Question Time Podcast With Ted Medhurst – Ask Your Questions

Saturday night is a huge night for Ted Medhurst, with his superstar sprinter Buckle Up Wes jumping from the red box in the Golden Easter Egg Final.

We have managed to secure some time with Ted on Saturday night for another Question Time Podcast. This interview follows on from our Question Time Podcasts with Jason Mackay, Paul Wheeler, Jason Thompson, Rob Britton and Tom Dailly.

Ted’s career began as a 17 year old back in 1976 and he has trained a lot of exceptional dogs over a long career. In recent times he has had group one winners Belle Haven and Buckle Up Wes.

I asked Ted who his “favourite” dog was over the years and Blazenka’s Flyer was the instant reply. Hearing Ted tell the stories from the late 80′s was a real warm up for what should be an interesting and informative interview.

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These podcasts are designed to allow our readers to get involved in the interview process and we encourage your participation.

Tony Dawson Remembers Outstanding Matron Silverdome

Relbia owner–trainer Tony Dawson’s pleasant memories of the outstanding matron Silverdome (Pat To Stop – Campus Flyer) and the Devonport Raceway were revived at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting, when Flash Innings (High Earner – Ricky’s Angel) took out the City Of Devonport Cup (452 metres).

Raced by John Quill and Ricky Ponting, the bitch recorded her ninth victory in 19 outings for the Dawson kennel, recording a time of 25.58 in defeating Club Foot (Mogambo – Von’s Angel) and Buckle Up Brett (Where’s Pedro – Buckle Up Tina).

Flash Inning’s victory in the annual feature continued the great run of success that the Dawson family have experienced at the venue, which included a Devonport Cup score with the super chaser Stylish Doctor (Stylish Teddy – Kenny’s Best Pal).

“I know Flash Innings is not a member of the Silverdome dynasty, but I immediately thought of her and her progeny and the success that they experienced at the Devonport Raceway, which appeared to suit them ideally,” Dawson explained this week.

“Ken Imlach bred Silverdome and I prepared her to win fourteen races before enjoying great success with her progeny, including both Stylish Teddy and Stylish Doctor, which I believe are the only father and son combination to win a total of one hundred races between them in Tasmania.”

Great stayer, the ill-fated Chinatown Lad (Lilli Pilli Lad – Chinatown Babe), is another standout which has emerged from the dynasty, which also includes members of the Stylish Dotty (Stylish Teddy – Kennys Best Pal) litter by Where’s Pedro, which accumulated in excess of 150 wins between them.

The astute Dawson, who is currently preparing a small team of three greyhounds, has no grandiose plans for Flash Innings other than to contest the Illingworth Classic Series, which commences at the LGRC meeting on April 21.

Meanwhile patrons at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting were treated to a thrilling finish to the Betta Milk Grade 5 (452 metres), when several of the field crossed the line locked together.

The judge finally opted for the Ian Johnstone owned, Joanne Ivory prepared, bitch Jonk’s Ginger (Bit Chili – Painted Shaza), which prevailed in the time of 26.06 at odds of $7.80.

The bitch had previously raced on six occasions at the venue without running a place and the victory proved to be a welcome change of luck for both the owner and the Ulverstone based trainer.

The Nagars syndicate, also based at Ulverstone, were once again seen in the winners circle at the meeting when the smart chaser Kalaway Ernie (Knocka Norris – Trina Sage) saluted the judge in the Tasfreight Grade 4 (452 metres) event.

It was the Butch Deverell prepared chasers fifth win in 20 outings since debuting at the Devonport Raceway in October and increased his earnings to almost $10,000.

Mangalore mentor Mick Stringer, who has reduced the size of his team in recent months, also experienced success at the meeting with the promising Underclass Hero (Collision – Topline Doovee), who took out the final event on the card, the Seba Sheetmetal Grade 5 (452 metres).

The chaser recorded the fastest time of the day, a sizzling 25.28, in winning the event and in doing so brought up a hat trick of victories for the Mills–Stringer syndicate.

Vale Chinatown Lad

The loss of former Tasmanian staying champion Chinatown Lad this week evokes great memories of the brilliant half miler who, along with his litter sister Fallen Zorro, took the Australian staying ranks by storm in 2008.

As greyhound fans, the thrill of watching a powerful athletic stayer at the peak of their powers is just about the most perfect sight we could ever hope to witness in greyhound racing, and for many, Chinatown Lad was the embodiment of this ideal.

The brindle chaser, bred by Shane Whitney, was from a mating of Lilli Pilli Lad out of Chinatown Babe and was whelped on December 3, 2005, from the Dams first litter. The litter of eight comprised five dogs and three bitches, and would go on to secure Chinatown Babe as the Australian Greyhound Racing Association (AGRA) broodbitch of the year in 2008.

While all in the litter were talented, two proved to be superior to the rest, namely Chinatown Lad, and Fallen Zorro.

Chinatown Lad began his race career on August 9, 2007 at Hobart in a Juvenile stake over the flying 340 metre course, winning on debut off the red box in a handy 19.90 seconds. He would win his next two starts at Hobart over the 457 metres in good times and shortly after went to Launceston winning over the 515 metres in a flying 29.75, saluting by over 15 lengths.

It wasn’t until February 2008 however, when his staying ability was initially put on display, with a win at Devonport over the 580 metres in a sensational 33.00 seconds, equalling the track record and winning by over 14 lengths. His connections had no reservations about his ability to get the long distance and he was produced in Perth shortly after for a crack at the staying riches on offer during the Perth Cup Carnival.

The heat and final of the Swan Challenge, a Group Three event over 715 metres at Cannington, saw two victories chalked up for the rising staying star, with the final won in track record time of 41.42 seconds.

Chinatown Lad then ventured to Brisbane for the Group One Albion Park Gold Cup over 710 metres, which he won in brilliant style. His heat was stunning, winning by over 16 lengths, and then he claimed victory in the final over his litter sister, Fallen Zorro.

The super staying duo would again quinella a Group One Race, this time it would be the Sandown Cup in May, which he won leading throughout, in a super run of 42.14 seconds, with his sister Fallen Zorro again runner-up.

The big race occasions continued for Chinatown Lad, finishing third in a Group 2 AWM Distance title at The Meadows in July and then winning the Chairmans Cup at Wentworth Park over the 720 metres in September. He also broke the Wentworth Park track record over the 720 metres in his first run at the track, completing the journey in an incredible 41.93 seconds, the first greyhound to ever break the magical 42.00 seconds barrier at Sydney’s premier track.

Chinatown Lad retired with 47 starts for 21 wins and 17 minors with stake earnings in excess of $220,000.

Australian Racing Greyhound spoke to owner Katrina Gregory for her recollections of her champion chaser.

“He was given to me to train by Gavin Whitney, who had been a lifelong friend of our family. I knew very little about greyhound racing, having come from a harness racing background and I was a little unsure of how to go about it.” Katrina explained.

“I realised pretty quickly he (Chinatown Lad) was special, because people kept making offers for him in the car park when I would trial him.”

ARG asked Katrina about her biggest thrill with Chinatown Lad.

“For me the one of the biggest thrills was his first start, when he won over the 340 metres. It was my first starter as a trainer and he won from the red box. Then we got swabbed.” She said jokingly.

“The other great thrill was when he went to Perth and broke the track record in the final of the Swan Challenge.”

“After sixteen starts I gave him to Gavin and Shane (Whitney) to train as I realised he was a pretty special dog and they both had so much more experience as trainers than I did.”

Katrina explained to ARG about the loss of Chinatown Lad.

“Unfortunately he developed a lump on his neck, and after being examined it was found to be cancerous. It was terrible news for us, especially for my son Brayden who looked after “Max” on a daily basis, feeding him and the broods and attending to their everyday needs.”

Katrina also explained that while having a champion greyhound is a great thrill, the experiences and lifelong friendships she enjoyed via the deeds of Chinatown Lad is something money can’t buy.

“Greyhound people are like a large a family and I have travelled around the country and met and become friends with many wonderful people including Jason and Seona Thompson, Paul Felgate, Tina Womann and Dennis Trewin to name a few.”

While the passing of the former champion is difficult to accept, Katina said his legacy would live on through his pups.

“He has served a few bitches, but being a stayer and a Tasmanian greyhound he has not served the numbers some sires enjoy. We have a couple of litters here, and there are still straws available should anyone want to breed a litter by him.”

Vale Chinatown Lad, gone, but will live on in the memories of greyhound lovers forever.

Young Trainer Ben Englund Experiences Feature Race Success

Young Wynyard trainer Ben Englund may have only held a licence for a year, but it did not prevent him entering the winners circle following the rich Breeders Classic Final (515 metres) conducted on Monday night at Launceston, with the highly promising chaser Wynburn Rush (Collide – Hayleys Girl) saluting in style.

Drawn the red box in the annual feature, the black bitch sped to an all the way victory, defeating her litter mate Wynburn Wizard by a length, in the time of 29.89.

Filling third spot was the Debbie Cannan owned and Ted Medhurst prepared Spring Fall (Bit Chili – Wongawillilesley), a further five lengths back.

Wynburn Rush and Wynburn Wizard are raced by the Wynburn Racing syndicate headed by Scott Bryan, who also prepares the latter.

Ben Englund’s father Tom, who in years gone by raced the outstanding chasers Wynlee Wonder, Wynlee Spirit and Wynlee Raider, bred this particular litter. At the time of writing they have won a total of 15 races between them.

A former Burnie Dockers footballer, Ben Englund has no grandiose plans for Wynburn Rush, but admits that the entire litter are improving with age and racing.

“We have no forward plans for them, other than to contest the Illingworth Classic Series, which will be conducted in Launceston in the near future,” he explained.

“The entire litter are improving and I am hoping that we will have a bit of fun with them yet.”

Meanwhile promising chaser Lou James (Nitro Burst – Mega Yellow) was responsible for a giant run in winning the Grade 5 (452 metres) conducted at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting at the Devonport Raceway.

A noted slow beginner, he was a conspicuous last on settling down in the back straight, but unleashed an amazing sprint in the lane, running his rivals down in spectacular fashion.

It is not the first time that the Margaret Rossendell prepared chaser has performed in this way and repeat efforts will surely see him in the winners circle again.

A feature of Tuesday’s meeting was the fact that several long priced winners were seen to prevail on the day.

The Allan Anderson prepared and Chris Chilcott owned Chilly Vibration (Velocette – Cheeky Vibration) took out the first event on the card, a Grade 5 over 580 metres, paying a lucrative $30.10 for the win.

Three races later veteran Sheffield mentor Ged Mace was seen in the winners circle with Arnold Bibby (Bit Chili – Speedy Vixen), which paid $16.60 and then the Anthony Bullock prepared Said You Wood (Bit Chili – Painted Shaza) surprised at odds of $16.10.

The Exeter based Bullock then delivered the final knockout blow as far as punters were concerned when Big Tsonga (Big Moose – Tsonga Queen), put paid to his opposition from the red box as a friendless $29.20 commodity.

Wynburn Syndicate Chasers To The Fore In Breeders Classic Final

The Wynyard based Wynburn Racing syndicate have qualified three greyhounds for the rich Launceston Breeders Classic Final (515 metres) to be conducted at the LGRC meeting on Monday night.

All three are members of the successful Collide – Hayleys Girl litter bred by Tom Englund and will be competing for stakemoney in excess of $9,000 and a breeders bonus in excess of $8,000. It promises to be a highly competitive event.

Wynburn Wizard, Wynburn Chaos and Wynburn Rush had won a total of six races between them until the heats of the Breeders Classic were conducted last Monday night, when all three greeted the judge in impressive fashion.

Wynyard plasterer Scott Bryan prepares Wynburn Wizard, whereas Wynburn Chaos and Wynburn Rush are prepared by his mate, former Burnie Dockers footballer Ben Englund.

