BRENDAN Pursell will be driving home to Brighton a very happy man after capping off a sensational Hobart Maiden Thousand series with the quinella in the final.
Pursell had expressed concerns when talking to Australian Racing Greyhound about the box draw for the final, but that problem was solved early, with I’ve Got Class driving through to take the early lead from Pursell’s $2.80 favourite Despicable Todd.
The Susan Gittus trained Dark Nemesis was the fastest to leave the boxes, but once the two class runners mustered through to lead the field it was always going to be a two dog race, and this is precisely how things panned out in an extremely rough affair.
Turning for home it was the Pursell pair a proverbial minute in front of Work It and daylight back to the remainder of the field, which had been severely disrupted when Reddington was turned sideways. This action resulted in every runner outside of the place-getters receiving severe checks.
From that point on it was a matter of which Pursell runner would be victorious and it was Despicable Todd who took honours after handling the turn far better than I’ve Got Class. The second place-getter fought hard to the line to go down in a close finish, with Work It a long way back in third. Luckily all five chasers involved in the scrimmage arrived in the catching pen safe and sound.
This win takes Despicable Todd’s race record to three wins from three starts, with the son of Collision and Lyndor Lee amassing an impressive $10,170 in prizemoney to kickstart what looks like an extremely promising career.
Hobart Maiden Thousand Full Results
1st: Despicable Todd (5) ‚Äď Brendan Pursell
2nd: I’ve Got Class (3) ‚Äď Brendan Pursell
3rd: Work It (1) ‚Äď Michael Sutcliffe
4th: One Man Army (6) ‚Äď Brendan Pursell
5th: Beemo (7) ‚Äď Susan Gittus
6th: Outskirts (2) ‚Äď Ted Medhurst
7th: Dark Nemesis (8) ‚Äď Susan Gittus
8th: Reddington (4) ‚Äď Mick Stringer
1st Split: 5.23
2nd Split: 11.40
Run Home: 15.18
Scratchings: Bearville Wigi (9), Bio Hazard (10)
THURSDAY night’s Maiden Thousand Final at Hobart will see the cream of the Apple Isle’s younger brigade fight it out for $10,000 in spoils.
One kennel that is set to play a huge hand in the race is the Brendan Pursell camp at Brighton. Pursell is helped out with his kennel of 10 at home by his wife Lynne and son Blake. To have such a small team and qualify Despicable Todd, I’ve Got Class and One Man Army for the final is an amazing effort and testament to the hard work of this family team.
Pursell is no stranger to quality dogs, having had smart chasers such as Cheetah Zorro and Lika Whisper pass through his kennels, but there is no doubting his excitement at this young group coming through.
“All three of mine have drawn badly in the final, but I think I’ve Got Class is the best drawn of them”, Pursell said.
“It’s a quality field and Outskirts in the two and Mick Stringer’s runner (Reddington) in the four would be the main dangers. Reddington can go right at the start, which wouldn’t help Despicable Todd.”
Despicable Todd is by Collision out of Lyndor Lee and is the fastest qualifier for the final after clocking a very quick 26.07 in his semi-final. That victory followed a 26.22 heat win and on both occasions this supremely bred chaser led all the way in impressive fashion.
“We’ve had Despicable Todd for about two months. I’ve trained quite a few for Mitchell Pryce and Todd is one of the most talented along with Despicable Ben, who went from my place to Jason Thompson’s.
“Despicable Todd will probably go through his classes and might end up going to Victoria or NSW if he measures up. He is the better racedog currently out of the three of mine.”
The second of Pursell’s unbeaten brigade is the extremely raw I’ve Got Class, who is by Spring Gun out of Magic Castle.
“I’ve Got Class has a huge amount of natural ability, but is still as green as grass and learning what racing is all about. He is a very fast dog, but his racing pattern means he still has to learn what it’s about.
“We have had him since six months of age. I own and trained a smart bitch called Champagne Girl and we have always liked the Ice Dancer line, which Magic Castle comes from. So we took a punt on the untried bitch and sire and it’s worked out well so far.”
The last of the Pursell chances is One Man Army, which is owned by his son Blake.
“Blake is praying he will win and is genuinely excited about tomorrow night, which is fantastic”, Pursell said. “He is going to find it a bit tough, but with a bit of luck he might surprise and find his way into the money. I would love for him to run a big race, Blake has worked really hard around the place and it would be a well-deserved result.”
Dark Vito has produced an enormous run to take out the Group Three Devonport Cup over 452 metres. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
Beginning well from box two, the Ted Medhurst-trained sprinter was outpaced early by the classy Senor Slamma (box eight), which assumed the lead soon after box rise on Tuesday afternoon.
Sitting on the leader’s heels, Dark Vito stuck to the rail for most of the trip before switching to the outside around the home turn, issuing a stern challenge to the front-runner.
‚Ä®‚Ä®Once the leading pair straightened, Dark Vito unleashed a powerful finishing burst to sprint past Senor Slamma to score by one length in a quick 25.25.
Senor Slamma held on for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of a fast-finishing Prescribe (box five), another from Medhurst‚Äôs kennel.
‚Ä®‚Ä®Dark Vito, a son of Collision and Carlita Bale, has won 10 races from 19 starts with four minor placings. The victory was his sixth in succession and there is no doubt he is destined for a bright future.
‚Ä®‚Ä®Group Three Devonport Cup full results‚Ä®‚Ä®
1st: Dark Vito (2) – Ted Medhurst‚Ä®
2nd: Senor Slamma (8) – Gary Johnson‚Ä®
3rd: Prescribe (5) – Ted Medhurst
‚Ä®4th: Breaker‚Äôs Tip (4) – Gary Fahey
‚Ä®5th: Bruny Venture (6) – Gary Fahey‚Ä®
6th: Her Highness (1) – Kelly Bravo‚Ä®
7th: Rip And Tear (7) – Gary Fahey‚Ä®
8th: Pipstar (3) – Robin Grubb‚Ä®‚Ä®
Margins: 1 x 3/4
VETERAN trainer Gary Fahey will have three chances to land his first victory in the Group Three Devonport Cup when the lids fly open for the $25,000-to-the-winner event on Tuesday afternoon. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
The Tasmanian mentor prepares consistent campaigners Breaker‚Äôs Tip, Bruny Venture and Rip And Tear which will contest the feature from boxes four, six and seven respectively.
To add to the remarkable feat, all three chasers are from the same litter.
‚Ä®‚Ä®The brothers, by Mogambo out of Dennes Point, each won their heats of the Devonport Cup over 452 metres last week, an achievement Fahey is unlikely to forget.
‚Ä®‚Ä®‚ÄúIt is certainly a big thrill to get three into the final,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúI was expecting two of them [Breaker‚Äôs Tip and Bruny Venture] to be a big chance of making it but, while the other dog [Rip And Tear] is quite a good dog, I thought he lacked a bit of class.‚ÄĚ
Unfortunately, none of his trio could draw a decent box in the final, but Fahey remains optimistic of a good result.
‚ÄúThe draw is very disappointing, two of them would be much better suited to inside draws,” he said. “With that being said, the three of them are quite good beginners so, if one of them could lead, I think they would be pretty hard to beat.
‚ÄúThe whole litter have been very unlucky with box draws during their career. I suppose one good thing is that if you keep being drawn in those boxes then you learn how to handle them.‚ÄĚ‚Ä®‚Ä®
The race is shaping up to be a cracker with Her Highness (box one), Se√Īor Slamma (box eight) and Prescribe (box five) looming as the major threats.‚Ä®‚Ä®
Fahey rates Bruny Venture, a winner of 11 from 22, as his best chance.‚Ä®‚Ä®
‚ÄúI don’t think he has been any further back than second in his last 17 runs, he is a very consistent dog,‚ÄĚ he explained.
‚ÄúThe way they are drawn I think he is my best chance. His brother, Rip And Tear, is drawn outside him and he uses a bit of the track and the dog drawn inside him, Prescribe, is a mad railer.
‚Ä®‚Ä®‚ÄúHe does look to be the one of my three that should get a clear run early.‚ÄĚ
Fahey said there was little between Bruny Venture and Breaker‚Äôs Tip, which recently made the final of the Group One Hobart Thousand. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
‚ÄúBreaker‚Äôs Tip is a very honest dog and he is a very hard chaser, they all are.
“There is nothing between him and Bruny Venture. I said that going into the Gold Cup final and then they came out and dead-heated for second behind Hellyeah Bolt.‚ÄĚ
‚Ä®‚Ä®Rip And Tear will start as the outsider of the field after his moderate 25.96 heat win last Tuesday, around four-tenths slower than his brothers which clocked 25.58 (Breaker‚Äôs Tip) and 25.55 (Bruny Venture).
‚Ä®‚Ä®‚ÄúHe is very honest but he is about five or six lengths slower than the other dogs,” Fahey said. “What he lacks in overall ability he makes up for by being a very good beginner and he uses what he has got. A lot of the time he gets away with races because of those good habits.‚ÄĚ‚Ä®‚Ä®
A win would be extra special for Fahey, who bred the litter with his brother, Greg.
‚Ä®‚Ä®‚ÄúGreg and I have been in greyhounds together for more than 40 years, we have always done things together, we are a pretty close family.
‚Ä®‚Ä®‚ÄúGreg and myself bred them and we own the whole litter except for Bruny Venture. I used to train their mother and we didn’t get much racing out of her because she was always coming on season.
