confusing the outcome of any race. Indeed, quite a few races in the city now contain what are Novice dogs (no more than one win), an unheard of practice in past years.
The customer is now looking at a situation where the majority of races are either unbettable or dubious propositions â i.e. maidens and short races where starts are on top of the nearby turn. And that is not counting all the other unpredictable bend starts over longer distances, or the inconsistency of staying dogs over the 700s. Perhaps only a quarter of all races are worth looking at seriously.
Apart from pulling dogs out of the bottom of the barrel, one culprit has been the every-increasing practice of scheduling 11- and 12-race meetings, rather than the traditional 10. Then, wherever a hole appears on the TAB calendar, someone rushes to fill it up. Quality is irrelevant, only numbers count.
So much for the type of race we are putting on. But these conundrums must be considered along with two other challenges for punters; first, the squirrelly nature of TAB prices from one minute to the next due to the smaller pools now available, and especially the over-bet favourites and, second, disruptions caused by poor track layouts.
In the latter case, I can find only four Australian tracks where there is a good chance of dogs getting a fair run â Hobart, Horsham, Mandurah and Northam. Hobart is out of the question for betting purposes due to its lack of (correct) sectional times, while Northam just does not have a high enough field quality to justify betting attention. Horshamâs 480m and 570m trips are manageable providing the field quality is up to scratch, which is not always the case. That leaves the better Mandurah meetings (minus its 305m squibsâ races) as worthy of promotion to prime time for punters in the east. Please.
I hardly think that is enough to promote such a worthwhile sport as
We must be able to do better. A continuation of this trend does not bear thinking about.
A postscript on the Warragul Cup, run last Friday.
This race, and others over the 460m trip at the same meeting, were featured again by disruptions of one sort or another. Poor old Black Magic Opal, never before beaten when leading, was ankle-tapped at least twice in the rush to get around the turn and dropped back into the ruck. Paw Licking, which is always subject to being run down, jumped well from the rails but could not get a clean run and was comfortably passed in the straight by two stronger dogs â Walk Hard and Evies Entity â which both ran top races from back in the field.
The trick is that such races are nearly always won by the neatest dog, preferably a railer which can avoid the interference. Publicity blurbs from state authorities are forever telling us what the winner did but they are forgetting about what happened to the other seven dogs. Or six, or five, as the case may be.
They are also forgetting that more than half the industryâs income derives from those other seven, or six, or five. And that the winnerâs price will probably be under its correct odds anyway. The Warragul layout, like many others, needs serious review. Whatever change is needed, it probably wonât be massive, but it does require a study to determine the facts.
GRSAâs selection panel for the Greyhound of the Year has determined the five nominations for the prestigious title.
The Gala Awards Dinner will be held on February 22, where the S.A Bred, Sprinting and Staying awards will be announced as well as the overall South Australian Greyhound of The Year.
The panel will now conduct voting between the following five greyhounds for the 2013 title:
ERNIE BUNG ARROW
Breeding: Lochinvar Marlow – Slippersâ Tonic
Trainer: Ken Gill
Owner: Helen Deacon
2013 Record: 18 starts 16-1-0Â $146,620
Greyhound of the Month â July, September, October & December
Won â Heat, Semi & Final Champion Puppy
Heat & Final Schweppes SA Derby (G3)
Heat & Final Triple M Adelaide Cup (G1)
Heat, Semi & Final Brian Johnstone (G3)
The obvious candidate, Ernie Bung Arrow burst on to the scene in the second half of the year. Rising from the age-restricted races, Ernie Bung Arrow quickly garnered national attention via his explosive early speed and lightening sectional times.
Giving his rivals a head start in age, class and experience, he became the first dog in eight years to keep the Adelaide Cup trophy on home soil, before taking his place in the Invitation-only Topgun as a result. Having started 2014 in brilliant fashion with a fourth Group victory, Ernie Bung Arrow will be front of mind for panelists when the voting takes place.
Breeding: Emerley Carlos â Avid Willow
Owner/Trainer: Tony Lagana
2013 Record: 42 Starts.17-7-8 $71,650
Greyhound of the Month â January & February
Won âÂ Â Final SA Sprint Championship (G3 â third in heat)
Heat SA St Leger (third in semi & third in final)
Heat & Final Breeders 2013 Prelude (2)
Heat & Semi Howard Ashton (G3 – third in final)
Heat Gawler Breeders 2013 (second in final)
Consolation Gawler Gold Cup (G3 â third in heat)
Staking the claim of âMr Consistencyâ, Fire Tyson did all of his racing at the top level in 2013. His tendency to use the middle of the track has meant he has been able to overcome poor draws on several occasions. His tenacious nature and rare ability culminated with a final berth in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup.