“Members of this litter qualified for the Devonport Breeders Classic Final but failed to finish in the placings. We are naturally hoping to improve on that performance and feature in the finish on Monday night,” Scott Bryan explained this week.

“It is a great race and one that owners and breeders must target if they are to recoup some of their expenses.”

Of the three Wynburn syndicate chasers, Wynburn Wizard ran marginally faster on Monday night when he recorded a time of 30.04 in winning his heat by two lengths. Wynburn Chaos recorded an easy seven length victory in the time of 30.06 and Wynburn Rush also recorded a time of 30.06 in establishing a two length advantage.

Master trainer Ted Medhurst prepared the fastest qualifier, the promising Debbie Cannan owned Homeward (High Earner – In Top Gear), which put four lengths on his rivals in a sizzling 29.97.

“Obviously Ted Medhurst’s greyhound will prove to be the testing material on Monday night, however we have drawn the red box with Wynburn Rush which is an advantage.”

“I consider Wynburn Wizard to probably be the pick of our three, but on this occasion he has not been favoured by the draw.”

Meanwhile former jockey Pat Hall was seen in the winners circle at Monday’s NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway, when Waratah Boy (Dyna Lachlan – Coulta Sky) was successful in the Grade 4/5 (580 metres) event.

Raced by Victorian owner Jarrod Sharp, the chaser has now won six of 27 lifetime outings and has proven to be a welcome addition to Hall’s Old Beach kennel.

Former New South Wales trainer Rod Bragg, who prepares his team in the Midlands town of Tunbridge, was also seen in the winners circle at the meeting when Boom Boom Kitty (Take The Kitty – Noisy Tiger) was successful in the Juvenile (452 metres).

Raced by prominent Oatlands sportsman Peter “Barney” Carnes, the chaser has now won two of eight lifetime outings and is likely to score again in the not too distant future.

LAUNCESTON BREEDERS CLASSIC FINAL (515 METRES)

 

1. Wynburn Rush Ben Englund
2. Homeward Ted Ted Medhurst
3. Wynburn Chaos Ben Englund
4. High Sierra Michael Louth
5. Wynburn Wizard Scott Bryan
6. Topline Star Mick Stringer
7. Spring Fall Ted Medhurst
8. Arome Peche Shane Whitney
9. Mystic Falls Ted Medhurst
10. Underclass Hero Mick Stringer

Hellyeah Bolt Home In Ivory Classic

Classy chaser Hellyeah Bolt (Dyna Lachlan – Flash Diamond) continued on his winning way at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway, by winning the $5,760 Reg and Aileen Ivory Classic (452 metres) in brilliant fashion.

Challenged for the lead early in proceedings, the Anthony Bullock prepared speedster eventually found the premier position and then asserted his authority in the lane, winning by two lengths in a slippery 25.31.

Smart bitch Sing The Song (High Earner – Stylish Moon) ran on nicely to make up the quinella, with Captain Thomas (Collision – Lightning Moss) securing third stake a further length away.

Hellyeah Bolt has now won 18 races and stakes of in excess of $51,000 for the North West Coast based Hellyeah syndicate headed by Rick Donaldson.

The Exeter based Bullock, one of Tasmania’s leading mentors, announced ambitious plans for Hellyeah Bolt following his Ivory Classic victory.

“Hellyeah Bolt will fly out this week for Sydney with an Easter Egg campaign in mind,” he declared.

“Brian McKivat will look after him for me and he will trial at Wentworth Park before contesting an Easter Egg prelude the following week.”

The chaser has campaigned interstate previously, winning an Angle Park feature back in September.

Bullock also revealed that the 2014 Devonport Cup winning chaser Are Ate (Lochinvar Marlow – Long Long Mama), will also leave his complex this week, transferring back to Queensland to contest the Ipswich Classic.

“Two of my best greyhounds will be vacating my place, so I guess I will have to replace them with a couple of slow ones,” he joked.

Meanwhile Brighton trainer Shane Whitney, best known as the trainer of the former top stayers Chinatown Lad and Fallen Zorro, prepared three winners at Tuesday’s meeting.

Whitney set the ball rolling, winning the first event on the card with the speedy Arome Peche (Dyna Lachlan – Last Serenade), which recorded 26.01 in winning the Diane Rockliff Juvenile Stake (452 metres) by five lengths.

The black dog gave nothing else a chance in the event, justifying his $1.40 quote and recording his third win since debuting in Hobart in January.

Whitney was seen next in the winners circle with Direct Current (El Grand Senor – So Seductive), which prevailed in the King Ricky Grade 5 (452 metres).

The former Victorian chaser also won by five lengths and in doing so recorded a fastest of the day time of 25.20 and his fourth win in seven Tasmanian outings.

Aston Fury (Bombastic Shiraz – Aston Beauty, also a former Victorian greyhound, completed the Whitney treble by winning the Mersey Mist Grade 4 (452 metres).

He recorded a time of 25.53 in winning by four lengths and has now won both of his two Tasmanian outings.

Australian Cup Trophy On Display At Devonport

The magnificent 2014 Australian Cup trophy was on display for all to see at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway.

In recent days the trophy has been shared around by the proud owners of Buckle Up Wes and their families. Part-owner Sharon Sutton was in attendance at the meeting for the purpose of firstly “doing a John Singleton” and shouting the bar and letting the general public view the trophy.

The success of Buckle Up Wes will do wonders for the greyhound racing industry in Tasmania and in particular the North West Coast region, the home of the Johnson and Sutton families.

Meanwhile two heats of the annual feature, the Reg and Aileen Ivory Memorial Classic, were conducted at Tuesday’s meeting and the $5,700 final will be conducted next week.

No doubt the Ivory family would have been extremely proud of their grand-daughter Sharon, had they been around in this day and age to participate in the Australian Cup celebrations.

Launceston’s Grubb family qualified litter-mates Sing The Song and Quick Advance for the Ivory Memorial Classic, when they ran the quinella in the first of the heats.

Quick Advance led from box one, but was collared in the straight by the bitch Sing The Song, which recorded a time of 25.51 in winning the 452 metre affair.

Buckle Up Brett, from the Johnson kennel, filled third berth and along with the fourth placegetter Captain Thomas, has earned the right to contest the final.

The second heat was taken out by the smart chaser Hellyeah Bolt, which proved to be too strong in the concluding stages for Golden Sage and Woodleigh Doll in the time of 25.47.

Oscar Ralph, an occupant of Maurie Strickland’s Bracknell kennel, finished a close up fourth and will also join the fight for the big bucks on offer.

Robert Grubb, who along with his son Robin, tends to the superb High Earner – Stylish Moon litter, is of the opinion that Sing The Song will be suited in box 7 next Tuesday.

“She likes it out wide and will give a great account of herself, with Anthony Bullock’s dog Hellyeah Bolt the obvious danger,” he explained.

“We have probably won fifty or sixty races with members of this litter and Sing The Song is the quickest, although the ill fated Kiss Me Elvis, which broke a leg, also had an abundance of speed.”

Meanwhile the Brian Crawford prepared Alvin Benz appears to have turned the corner and was very impressive in winning The Advocate Grade 5 (580 metres) event at Tuesday’s meeting.

Raced by Crawford in partnership with his son Justin, the son of Big Daddy Cool has now won two races in succession and is finally revealing his true potential.

The chaser put six lengths on his rivals while running a personal best time for the journey of 33.04 and is one to follow in coming months.

 

$5,700 REG AND AILEEN IVORY MEMORIAL CLASSIC (452 METRES)
1. Hellyeah Bolt                      Anthony Bullock
2. Woodleigh Doll                   Dennis Wood
3. Captain Thomas                 Alison Walker
4. Buckle Up Brett                 Gary Johnson
5. Golden Sage                        Butch Deverell
6. Quick Advance                   Robin Grubb
7. Sing The Song                     Robert Grubb
8. Oscar Ralph                        Maurie Strickland
9. Stylish Abbey (Em 1)       Robin Grubb
10. Gracie (Em 2)                   Donna Goodluck

You Little Beauty Wes

Ted Medhurst answers the phone and after the introductions he simply says, “you little beauty Wes!”

That statement symbolises the excitement Medhurst has felt since Buckle Up Wes, a dog he trains in Tasmania, won the 2014 Group One Australian Cup at The Meadows on Saturday night.

“It was just a dream come true. You watch it happen to others, and to have some small involvement with St Pierre, it was just incredible, but to be there on Saturday evening and be part of it, it was just sensational” Medhurst told ARG.

“When he led it was, I must say, just mayhem. The part owner Robyn Johnson was standing with me and we just started barracking for him, which I never do. I never barrack and that’s why my voice is hoarse the way it is, I think I’ve barracked myself hoarse.”

Buckle Up Wes led the field for the Australian Cup but Medhurst was well aware that a race isn’t over until the dog has passed the finishing post.

“You just thought deep down he’d win, but being in racing for so long, until they get across the line you’re just never sure. When he went across the line the feeling was just of total elation.”

Immediately after the race, the celebrations started, with Medhurst recalling the jubilation felt by all involved.

“There was a lot of embarrassing jumping around and hugging after the race I can tell you. It is something that won’t ever leave you, that feeling. It’s just there forever, it’s great.”

Wes wasn’t forgotten in the celebrations either.

“He’s a very good boy and he got treated accordingly. He had a million pats and kisses. Having said that, when he got home yesterday all he wanted to do was get fed. His number one love is food and that was all he was waiting for.”

Medhurst commended the atmosphere at The Meadows on Saturday night and said it bought back some good memories of the ‘old days’.

“The atmosphere was huge. In Tassie we’ve sort of lost that. Our tracks are inside galloping tracks that are inside trotting tracks. Back in the old days we had that. At the old Launceston track you could lean over the fence and touch them. I grew up with that sort of atmosphere and back in them days the crowds were massive. But Saturday night bought back a lot of that. The crowd and Marg Long and her committee were just sensational and looked after us before and after the race.”

Medhurst indicated that the preparation and lead up for Buckle Up Wes was good in that the dog had built some confidence coming into the final, despite missing out on making the Launceston Cup final in February.

“It’s just meant to be. Everything happens for a reason and it just all fell into place. He probably had his confidence up after winning in the consolation of the Launceston Cup and he went sensational and then in two runs at The Meadows he just improved enough to be where he had to be. He travelled well and it couldn’t be more perfect.”

Medhurst noted that it’s has been a big month for him and Debbie Cannan, who handled Buckle Up Wes on Saturday night.

“It’s been a pretty big month. We won the Maiden Thousand, Launceston Cup (Varcoe) and Bell Haven’s had a heap of pups. She’s a mummy now and she has 11 little tykes running around. She’s as good a mum as she was a race dog too. She went to Kinloch Brae, an imported dog.”

Bell Haven was a star stayer for Medhurst and it was Medhurst’s regret at not watching her race more often that led him to attend The Meadows on Saturday night to watch Buckle Up Wes.

“What I probably regret is not going over to watch her (Bell Haven) race more often. A couple of weeks ago before the series started, I said if Wes makes the final, I’m going this time. I’m so glad I did.”

Buckle Up Wes has pulled up well after his big win and he will now have a short spell and then begin preparations for the Golden Easter Egg.

“He’s ready to go again. I’ll give him a little let up and prepare him ready for the Easter Egg at Wenty. He’s had pretty full on racing since December and I’ll just ease up for a week or ten days and then we’ll get him ready again.”

Winning an Australian Cup is a huge achievement and one that will see Buckle Up Wes’ name etched onto the illustrious honour roll for eternity and it’s only fitting to finish with one last quote from the trainer of the Group One champion.

“He just showed the other night to the rest of Australia what we knew he had. It’s good that that’s happened.”

Greyhound Betting Tips Thursday 27th February

Great night of racing ahead with some quality greyhounds engaged.