‚ÄúEventually Greg knew what I thought of her and offered her owners a fee [to buy her], plus they could have a pup out of the litter. They accepted that and Bruny Venture was the pup they selected.‚ÄĚ
Win, lose or draw on Tuesday, it is still an outstanding achievement for Fahey, who has only six greyhounds in work, to have three litter brothers in the final of the race which he last contested more than 30 years ago. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
‚ÄúI have been in a couple [of Devonport Cup finals] but I have never won one. We had a runner back in 1983 and 1984, so it has been a while since we have had a finalist.
‚ÄúIt would be very exciting to win it, I am nearing the twilight of my racing career so to pull it off at this late stage would be a great thrill.‚ÄĚ‚Ä®‚Ä®
The Group Three Devonport Cup is race eight on the card and will jump at 3:09pm AEDT.
‚Ä®‚Ä®To view our picks and betting preview of the final, click here.
A fantastic field of chasers will contest’s Tuesday’s Group Three Devonport Cup over 452 metres.
The winner of the event will take home $25,000, with the 2015 running looking a strong race on paper.
Spectators can look forward to a rematch between local stars Senor Slamma and Prescribe whilst Her Highness, which started her career in the Apple Isle, is seeking to secure a triumph for Victoria.
Lets have a look at each of the runners and see how we think the race will be run.
Box One – Her Highness – Kelly Bravo
Returned to her home state with a devastating heat win last week in 25.37, she wasn’t brilliant to begin but she exploded once she hit the ground and she made the classy Sing The Song look second rate. From the red she should be able to settle in the top two early and I can see her fighting out the finish.
Box Two – Dark Vito – Ted Medhurst
Continues to go from strength to strength and he is aiming for his sixth win on the trot. He is spearing the lids at present and he does possess a wonderful turn of speed, if he can repeat his 25.37 winning effort from his heat he should make his presence felt. This is a big rise in class for him but he continues to conquer each challenge with ease.
Pipstar – Robin Grubb
Loves racing here and was an impressive 25.57 heat winner, she would need to ping to win and even if she does there is a heap of speed around her and she doesn’t like to be crowded in her races.
Breaker’s Tip – Gary Fahey
Like Dark Vito, he is one of the states real up and coming stars and last week he showed a dazzling turn of foot mid race when posting a zippy 25.58 heat win. He can ping the lids in his races and I think he is capable of going a lot quicker than 25.58 if he finds the bunny. This is clearly his toughest test and from the box draw he is going to need a lot of things to go his way, so place hopes look best.
Prescribe – Ted Medhurst
Absolute star in the making and he was clearly the most impressive heat winner last week. He was slow to begin but once he balanced up he gave classy speedster Senor Slamma windburn. If he is given a clear run then he probably gets the cash, however from the middle pin he is going to need a lot of things to go right.
Bruny Venture – Gary Fahey
Has won five of six over this track and trip and he really powered to the line when scoring in his heat last week. With a fairly average beginner drawn underneath he should get some room early but his littermate Rip And Tear may give him a few issues in the first 50m. If he can hold out the seven and get room to drive through he should be able to put himself in a threatening position.
Rip And Tear – Gary Fahey
Littermate to Breaker’s Tip and Bruny Venture and is a great talent in his own right but this is a big rise in class for him and I dont like his chances. Last week he pinged the lids and led throughout and he could only post an average 25.96, to figure in the finish today he will need to find at least seven lengths.
Senor Slamma – Gary Johnson
Perfectly drawn in the pink and he is my tip for the final, he has a great record from wide draws and I think he can improve on his handy heat placing last week. With a heap of speed drawn in six and seven, he should get plenty of room in the first 50m and he should be able to swoop to the lead as they head through the first bend. He has posted a blistering 25.22 here previously and if he can get anywhere near that he should salute.
Minnie Mogul – Paul Hili
Turned in the run of her career when narrowly beaten here last week, however she has only won one of 20 over this trip and she will find the going tough against this lot.
Star Chamber – Ted Medhurst
Highly talented and is very strong, probably doesn’t have enough early to go with these but he could run home into a place if he happened to gain a start.
Top Four: 8 – 1 – 5 – 2
Great race and I think the red and the pink will go stride for stride for a long way, I’m going to give the edge to track specialist Senor Slamma. He was a tad disappointing when beaten after leading here last week but from the pink draw today he should swoop into the first bend and he should be able to carve up the inside division. He has a blistering PB here and if he can get across to the early lead he should be off an gone with the prize.
Her Highness was brilliant here last week and she is probably better suited to today’s draw. She is armed with brilliant early speed and if she can push through and hold her position she should give the pink a run for his money.
Prescribe is an absolute star and if he gains a clear run he will take a power of beating. The poor draw is a big concern though and he is going to need everything to go his way early.
Win bet on Senor Slamma
Trifecta: 8/1,2,5/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1,8/1,8/Field ($12 for 100%)
Quinella: 8 to rove with 1,2,5 ($3 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,5,8/1,2,5,8 ($9 for 100%)
Kiwi owner/breeder Alison Lee is still on cloud nine after her superb greyhound Above All scored an emphatic victory in last night‚Äôs Group One Hobart Thousand.
Beginning well from box five, the Robert Britton- trained chaser found the front in the early stages and put on an effortless demonstration, defeating Ride The Rails by seven and three quarter lengths with Melbourne Cup champ Dyna Villa back in third.
‚ÄúIt is surreal, I still can‚Äôt believe it‚ÄĚ, Lee enthused, ‚ÄúIt was very exciting and a great experience‚ÄĚ.
Lee made the trip from the Land of the Long White Cloud to the Apple Isle to cheer on her brilliant black performer, thinking that he would race well in the $75,000 to the winner feature.
‚ÄúI thought that if he jumped and got a bit of clear room that he would be a chance, but I really thought the one (Big Ticket) and two (Dyna Villa) would have jumped better and that he would have had to tuck in behind them‚ÄĚ, Lee explained.
‚ÄúRob (Britton) said that the four (Blurred Lines) missed the jump and it gave him that little bit of room which he used to his advantage.
‚ÄúAlthough he was in front, I wasn’t too sure because he had Dyna Villa behind him, but he just kept going.‚ÄĚ
Not only did Above All record one of the most dominant Hobart Thousand wins in recent times, the son of Magic Sprite and Kara Janx also smashed the track record previously held by one turn king Paw Licking, clocking a breathtaking 25.52 over the 461 metre trip.
Lee said his effort to shave 12/100ths off the previous Hobart benchmark was just the icing on top of the cake.
‚ÄúI couldn’t believe that he broke the track record and I didn’t even realise he had until I got down to the presentation. He went well and to top it off I was then told the track was a little bit soft too, so to get the track record has just made it unbelievable.‚ÄĚ
Above All came into the Hobart Thousand series after having a freshen up following his fourth placing in the Melbourne Cup. Lee said that the short break was pivotal for¬†Above All, with just 11 starts to his name before the Tassie series.
‚ÄúHe was unlucky in the Melbourne Cup, he got a couple of checks and we think he hit the rail. For him to hold on for fourth, we were really happy with the run.
‚ÄúWe wanted to keep him fresh, he races better that way and he is only young so Rob has just decided to race him lightly and pick out races for him.‚ÄĚ
Above All qualified for Australia‚Äôs oldest race with a phenomenal last to first heat performance on December 11. Showing maturity and field sense way beyond what his racetrack experience would suggest, the 32 kilogram powerhouse weaved his way through the field and captured the lead in the run to the line.
‚ÄúIt was a huge run in his heat‚ÄĚ, Lee said, ‚ÄúWe were absolutely screaming back home.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúWhen he jumped and got checked I thought ‚Äėon no‚Äô but he really used his brain, he went back to the rail and found his way through the field.‚ÄĚ
Now with 13 starts for eight wins and two minor placings, Above All looms as one of the most promising and exciting chasers in the country. Lee, who bred him with her partner Merv O‚ÄôBrien in New Zealand, said that they virtually knew from day one that he was superbly talented.
Based on this, they decided to send him to Australian shores to race under the tutelage of Britton, who previously trained their former gun speedster, Clone Your Own, to win the Group Two Harrison-Dawson.
‚ÄúThe bloke that broke him in said that he was quicker than any other dog he has put around.
‚ÄúWhen I got him home I hand slipped him at Addington and the time that he ran home in for his first trial was huge. I knew then we had to get him over to Rob as soon as we could.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúRob is brilliant, he is such a good conditioner. He looks after his dogs, they are always fit and in brilliant condition and the whole family- Rob and Mary and Pete and everyone that works there, they are just really great.
‚ÄúPlus they always buy him an ice cream and a cheeseburger on the way home‚ÄĚ, Lee laughed.
At this stage, the next goal for him is tomorrow night‚Äôs heats of the Group One Silver Chief at The Meadows, however Lee explained that the final call will rest with Britton to determine whether the dog is ready to back up in the 525 metre feature.
‚ÄúRob wasn’t going to make any commitments until he was back at home and settled in his kennel, but if there are any issues then he will scratch him straight away.‚ÄĚ
Lee and O‚ÄôBrien, who have been breeding greyhounds for 18 years, look set to have a wonderful ride ahead of them with Above All.
‚ÄúThe sky is the limit for him and Rob will just pick and choose the races for him to go in and eventually he will stand at stud.