Breeding: Collision â Abbadale Affair
Trainer: Troy Murray
Owner: Saliba Di Manno (Syn)
2013 Record: Â 34 Starts. 12-5-10 $40,590
Won â Heat West End Anniversary Cup (G3 â second in final)
Heat Gawler South Bakery Cup (third in final)
Heat Gawler Gold Cup (G3 – third in final)
Heat Strathalbyn Cup (fifth in final)
Simply brilliant at his best, Kalden Kurageous came across from W.A in late 2012 and started the new year with a bang. With several sub-30 times at Angle Park, Troy Murrayâs chaser would go on to win over five different distances at three different tracks in 2013. While he was unable to capture his best form in the middle part of the year, Kalden Kurageous bounced back like a good dog should, ensuring his nomination was well deserved.
Breeding: Falcon â Liza Brown
Owner/Trainer: Karen Bearpark
2013 Record: 51 Starts 20-11-8 $45,355
Won â Heat John Gray (second in final)
Final Shane McQueen (second in heat)
Previously known as a talented sprinter, Tercel changed his strategy in 2013 by stepping up to the 600-metre journey with instant success. Quickly knocking up 12 wins over the middle distance, as well as keeping his form over the sprints, no-one would begrudge Tercel a GOTY nomination. Interestingly, Tercel changed kennels in January 2014, racing under the care of Kim Johnstone in recent weeks.
Breeding: Token Prince â Stevie Mclaren
Owner/Trainer: Don Foster
2013 Record: 40 Starts 17-6-8 $30,150
Won â Heat Breeders Prelude 2013 (1) (second in final)
Heat Howard Ashton (G3 â sixth in semi)
Also sixth in Triple M Adelaide Cup consolation
6 starts over 731m at Angle Park for 5 wins and a second.
2 starts over 600m at Angle Park for 2 wins.
While the overall numbers donât look impressive, anyone that saw Token Mclarenâs runs over 600 and upwards in 2013 will understand his nomination. Uncovered as the stateâs next staying star, Token Mclaren had seven wins with a margin of over 10 lengths, including a 17-length demolition job over Angle Parkâs 731-metre trip in November. His times over all three distances were red hot, and are comparable with some of the great stayers in recent years. Expect 2014 to be even better for this highly talented chaser.
Exciting sprinter Star Recall has taken out the 2014 Sandgroper Final over the 490 metre distance in a blistering 27.32; giving trainer Linda Britton her third Sandgroper title.
The Jamie Marsh trained Sissoko flew out of box five to lead the WA bred field. Star Recall camped in second position on the rails from the red box, waiting to make her run. As the pair matched strides entering the home straight Star Recall made a last minute dash at the line to snatch the victory from Sissoko, who held on to run second. Bekim Maxim put in a noteworthy performance running third. From box four he was able to squeeze his way through the field to sit behind the leading duo.
The daughter of High Earner â No Recall made the Sandgroper victory her fifth win from eight starts for owner Kevin Dover, who generously gave a share in his speedy sprinter to his daughters for Christmas. They carried away their winnerâs trophy and white Sandgroper rug with a smile from ear to ear.
Kevin Dover was offered Star Recall as a pup from Linda Britton after his race dog Tempted fell ill from an unknown bite. After spending time at the vets, with a chance he wasnât going to live through the ordeal, Tempted pull through and has been back mixing it with the best of Mandurahâs short course chasers. Tempted was unable to get the double win for Dover, finishing fourth on Friday night after missing the kick and finding trouble throughout. Tempted is now off to try his luck in Sydney for new trainer Emily Frazer.
Thirlmere trainer Mark Gatt dominated proceedings at The Gardens yesterday afternoon, securing three of the four National Derby heats and qualifying two further runners for the National Derby and Futurity semi-finals to be conducted next Friday.
Black Road stepped out in heat one of the National Derby and began beautifully from box seven, leading all the way is a solid time of 29.79, recording sizzling early sections of 5.00 and 17.03.