Recent Vince Curry Memorial winner Jungle Junction is engaged to run in the heats of the Queensland young guns. All eyes will be on the daughter of Cindeen Shelby and Cosmic Rumble, as she tries to continue on her winning way.

Albion Park Greyhounds Race 3 Box 2 Dulcie Dee, 7.25pm

Most of the races look to have a standout winner in them tonight here at Albion Park. Dulcie Dee for trainer Frank Hancock looks the one to beat in this. The daughter of Collision has all ready stopped the clock in a impressive 29.95 here, and has won eight from seventeen starts. She’s well drawn in the two box, and is likely to trail early leader Chant into the first turn. Once she positions in behind Chant she should prove to strong in the run to the line.

Chant however gets his chance to win, and will make full use if the red box. He has a PB of 30.08, two lengths slower then Dulcie Dee, but he doesn’t find the line all that well, so he will need a little luck to hold her off.

These two however look the standout pair, so I suggest taking a few multiples around these two, running first and second.

Angle Park Greyhounds, Race 8 Box 2 Jimmy Lane, 9.44pm

Jimmy Lane is a high quality chaser and he won nicely when we tipped him here last week. It’s taking the son of Dyna Lachlan a while to get use to Angle Park, but now he’s found winning form, expect him to keep winning and improve his PB.
He run a solid 30.09 here last week from box eight, and a dog of his quality should get down around the 29.80 mark here tonight, if he jumps straight to the front. Suntory Gold looks the danger, but she will be giving Jimmy quite a substantial lead in the early part of the race, and is unlikely to be able to peg it back.

These two again look the two so stick to taking multiples with them.

Dapto Greyhounds Race 5 Box 6 Little Elsie, 8.55pm

I really liked the way in which this girl won last start here. She showed top early acceleration to burn off Exhibitionist and race away here last week and I see her being able to do the same tonight. Box six won’t cause any issues to her, and there’s very little speed around her. It’s never easy finding winners over the scamper trip, but she’s in form and looks the one.

Eachway.

Hobart Greyhounds Race 9 Box 2 Nooee’s Lad, 9.41pm

I often mention how fast a beginner this this dog is, and he should once again spear the lids and find himself a long way in front. He does however have a flat spot after about 200 meters, so as long as he remains in front, he should just win. He has a great PB here and this is the sorta race he can dominate on.

Likely favourite and should win.

Best of luck

$$ Another Day Another Dollar $$

Andrea McConnon Enjoying Almost Instant Success

Despite having been involved in greyhound racing for only a year, Triabunna owner–trainer Andrea McConnon has already experienced a great deal of success.

The fledgling trainer prepared her initial winner back on November 12, when Tan Tiki (Talk’s Cheap – Olga Doll) put seven lengths on her opposition at the Devonport Raceway and then on Monday night, her kennel recorded it’s second victory when Make A Cuppa (Cosmic Rumble – Rotkara Milly) prevailed at the combined greyhound – harness racing meeting conducted at Tattersalls Park in Hobart.

Andrea had previously had no involvement in the industry, however her partner Trent Anthony had a liking for the sport and suggested that they become involved in a small way.

The trainer now has a team of four in work at the East Coast township, which is known as a fishing and tourist destination and has probably never been the home of racing participants of any code.

“We started by perusing greyhound racing publications and web sites, and selecting greyhounds from interstate that we thought would be suited to the environment here and the style of racing”, she explained this week.

“I either walk my team around the streets here at Triabunna or take them to the beach and it appears that the majority of them love what they are doing.”

Cherry Picker (Regal Thyme – Hot Ride), is another former interstate greyhound which may respond to McConnon’s training methods.

“Cherry Picker was regarded as a short course chaser, but he appears to be stronger now and is about to resume following a minor injury,” Andrea explained.

As well as tending a small team, Andrea and Trent are also embarking on a breeding programme and are rearing a litter of pups by Talk’s Cheap from Darley Whistler (Slater – Minnie Minor).

“The pups were whelped in December and despite the fact that Darley Whisper is five, she is jumping out of her skin and may be put back into work,” Andrea explained.

A water treadmill is also on the agenda, in fact it has been ordered from the United Kingdom and Andrea intends to make it available to other trainers wishing to speed up the recovery of injured greyhounds.

“It will be one of only two water treadmills in Tasmania and will prove to be a great acquisition – far too many greyhounds are missing from the track each year due to injury,” she explained.

Meanwhile Penguin trainer Butch Deverell was back in the winners circle at the Devonport Raceway on Tuesday afternoon when Kalaway George was first home in the Dowling and McCarthy Juvenile (452 metres).

Raced by the Ulverstone based Nagars syndicate headed by golfer Kerry Lehman, the chaser is one of a big litter by Knocka Norris from the well related bitch Trina Sage, which includes the other winners Kalaway Crusty, Kalaway Ernie and Kalaway Knocka.

Time to Buckle Up – It’s Tassie’s Australian Cup Duo

Unlike the Melbourne Cup where runners need to travel over for a prelude before getting a start, the Australian Cup gives all interstate dogs a chance to be graded on their interstate efforts and line-up in one of the highest profile series on the calender.

For two states like South Australia and Tasmania, this is a big deal.

However, out of those two, it is the Apple Isle contenders that would be frothing at the mouth to have their dogs unleashed upon The Meadows next Saturday night, with both Buckle Up Wes and Buckle Up Mason being selected upon the 56 seeds granted a walk-up start into the heats.

OK, now before everyone emails in frantically, saying that Buckle Up Mason is a Victorian greyhound, it needs to be said that the dog is Tasmanian owned and Tasmanian bred by the well-known Robyn and Gary Johnson partnership. Despite the dam of the pair, Everlong Bale, doing most of its racing in South Australia, as long as they carry the ‘Buckle Up’ name, they will forever be part of the Tasmanian crusade.

Focussing on Buckle Up Mason firstly, his career has been carried out almost entirely in Victoria under the care of Graeme Bate. Like most of the Bate army, he is now being guarded by Peter and Jenny Hunt. His form has been a model of consistency through 2013 and into the new year, with several victories at Free For All level including a Melbourne Cup Prelude.

On the other hand, Buckle Up Wes has predominantly raced on home soil with Ted Medhurst putting on the finishing touches. His résumé looks a little more imposing, with wins in the Paws of Thunder and Launceston Cup heats, and took out the Launceston Cup Consolation last night just to prove he’s ready to go.

Apart from both runners racing best when on the bunny, and both chasers wanting the rail, both of them have also amassed $64,000 in prizemoney. Buckle Up Wes got to that total via 18 wins and 9 placings from 32 starts, at a strike rate of 52%, while Buckle Up Mason has done it more steadily scored on 13 occasions with 18 placings out of 50 tries, in other words a 26% winning rate.

They are no flashes in the pan for the Johnson team. The ‘Buckle Up’ moniker has been around for some time now, and it’s not unusual for them to find a bit of success on the highest stage. Buckle Up Tina had a great career for Robyn and Gary when it competed from 2006 to 2008, making three Group 1 finals in a 98 start career that yielded 32 wins along the way.

Then there is the host of runners that remain on home soil via the different litters, with the likes of Buckle Up Myke, Gaye, Kade, Brett and Grace all paying their way week in, week out.

But back onto the star duo, who are by far the standouts from the Collision x Everlong Bale litter. They will line up in heat two and five of the Australian Cup. Mason will have his work cut out from box three, with Peter Rocket and Marcus Joe drawn inside. Meanwhile, Wes has come up with box six, hoping to out-pace Farmor Las Vegas, Banjo Boy and Temlee winner, Zelemar Fever.

While on the topic, Dark Warrior who started his career in Tasmania is also nominated, and will be desperate to hold out Paw Licking around the first corner in the fourth heat.

As mentioned earlier, there was space in this article for the chances of the South Australian entrants in the Australian Cup. However with the injury to pin-up boy Ernie Bung Arrow, the croweaters will be sadly left with no representation.

While every state has their peaks and troughs, anytime an interstate chaser can conquer the Victorian stranglehold is always a popular result. For the sake of Tasmania, let’s hope the Johnson team can do just that.

Debbie Cannan’s Great Run Of Success Continues

Mangalore trainer Debbie Cannan’s run of major race successes continued at the Tote Racing Centre on Monday night when the lightly raced but highly promising chaser Varcoe, blitzed his opposition in the $57,000 Curtains and Blinds Group 2 Launceston Cup (515 metres).

Cannan won the 2011 Devonport Cup with the super chaser St. Pierre, which then graduated to national elite class by taking out the 2011 Australian Cup at The Meadows.

Both Varcoe and St.Pierre are raced by New South Welshman Chris Nutt, a great supporter of Cannan’s Ballyhooly Road establishment.

Varcoe, a son of El Galo, is now the winner of eight of only 17 lifetime outings and is expected to also embark on an interstate campaign in the future.

In what was one of the most open Launceston Cup’s for years, Hellyeah Bolt, Black Rip, Mighty Lomar, Are Ate and to a lesser extent Varcoe, all received plenty of support in wagering on the event.

Varcoe and the Shane Whitney prepared Black Rip went hammer and tongs for the premier position, with the former prevailing in a sizzling 4.99 initial split.

The feature then became a procession, with Varcoe high balling in the lead and the former New South Wales chaser Black Rip, boasting an unbeaten record at the venue, attempting to keep in touch.

At the wire six lengths separated the pair, with the well related Bain’s Lane finishing off nicely to secure third stake, the winner’s time was a personal best 29.69.

Meanwhile the Ted Medhurst prepared chaser Buckle Up Wes showed that he would not have been out of place had he qualified for the Launceston Cup, by taking out the Consolation in a sizzling 29.33.

The son of Collision was sent out a raging favourite for the event and did not let his supporters down by scoring by nine lengths, in what was a wonderful display of sustained speed.

Raced by North West Coast women Robyn Johnson and Sharon Sutton, Buckle Up Wes has now won 18 of 32 lifetime outings while accumulating a purse of well in excess of $60,000.

Medhurst was also seen in the winners circle with the smart bitch Chosen Jewel, which looked good in winning the Wayne and Maxine Groves Stake (515 metres).

The daughter of Big Daddy Cool has now won two of four starts and nine of 42 overall, since being transferred back to Tasmania from Western Australia and is expected to continue winning while in her present form.

At her previous outing Chosen Jewel had no luck in running when fourth behind the speedy Nooee’s Lad and as a result was well supported into a final quote of $2.30.

One For The Locals – Tassie’s Best To Create A Memorable Launceston Cup

This year’s Launceston Cup is a bit different to other years. Not because it has been conducted over three weeks, but because the 2014 version will see eight locals vying for the title.

To some this might mean the race doesn’t hold the ‘profile’ of other years, with no ‘big’ names to steal the limelight. The trainers’ column contains no Bate’s, Dailly’s, Britton’s or Thompson’s. You won’t  see dogs with Group One formlines, track record runs or six-figure bank accounts.

But for some, this will be the best race of the year. Despite the lack of the obvious, what you will see is eight dogs giving their all, trying to change the lives of their connections. A $40,000 reward for those that work hard week in and week out, usually hoping to snag a $1,400 race on a Monday night.

This will be Tasmania’s race. It will be a local chaser winning the spoils on the local track. The question remains though; which one?

Most pundits will instantly lean towards Hellyeah Bolt. The Anthony Bullock runner has given the Hellyeah syndicate a terrific ride in the past 12 months. His top speed and chasing ability are unparalleled and given an ounce of luck he’ll take some toppling.

But this race doesn’t look ideal on paper for the son of Dyna Lachlan and Flash Diamond. The semis were dominated by early speed, and from box seven, Hellyeah Bolt might find himself in the last few in the first 50 metres of the race.

It creates an interesting conundrum; perhaps the lead will be the best place to be, with few dogs likely to storm home.