“As long as he stays fit and sound he should have a huge future, it is great what he is doing for New Zealand racing.‚ÄĚ
The Robert Britton- trained Above All has put in a breathtaking performance to claim this year‚Äôs Group One Hobart Thousand, defeating an outstanding young field in the process.
The son of Magic Sprite and Kara Janx was the standout heat winner last Thursday, coming from last early to surge clear in a time of 26.16 over the 461 metre trip.
With a better beginning from box five this week, the black powerhouse showed everyone what he is really capable of when getting on the bunny, obliterating the field to score by seven lengths in a phenomenal 25.52.
The airborne time broke the existing 25.64 track record which was set by Paw Licking when he won the same race last year.
Above All defeated the Kelly Bravo- trained Ride The Rails with Melbourne Cup hero Dyna Villa filling the trifecta back in third.
Above All has now won eight races from just 13 career starts with over $105,000 in prize money earnings.
He is now expected to take his place in a heat of the Group One Silver Chief¬†on Saturday night where he has drawn box one in race five.
The Hobart Thousand is the oldest race in Australia and has been won by some of the sport’s finest since it was first run in 1935.
The 2014 Group One Hobart Thousand will see a terrific lineup of some of the most promising young chasers in the country.
Lets have a look at each runner individually.
|Steven Clarke (Trainer) - He has got his box so hopefully he takes advantage of it. He can be a little bit tardy from the boxes but if he can begin with them he certainly has the speed to match it with them.||
|ARG Comment – Melbourne Cup winner that was very impressive in his 25.94 heat win. Has been jumping consistently well lately and would prove very hard to catch if he bounces on the bunny.||
|ARG Opinion – Has won five of his last seven and began well last week but he comes up against a terrific field and looks like he will have to improve a few lengths or hope for a lot of interference to win.||
|Kelly Bravo (Trainer) – It is probably not the greatest box for him because he needs a clear few strides early to get moving, if he gets that he goes ok.||
|ARG Opinion – His heat run was his first start since finishing fourth in the Group One Melbourne Cup behind Dyna Villa. He put in a terrific run last week and is right in the race if he can begin cleanly.||
|Anthony Bullock (Trainer) – I give him a big chance. I think it depends on what the one (Big Ticket) and the two (Dyna Villa) do at the start…if he begins like he did last week I will be very happy.||
|Ride The Rails||
|Kelly Bravo (Trainer) – His heat run was impressive. Hopefully being drawn off the track will allow him to get clear room to get into the race and he won’t find too much trouble. The Tassie dog in the pink (Se√Īor Slamma) seems to go pretty straight, it doesn’t crash down to the fence, so as long as he (Ride The Rails) can begin with them I think he will improve a lot from his heat.||
|Gary Johnson (Trainer) – He likes the outside but the key to the dog is that he has got to jump to win. He usually runs pretty good sections and his second section is where he usually clears out away from them.||
|ARG Comment – A very fast greyhound that is capable of clocking some scintillating times. He is tardy at box rise but has great acceleration when he is given time and room to balance up. Will need luck if he gains a start but is more than capable on his night.||
|Buckle Up Wes||
|ARG Comment – Class runner of the field that has been a little disappointing at his last two starts. Despite this, he is one of the best dogs in the race and would prove hard to beat if he gains a start||
Dyna Villa (2) is the class runner of the race. He is the winner of this year‚Äôs Melbourne Cup and is a genuine Group One star. He is drawn well in box two on Thursday night and if he can get room to move in the early stages he should get to the front and prove very hard to run down.
A few of the dogs in this race are hit and miss early but, if they time the start right, they can really fly. ‚Ä®‚Ä®Big Ticket (1) looks to be a quality dog in the making and he has the ability to match it with any of these if he begins with them. Box one will help him but he can‚Äôt afford to let them get away from him in the early stages. He is the fastest qualifier coming into the race so must be respected.
Above All (5) ran a phenomenal race in his heat after striking trouble in the early stages. He didn’t manage to break 26 but the style of the win was amazing. You would think if he steps well he is good enough to challenge for the lead and take out the title.
Senor Slamma (8) is in terrific form as a winner of 11 of his past 12 starts, but he comes up against a whole new class of greyhound tonight and will have to make a big step up in grade.
Ride The Rails (7) has had two starts back since fracturing a hock for two outstanding wins. He is fast enough to win but he can mix his box manners and that won‚Äôt be any help in a Group One field. ‚Ä®‚Ä®Hellyeah Bolt (6) is a quality dog but his form is hit and miss. He was back to his best last week but it is a big ask to do it again the following week and he only has an average strike rate from the green. Not saying he can‚Äôt win, but he would need to do everything right.
While all the focus will be on the Group 1 Hobart Thousand, the R.W (Bob) Brown Memorial Consolation event will again take its regular spot on Tassie‚Äôs biggest night, and as such stands as much a part of the Thousand series as the heats and final itself.
Since 1999, the consolation event has been named in memory of the late Robert William ‚ÄúBobbie‚ÄĚ Brown, the local legendary trainer whose name is etched all over the in the history of the race, and sport in the state of Tasmania.
Apart from being a stellar boxer (a winner of 69 of 72 bouts fought), Bob Brown became an inductee of the Tasmanian Greyhound Hall of Fame in 2008. He was witness to every Hobart Thousand that took place during his lifetime, from the first running in 1939 right up until his death which actually occurred on December 17, 1998; the same day 59th running of the race.
Despite winning just about everything a trainer could win on the Apple Isle, the Hobart Thousand eluded him as a trainer. However it remains a great gesture for the Hobart club to honour him with what has proven to be a high-class listed event in its own right.
One doesn‚Äôt have to look back any further than to last years‚Äô race when a virtually unknown-at-the-time black dog named Buckle Up Wes took it out, with the eventual Launceston Cup winner, Varcoe, third in the same event.
Emerald Lee won the 2011 version for Debbie Cannan, while Penny‚Äôs Angel led all the way previous to that. Even a Victorian in Banger Harvey can be seen on the recent honour roll for the Bob Brown Memorial.
But the 2014 running of the race is arguably the best version to date, with five of the seven runners coming second in their respective heats last week.
Though Buckle Up Wes isn‚Äôt there to go back to back, there are three interstate chasers that have remained to challenge an excellent crop of local stars.
Kelly Bravo will take a duo of chasers into the main event two races later, and her chaser Hekate Belle was less than a half-head away of making it a Group 1 trio. It couldn‚Äôt quite catch Senor Slamma from box one on that occasion, but gets the chance to atone from the same draw this week. It will likely be one the favourites, with a consistent form line in the past month.
Fellow Victorian, Kicking Rocks had no problems coming out the 461-metre start last week, but found Big Ticket a touch too fast. It broke 26 seconds on that occasion being beaten narrowly and a repeat would go close to getting it back into the winners‚Äô circle for master trainer, Darren McDonald.
While Nicole Mcrae‚Äôs veteran Walk Hard could only manage fourth in its heat, it was the manner in which the son of Bit Chili finished the event that suggests it will be hard to beat. While he may be giving away youth to his rivals, the dog is no stranger to the Elwick track and with any luck in running will be storming over the top.
The race won‚Äôt be an all-Victorian show, as Night Tremors and Bruny Venture couldn‚Äôt be racing in better fashion to defend their home turf.
Trainer Eileen Thomas would be well aware of the brilliant mid-race burst the Night Tremors possesses, and it will be right in the picture again from the outside draw. Given the amount of interstate talent, this Tassie youngster could well be the knockout dog for punters looking for a bit of value.
Likewise for Bruny Venture, who despite the six-rug should be well in the race at the half way point and well placed to capitalise on any mid-race bother that may come the way of those behind him.
The R.W Bob Brown Memorial Consolation is scheduled to run at 9.05pm as race six on Hobart‚Äôs Thursday night fixture ‚Äď a race that carries a lot more weight than the $4465 on offer for the winner.
R.W Bob Brown Memorial Consolation Box Draw
Box 1 – Hekate Belle ‚Äď Kelly Bravo
Box 2 – Kicking Rocks ‚Äď Darren McDonald
Box 3 – Wynburn Rush ‚Äď Ben Englund
Box 4 – Warehouse Mouse ‚Äď Mick Stringer
Box 5 – Bit Hot Rusty ‚Äď Shane Whitney
Box 6 – Bruny Venture ‚Äď Gary Fahey
Box 7 – Walk Hard ‚Äď Nicole Mcrae
Box 8 – Night Tremors ‚Äď Eileen Thomas
Izon Destruction ‚Äď Shane Whitney
She was the darling of the media and greyhound fans across the country. He was the one chaser who had already tested her and would later go down as the one who seemed to have her measure. When the mighty all-distance champion Zoom Top came to Hobart to try and annex the prestigious Hobart Thousand in 1969, her nemesis Benjamin John, one of the finest sprinters Australia has ever seen was there to throw down his challenge.
Owned and trained by Hec and Leah Watt, Zoom Top had carried all before her through much of 1968, winning 31 of her 61 starts, including her last eight in a row. It was no surprise when she was named NSW Greyhound of the Year.
Benjamin John, trained by the master mentor Stan Cleverley, had begun racing in late July 1968 and had won 10 of his 18 starts that year.