Superstar prodigy Red Road has been firmly supported as the Derby series favourite and didnât disappoint in heat three, jumping brilliantly from box eight and flying around the two-turn circuit in a near record 29.34. Even more pleasing for Gatt, was his performance after an under-done preparation.
âHe went exceptionally well yesterday and was really short of a run. Heâs only had a couple of small trials after being injured when he hit the running rail at Wentworth Park, so he can go better.â
After Red Road set the benchmark extremely high, no one expected it to be lowered. But then Gattâs Paws of Thunder finalist Boyce Road dominated the final heat of the National Derby, edging out Red Roadâs time by 0.01, clocking a sensational 29.33.
Exiting from box six, Boyce Road stunned race goers when he took out a heat of the Group One Paws of Thunder two weeks ago, clocking a speedy 29.69 over the 520m distance. Due to time constraints, Gatt didnât have time to trial Boyce Road at Unibet Gardens and surprised his trainer with a magnificent performance.
âI was surprised how good he went yesterday. He jumped so well from box six and really showed good pace after that. I said to his owner Eddie (Kingswell), that the Paws of Thunder series would bring out the best in him and it has.â
With all three winners coming from the highly successful Collision and Mystic Pace litter, Gattâs partnership with Oaks Roadâs owner Edwin Kingswell have once again produced some exceptional prospects, set to dominate the states biggest races.
Waymoreâs Blues took out National Derby heat number two for astute breeder Martin Hallinan, using box one to perfection and clocked a speedy 29.65.
Gattâs Group winning bitch Ritza Hattie was installed as the $1.50 favourite for heat four of the National Futurity. However she had to settle for second best behind Charlie Gattâs talented chaser Lani Banarni, who jumped superb from box one and led all the way in flying 29.40, making her the fastest qualifier for next weekâs semi-finals. Despite finishing second, Gatt was very pleased with his charges performance and expects plenty of improvement next week.
âShe didnât jump that well yesterday and I was really happy she only finished a length and a bit behind the winner in that time. It seems to take her a couple of runs to really fire, so Iâm expecting a lot of improvement next week and hopefully she can qualify for the final.â
Other heat winners of the National Futurity included; Unbelief for Troy Donaldson, clocking 29.65, Push It trained by Dean Swain ran 29.82 and Smashing Sally for Neil Falk recorded 29.87.
âI just hope I can get as many through to the final as I can. It would be a great thrill to have so many there and win. Some great dogs that have qualified for next week so mine really have to be on their game.â
If all goes according to Gattâs plans, he could have four National Derby finalists and a National Futurity finalist, giving him a great chance of taking out both $75,000 to-the-winner finals on February 7th.
2014 National Futurity Heats
2014 National Derby Heats
Racing Queensland (RQ) Stewards today conducted an inquiry into the analysts findings in respect of a urine sample taken from the greyhound KIEWA GEM which won Race 2 at Capalaba on 12 October 2013.
After taking evidence from the trainer of KIEWA GEM, Mr. Mark Reekie, stewards issued a charge against Mr. Reekie pursuant to Greyhounds Australasia rule GAR 83 (2) (a) to which he pleaded guilty.
GAR 82 (2) (a) reads: The owner, trainer or person in charge of a greyhound nominated to compete in an event shall present the greyhound free of any prohibited substance.
The specific of the charge were that on Saturday 12 October 2013 Mr. Mark Reekie, as the trainer of the greyhound KIEWA GEM did present that greyhound to compete in race 2 at Capalaba, when a urine sample taken from the greyhound following the event was found, upon analysis, to contain the prohibited substance 5B-androstane-3a, 17B-diol.
After considering all evidence stewards found Mr. Reekie guilty as charged.
In assessing penalty, stewards took into account the following points:
Âˇ Mr. Reekieâs good record and contribution to the industry spanning over 30 years
Âˇ That the prohibited substance 5B-androstane-3a, 17B-diol (BaB diol) is a metabolite of testosterone
Âˇ Previous penalties in respect to similar substances
Subsequently Mr. Reekie was fined the sum of $1500 and his licence was suspended for a period of 3 months.
Under the provisions of Greyhound Australasia Rule 83 (5) (a) KIEWA GEM was disqualified form its 1st placing in Race 2 at Capalaba on Saturday 12 October 2013 and ammended the placings accordingly.