If that’s the case then there are none faster out of the boxes than Nooee’s Lad. Butch Deverell’s chaser is without a doubt the fastest box dog in the state, and the middle draw won’t trouble him if he spears out like normal.

The issue for the Craig French owned chaser is whether he can run an overall time fast enough to hold out a Group Two field, with his best around the 515-metres being 29.87 over a year ago.

In a similar boat to Nooee’s Lad is Shane Whitney’s recent acquisition Black Rip. He has really hit his straps since coming across from NSW, and is unbeaten in five starts at the Mowbray circuit.

His early speed has helped the dog win race after race in the past three months, but as mentioned, his best time of 29.96 might need improving. Having box two will help his cause no end at a track where positioning on the first turn is so crucial.

The fortunes of the two runners will no doubt shape the race.

With that in mind, the chances of Mighty Lomar have been hurt by drawing the widest box. The former Victorian has been impressive since arriving with Mick Stringer, and is another that relies on her blistering early speed. Her semi-final time of 29.76 was a vast improvement from her previous efforts, and would suggest that she is ready to fire at this level of racing.

Mighty Lomar’s owner, Nathan McMenamin, has provided many runners to the Tasmanian greyhound scene over the years, and few people would begrudge him a landmark victory come Monday night.

Are Ate has come up with the prized cherry exit for the main event, and will be looking to make it two Group race wins in as many months. Like his Devonport Cup win that came as a surprise to many, Are Ate will be in double-figure territory from a betting perspective.

The second of the Anthony Bullock runners qualified for the final with an unlucky third in the heat, followed by a second behind Black Rip a week later. Are Ate adds more intrigue to this race, as the dog is a reliable starter and will be part of a furious charge into the first turn.

So too will be the baby of the field, Varcoe, who has just turned two in January. His run in the semi-final was brilliant, narrowly going down to Hellyeah Bolt in 29.81. That race also contained the likes of Buckle Up Wes, Sing The Song and Whodat Lass showing the class of chaser Varcoe had to overcome.

Owned by Christopher Nutt and trained by Debbie Cannan, Varcoe has been incredibly consistent for his entire career to date, and is certainly capable of causing an upset if the breaks go his way.

Brendan Purcell will be represented by Bain’s Lane who will exit box three. He comes into the final with two seconds by his name; the first was a long way behind Fighting Fang, while the other was a comfortable second behind Mighty Lomar.

While the dog is consistent and ran 29.87 in defeat last week, being drawn between Nooee’s Lad, Varcoe and Black Rip is going to make life very tough. Furthermore, he lost ground to the leader in both the heat and final, and without the likelihood of leading it seems like Bain’s Lane will have his work cut out.

Rounding out the field is the Peter Phillips owned and trained Faolan. A winner of 5 of 21 starts, the son of Surf Lorian and Portent will struggle to overcome box six in a field full of early bullets. Interestingly, Faolan has had a run since the semi-final and was impressive by dispatching a Grade 5 field at Hobart on Thursday.

While that completes the starting lineup, there is another element to the race; Buckle Up Wes starting as first reserve. Probably the name best known amongst the field, the black speedster will be inserted as favourite if he gets a start, especially if given an inside draw. It doesn’t seem the same without a Ted Medhurst runner in the Cup, but if anyone could steal it with a reserve runner, it would be the veteran trainer.

It’s bound to be a fantastic race that should be decided by the time the field enters the back straight. By then, we’ll know if Hellyeah Bolt can muster enough pace early to find the rail and if Nooee’s Lad or Black Rip get a big enough break to hold them off.

Whatever the result, we can’t wait to find out.

2014 Curtains and Blinds Group 2 Launceston Cup

Monday night 10.01pm ADST

1)      Are Ate – Anthony Bullock

2)      Black Rip – Shane Whitney

3)      Varcoe – Debbie Cannan

4)      Bain’s Lane – Brendan Purcell

5)      Nooee’s Lad – Butch Deverell

6)      Faolan – Peter Phillips

7)      Hellyeah Bolt – Anthony Bullock

8)      Mighty Lomar – Mick Stringer

Reserves

9)      Buckle Up Wes – Ted Medhurst

10)   Mental As Ben – Ricky Martin

Bullock Hoping For Initial Launceston Cup Success

Exeter trainer Anthony Bullock is yet to experience Launceston Cup success, but has qualified two runners for Monday night’s $57,000 feature and has an undeniable chance of being seen on the podium.

Following last night’s semi – finals, both Hellyeah Bolt ( Dyna Lachlan – Flash Diamond) and Devonport Cup winner Are Ate (Lochinvar Marlow – Long Long Mama) have made it through for the Bullock kennel, with the former a likely favourite, in what will be a keenly contested affair.

Hellyeah Bolt, which claimed the speedy Varcoe (El Galo – Magic Dust) within the shadows of the post last night, recorded a winning time of 29.81 and the remaining three semis were won by Mighty Lomar (Where’s Pedro – Worldclass Lomar) in the time of 29.76, Nooee’s Lad (Knocka Norris – Break Of Dawn) in 29.98 and Black Rip (Goodesy – Richmond Fox) in 30.00.

Second place getters also qualified for a tilt at Monday night’s rich finale, which is sponsored this year by the local business Curtains and Blinds.

“I would naturally love to win my first Launceston Cup, but it is a particularly tough assignment,” Bullock explained on Tuesday.

“The field includes several chasers with explosive early speed and I am not even certain that the normally brilliant Are Ate can lead, despite him having drawn favourably in the red box. I’m hoping that Hellyeah Bolt can avoid early interference and be positioned within striking distance of the leaders, because he normally finishes his races off nicely.”

Raced by the Hellyeah syndicate, headed by Rick Donaldson, Hellyeah Bolt has now won 16 of his 25 lifetime outings and is shaping up as one of Tasmania’s better greyhounds.

Meanwhile, in direct contrast to Anthony Bullock, Penguin trainer Butch Deverell, who will be represented by Nooee’s Lad on Monday night, boasts a wonderful Launceston Cup record, having won the race twice as a trainer and once as an owner.

“I was successful as an owner with the top bitch Two Codes and have since prepared both Big Moose and Akka Boy to win the race,” he explained.

“I have had problems with Nooee’s Lad, but believe that they have finally been sorted out and despite the fact that he has drawn box five, he has some chance of winning.”

Normally a brilliant beginner, the chaser is raced by Burnie businessman Craig French and is the winner of 15 of his 51 outings.

Mangalore trainer Mick Stringer’s luck changed for the better with the semi-final victory of the former Victorian chaser Mighty Lomar, which was impressive in winning the fastest of the four contested.

In recent weeks Stringer had the misfortune to lose the top chasers Yappin Jack (Aston Galilee – Patsy Anne) and Archie Gumballs (Where’s Pedro – Come On Roxy), which were both being prepared for a Launceston Cup campaign.

$57,000 GROUP 2 CURTAINS AND BLINDS LAUNCESTON CUP FINAL (515 METRES)

1. Are Ate Anthony Bullock
2. Black Rip Shane Whitney
3. Varcoe Debbie Cannan
4. Bain’s Lane Brendan Pursell
5. Nooee’s Lad Butch Deverell
6. Faolan Peter Phillips
7. Hellyeah Bolt Anthony Bullock
8. Mighty Lomar Mick Stringer
9. Buckle Up Wes Ted Medhurst

Tassie’s Finest Progress To Launceston Cup Semis

Two of Tasmania’s finest chasers have graduated in brilliant fashion to the semi-finals of the 2014 Launceston Cup Final to be conducted next week.

Both Buckle Up Wes (Collision – Everlong Bale) and Hellyeah Bolt (Dyna Lachlan – Flash Diamond) blitzed their rivals in their respective heats of the prestigious event, which were conducted at Monday night’s LGRC meeting.

Raced by North West Coast women Robyn Johnson and Sharon Sutton and prepared by Mangalore mentor Ted Medhurst, Buckle Up Wes recorded a sizzling 29.59 in scoring by 11 lengths and enhancing his lifetime record to 17 wins from 30 outings and stakes of in excess of $60,000.

Raced by the Hellyeah syndicate headed by Rick Donaldson and prepared by Anthony Bullock, Hellyeah Bolt put 13 lengths on his rivals and recorded his 15th win from 24 outings and increased his earnings to almost $42,000 in the time of 29.97.

Other heat winners were Black Rip (30.22), Heidi Go Seek (30.25), Varcoe (30.16), Mental As Ben (30.39), Fighting Fang (30.28) and Mighty Lomar (30.10).

Black Rip (Goodesy – Richmond Fox) displayed his customary early brilliance and ran his rivals ragged for Shane Whitney and the Ripping syndicate.

The former New South Wales chaser has now won seven of 12 outings, including the Angus Evans Memorial, since debuting in Hobart during November and is proving to be an excellent investment for connections.

Heidi Go Seek (Talks Cheap – Ceejay’s Vixen) ran down the flying Nooee’s Lad (Knocka Norris – Break Of Dawn), to record her 16th victory from the kennel of Anakie trainer Angela Langton.

The lightly raced Debbie Cannan prepared Varcoe ( El Galo – Magic Dust), led throughout to score his seventh victory and appears to have struck form at the opportune time.

Young Rosevale trainer Ricky Martin was seen in the winner’s circle with the improving Mental As Ben (Cosmic Rumble – Aspen Gold), which has now won six of 23 lifetime outings and stakes in excess of $12,000.

The Gary Johnson prepared Fighting Fang (Collision – Fang Meehan) ran on strongly to score an impressive victory in his particular heat. Virtually unwanted in wagering on the event as an $11 chance, the chaser ran down the speedy Bain’s Lane (Bit Chili – Wooreddy) in the straight and is now beginning to reveal his undoubted potential, despite having only won on four occasions.

The final heat on a great night’s racing was taken out by Mighty Lomar ( Where’s Pedro – Worldclasslomar), which has won two of four Tasmanian starts since arriving from interstate and contesting the Devonport Cup last month.

The first four greyhounds home in each of the eight heats will contest one of four semi-finals next week and then the first two home will graduate to the $40,000 to the winner Launceston Cup Final on February 17.

2014 Group 2 Launceston Cup Heats Preview

Tasmania’s second-biggest series rounds out a huge four days of racing. Once you’ve battled through the Perth and Healesville Cups over the weekend, it’s 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 year’s 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 state’s 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. He’s 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, Mumford’s 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.

Nooee’s 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. He’ll 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.  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 isn’t 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, it’s 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 hasn’t been seen since December and wasn’t 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 won’t 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 won’t necessarily guarantee a final berth. She hasn’t been the same dog for the past couple of months and is suddenly suspect at the 515.  She’ll probably be favourite, but this isn’t an open-shut kind of affair.

Bain’s Lane has hit a purple patch of form and won’t be too bothered by the wide draw. There isn’t much pace around him and he’ll 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 wouldn’t 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 won’t 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.

Medhurst Quartet In Maiden Thousand Quest

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 – Come Over Nova), Homeward (High Earner – In Top Gear), Mystic Falls (Bit Chili – Wongawillilesley) and Real Caution (Dyna Lachlan – 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 – 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.

“He is usually a very fast beginner, but last week he was slow out and headed for the rail, which ultimately brought about his undoing.” Whitney explained this week.

“I 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.”

Another of the Whitney team that has excelled in recent weeks is the former New South Wales chaser Black Rip (Goodesy – 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.