He had already clashed with Zoom Top on two occasions, with the score at one win apiece. On the first occasion, in a race over 555 yards at Dapto, Zoom Top found trouble at the first corner and had to be content with fourth place, beaten just over a length by Benjamin John. On the second occasion, the final of the 1968 NSW St Leger, run over 580 yards at Wentworth Park, Zoom Top exploded out of box six and gave nothing else a chance, racing away to score by three lengths in 31.0, a new race record. Benjamin John finished third, beaten six lengths.
In the lead-up to the Hobart Thousand heats, run in late January 1969, Zoom Top and Benjamin John were in contrasting form.
Zoom Top had commenced the new year with defeats at Richmond and Harold Park (twice). Despite her apparent loss of form, Hec Watt took Zoom Top south to Tasmania, to contest the prestigious Hobart Thousand series, run over 540 yards.
In order to give Zoom Top a look at the Hobart track she was given a solo trial at the circuit. A record crowd of almost 1,000 turned out to watch the trial. After the hit-out Hec Watt found Zoom Top was bleeding from a front paw, the result of a torn stopper.
Benjamin John had begun the year with victories at Wentworth Park and Olympic Park in Melbourne, split by a second placing over the middle-distance 675 yards trip at Bulli.
In his heat on 27 January, Benjamin John blitzed his field, overcoming box six to score by 14 lengths and set a new track record of 28.9. This eclipsed the previous mark of 29.3, set in November 1968 by Future Tanist and equalled by Mounthall King in taking out the 1969 Hobart Maiden Thousand early in the same month.
For Zoom Top, Hec Watt had managed to patch up he injured paw and she started a prohibitive 1/5 ($1.20) favourite against moderate opposition in her heat. Zoom Top began well and quickly led but although nicely clear in the back straight she suddenly faltered and allowed the trailing Twinkling Lin to close to within a length of her. The champion got going again and went on to score by four lengths in a fast 29.3, equalling the previous track record.
After the race the reason for Zoom Top’s mid-race baulking became clear. She had torn the same stopper and was bleeding from the front paw yet again. Fortunately, there was a nine-day gap to the semi-finals and Zoom Top was able to take her place in her run-off on 5 February. Starting at 1/3 ($1.30) from box three, Zoom Top jumped clear at the start and led all the way to win by six lengths from Gold Brig in a best of the night 29.1.
Benjamin John also won his semi-final, but only recorded 29.4 after being slowly away and coming from well back early. He was almost certainly tired after Cleverley had returned to Sydney with him after his heat victory and raced Benjamin John at Wentworth Park on 1 February. Despite the advantage of box one, Benjamin John was beaten half a length by the brilliant Sammie Sparrow.
The Hobart Thousand final took place just three days after the semi-finals, on 8 February. Benjamin John drew perfectly in box one for the $3,000-to-the-winner final, with Zoom Top alongside him in box two. It looked a virtual match race and that’s how it panned out.
Benjamin John began best but Zoom Top showed great early speed to lead two lengths into the first turn. Zoom Top held the lead into the back straight from Benjamin John but coming to the back bend she was tackled by her fellow NSW rival. Benjamin John went around Zoom Top and, to the cheers of the record crowd, raced away to score by three lengths from Zoom Top. Queensland sprinter Michael Craig was a well-beaten four and a half lengths away third. Benjamin John recorded a sensational 29.0, the second-fastest ever run at the course.
The Hobart Thousand was the first time Zoom Top had ever been run down in a sprint. Her only real excuse was that her torn stopper had not had sufficient time to heal and she might well have been feeling some discomfort in her front paw while racing.
Benjamin John and Zoom Top clashed on three more occasions. Benjamin John won one of these, relegating Zoom Top into second place, but in the other two races they were both beaten, although Benjamin John had the better of the placings, running second both times while Zoom Top was third and fourth.
There won’t be a dry eye in the house this Thursday night if Ride The Rails can salute in the Group One Hobart Thousand final.
Trained by Kelly Bravo, Ride The Rails is owned by Nadine Brown, the wife of popular trainer Darren Brown, who lost his father Peter in October. Darren Brown trained Ride The Rails until only recently, transferring him to Bravo after his father’s sad passing.
At his Hobart debut last week, Ride The Rails was ultra impressive, weaving his way through the field and drawing clear to salute in a handy 26.05. The victory booked his start in this week’s $75,000-to-the-winner final and was his 17th career win at start 48.
Brown said he was happy with Ride The Rails’ performance and was thankful for what Kelly and Brett Bravo had done with him.
“It was his first look at the track so he went well,” he said.
“I am very happy with how he is going and I appreciate everything Kelly and Brett have done, they took over training the dogs after my father passed away.
“Dad and I did everything together, every day. I learned a lot from him and I will never stop learning, that is something he always told me. He used to say, ‘eyes and ears open, mouth shut’, and, ‘you will never get into trouble for asking questions’.”
Impressively, Ride The Rails’ Hobart Thousand heat win was just his second start since fracturing a hock. At his first race back from injury under the care of Bravo he clocked a sizzling 29.23 at Sandown Park.
Brown is elated just to have made the final.
“It is a big thrill, especially with him coming back from a broken hock,” he said.
“It is a credit to Brett and Kelly for what they have done to get him back, he has come back as good as gold, and to Alistair Smith who did the operation at Sandown.”
The 34-kilogram sprinter is an October 2011 son of Cosmic Chief and Pearl Napoleon. Darren and Peter Brown raced his sire, a winner of the Sandown Shootout and Warrnambool Classic, before purchasing Ride The Rails as a pup.
“We bought him out of the TABform off Peter Stanford,” Brown said. ”They were in the paper for three or four weeks and no one wanted to buy them, there was three left in the litter for sale so we bought the three of them.
“We knew as soon as he broke in that he was going to be good. They have got to be able to run our times and he did that.”
A win in the Hobart Thousand would capture the elusive Group One victory that the Browns were not able to land with Cosmic Chief and simultaneously give that dog his first Group win as a sire.
Although Ride The Rails faces a tough task against quality sprinters such as Melbourne Cup winner Dyna Villa, Brown said he was drawn where he needed to be in the seven.
“Dyna Villa goes well but he [Ride The Rails] is where he wants to be, I would rather be out there than be in the squeeze box and he has enough pace to match it with them if he jumps,” he said.
“Once we put him in the boxes there is nothing else we can do for him, it is up in the lap of the gods when the lids open. Any of the eight dogs could win the race.”
And Brown summed up what it would mean to win Tassie’s most prestigious event in just one word:
He added: “It would give a happy end to what has been a sad year for the family. It could never bring back the old man, but it would just be good to win the race.”
Former champion stayer Chinatown Lad was one of four inductees to the Tasmanian Greyhound Hall of Fame at the Hobart Thousand function on Saturday night.
The dark brindle son of Lilli Pilli Lad and Chinatown Babe was owned by Katrina Gregory and trained for most of his career by Brighton mentor Shane Whitney.
Starting 47 times, Chinatown Lad recorded 21 victories and 17 minor placings with $222,730 in prizemoney.
The 2005 whelp was a dominant force in the staying ranks during much of 2008, taking on the best from around Australia and recording triumphs in the Group One Sandown Cup and Group One Albion Park Gold Cup.
Chinatown Lad also claimed two Group Three wins in the Swan Challenge and Chairman’s Cup.
Induction into the Hall of Fame is a fitting result for Chinatown Lad, which sadly died earlier this year from cancer. Gregory said it was an enormous honour that her star greyhound, affectionately known as Max, was chosen to be recognised in the Hall of Fame.
“I am very humbled by it,” she said. ”To see the other dogs that have previously been inducted and to think that my Max is up there with them now, and has been written into the history books as well.”
Gregory explained it was especially exciting for Chinatown Lad’s biggest supporter, Braydon, who was unaware the big announcement was coming on Saturday night.
“We were able to keep it a secret from Braydon, he was quite shocked and surprised,” she said. ”Braydon just loved the dog and the dog loved him, they shared a great relationship and bond.
“I am Braydon’s great-aunt and he has lived with us since he was five. He has disabilities, he is a special needs child, and Max brought him out of his shell and made him the young man he is today.
“He was a child that couldn’t read and struggled to have a conversation and through this dog he was able to meet people, he learned to read form guides, and he really advanced his knowledge.”
It is a perfect ending to the Chinatown Lad tale and it has made Katrina Gregory reflect on the incredible journey that she experienced with him, not just on the track.
“It is really hard to explain the things that Max did for me and my family,” she said.
“A big thing has been the relationships we have formed with other people, not just in Tasmania but around Australia, we have made lifelong friends.
“People have opened up their homes and their hearts to us in every state and I find that really special. Without Max we would never have experienced that.”
Other inductees into the Tasmanian Greyhound Hall of Fame were Big Moose, Gary Sutton and Butch Deverell.
Victorian chaser Big Ticket will go into next Thursday‚Äôs Group One Hobart Thousand as the fastest qualifier following his dominant 25.90 success last night.
Beginning flawlessly from box three in the sixth of eight heats, the Steven Clarke trained chaser slipped straight to the lead and was too good for a fast finishing Kicking Rocks which was gallant in defeat, three quarters of a length from the winner. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
Big Ticket, a son of Fabregas and Bella Portrait, was having his 13th start last night with the win being his eighth since commencing his career in July. He went into his heat with plenty of support, starting the $2.60 second elect following a nippy 25.96 trial the week prior. It is important for punters to note that the track was top dressed a couple of weeks ago, with the times posted during trials and heats tending to suggest that it was running a tenth or two slower than normal.