Under the provisions of Greyhounds Australasia Rule 83 (5) (b) KIEWA GEM was disqualified from its 1st placing in Race 3 at Capalaba on Saturday 19 October 2013 and ammended the placings accordingly.
Mr. Reekie was directed to return all prizemoney received from the aforementioned events to Racing Queensland.
Mr. Reekie was advised of this appeal right.
Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards ofVictoria conducted an investigation into the results of a post-race urine sample taken from greyhound âGaelic Melodyâ at the Warragul Club meeting held on Thursday, 22 August 2013.
During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Ms. Eleanor Ferguson, Mr. William Ferguson (Registered Trainer), Mr. David Batty (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Industry Veterinary Officer).
After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Ms. Ferguson with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that she did fail to present the greyhound âGaelic Melodyâ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Warragul
Theobromine, Paraxanthine and Theophylline.
Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards ofVictoria conducted an investigation into the results of a post-race urine sample taken from greyhound âGaelic Melodyâ at the Traralgon Club held on Tuesday, 1 October 2013.
During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Ms. Eleanor Ferguson, Mr. William Ferguson (Registered Trainer), Ms. Naomi Selvadurai (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic (Industry Veterinary Officer).
After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Ms. Ferguson with a breach of Greyhounds Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that she did fail to present the greyhound âGaelic Melodyâ free of any prohibited substance for an event at the TraralgonClub on Tuesday, 1 October 2013 given that the post-race urine samples taken from the greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance Caffeine and its metabolites Theobromine, Paraxanthine and Theophylline.
Under Rule 47.1 of theVictoria Local Rules a breach of GAR83 (2) and (3) constitutes a Serious Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 these matters were heard before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3 and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.
Ms. Eleanor Ferguson did not attend the Hearings. She was represented by Mr. William Ferguson in relation to both charges.
Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) with the assistance of Catherine Scarlett represented the Stewards Panel.
Through Mr. William Ferguson, Ms. Eleanor Ferguson pleaded guilty to the charge.
After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined that: (a) in relation to offence (1), Ms. Ferguson was guilty as charged and disqualified her for 3 months and (b) in relation to offence (2) Ms. Ferguson was found guilty as charged and disqualified for 6 months with both penalties to be served concurrently effective from Tuesday, 28 January 2014.
Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified âGaelic Melodyâ from Event 1 â Action Packed Images – at the WarragulClub meeting held on Thursday, 22 August 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.
Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified âGaelic Melodyâ from Event 3 â Ace Contractors – at the TraralgonClub meeting held on Tuesday, 1 October 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.
Following advice from Racing Analytical Services Laboratory, the Stewards of
Victoria conducted an investigation into the results of a pre-race urine sample taken from
greyhound âDaintree Puzzleâ at the Traralgon Club meeting held on Saturday,
28 September 2013.
During the investigation, Stewards received evidence from registered trainer Mr. Kade Joske,
Ms. Naomi Selvadurai (Racing Analytical Services Laboratory) and Dr. Steven Karamatic
( Industry Veterinary Officer).
After considering the evidence, Stewards charged Mr. Joske with a breach of Greyhounds
Australasia Rules 83(2) and (3) in that he did fail to present the greyhound âDaintree Puzzleâ
free of any prohibited substance for an event at the Traralgon Club meeting
held on Saturday, 28 September 2013 given that the pre-race urine sample taken from the
greyhound indicated the presence of the prohibited substance salbutamol.
Under Rule 47.1 of the
Offence. As a result, on Tuesday, 21 January 2014 this matter was heard before the Racing
Appeals and Disciplinary Board in the first instance under Greyhound Local Racing Rule 47.3
and Sections 83C(b) and 83M(1) of the Racing Act.
Mr. Kade Joske represented himself.
Mr. Glenn Fish (GRV Chief Steward) with the assistance of Catherine Williams represented the
Mr. Kade Joske pleaded guilty to the charge.
After hearing all the evidence tendered and having regard to GAR83 (6), the RADB determined
that Mr. Joske was guilty as charged and disqualified him for 6 months (with 4 months of this disqualification suspended for 12 months pending no further breaches of GAR83 during this 12 month period), plus a fine of $500, effective from Thursday, 30 January 2014.
Acting under GAR83(4), the RADB also disqualified âDaintree Puzzleâ from Event 4 â GRV VBIS Maiden Series Heat 4 513m – at the TraralgonClub meeting held on Saturday, 28 September 2013 and amended the placings accordingly.