“I heard on the grapevine that Black Rip was for sale, so I arranged a syndicate headed by my father to purchase him. We are all having plenty of fun because he has won six of eleven starts for us,” 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 winner’s circle at the NWGRC meeting on Tuesday afternoon when the smart bitch Whodat Lass (Big Daddy Cool – Shanlyn Lass) was successful in the $4,340 Betfair Distance 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 – Wongawillilesley) TedMedhurst
2. Real Caution (Dyna Lachlan – Topline Relly) Ted Medhurst)
3. Wee Fire (Lochinvar Marlow – Arrow On Fire) Margaret Rossendell
4. Midnight Bird (High Earner – Superlicious) Michael Dobson
5. Arome Peche (Dyna Lachlan – Last Serenade) Shane Whitney
6. Captain Dylan (Collision – Lightning Moss) Allan Anderson
7. Homeward (High Earner – In Top Gear) Ted Medhurst
8. Groovy Lane (Velocette – Come Over Nova) Ted Medhurst
9. Pacha Queen (Dyna Lachlan – Wicked Witch) Em 1 Harold Cameron
10. Spring Fall (Bit Chili – Wongawillilesley) Em 2 Ted Medhurst

Gift Greyhound Turns Richard Hall’s Luck Around

Bridport owner-trainer Richard Hall was experiencing no luck at all with members of his team until gift greyhound Ninja Bear (Ninja Jamie – Moonlite Bear) entered the winners circle at the NWGRC meeting on Devonport Cup day.

“I hadn’t won a race for eighteen months and wasn’t really confident that Ninja Bear was the greyhound to solve the problem, but he was really impressive that day and now looks like he may develop into a handy performer,” he explained this week.

On Monday night at the LGRC meeting conducted at the Tote Racing Centre, Ninja Bear was once again on his best behaviour when he surprised many observers, by scoring a last to first victory in a heat of the Big Dog (515 metres ) event.

“Admittedly several of his rivals on Monday night suffered severe interference, however Ninja Bear ran on strongly to take out the event, albeit in the slowest of the heats and he has now qualified for the final on Monday night,” Hall explained.

The chaser has now won two of his six outings since debuting at an LGRC meeting six months ago and has joined litter mates Jack Reacher, Bridport Reine and Moonlite Bell in the winners list.

Hall was given four of the litter when they were nine months old, but decided to offer three of the pups to fellow owner-trainers in the Bridport area.

A beef cattle farmer with a large holding on the outskirts of the popular holiday resort, he has been involved in the sport for only four years, but is finding it a welcome form of relaxation away from the property.

“I was at Mick Taylor’s place and saw an advertisement in a greyhound racing publication and decided immediately to purchase a chaser from interstate, without even knowing that I had to be a licensed person to do so,” he explained.

Hall did not experience much joy with that initial investment, but enjoyed success as a trainer not long after with the litter mates Mackie Slater and Gypsy Slater.

“Mackie Slater won six out of his first seven outings and 13 races total and Gypsy Slater won five races, so they set the ball rolling for me,” he explained.

“I sent Mackie Slater to Western Australia to contest the Mandurah Cup, but it took him time to become accustomed to the heat and he did not fire early on, but made amends once he had settled in.”

Hall likes to breed a litter of pups each year and is currently rearing seven by Bekim Bale from the very well performed Elite State bitch Kyra Shiraz.

“Messrs Stamford and Mills bred several litters from Kyra Shiraz with good results and I am hoping that she can carry on the good work for me,” he explained.

Previous to obtaining Kyra Shiraz for breeding purposes, Hall purchased the well related bitch Flick The Switch from New South Wales, however she died before he was able to breed a litter from her.

Hall prefers to prepare only a small team, but is also in the process of offering rearing facilities to other participants.

“I consider my property to be the ideal environment for rearing pups, I have an abundance of space and access to plenty of fresh meat, so what more would I want,” he said.

Are Ate In Devonport Cup Boilover

Queensland owned chaser Are Ate provided a major upset at the Devonport Raceway on Tuesday afternoon by recording an all the way victory in the prestigious Dowling McCarthy Hankook Tyres Devonport Cup (452 metres).

The Anthony Bullock prepared son of Lochinvar Marlow flew the lids from box 7 to take up the premier position and was never headed, eventually strolling to a comfortable 25.57 score and paying a handsome win dividend of $23.20.

Are Ate, raced by the Quad Dog syndicate, was one of three Bullock kennel occupants to qualify for the North West’s premier greyhound racing event after running second to the Russell Watts prepared Jeff The Tipster in the previous week’s heats.

Most pundits declared the race a match in two between Hellyeah Bolt and Yappin’ Jack, but those chasers winning hopes were dashed following an early scrimmage.

The Mick Stringer prepared Yappin’ Jack did well to recover and run into fourth placing behind second placegetter An That and the previously mentioned Jeff The Tipster – the Tattsbet First Four paying a massive $21,650.

Anthony Bullock has only returned to the ranks of Tasmanian trainers recently following a three month stint on the sidelines and is currently enjoying a great run of success.

“I’m happy to win a maiden, but the Devonport Cup’s at the top of the tree,” he explained after the race.

“I won the Tweed Heads Galaxy race a few years ago, but to win a Tasmanian Cup is far better than winning a race interstate.”

When interviewed last week about his Devonport Cup chances, Bullock declared Are Ate the certain leader in the rich event and it is common knowledge that once in front the majority of greyhounds are in with a winning chance at most venues.

Are Ate will now be aimed at the Launceston Cup series which commences at the Tote Racing Centre on February 3rd.

Meanwhile Tuesday’s Tasracing Angus Evans Memorial (452 metres), considered the Devonport Cup Consolation, was taken out by the Shane Whitney prepared Black Rip, which gained a start with the graduation of An That to the main feature.

Heavily supported into a win dividend of $2.70, the son of Goodesy defeated Varcoe and Teddy Tom Boy and recorded a slick 25.48 in doing so.

Raced by the Ripping syndicate headed by the trainer’s father Gavin, Black Rip has now won four of nine Tasmanian outings and is proving to be a worthwhile conveyance.

The big betting Whitney kennel has enjoyed great success in recent years with the likes of outstanding stayers Chinatown Lad and to a lesser extent the bitch Fallen Zorro.

Fastest time for the day at the NWGRC meeting was recorded by the interstate chaser Mighty Lomar, which recorded a sizzling 25.30 in winning the tattsbet. Com Grade 4 event.


2014 Devonport Cup Final


Are Ate Wins the 2014 Group Three Devonport Cup

The Anthony Bullock trained Are Ate has created a major upset by winning today’s Group Three Devonport Cup, beating fellow outsiders An That and Jeff The Tipster.

Are Ate victory might have seemed like a shock to most, but not his trainer, who explained in an interview after the heats that he was in with a chance.

“Are Ate will lead this field for sure, and the Hellyeah dogs will be in the firing line behind him.” Bullock explained on Wednesday.

“Whatever happens next is in the lap of the gods, but all I know is that I have a great chance of winning my first Devonport Cup.”

This was exactly how things panned out, with Are Ate spearing straight to the front and holding on to win in 25.57. There was plenty of trouble behind Are Ate and this allowed him enough breathing space to hang on. An That was a big run to finish second after finding plenty of early trouble.

There is no doubt that Hellyeah Missile and Hellyeah Bolt were the best chances from the Bullock kennel, but that won’t be worrying the Exeter based trainer one iota and the Cascade and Boag’s will be flowing freely.


2014 Devonport Cup Final


Only Form Chasers Win The Devonport Cup

The Devonport Cup only gained Group status in 2010, but it ranks as one of the longest-established major races on the Australian calendar. It also rates as one of the toughest races to win, with no chaser ever being able to go back-to-back since the race was inaugurated in 1953. Ordinary greyhounds don’t tend to win the Devonport Cup, and this year, which marks the 61st time the race has been conducted, looks to be no different. In fact, the race is almost always taken out by a well-boxed greyhound, racing in good form.

Although the junior of the three Tasmanian tracks, the Devonport club has attracted its share of some of the best greyhounds ever to race in the Apple Isle, as well as drawing top trainers like Graeme Bate and Darren McDonald in an attempt to annex their cup.

The first Devonport Cup took place on 2 April 1953 and resulted in King’s Idea scoring by a length and a half from White Oct and Main Birch in 24 9/16, a new track record.

The following year, the smart Opotoki defeated the favoured Sunny Nebo by a length with Allie’s Boy third. Allie’s Boy had finished fourth the previous year and thus became the first dual finalist of the race.

Prominent local trainer Vivian Berresford took out the 1956 running with Moomba Queen and repeated the dose with Ripple Bay, in 1964.

Since its inauguration, the Devonport Cup has only missed being run twice, first in 1963, and then in 2002. Although contested in January since 2003, the race has been held in March, April and, for a lengthy time, in October.

In 1996 it was run twice, first in January, when won by Ginger’s Charm, and then in October, when it was taken out by Hi Tech Boris. The move to October was partially aimed at turning the Cup into a lead-up for the Hobart Thousand.

Only two chasers have won the Devonport Cup and then gone on to win the Hobart Thousand in the same year. The first was the great Shantung Tiger, in 1997, who defeated the 1996 Devonport Cup winner Ginger’s Charm and then went on to success in Hobart. The second was Black Caleb, in 2001, who narrowly defeated Stylish Doctor to notch his seventh successive win before making in nine on end in winning in Hobart.

Top Shiraz, who won the Cup in 1999 went on to run fifth in the Hobart Thousand, but came back in 2000 to take out Tasmania’s premier event.

Nowadays, the Hobart Thousand is run in December, so the Devonport Cup is the follow-up rather than the lead-up event. Since that date change, no greyhound has taken the double. Regent Thunder won the 2004 Hobart Thousand but found the smart Supa Instinct too strong in the 2005 Devonport Cup final. Taipan Bale, however, finished fourth in the 2008 Hobart race but then snared the 2009 Devonport Cup for Graeme Bate, giving the trainer his first success after years of trying.

Champion sprinter Rewind ran second in the 2011 Hobart Thousand before coming to Devonport and beating one of the best fields ever assembled for the Cup.

Rewind found the Victorian Allen Benji (trained by Graeme Bate) too strong in the 2013 final, once again keeping the race as an event that has never been won twice by the same chaser.

Other top-class racers to have won the event include Black Tuesday (1967), Unique Venture (1979; a winner of 41 of 84 race starts), Wynlee Wonder (1982; she set a track record and had won the Sandown Cup two years earlier), Stylish Doctor (2003; who went on to register 50 wins from 114 starts, with 38 placings and was a dual finalist in the Cup, running second in 2001), Big Moose (2008; but failed in 2009), Gardam Prince (2010; for trainer Darren McDonald), and St Pierre (2011; an Australian Cup winner).


2014 Devonport Cup Heats Replays


Bullock Qualifies Three For The Devonport Cup Final

Exeter based mentor Anthony Bullock has qualified three of his team for the $35,700 Dowling McCarthy Hankook Tyres Devonport Cup Final (452 metres), to be conducted at the Devonport Raceway on Tuesday afternoon.

Bullock won heats of the Group 3 event with litter mates Hellyeah Missile and Hellyeah Bolt, and also qualified former Queensland chaser Are Ate, which ran second to Jeff The Tipster from the Russell Watts kennel.

Bullock has enjoyed great success since returning from an enforced spell on the sidelines and would dearly love to win a Devonport Cup, which has so far eluded him.

He is more than happy with the box draw for the rich event, with Hellyeah Missile and Hellyeah Bolt drawing alongside each other in boxes 1 and 2, and the speedy Are Ate drawing out in box 7.

“Are Ate will lead this field for sure, and the Hellyeah dogs will be in the firing line behind him.” Bullock explained on Wednesday.

“Whatever happens next is in the lap of the gods, but all I know is that I have a great chance of winning my first Devonport Cup.”

Both Hellyeah Missile and Hellyeah Bolt are raced by the Hellyeah syndicate, headed by Rick Donaldson, which originated at the Hellyer mine site located on Tasmania’s rugged West Coast.

The latter recorded a time of 25.71 in winning his Cup heat and has now won 13 of 20 lifetime outings and stakes in excess of $38,000.

Hellyeah Bolt’s winning heat time was eclipsed only by the Ricky Ponting owned Rumbling Rick, which sped to an impressive 25.57 score at the expense of the Mick Stringer prepared Yappin’ Jack, which had led from the outset.