While Big Ticket was the fastest, none were as impressive as Above All‚Äôs phenomenal last to first effort in heat seven. The Rob Britton- trained former Kiwi appeared to stumble as the lids flew open, dropping back to the tail of the field early on.
Once he regained his balance, the son of Magic Sprite and Kara Janx railed underneath his fellow contenders around the turn before hooking to the outside of Wynburn Rush, which was running second, entering the home straight.
With plenty of clear galloping room, Above All effortlessly claimed the lead in the run to the line, exploding away to score by three and a half lengths in 26.16.
‚Ä®‚Ä®Melbourne Cup hero Dyna Villa will be chasing his second Group One title in just over a month after booking his spot in the final with a 25.94 heat success. It was a one act affair for the Jenny Hunt trained youngster, crossing the line a strong six and a half lengths ahead of local charge Pipstar.
‚Ä®‚Ä®Kelly Bravo will be represented by two greyhounds in the final with Blurred Lines (Heat Three) and Ride The Rails (Heat Four) clocking 26.23 and 26.05 to take out their qualifiers respectively. The latter was particularly impressive, weaving his way through the field after a moderate beginning and assuming the lead on the home turn to take out the event by just under five lengths. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
While Victoria may have claimed five of the heats, Tassie was able to score in the remaining three.
Se√Īor Slamma cemented his position as one of the state‚Äôs most consistent campaigners with a top notch effort in heat one. Starting from box eight, the Gary Johnson- trained chaser managed to find the rails and dart away in 26.23. He has now won 11 of his past 12 starts and 20 from 45 overall. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
Hellyeah Bolt bounced back to his best form in heat five, upstaging local champion Buckle Up Wes to progress through to the $75,000 to the winner final. Despite leading clearly, Buckle Up Wes could not go with Anthony Bullock‚Äôs charge when challenged, with Hellyeah Bolt defeating the dual Group One winner by three quarters of a length in 25.96. ‚Ä®‚Ä®
Breaker‚Äôs Tip secured the final spot in the decider when taking out the last heat. White Spyro served as the lamplighter in the race and was joined throughout by Janda. While those two went stride for stride, Breaker‚Äôs Tip got a clear run down the outside and dashed straight by them ton win in a moderate 26.37.
The Apple Isle‚Äôs most prestigious series, the Group One Hobart Thousand, kicks off this Thursday night at Hobart with eight heats of the time honoured feature. Each heat victor will go through to the $75,000 to the winner final which will be held the following Thursday on December 18.
The Hobart Thousand is the oldest feature race in Australia and was first run back in 1935 as the Hobart Cup at the old TCA grounds. It was first run as the Hobart Thousand in 1939 before reverting back to the the Hobart Cup in 1942 for two years. The race was not held in 1944 or 1945 due to the war but recommenced in 1946 as the Hobart Thousand and has remained under that name to this day.
The Tassie race has been won by some stars of the sport including Rookie Rebel (1958), Ophir Doll (1961-62), Benjamin John (1969), Black Aztec (1981), Brother Fox (1985) and Dyna Tron (2011).
Lets have a look at the heats of this year‚Äôs race.
Heat One – 7:58pm
The first lot of Victorian raiders step out in the first heat, looking to dominate yet another feature race series.
Hekate Belle (1) is a classy bitch but she can be hard to catch as she does tend to be hit and miss at the start. Box one should be a big advantage for her and she boasts a great record from the cherry with six starts for three wins and two minor placings. As a recent 29.29 winner at Sandown, she is definitely one to keep an eye out for from the inside.
Scenic Shot (3) will start very close to favourite in the opener. She comes into the series¬† as a last start winner at Warrnambool where she clocked a BON 25.42. The Victorian city winner will be aiming to emulate the feats of her father, Dyna Tron, which won the race in 2011, while her trainer, Michelle Mallia-Magri, took out the 2012 running with Blackalls Boss.
Se√Īor Slamma (8) is the best local shot in the heat and is one of the most consistent sprinters in Tasmania at present. The well named son of El Grand Se√Īor and Tequila Mall has only been beaten once in his past 11 starts and he has run 25.88 over the track and distance. He only has one win from six starts wearing pink but he is a quality dog and should be right in contention for a berth in the final.
Heat Two – 8:19pm
The second heat will see just seven runners face the starter. 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Dyna Villa (4) is one of the most promising chasers in the country but he will have to contend with an awkward draw in box four. He comes into the race following his last start in a heat of the Ballarat Cup where he finished third behind the eventual series winner Luca Neveelk. He has trialled in 25.92 in preparation for this assignment so despite the poor draw he is right in the race if he can get some clear galloping room early.
Top Secret (2) is another Victorian which has won 11 races from 41 career starts. He has been racing a little below his best at his last few runs, albeit against top company, ¬†but if he can find his feet he is a great shot.
Wynburn Wizard (6) is a local chaser capable of breaking the 26 second barrier which puts him right into calculations. The box won‚Äôt help but he is a very consistent boy as a winner of nine from 22 and he will only need a little bit of luck to feature in the finish.
The remainder of the field are pretty even. Pipstar (8) could provide a bit of value, she has won four at the track with a best time of 26.05 and she wont mind being drawn out wide in the pink.
Heat Three – 8:41pm
Size Does Matter (3) is a recent edition to the Rodney Ransley kennel in Tassie, transferring from Brooke Ennis late last month. Ennis still owns the son of Bekim Bale and Size It Up and will be hoping that he can go better than his Tasmanian debut where he finished fifth behind Se√Īor Slamma. He has only won once from four attempts from box three. Looking at his box statistics, it is interesting to note that he has won eight of his 14 races from box one, which he has drawn 11 times during his 33 start career.
Blurred Lines (4) is capable of putting some slick times on the board but he can be hard to catch. He has been racing some great dogs lately so his form is probably better than it reads, but he still has a tough task ahead from box four.
Brunys Venture (7) looks to be a very promising youngster, but this will be his biggest test to date from box seven. He has run BON times at Hobart, Devonport and Launceston throughout his career and has won two of his last three over the track and distance. Definitely the leading local hope in this heat.
Heat Four – 9:05pm
Quartz Bale (2) has been dominant in his limited starts back home in WA, winning nine of 11 racetrack appearances to date.¬† The 38 kilogram light fawn dog is in the hands of Paul Stuart and has had a look at the track last Saturday, running 25.98 on trial morning. Being such a big boy, it does take him a while to find top gear, but he does have plenty of upside and will only need a bit of luck in running to go close to winning.
Ride The Rails (5) bounced back to his best form with a dazzling 29.23 Sandown victory last week. Now trained by Kelly Bravo, the son of Cosmic Chief and Pearl Napoleon has the potential to blow this field away if he brings his best on Thursday night.
Punk Pirate (3) heads to Hobart from Victoria as a winner of five of his past seven starts. He had no luck in his heat of the Ballarat Cup, finishing seventh behind Blue Giant. He is more than capable of reversing that result and going close here.
That Was Then (6) is a track specialist which has won eight races at Hobart while Get It Right (7) and Night Tremors (8) have had just 16 and 13 starts respectively. Both have strong strike rates and look like they can make the step up in class.
Heat Five – 9:25pm
Tasmanian champ Buckle Up Wes (1) is a dual Group One winner which will be looking to score his first success at the elite level in his home state. He put in an average run last start at Hobart but he is the class runner of the race and he is undoubtably the one to beat. He loves the track, as a winner of eight from 14 with a best of 25.77. He would probably be better boxed a few off the rails but he still has a fantastic record from the red with four wins from five starts.
Hellyeah Bolt (5) hasn’t been racing at his best recently but he has a 25.76 personal best here and is too good to leave out when on song, despite having to overcome box five.
Waymore‚Äôs Blues (6) looked like being an outstanding sprinter earlier in his career but he has been a little disappointing. I still maintain that he is capable of winning a group race, just not sure he is going well enough for this to be the one.
Punk Panther (2) is a more than handy sprinter but this will be a big test for him.
Heat Six – 9:45pm
Some great youngsters engaged in this heat including Kicking Rocks (7) from the Darren McDonald kennel. Despite winning nine from 21, I don’t think people realise how fast this bloke actually is. Earlier this year he broke his maiden in at The Gardens in an airborne 29.30, a time usually reserved for Group class greyhounds. He should be right in this race after trialling in 26.09 on a slow track.
Big Ticket (3) looks like being the real deal too and the Victorian pup will be having his first race start at Hobart ¬†after a 25.96 trial last Thursday. He loves the inside so should be suited in box three.
Axis Bale (6) has only had nine starts but has shown promise. He will have to overcome box six but he does look to be very talented.
Heat Seven – 10:08pm
Above All (4) hasn’t had a start since finishing fourth in the Group One Melbourne Cup last month but the former Kiwi has run 25.84 in a trial to prepare for his Hobart debut. A winner of six races from just 10 starts, it is a testament of his class that he has been able to mix it with the best Australia has to offer so successfully with such ¬†little experience. He will be a short favourite.
Good Odd Demons (1) is a little below his best and doesn’t have a great record at Hobart, but he has his favourite draw from which he has recorded five wins from seven starts.
Winsome Tommy (8) has won two at the track and doesn’t mind being boxed out wide, but he will probably need to improve on his 26.32 pb to win the race.
Heat Eight – 10:28pm
White Spyro (5) is back to her best and has had one start at Hobart for a 26.26 win last month. You would expect her to improve on that time with a look at the track.
National Time (6) has been mixing his form but is right up to this class. He has won six races from box six so, although it is not ideal, he should be able to overcome the poor draw.
Buckle Up Fletch (7) is a younger half brother to Tassie champ Buckle Up Wes and he looks to have his fair share of ability. He doesn’t mind being off the track so I can‚Äôt see box seven posing any issues.
Walk Hard (3) is yet to win in his two starts since returning from a spell but he is a very fast animal on the bunny. He made the final of the Hobart Thousand two years ago, it would be an incredible achievement to contest the 2014 edition too.
Saturday was a day of racing firsts for Tasmania. The state had it’s first representative in the time honoured Cox Plate with The Cleaner carrying the hopes of the entire Apple Isle. While the gelding had no success at Moonee Valley, another Tassie racer in Buckle Up Wes was able to salute later that night, giving Tasmania their first success in the Group One Topgun at The Meadows.
While Buckle Up Wes may not have received as much publicity as his thoroughbred counterpart going into the invitation-only feature, he certainly commanded plenty of attention after his dazzling display from box five to claim the $150,000 winner’s cheque.
The Ted Medhurst trained chaser exploded from the boxes and crossed the field from the awkward draw with ease. After burning around the first turn the son of Collision and Everlong Bale set up a big break on his opposition heading down the back straight and cruised home to a three length victory.
Oakvale Destiny put in a massive run to claim second for Jeff Britton, with Awesome Project filling the trifecta back in third.
Making the victory even more remarkable was the fact that Buckle Up Wes went into the Topgun having not had a start in nearly two months due to injury. After the race Medhurst admitted that he was shocked at how much strength his star chaser showed in the latter stages, despite knowing that it’s usually one of his key traits.
“The ease of the victory surprised me. I was worried who was chasing him off the back straight because I thought if he was going to be vulnerable it would be coming off that bottom bend. But when he balanced up, he got going again, he is a deceptively strong dog”, Medhurst explained.
Buckle Up Wes recorded a neat 30.02 en route to winning the Topgun and, while it was a number of lengths off his 29.74 best at the track, Medhurst says he wasn’t too concerned and that there is still plenty of improvement in him.
“He is probably a couple of runs short of his peak but the race was on that date and we did our best to have him as good as we could for that night. Fortunately for us it worked out.”
“It’s nice to run quick times on top of a win in a Group One but it alters nothing in our minds about him. Sometimes these big races don’t produce the best times but they are still impossibly hard to win.”
Buckle Up Wes now boasts the outstanding record of 49 starts for 30 wins and 12 minor placings, including a stunning win in this year’s Group One Australian Cup at The Meadows. With prizemoney earnings now in excess of $550,000, the win certainly stamped him as one of the nation’s best of all time.
“Last night I think the whole of Australia realised how special he is. I think now he is a bonafide star and we are just so proud of him.”
“Going into the race we knew he didn’t have to do anything more for us, he has already been magnificent, so for him to perform the way he did was quite surreal. The feeling after the race was just tremendous.”
All things going to plan, Medhurst now hopes to have Buckle Up Wes back to peak fitness in time for $420,000 to-the-winner Group One Melbourne Cup, with heats kicking off on November 13 at Sandown Park.
In the meantime, Tasmania will continue to celebrate their historical victory, as will Medhurst, who remains in awe of his terrific speedster and the whole Topgun experience.
“It was wonderful and I wish everybody that participates in racing could experience it, I am very fortunate to have experienced it. It’s a dream come true.”
“The dog’s performance was remarkable in my opinion and it’s typical of Wes, he is an outstanding individual and he just produces all the time.”
‘Fantastic’ is the word that leading Tasmanian mentor Ted Medhurst has used to describe having a runner in this Saturday night’s Group One Topgun at The Meadows.
Medhurst will put the polish on Buckle Up Wes, one of the best sprinters the Apple Isle has ever produced and the pair are aiming to give their home state it’s first win in the invitation-only feature since its inaugural running in 1993.
“His group level form in the last 12 months has been fantastic and so has his recent form. I thought he’d get an invite and hopefully he’ll do us proud”, Medhurst enthused.
Buckle Up Wes hasn’t been seen since August when he won the Tasmanian Sprint Championship final at Launceston.
The son of Collision and Everlong Bale looked to be one of the leading contenders heading into the National Final at Cannington, before he was scratched and it was revealed that he had pulled up sore after his victory.
Medhurst says that his charge is now back to his best and is ready to take on the nation’s elite.
“He has had a fair bit of work. As soon as we corrected his injury problem he has been on the walking machine every morning and that’s kept him fit. He has had a lot of galloping up our straight at home and he has had enough trials to get his fitness satisfactory, that’s for sure.”
“He’s lovely and sound. He has had a nice little break and is fresh and ready to go.”
Buckle Up Wes has drawn box five in the $150,000-to-the-winner feature, but Medhurst believes that his dynamic black chaser has what it takes to overcome the poor draw.
“He is reliant on a good beginning. If he begins fairly well he has got high speed to the first peg so I don’t really think the box draw is that bad.”
“He has just got to come out nice and use that speed. If he does, the box draw isn’t as vital.”
Buckle Up Wes is already a winner at Group One level at The Meadows having won this year’s Australian Cup in a fast 29.74. Knowing that he can handle the track, Medhurst was happy to keep the 31 kilogram speedster home in the lead up to the Topgun.
“I thought about trialling him, but we took him over and trialled him before the Australian Cup and he had never been there and he ran sensational, his sectionals were really good and he ran 29.70 odd first look.”
“If we took him back and trialled him now he’d run that and you’d be happy, so we may as well do that in the race.”
It won’t be an easy task for the Tasmanian with six individual Group One winners in contention for top honours. Chica Destacada, winner of the National Sprint Championship, has drawn beautifully in box one, as has Keybow which will jump from box two.
Keybow is one of two runners for Darren McDonald, who also has Awesome Project engaged from box six.
Jeff Britton has had a terrific 2014 and will also rug up two runners in the final. Oakvale Destiny has drawn box three while Mepunga Hayley, the winner of this year’s Maturity Classic at The Meadows, has gained a start after the scratching of Queenslander Flash Reality.
Brilliant NSW bitch Zipping Willow will have to work hard to cross the field from box eight, while recent Adelaide Cup winner Allen Deed is drawn ideally in box seven.
The Andrea Dailly trained chaser is one of the finalists which Medhurst rates hardest to beat.
“Allen Deed is in form, he is obviously going to be a hard dog to beat and I have high respect for Keybow.”
“Keybow is a great dog and has run really quick times at The Meadows in the past. I’m sure Darren wouldn’t have him in it unless he was really primed for the race.”
As Medhurst puts the finishing touches on his kennel star, which will fly to Melbourne on Friday morning, he admits feeling excited ahead of one of the biggest races of his training career.
“It’s more being proud that he has been invited and that he is in the race. It’s such a big thrill to have a dog that’s good enough to be in the Topgun, in particular this dog.”
“It would be fantastic (if he could win) but nothing will change what we think of Wes if not”.
Brighton trainer Gary Fahey is making a habit of providing the trifecta in races his kennel occupants are contesting. For the second time in a matter of weeks at Monday night’s LGRC meeting conducted in Launceston, he hit the jackpot with litter mates Breaker’s Tip, Bruny Venture and Soul Sister, which were the first three home in the Boags Premium Light Juvenile (515 metres).
The trio are raced by Fahey in partnership with his brother Greg and are by Mogambo from the well related Go Wild Teddy bitch Wooreddy. She was the winner of six of 12 lifetime and stakes of better than $8,000. To date all five members of this lightly raced litter have greeted the judge on 18 occasions, meaning that they are proving to be one of the most successful litters currently racing in Tasmania.
No doubt the brothers will be looking forward to the race track debuts of a litter of three by Spring Gun from Dennes Point which were whelped in January this year.
Meanwhile another two promising litters were unveiled at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway.
Former outstanding bitch Miss Roman Nose, by Collide from Ricky’s Angel and therefore a litter sister to the great Rewind, was represented by the impressive winners Dashing Roman and Loch Roman, by top sire Lochinvar Marlow.
Miss Roman Nose, the winner of 17 of 41 lifetime outings while taking stakes of in excess of $48,000, produced three pups when bred to that sire, and has since been mated with Barcia Bale and Spring Gun.
Exeter mentor Paul Hili prepares Dashing Roman and Loch Roman for Launceston owners Trevor and Eileen Penny, who bred the now famous Collide – Ricky’s Angel litter before selling Rewind to Bracknell’s Maurie Strickland.
On Tuesday, Loch Roman was having only her second outing when she recorded a slick 25.84 in winning Heat 5 of the Virbac Vetsearch Maiden (452 metres), whereas Dashing Roman debuted in Heat 3 of the event and recorded a time of 25.91.
Members of a Fabregas – Miss Mint litter also impressed at Tuesday’s meeting for Exeter trainer Anthony Bullock. Raz Simpson was impressive in winning Heat 1 of the Virbac Vetsearch Maiden (452 metres) and the following event on the 11 event programme was taken out by his litter sister Mavista Falls. The former is raced by the Oatlands based Kentish Syndicate headed by former top footballer Murray Johnson and the latter by the Down Under Syndicate headed by prolific Tea Tree breeder Barry Heawood.