Anthony Bullock has nominated Yappin Jack’, which ran third in the recent Group 1 Hobart Thousand, as his main danger in next Tuesday’s finale.

Prepared by Launceston’s Dale Hammersley, Rumbling Rick has now won 12 of 34 lifetime outings and stakes of almost $40,000. He appears to have benefited greatly from a recent stint in Western Australia.

Hammersley was thrilled that Rumbling Rick was able to chase down Yappin Jack’ and has unveiled Launceston Cup plans for the chaser, who has drawn awkwardly in box 5 next Tuesday.

The only interstate greyhound to qualify for the Devonport Cup was the Dave Burnett prepared Archie Gumballs, which recorded a time of 25.74 in defeating Varcoe and last year’s winner Allen Benji.

The chaser will no doubt be improved by the outing on the circuit, but has drawn box 4 in the final, making his task a difficult one.

Loira trainer Paul Hili, who transferred to Tasmania from Victoria a couple of years ago, will be represented in the Devonport Cup by the smart chaser Proven Fantasy, who recorded a time of 25.74 in winning his heat from the inside box.

He has now won 12 of 29 lifetime outings and stakes of almost $20,000 and has drawn box 8 on Tuesday afternoon.

2014 DEVONPORT CUP (452 METRES) GROUP 3

1st $25,000 2nd $6,000 3rd $2,800 4th $700
1. Hellyeah Missile (Dyna Lachlan – Flash Diamond) Anthony Bullock
2. Hellyeah Bolt (Dyna Lachlan – Flash Diamond) Anthony Bullock
3. Yappin Jack’ ( Aston Galilee – Patsy Anne) Mick Stringer
4. Archie Gumballs (Where’s Pedro – Come On Roxy) David Burnett
5. Rumbling Rick (Cosmic Rumble – Ricky’s Angel) Dale Hammersley
6. Jeff The Tipster (Mantra Lad – Petal) Russell Watts
7. Are Ate (Lochinvar Marlow – Long Long Mama) Anthony Bullock
8. Proven Fantasy (Premier Fantasy – Proven Polly) Paul Hili
9. An That (Chinatown Lad – Creighton’s Star) Em 1 Rodney Campbell
10. Wynburn Wizard (Collide – Hayley’s Girl) Em 2 Scott Bryan


2014 Devonport Cup Heats Replays


Locals Hoping To Repel Raiders In Devonport Cup Heats

Six heats of the Group 3 Devonport Cup provide the pinnacle of racing at the showgrounds this Tuesday afternoon.

The one-turn feature event will take place over the 452 metres, with the current track record standing for well over a decade, courtesy of Lilli Pilli Lad’s run of 25.13. While the track is often prepared to an absolute premium at this time of year, many great sprinters have come close without ever eclipsing the mark.

This year the quality of entrants is again at a great standard, with runners from several Victorian kennels making the trip over Bass Straight.

The first heat will be a battle of the locals, with Yappin’ Jack the likely favourite from box three. Most people will be familiar with his form around the Elwick circuit in Hobart, which culminated in a Group 1 berth behind Paw Licking last month. However his record around Devonport is just as imposing with six wins and a second from nine tries, including a 25.50 run in March last year.

His only major competition looks to be Ricky Ponting’s entrant, Rumbling Rick, who will exit the red box. His recent form is solid behind some talented chasers, and while he hasn’t started at the track in over a year, his best time of 25.85 from his younger days would be enough to make an impact on the race.

Bain’s Lane in box six and Launnie Rocket in seven look the next best, with Urana Galore capable of pulling out a run.

Heat two is a far more even affair, with the majority of runners being reliable breakers,making the start crucial. The quality runner of the field is Buckle Up Mason from the Jenny Hunt kennel.

Bred and owned by Robin and Gary Johnson, Buckle Up Mason has Tasmanian roots but was immediately sent to Graeme Bate to commence his racing career. That move has yielded 13 wins and $34,000 as a result, with the dog being given to Jenny Hunt after the suspension to Bate in late 2013.

Buckle Up Mason will come from the widest box on Tuesday afternoon and could face a hard task to cross the field, with plenty of pace in the middle boxes. Fulande (box four) from the Peter Phillips’ kennel is one such greyhound, along with Teddy Tom Boy (box five) and Hellyeah Missile (box two), who will all be looking for the front in the first 100 metres of the race.

There once was a time that Emerald Lee would have been odds-on in this event, but it’s safe to say that her best in behind her and she represents a place chance only.  Mighty Lomar in box six and Dominator Girl from seven are also chances in a very open race for punters to sort through.

Things get a little easier in heat three, with Hellyeah Bolt likely to win again from box eight. Arguably the fastest dog on the Apple Isle, Hellyeah Bolt’s best time of 25.28 set in July is the fastest run at the track in recent memory, and the opposition look hard pressed to get near him here.

Oscar Ralph is well drawn in two, and looks like a value proposition after some cheeky runs against such dogs as Farmor Las Vegas and Yappin’ Jack in the past month. His best work is in the middle stages of the race and he will appreciate a rails run.

Pedro’s Runaway (box four) has found the winners’ circle since arriving in the state and will be prominent , along with Black Rip (box five), who excelled at the track in a 25.67 win last week and usually shows good early pace.

Victorian Nico Bale should head the betting in the next heat, despite the awkward draw of box five. His record from there is poor; however the majority of his wins have been from outside boxes, making this race seem much more achievable. A lot will depend on how he jumps.

Proven Fantasy adores the rails and will be pushing hard from box one for Paul Hili. Sentry Duty will relish the extra room in box eight as well. That duo looks the most likely to cause an upset and add more local flavour to the final.

The second-last heat appears a race in three with Buckle Up Wes the obvious candidate after producing slashing runs throughout his career. Devonport is not his favourite track however, and the lone win here was in 26.06, which would need to be improved on. He’ll start favourite but looks more vulnerable here than in previous engagements.

There will be speed coming from Dyna Ishaan in box six, with the Jenny Hunt prepared greyhound coming off some competitive runs around Ballarat and Warragul. It will be relatively easy to cross the two dogs drawn inside him, and if Buckle Up Wes is off his game, Dyna Ishaan will lead this race for a long way.

Jeff The Tipster is an erratic chaser, but box eight will help him stay out of trouble here. His mid-race speed his usually a highlight, so look for him to surge coming into the home straight.

Watching it all unfold will be the 2013 defending champion Allen Benji who will start favourite in the final heat. Last year he was able to run Rewind off his legs in a memorable final and will be hoping for a repeat win this year. With a good draw between Cosmic Fire and Fryston, the son of Buttsie Bale and Swiss Bale will be able to slide across the field and be awfully hard to run down.

Archie Gumballs is prepared by Dave Burnett and would be capable enough at his best, but he would need a clean getaway. His form over the past month or so is ragged at best, so those taking him will be doing so on trust.

Varcoe is the best of the local hopes and will jump from box five, between the two Victorian hopefuls. This might well pose some issues, but Varcoe has the pace to settle in a winning position. With the enthusiasm of youth he might spoil the invaders’ party, much to the delight of Debbie Cannan owner Chris Nutt.

The 2013 Devonport Cup heats are races 3 to 8 on the 10 event card, and commence at 1.39pm local time.

Paw Licking Steals The Money, The Record And The Show In Hobart

For everyone except Kel Greenough and Allan Lang, it wasn’t supposed to be this way.

Black Magic Opal for Jason Thompson supposedly had a mortgage on Australia’s oldest race after breaking the track record with an 11-length heat win a week earlier. He had box eight. He had the $1.40 price tag. He was the reigning Melbourne Cup winner.

But 25.64 seconds later, he would be upstaged, out sped and beaten on merit.  The dog who can now claim to having the prize scalp, and the Hobart track record in the process, is none other than fellow Victorian, Paw Licking.

Bred by Charles Northfield in March 2011, the son of Elite State and Kingsbrae Di flew out of the traps, keeping the favourite wide in the early stages. They drew well clear of the chasing brigade, headed by Yappin’ Jack who exited box two.

Ronan Izmir was far from his brilliant best, as was Hellyeah Bolt.  Farmor Las Vegas, Clone Your Own and Sing The Song were all left scrapping for position at the tail of the pack.

At the half way point, it was clearly a race in two. It was going to be a moment to saviour as the high-profile duo swung for the judge. Paw Licking had done the hard part and crossed to the fence in the lead, but could he complete the job and hold off one of the fastest dogs of the last decade?

Black Magic Opal wasn’t going down without a fight. He saw an opportunity on the fence and didn’t need asking twice. Gritting his teeth and burrowing hard, the prize was still in reach. Paw Licking is noted as having a limited tank, and with each stride, the Thompson-trained superstar got closer and closer. But so too did the post, and with one last gasp, Black Magic Opal made its final dive. However Paw Licking was going too fast, breaking every sectional record and claiming the Hobart Thousand by under a length.

Yappin’ Jack was third all the way doing his state proud. Ronan Izmir kept the interest for first four players.

Paw Licking’s statistical record now reads as 44 starts for 27 wins, along with four minors. The 2013 Hobart Thousand will go down on paper as his third Group final success from nine appearances, and his first win at the highest level. Prizemoney for Paw Licking now exceeds $275,000, but one would dare think that it was the circumstances of beating Black Magic Opal at his own game that will be remembered most.

Trainer Kel Greenough has been previously associated with the Apple Isle, having taken in several Tasmanian Chasers for their mainland campaigns; Galtee Again, I’m a Fencer and Jethro just to name a few. Now it is his turn to receive a reward for his efforts, with this $75,000 win with his star chaser.

Earlier in the night, the traditional consolation for the Thousand, the Bob Brown Memorial, was deservedly taken out by Buckle Up Wes in 25.87.

The Ted Medhurst-prepared runner has been a class act in recent months, winning in good time on several tracks, including two wins at Wentworth Park.

From box two, the son of Collision and Everlong Bale was one of the best out, but had to tussle with Black Rip for the early lead. While those two were battling, Varcoe made his presence known and the stage was set for a grandstand finish.

Buckle Up Wes had other ideas though, and blew his rivals apart with a powerful finishing burst. Black Rip battled away in second place, holding off Varcoe and Pinto Pronto, who couldn’t make up any ground despite settling just behind the trio up front.

Buckle Up Wes takes his career performance to an imposing 15 wins from 25 starts, along with over $38,000 for connections and is a worthy winner of a listed event.

Feature racing will remain in Tasmania over the summer months, with Devonport holding their Cup series in January before the action moves east for the Launceston Cup in February.


2013 Hobart 1000 Final Replay


Clash Of The One-Turn Titans For The Group One Hobart Thousand

Hobart GRC will play host to one of the most anticipated races of 2013, as one-turn specialists Black Magic Opal, Paw Licking and Ronan Izmir will jump side-by-side. While Black Magic Opal will start firmly in the red, the rest of the market looks wide open with the best of the box draw going to some determined locals, hoping to keep the title on home soil for the first time since 2008.

 

Full preview for the race is included below:

 

Box 1

Race Odds

$26.00

Heat Replay

Sing The Song

Trainer

Robert Grubb

Owner

Grubb Syn

Prizemoney

$21,355

Last 10 Starts

2454131141

34 Months   Brindle   Bitch   by   High  Earner - Stylish Moon
Start: Good

Running:

Wide

Finish:

Good

 

 

 

 

Career Record

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
27 11  2 3

Strike Rates

Win %

Place %

40%

 60%

Track & Dist.

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
6 3 0 0
       

Box 1 Record

Starts 1st
1 0    
Comments: Talented local chaser with good mid-race speed. Needs room outside her in the race which won’t happen here. Outsider.