Elite State bitch Miss Mint was the winner of 11 of 30 outings and stakes of in excess of $15,000 and the Fabregas litter of nine is her second, she having subsequently been bred also to Spring Gun.
The Gary Johnson prepared Senor Slamma (El Grand Senor – Tequila Mall) was shooting for seven victories in succession at the NWGRC meeting, but had to be content with a second placing behind the Robin Grubb prepared Pipstar (High Earner – Stylish Moon).
Raced by Grubb in partnership with his father Robert, the bitch has been racing consistently of late and fully deserved her victory in the Ironcyclen Invitation (452 metres), which was achieved in a time of 25.64. She has now won 13 of 61 outings while taking stakes of almost $30,000 and is also a member of a highly successful litter.
Despite the fact that smart chaser Senor Slamma has won four races in succession, Leith trainer Gary Johnson is not overly confident that the greyhound can extend the winning streak in the $7,150 M A Morgan St Leger (461 metres), to be conducted at the HGRC meeting in Hobart on Thursday night.
“He is strictly a hit and miss greyhound and therefore has to be taken on trust,” he explained.
“If he flies the lids and leads he will take plenty of catching. But the game is over if he misses the kick because he just doesn’t like other greyhounds around him.”
Owner by Gary’s wife Robyn, the son of El Grand Senor was now won 13 races while accumulating a purse of almost $20,000 and can claim a pb of 25.88 on the Hobart circuit, which is considerably faster than his St Leger rivals and an indication of what he is capable of while high-balling in the premier position.
“I rate Gary Fahey’s greyhound Bruny Venture and Russell Watt’s Boston Heart as huge winning chances in the event, but in saying that it’s a classy field and virtually every runner has a chance,” Johnson concluded.
Meanwhile Kinloch Brae bitch Ireland’s Force will also be shooting for five wins on the trot when she contests the $7,150 Big Moose Laurels (461 metres), which will also be decided on Thursday night’s 11 event HGRC card.
An occupant of Russell Watt’s Moorleah kennel, she has impressed greatly in recent weeks, but will meet stiff opposition in the feature. The Laurels has also attracted a star-studded field, including the likes of the Ted Medhurst prepared Velocette bitch Lillycette.
Another bitch to have excelled this week in Tasmania is the topliner She’s All Class, who gave her rivals a galloping lesson in The Advocate Grade 3 (452 metres) conducted at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting at the Devonport Raceway.
She was well supported in wagering on the event at a $1.80 quote and did not let her supporters down by flying the lids from the pink box to take up the running, before eventually scoring by three lengths in the time of 25.39.
Owned and prepared at Bishopsbourne by astute mentor David Crosswell, the daughter of Dyna Lachlan has now won 20 of 34 lifetime outings and accumulated a purse of almost $40,000, despite having had her career curtailed by serious injury and having a litter of pups.
Her elated owner-trainer declared her “a machine” after she won on Tuesday, which was only her second run back from the enforced spell.
“She had her toe off early in her career and then a sesamoid injury. Those things only ever happen to the good ones,” he declared.
Crosswell will map out a programme for She’s All Class, which may very well include tilts at the Devonport Cup and possibly the Hobart Thousand and is confidently predicting that one day she will make a great brood bitch.
“She will throw a champion one day, but she isn’t ready to retire yet. She’ll let me know when she is,” he said.
Broadmarsh husband and wife team Keith and Joan Nichols will live it up this week on the proceeds of a winning treble at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway. The pair combined to win with debut running litter mates Silver Pierre and Smichols and then completed a highly successful day with the very smart former interstate bitch Molly Monroe, who has now won four races in succession and eight of 20 lifetime outings.
Keith bred the first litter of pups in Tasmania by former Australian and Devonport Cup winner St. Pierre and right from the outset they displayed plenty of potential.
“They showed plenty of speed from the start and were very sensible. I liked them a lot and when I trialled several of them for the first time a fellow trainer said he would like to take all of them home with him,” he explained.
As soon as the litter of eight was whelped, Joan Nichols fell in love with the fawn pup and immediately claimed him as her own. Racing as Silver Pierre and taking full advantage from the red box, he recorded a time of 25.72 in winning Tuesday’s NWGRC Juvenile (452 metres) while paying a win dividend of $4.30.
A race later, Smichols surprised somewhat by taking out the The Advocate Juvenile (452 metres) in the time of 26.22, the track having deteriorated due to the rain, while paying a lucrative $23.80.
The highly promising Molly Monroe, the winner of four of six since entering the Nichols kennel, then railed through in the concluding stages to take out the Surepick Grade 4 (452 metres), paying $2.60 for the win and recording a time of 25.73.
Raced by Victorian owner Paul Westerveld, the Bartrim Bale bitch is obviously relishing her change of environment and will continue to win while in her present form.
“Paul raced Her Highness with success from my kennel and when he decided to take her back to Victoria he said he would send me a replacement and I am so glad he did,” Keith Nichols explained.
Meanwhile another Southern trainer to excel at Tuesday’s meeting was Brighton based Rod Ransley, who took out a double with the smart chasers Good Question and Tay’s Intention. The former took out the Hankook Tyres Grade 4 (452 metres) in the time of 26.11 while paying a win dividend of $4.10 and the latter was successful in the Greg Mansfield Grade 5 (452 metres), paying $4.00 for the win and recording a time of 25.82.
Flowery Gully mentor Michael Louth was also seen in the winners circle on two occasions, firstly with Iditarod, which was successful in the Dowling and McCarthy Tyres Maiden (452 metres) and then Canuck, which took out the Synectic Devonport Grade 5 (452 metres).
On Monday night at the Tote Racing Centre, Moorleah trainer Russell Watts took out the evening’s feature, the Steve King Ladies Bracelet Final (515 metres), with the very smart Kinloch Brae bitch Ireland’s Force, raced by the interstate based Fast Track Racing Syndicate. The bitch railed through in the concluding stages to score an outstanding victory, her third in succession and tenth in a career spanning 27 outings.
“From memory I have never won the Ladies Bracelet before, so her win provided me with a great thrill,” Watt’s revealed.
The next day at Devonport the kennel landed a good old fashioned betting tilt when the aptly named Dyna Lachlan debut runner Tax Toy took out the Sing The Song Juvenile (452 metres), after firming from an opening fixed odds quote of $6.00 into $3.00 when the field was despatched.
Brothers Gary and Greg Fahey made a clean sweep of the $5,760 George and Eileen Johnston Puppy Championship Final (452 metres) at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting when they provided the trifecta for the annual feature with littermates Soul Sister, Rip And Tear and Breaker’s Tip. Surprisingly, it was the despised outsider Soul Sister that prevailed in the prestigious event, recording a time of 25.64 and paying a win dividend of $26.80.
One of Tasmania’s best known racing identities, Greg purchased the well related bitch Dennes Point (Go Wild Teddy – Wooreddy) from the Island Syndicate headed by prominent breeder Barry Heawood and bred her to Mogambo. The resultant litter to be raced by him in partnership with Gary, a well known trainer based at Mangalore. The winner of six of 12 lifetime outings while accumulating stakes in excess of $8,700, the bitch had all the credentials to become a successful matron, her dam having already proven to be a wonderful producer.
Greg’s judgement was correct, members of the litter have impeccable manners, an abundance of speed and have impressed greatly in recent months.
On Tuesday, Rip And Tear as the likely leader was public elect, and everything went according to plan until the final stanza, when Soul Sister blew him away with a powerful finishing burst. She had only won on one occasion previously, but according to her trainer, had improved greatly in recent weeks. “The others were five or six lengths quicker than her, but when we trialled them last she went as well as they did,” he explained.
Fahey also explained that he was delighted to win a raced named in honour of George and Eileen Johnston. “George was one of the instigators of me getting into the game back in the sixties when I first got my love of greyhounds,” he said.
Icons of the greyhound racing industry in the North West, the Johnson’s were involved in the sport as participants as well as administrators and raced such standouts as Fenton Girl, Fenton Doll, Rambling Jet, Fiery Bob, Lucky Concession, Edward My Lad, Quiet Doll, Fenton Gold, Devon George and Miss Top Notch.
“George would breed a litter and give prospective purchasers the pick of them, keeping the pups that were left for himself,” former NWGRC chairman Gary Sutton explained. “Invariably he would end up with the best greyhounds, so it just goes to prove what a great trainer he was.”
Meanwhile fledgling sire St. Pierre was credited with a winner at the NWGRC meeting when Black Sienna, one of the offspring of bitch Wongawilli Wala, was successful in the Fenton Girl Juvenile (452 metres). An occupant of Ted Medhurst’s powerful Mangalore kennel, the bitch recorded a time of 25.78 in winning the event at odds of $2.30 and is displaying plenty of potential at this stage of her career.
The Allan Anderson juggernaut also continued to gain momentum at the meeting when he prepared yet another winner in what is the greatest run of success he has experienced during his long period of involvement in the sport. Blue Tam, by Go Wild Teddy from Juicy Lucy, took out the Quiet Doll Grade 4 (452 metres), recording a time of 25.72 and paying a win dividend of $3.00.