Best Hobart Time

25.73

 

Box 2

Race Odds

$15.00

Heat Replay

Yappin’ Jack

Trainer

Mick Stringer

Owner

Witherden Syn

Prizemoney

$41,265

Last 10 Starts

1111158412

31 Months   Red Brindle   Dog   by   Aston Gallilee - Patsy Anne
Start Fair/Good

Running

Rail

Finish

Fair

Career Record

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
30 18  5 0
       

Strike Rates

Win %

Place %

60%

76%

Track & Dist.

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
14 10  2 0
       

Box 2 Record

Starts 1st    
4 4    
Comments: Loves the track, and this box, and was game in defeat last week. Needs to be at his absolute best against this class.

Best Hobart Time

Best

25.77

 

Box 3

Race Odds

$17.00

Heat Replay

Farmor Las Vegas

Trainer

Robert Britton

Owner

Wayne Scott

Prizemoney

$145,145

Last 10 Starts

1241122121

34 Months   Black   Dog   by   Knocka Norris - Farmor Cee you

Start

Fair

Running

Rail

Finish

Strong

Career Record

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
48 20  15 1

Strike Rates

Win %

Place %

42%

75%

Track & Dist.

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1 1  0 0

Box 3 Record

Starts 1st
3 0
Comments: Very consistent Victorian who deserves a win at the highest level. Draw isn’t too bad, and can pull off the upset with any slip-up from the favourite.

Best Hobart Time

 25.78

 

Box 4

Race Odds

$21.00

Heat Replay

Clone Your Own

Trainer

Robert Britton

Owner

Alison Lee

Prizemoney

$162,545

Last 10 Starts

3133462182

36 Months   Black   Dog   by   Droopy’s Marco - Elie Saab

Start

Fair

Running

Wide

Finish

Excellent

Career Record

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
44 17  6 9

Strike Rates

Win %

Place %

38%

72%

Track & Dist.

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1 0 1 0

Box 4 Record

Starts 1st
4 0
Comments: Racing in great fashion and deserves his spot despite being pipped by Hellyeah Bolt in the heat. Not without a chance if given the right run in transit.

Best Hobart Times

25.85

 

Box 5

Race Odds

$8.00

Heat Replay

Hellyeah Bolt

Trainer

Anthony Bullock

Owner

Hellyeah syndicate

Prizemoney

$34,655

Last 10 Starts

131213111

27 Months   Black   Dog   by   Dyna Lachlan - Flash Diamond

Start

Fair

Running

Middle

Finish

Good

Career Record

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
17 11 2 2

Strike Rates

Win %

Place %

64%

82%

Track & Dist.

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
10 7 1 0

Box 5 Record

Starts 1st
2 2
Comments: Arguably the fastest chaser in Tasmania at present. Races best on this circuit, but the box draw with so much pace around him, is quite simply horrible. Needs luck.

Best Hobart Time

25.75

 

Box 6

Race Odds

$11.00

Heat Replay

Ronan Izmir

Trainer

Jason Thompson

Owner

Sally Burns

Prizemoney

$236,755

Last 10 Starts

421331111

35 Months   Black   Dog   by   Elite State -  Adhara Izmir

Start

Quick

Running

Middle

Finish

Fair

Career Record

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
49 31 5 6

Strike Rates

Win %

Place %

63%

85%

Track & Dist.

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1 1  0 0

Box 6 Record

Starts 1st
7 4
Comments: Has claims to being the best one-turn sprinter in the land, perhaps with the exception of his kennel mate. In great form and should run a place at worst.

Best Hobart Time

25.87

 

Box 7

Race Odds

$6.50 

Heat Replay

Paw Licking

Trainer

Kel Greenough

Owner

Allan Lang

Prizemoney

$207,150

Last 10 Starts

1513127121

33 Months   Black and White   Dog   by   Elite State - Kingsbrae Di

Start

Quick

Running

Middle

Finish

Fair

Career Record

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
43 26  7 2

Strike Rates

Win %

Place %

60%

81%

Track & Dist.

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1 1 0 0

Box 7 Record

Starts 1st
4 2
Comments: Victorian speedster who was brilliant on his Hobart debut. Caught between a rock and a hard place here though, and would need to begin at his brilliant best to lead, which is somewhat of a worry. Don’t discount.

Best Hobart Time

25.77

 

Box 8

Race Odds

$1.50

Heat Replay

Black Magic Opal

Trainer

Jason Thompson

Owner

Black Magic Syn

Prizemoney

$498,430

Last 10 Starts

4111111111

30 Months   Black   Dog   by   Magic Sprite - Awesome Opal

Start

Excellent

Running

Rail

Finish

Good

Career Record

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
35 28 4 0

Strike Rates

Win %

Place %

32%

91%

Track & Dist.

Starts 1st 2nd 3rd
1  1 0  0

Box 8 Record

Starts 1st
7 6
Comments: Raging favourite after producing one of the best two-month form spells in recent memory. Looks a formality here and should lower his own record at his second-up look at the track.

Best Hobart Time

29.65 TRec

 

VARCOE (Debbie Cannan) and TEDDY TOM BOY (Maurie Strickland) make up the reserves, with the $75,000 to the winner event set to jump at 9.44 AEDST.

Bullock Confident Of Christmas Gift Success

Exeter based trainer Anthony Bullock is extremely confident that former Queensland chaser Are Ate (Lochinvar Marlow – Long Long Mama) can provide him with an early Christmas present by taking out the Brooks Group Christmas Gift Final (452 metres), to be conducted at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting at the Devonport Raceway.

Six heats of the feature were conducted at this week’s NWGRC meeting and Are Ate was by far the fastest qualifier, scorching to a four length win in 25.84, as a well supported $3.00 commodity.

Raced by the Queensland based Quad Dog syndicate, he has having his first run in Tasmania and has now won seven of 30 lifetime outings, and he should prove to be worthy addition to the Bullock team.

“The track was very slow early but improved as the day went on, my fellow was the only heat winner to break 26 seconds and I think he will have benefited from the run,” Bullock explained this week.

“I don’t think it matters where he draws in the final, he will just be winning.”

Just back from a period of disqualification, Bullock is enjoying a great run of success. He has also qualified Are Ate’s litter brother Devocean, and Lakoda Pretty (Cosmic Rumble – Zingara) for Tuesday’s showdown.

Rosevale owner- trainer Sonia Martin has qualified Cosmic Fire (Cosmic Rumble – Aspen Gold) for the Christmas Gift and she is also quietly confident of success.

The chaser recorded a time of 26.06 in winning his heat, and he is another which will be improved by the outing.

Sonia and her husband Ricky entered litter-mates Cosmic Fire, Mental As Ben and Leica Comet for the series, but the former is the only qualifier for the final.

“When they turned two, we elected to give them a brief spell and Cosmic Fire was racing first up for a couple of months, so I imagine that the run will have done him the world of good,” Sonia explained.

“He is very bright and looked good winning on Tuesday, so we are hoping that he can provide us with some Christmas cheer.”

Dead heats are rare in the world of greyhound racing, but the judge could net separate Sir Slater (Slater – Princess Keeping) and Street Talk (Talk’s Cheap – Card Shark) in the fifth of six Christmas Gift Heats.

The pair recorded a time of 26.32 in winning and will now contest Tuesday’s final from the kennels of Maurie Strickland and Loretta McShane.

Sir Slater has now won eight of 66 lifetime outings and has therefore recouped expenses for owner Samuel Page, whereas Street Talk has won six of 26 for owner Raymond Brittain.

Meanwhile, a big crowd is expected to witness the running of tomorrow night’s Tattsbet Hobart Thousand Final (461 metres), which has attracted a star-studded field of greyhounds.

The programme will also feature the running of the Bob Brown Hobart Thousand Consolation (461 metres) and the Billy Grice Memorial (461 metres) in what promises to be an action packed night of racing.

Twelve Things You Don’t Know About The Hobart Thousand

2013 will see the 77th running of the Hobart Thousand, arguably Australia’s longest-running feature event. I say ‘arguably’ because while the Hobart Thousand, which started simply as the Hobart Cup in 1935, has been almost continuous (only missing two years because of the Second World War), the Melbourne Cup is older, beginning in 1934. In reality though, the Melbourne Cup, as we know it today, did not have its modern-day style until the late 1950s.

No matter, the Hobart Thousand was for a very long time a race that attracted the best greyhounds in the country, not least because it was the richest event from 1947 to 1950, being worth £1,000 to the winner, hence the name. It was equal richest from 1951 to 1956, alongside the Harold Park Classic (now known as the Vic Peters Memorial Classic), and again in 1958 and 1959.

Although it was supplanted as the richest race in the country by the Australian Cup, it remained one of the most valuable events through the 1960s and into the early part of the 1970s.

Inaugural Running

The Hobart Cup was first run in 1935 and won by Elwick Boy, who earned £20 for his connections. The heats for the race were run earlier the same day with first and second through to the final.

The first time the race was known as the Hobart Thousand was in 1939 when Mr Whackles took home £500, with the total prize money for the race being £1,000.

Names

As mentioned above, the race was first called the Hobart Cup (1935-1938) and became the Hobart Thousand in 1939. Although it had a brief reversion to the Hobart Cup name during the Second World War, and was not contested in 1944 and 1945, it has been known as the Hobart Thousand ever since.

Distances

It started over 410 yards (375 metres) from 1935 to 1941. Then it became a 525 yards (480 metres) race from 1942-1943 and 1946-1948. The event was run over 540 yards (494 metres) from 1949 to 1972. The distance was extended to 500 metres from 1973 to 1980, back to 497 metres between 1981 and 1985, and down further to 457 metres from 1986 to 2005. Since the move to Tattersall’s Park, the Hobart Thousand has been contested over the 461-metres distance.

When Is The Race Run

The first running took place on 2 February 1935. Until 1985 the final was either run in very late January or February. It had a brief flirtation with being run in March, but since 1990 the final has always taken place in December.

Biggest Winning Margins

Ralph The Mouth scored by a whopping nine and three-quarter lengths in 2005. The next best was back in 1958 when Rookie Rebel (see below) avenged his defeat the previous year and whipped his rivals by eight lengths.

Closest Winning Margins

This was in the 1957 when Rising Ace defeated the champion Rookie Rebel by a nose, in a field of 10.

The 1950 winner Neat Brandy scored by a short head, while the 1954 and 1959 victors, Pasha Chief and Peter’s Treasure, managed to prevail by just a half-head each.

Most Successful Trainer/s

Graeme Bate has led in four winners: Bomber Gleeson (1992), Extra’s Boy (1993), Mirren Bale (1998) and Latest Lad (1999). Next best is Hilda Williamson who scored with three in a row: Ophir Doll (1961 & 1962) and Ophir Gold (1963). Four other trainers have won the race twice, the most recent being John Galea with Nobody Knew (2003) and Train A Journey (2007).

Only Dual Winner/s

Just one: Ophir Doll in 1961 and 1962. She also made the 1963 final, but could only run fourth behind kennelmate Ophir Gold.

Only Reserve/s To Win

None. The closest was the third placing of Pure Oz in 2004.

Dual Finalists

Jack Ayr (second 1939 & 1940), Rookie Rebel (second 1957, won 1958), Peter’s Treasure (won 1959, third 1960), Ophir Doll (won 1961, 1962, fourth 1963), Starlight Rebel (second 1993, third 1994), Jellico Lad (fourth in 1994 and 1995), Shantung Tiger (second 1996, won 1997), Top Shiraz (fifth 1999, won 2000), Family First (third 2001, fifth 2002), Pure Oz (fourth 2003, third 2004), Train A Journey (third 2006, won 2007) and Rewind (second in 2011 and 2012).

Some Beaten Stars

Plenty of champions and topliners have made the final, but not managed to snare the race. Tumble Bug (1947), Sharid (1951), Zoom Top (1969), Mona’s Beauty (1974), Sheila’s Teresa and Chariot Supreme (1984), Busy Vintage (1985), Fine Horizon (1999), Brett Lee (2000), Modern Assassin (2002), Big Daddy Cool (2003), Where’s Pedro (2004), Pororoca (2005), Kilty Lad and Damek (2010), and Rewind (2011 & 2012).

Tidbits

The 1952 winner Baron Dhu was undefeated in six starts to that point, having also won the Hobart Maiden Thousand. The 1959 final field was the first to contain all local-trained runners. The 1966 winner, Ipswich Low, is the only English-bred greyhound to have won a major race in Australia.

The 1975 final, won by Snowsun, was the last time all finalists were led to the boxes by officially appointed uniformed attendants. The honour of leading in the most Hobart Thousand winners went to an attendant named Don Bomford, with six successes.

Another Week, Another Record – Black Magic Opal Conquers Hobart

He was always going to be the star attraction of the night.

Black Magic Opal exited the red box on a calm night at Hobart, and the result was an 11-length win in the fastest time ever seen at the Elwick track.

While the first dog to show its face was the old-timer, Rewind, it too like so many before him was left in the position of spectator, as Jason Thompson’s amazing sprinter blew the field away, progressing to another Group 1 feature final.

Lowering the previous time standard of 25.71 set by Bergermeister, the son of Magic Sprite and Awesome Opal now boasts a time of 25.65 for the 461 metres. It was a stirring performance, with those on course sharing the feeling of awe with Sky viewers, as the words ‘Track Record’ scrolled across the bottom of the semaphore board.

Elite Devil was second across the line ahead of Roxy Rythym, with Rewind likely to be retired again after fading to finish fourth in the run to the post.

It highlighted what is traditionally the best night of racing from the Apple Isle, with a card littered with high-profile winners.

While it may have seemed like an eternity, eventually Race five at Hobart came around to get the 2013 Hobart Thousand series underway.

Paw Licking was the first of what was to be many odds-on favourites during the night, and it duly saluted in the opening heat. Starting at even-money favourite from box eight, the white and black speedster was too slick for some strong competition, running a blistering 25.78 in the process.

Local chaser Yappin’ Jack provided the fiercest competition for most of the event, running a gallant second beaten less than a length from box five. He was the beneficiary of only six heats being conducted, and will line up in the Group 1 final regardless of being defeated.

Fancied runner Buckle Up Wes settled third after a moderate getaway, but was checked by Yappin’ Jack on the top turn, ending any hope, while See Him First followed suit losing a lot of ground from interference occurred just after boxrise.

Heat two was expected to be a three-way fight between Hellyeah Bolt, Dark Warrior and Clone Your Own. Those three would eventually run the trifecta, but the run of Hellyeah Bolt to run down Clone Your Own was more than memorable. After giving the strong New Zealander a five length start, Hellyeah Bolt never stopped pushing, and after a tremendous battle, it emerged the victor in 25.83. Paying $1.80 on Tattsbet, the son of Dyna Lachlan and Flash Diamond was a popular result for punters.

Clone Your Own was certainly not disgraced and will still progress as one of the fastest seconds.

Heat three was really only about one dog, with Ronan Izmir strangling the market from box five. Those that took the $1.10 shorts on the recent Ballarat Cup winner wouldn’t have liked the look of things after the first fifty metres, with the black speedster positioned behind runners. But like a good dog should, Ronan Izmir drove hard along the fence to starve off the challengers and book its place in the time-honoured classic.

Running the 461 metres in 25.87, Ronan Izmir showed good strength to overcome Teddy Tom Boy, who showed his customary dash but was outclassed by the Victorian runner. Pinto Pronto ran a solid race and despite copping a check off the top turn, managed to finish right behind the front duo.

It was a similar story in heat four, where the in-form Farmor Las Vegas would win dominantly as a $1.40 favourite. The huge 37kg dog trained by Robert Britton was third out of the boxes but soon muscled underneath the pack to take control.

He also set a sub-26 second time, with 25.71 showing on the clock, well ahead of what Hellyeah Missile and Oscar Ralph, who dead-heated for second, could manage. This time equalled the current track record of Bergermeister, but that record wasn’t going to last very long.

It will be the fourth straight group final for Farmor Las Vegas, after making the Adelaide, Geelong and Brisbane Cups.

But they were all preludes to the track record run of Black Magic Opal show in heat five.

An even field assembled at the boxes for the sixth and final heat.

Varcoe for Debbie Cannan was heavily backed and was ‘in-the-red’ by the time the lids opened. However, the speed of Black Rip and Sing The Song showed the way, with the latter taking control off the back straight.

Sing The Song has always shown an affinity for the Hobart circuit and tonight she won the hard way, sitting outside Black Rip and doing it tough to hold on from the fast finishing Varcoe. She earnt her chance for the biggest prize on the Apple Isle.

While the time of 25.97 was the slowest of the night, it was a gritty win and she did enough to still be considered a place chance ahead of next weeks $75,000 final.


2013 Hobart 1000 Heats Replays


Maine’s Christmas Comes Early

Burnie trainer Wayne Maine enjoyed a great start to the festive season by winning races at both the LGRC meeting at the Tote Racing Centre on Monday night and then Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway.

On both occasions the chasers involved were owned by Zeehan’s Helen Pringle and were whelped and reared in the West Coast mining town. On Monday night Helen’s bitch From The West (Bit Chili and Cool Breeze),  recorded her initial victory in the Neutradex Juvenile (515 metres) when having her fifth start in a race, and in doing so became the first of her particular litter to enter the winners circle.

On Tuesday afternoon Bendigo Scott (Collision and Irinka Maddison), also the first of his litter to win a race, was successful in the Tasfreight Juvenile (452 metres) at Devonport, making it two wins in succession after winning at Hobart in his previous start. The chaser was also having his fifth start in a race and to date has recorded two wins and two placings, with a juvenile in Launceston his next mission.

“Both litters broke in nicely and showed considerable promise, but as is often the case, they are taking time to find their racing legs and at this stage of proceedings are invariably tardy from the boxes,” Maine explained.

“With further racing experience I am sure that they will develop into handy chasers, capable of well and truly paying their way.”

The trainer has enjoyed great success in recent years with greyhounds owned by Helen Pringle, who in partnership with her former union boss husband Joe, are proprietors of Zeehan’s supermarket.

Meanwhile Brighton trainer Brendan Pursell, a harness racing convert, was quick to get runs on the board at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting, winning two of the first three races on a ten event card. Pursell, who applied some early polish to Bold Trease winner Cheetah Zorro, took out the Advocate Grade 4/5 (580 metres) with Happy Tiger (Mogambo and Jacinta Bale) and then followed up by winning the Betta Milk Juvenile (452 metres) with the well related bitch Alonnah (Talk’s Cheap and Wooreddy).

Raced by the Wolf Racing syndicate, Happy Tiger made it three wins in succession and has now won 16 of 43 lifetime outings and stakes of in excess of $27,000.

Alonnah, a member of the litter which includes the good winners Barnes Bay, Daniel’s Bay, Great Taylors, Kirkby Lodge, Murrayfield and Sandy’s Pick, is raced by the Island syndicate headed by prominent breeder and bookmaker Barry Heawood. The bitch has now won four of six lifetime outings and is sure to be seen in the winner’s circle many more times in the future.

Smart bitch Stylish Abbey (High Earner – Stylish Moon) landed some nice wagers when she won the Damek At Stud Grade 4 (452 metres) at the NWGRC meeting. Originally an emergency, the Robin Grubb prepared bitch gained a start from the black box and proved too good for the opposition, after firming from long odds into a starting quote of $9.50. Stylish Abbey is a member of the litter which includes the very smart chasers Hi Bella, Kiss Me Elvis, Pipstar, Quick Advance, Roxy Rhythm and Sing The Song. She has now won eight of 39 lifetime outings while accumulating a purse of in excess of $17,000.

The Hobart Thousand – A Special Perspective

This isn’t something that you would normally see me do. Those close to me have suggested that the things that matter most to me are usually kept within the complex boundaries of my brain. This time however, I wanted to share something. I wanted to pen down the reasons why the Hobart Thousand series continually finds a special significance within this humble writers’ existence.

Firstly, I need to point out that I’m not from Tasmania. Nor have I ever been there or know anyone from there. But strangely enough, the Apple Isle’s premier race strikes the nucleus of a greyhound passion that started in my teens.

My much-older brother was involved within the sport many years ago, and after spruiking my interest just after primary school, I enquired about which tracks number eight – my favourite number of course – won the most races. I was wisely advised that Hobart presented the best opportunity for dogs drawn wide to get across, and hence my focus narrowed on the Thursday night meetings from that venue.

Fast forward a couple of months, and all the buzz was to be about an ‘unbeatable’ greyhound coming out of Victoria, set to race around the U-Turn of Glenorchy’s showground track. For a fourteen year old boy, this was exciting news, and it garnered even more weight when the ‘unbeatable’ dog happened to be named Brett Lee.

After studying his particular race like nothing before, you can imagine the amazement when Elle’s Supremo, a handy local dog, would rain on the parade of this new invader, knocking him off in a sensational boilover. It was to be my first Hobart Thousand memory; one which solidified even further when Brett Lee would go within a length of the track record in the semi-final.

Hunched over a transistor radio in the kitchen of the family home (no access to Sky Channel back then) I can still hear then caller Damien Seaton’s excitement when the great Top Shiraz “landed two in front” in the final.  Brett Lee would again have his colours lowered on that night, but would go on to become one of the greatest chasers the world would ever see.

Since that series in 2000, The Hobart Thousand has stopped my world every December. Also occurring on and around Christmas, it quickly became a checkpoint to reflect on how my life was progressing.

In 2002, I would travel to Victoria to see a proper thoroughbred farm for the first time. It was a great trip, except it was ruined when local star Santa Victor – whose picture still adorns my bedroom wall – was denied a final berth by Brokenwood. Star Witch would win the final that year. I remember it also took my money in a Grade 3 event two weeks prior, teaching me a valuable lesson about dogs at a new track.

I’d learnt to drive in 2004 – independence at last – and celebrated by going to the local hotel, The Bridgeway, watching the heats live for the first time. In the opening race, Lukeamy would break Moonamble Prince’s long-standing track record, before sending my world into a spiral as Regent Thunder would knock her off in the last Thousand held on the Glenorchy Track.

Without boring you of the details of every Hobart Thousand since then, I’ll move on to 2009 when I started writing for this website, Australian Racing Greyhound. Doing so as a keen volunteer, you can imagine the thrill of publicly reporting the happenings of Pranksters’ victory. Since then have had the pleasure of covering it most years since, although typing the details of Dyna Tron’s last gasp win over Rewind continues to haunt me when sitting at traffic lights.

In reality, I understand the Hobart Thousand is just another race, in amongst hundreds of features that fill the racing calender every year. I understand that the above experiences are unique to me, and don’t expect readers to specifically share the same passions.

But what many people don’t understand, and really the point of this exercise, is that greyhound folk don’t need gimmicks to sell a race. It’s not about a six-figure winner’s cheque, or about handlers dressing up in suits, or having a national anthem played, or even seeing one-off presenter on Sky Channel.

It about where the race sits in the scheme of a person’s life; the history, the sentiments, the timing, and more importantly, the emotion that is created. You can’t find that in any marketing handbook.

For me it’s the Hobart Thousand, and while the history of the race extends well beyond the 14 years I have taken interest, it really doesn’t matter. Whether it’s the Galaxy, the Easter Egg or a Grade 5 series at Mandurah that gets your heart racing, it’s the same core love of the sport that keeps the cogs turning year after year, day after day, hour after hours for participants around the country.

To others it’s eight dogs running around a track, but for select group of us, it means so much more. I probably won’t have the honour of having my own dog run in the Hobart Thousand in my lifetime, but I’ll continue to stop my world for it; just maybe not at the kitchen table with a radio anymore.

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