A classy field will contest the George and Eileen Johnston Puppy Championship Final (452 metres) at the NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway next Tuesday. The annual feature, named in honour of two former stalwarts of the industry in Tasmania, who from their Fenton Street base produced such standouts as Fenton Doll and 1967 Hobart Thousand winner Fiery Bob, carries a total stake of almost $6,000 and invariably attracts a talent laden field.
Fastest heat winner at Tuesday’s meeting was the Dragan Dodic owned, Russell Watts prepared Boston Heart (Flying Penske – Aprilia), which recorded 25.57 in defeating Rip And Tear (Mogambo – Dennes Point) and Buckle Up Tango (Dyna Lachlan – Valentine Bale), while paying a win dividend of $4.00. The winner of three of six Tasmanian starts has drawn the check box in the final and will most likely head the head the market in what will be a keenly contested affair.
Rip And Tear, Breaker’s Tip and Soul Sister are litter-mates from the Gary Fahey kennel and have drawn the three outside boxes in Tuesday’s finale. Gary races all three in partnership with his brother Greg. Breaker’s Tip, reputed to be the fastest of the trio, surprised in the heats of the event by scoring in the time of 25.73 and paying a win dividend of $11.00. In that particular heat, Get It Right (Cosmic Rumble – Ferly Gain) and Jamella Nova (Oaks Road – Still Hoping) filled the minor placings.
The last of the three heats was taken out by the Graeme Barber owned and prepared Elite Enfield (Knocka Norris – Lady Eisenheim), which recorded a time of 25.71 in defeating Soul Sister and Howzat Grace (Thirteen Black – Icy Popsicle), while paying a win dividend of $12.90. He has drawn the blue box next Tuesday, while the Neville Allison prepared Howzat Grace, a noted slow beginner, does not appear to be suited in the coveted red.
Master trainer Ted Medhurst was not seen in the winners circle following the qualifying heats, but has qualified the very well performed Get It Right, which will run from the yellow box. Medhurst has an outstanding record in major events and once again he appears to have an undeniable chance of scoring with this George Christides owned chaser.
Meanwhile smart chaser Oxley Rimfire (Collision – Oxley Falcon) continued on his winning way at the NWGRC meeting when he recorded a time of 25.90 in winning the Advocate Grade 3/4 (452 metres), as a heavily supported $1.90 commodity.
Owned and prepared by at Lauderdale by Eric Haldane, the chaser has now won three of five Tasmanian starts since being purchased from Maitland owner-breeder Snowy Watts. Purely a hobby trainer, Haldane has recently returned to Tasmania following a ten year stint in Queensland, which saw him win numerous races including a Beenleigh Cup, with one of his small team.
“I prefer to just prepare my own greyhounds and restrict my team to one or two,” the property developer explained this week.
Haldane is well known in Tasmania as the owner-trainer of the 1993 Launceston Cup winner Wary’s Desire, which provided him with one of his greatest thrills in the sport.
Mangalore mentor Allan Anderson’s great run of success continued at the meeting when his kennel was represented by the winners Blue Tam (Go Wild Teddy – Juicy Lucy) and Lashing Phil (Chinatown Lad – Lashing Ada). The former was successful in the Betta Milk Grade 5 (452 metres) in the time 25.94 at a dividend of $3.70, while the latter took out the Synectic Devonport Grade 5 (452 metres) in 26.05, paying $9.10.
With a team of only eight racing greyhounds in work, it is quite an achievement for a trainer to prepare three winners on any given programme, amazingly however, Mangalore mentor Allan Anderson has been able to do just that on two occasions in recent weeks.
On August 14 at the HGRC meeting in Hobart, he prepared the winners Cut Em Down (Cosmic Chief – Kyra Shiraz), Lashing Polly (Knocka Norris – Jamella Sarah) and Blue Tam (Go Wild Teddy – Juicy Lucy) and then on Thursday night at the same venue, he was once again seen in the winners circle with Cut Em Down and Lashing Polly, his third winner on this occasion being the former interstate chaser Pedro’s Vineyard (Where’s Pedro – Miss Merlot).
“I’m certainly having a great run of success at the moment. Preparing them as I always have done but just enjoying a run of luck,” the modest trainer explained this week.
Cut Em Down, which has now won three of 24 lifetime outings, is owned by Bracknell enthusiast Andrew Spencer, who was introduced to the sport by veteran trainer Maurie Strickland of Rewind fame.
“Maurie didn’t have room for Cut Em Down at his kennels so Andrew offered him to me to train and I am glad that he did,” Anderson explained. “He displays a bit of ability and can probably win again while in his current form.”
Lashing Polly, a late bloomer at three years of age, is raced by the trainer in partnership with kennel client Neil Sargison, who also enjoyed great success recently with last year’s National Distance Championship contender Lashing Jill (Lilli Pilli Lad – Illusion).
“She has taken time to find her racing legs, but is now firing and should develop into a very handy chaser,” Anderson explained.
Unfortunately for the pair, Lashing Jill broke down after contesting the Distance Championship, but has since produced a litter of eight pups by leading stud dog Kinloch Brae.
Pedro’s Vineyard, which is raced by a syndicate headed by interstate owner Brian Ford, was sent to Anderson’s kennels with a long range plan to contest distance races, but is also proving to be very capable over shorter trips.
The winner of four of 54 lifetime outings has been racing consistently in her new environment and is probably also one to follow in coming months.
Allan Anderson is naturally hoping that his current run of success will continue, but is the first to admit that the more races he wins the harder it becomes next time.
Meanwhile Copping trainer Peter Phillips prepared the smart chaser Dirty Rich (Cosmic Chief – Flippin Cool) to take out the Noel Vince Memorial (461 metres) at Thursday night’s meeting.
Named in honour of former owner – trainer Vince, the race is a regular feature on the HGRC calendar and has been won by some outstanding chasers in recent years.
Dirty Rich, the winner of 13 races while accumulating a purse of in excess of $43,000, recorded a time of 26.14 in winning the event, while paying a win dividend of $5.40.
The Anthony Bullock prepared Hellyeah Bolt filled second placing, with Graeme Moate’s kennel occupant Shanlyn Vapour taking third spot.
It has been 30 years since Tasmania, courtesy of Busy Vintage, claimed a National Sprint title. Buckle Up Wes will be looking to change that statistic when he travels to Cannington to contest the National Sprint final after taking out the Tasmanian leg of the sprint series on Monday night at Launceston.
Buckle Up Wes (3) was the odds-on pick and favourite punters weren’t disappointed as he emerged the clear-cut winner in 29.73. He was away well but it was Dominator Girl (7) that led the field into the first turn. Buckle Up Wes had settled nicely into second position and with a clear run along the rails the Collision and Everlong Bale (Primo Umo – Shique Bale) dog soon joined Dominator Girl down the back straight, taking the lead and streaking away for a comfortable win. Dominator Girl held on for second with Hellyeah Bolt (6) finishing on for third.
Buckle Up Wes is the deserved representative for Tasmania as he has been competing in plenty of Group race finals this year. He has now won 29 races for trainer Ted Medhurst and is certainly a top chance of bringing the trophy back to the Apple Isle.
Odds on favourite Painted Dotty (8) prevailed in a thrilling finish to win the AGRA Tasmanian National Distance Championship Final at Launceston on Monday night.
The Michael Stringer trained daughter of Mogambo and Painted Shaza (Puzzle Prize – My Tiger Lily) scored by a mere head from Pedro’s Vineyard (2) with Wild Cindy (7) only a half-head away in third place in a classic blanket finish.
The 29kg black bitch stopped the clock at a moderate 43.26 in the mixing affair, which is a time that is over half-a-second outside her personal best.
After leaving the outside box towards the rear of the field, Painted Dotty settled in fifth position and was posted deep as she looked to move forward. Gemstone Jack (1) led early but was collared by Cosmic Fire (6) before they passed the post the first time. Pedro’s Vineyard (2) had found the fence and was glued to the rail in third.
Cosmic Fire held a length break down the back with Painted Dotty accelerating to move to second placing and looking like a probable winner a long way from home, Pedro’s Vineyard continued to work away on the fence.
Rounding the home turn, the race developed into a mixing affair. Cosmic Fire and Painted Dotty led with Gemstone Jack making his way back into the race on the inside, Pedro’s Vineyard copped some interference and fell back to fourth.
As Gemstone Jack reached the leaders, the three appeared to collide with Gemstone Jack suffering the most. Painted Dotty hit the front with Pedro’s Vineyard zooming along the fence in a hurry to join her while Wild Cindy began a long run home out wide.
As they hit the line, Painted Dotty had clung on to win from Pedro’s Vineyard who had kept finding on the fence along the straight only to fail narrowly. Wild Cindy had only just missed out on claiming the pair after making good ground late.
The win was Painted Dotty’s 13th from 37 career starts and takes her total prize-money earnings beyond $34,000. She will now represent the Apple Isle in the National final at Cannington in Western Australia on August 23rd.
The National spotlight will be firmly affixed on Tasmania this Monday night as Launceston hosts their state finals of both the 2014 AGRA National Sprint and Distance Championships.
When it comes to the distance final, the Apple Isle is yet to register a win in the national final, but that is not to say that they have not been producing some superb stayers of late.
Greyhounds the ilk of dual Group One winner Cheetah Zorro along with Bell Haven and Jethro immediately spring to mind, all of which have been more than competitive at every level.
This Monday’s field will all be hoping to earn the right to represent their state in the National final at Cannington on August 23rd and hopefully become the first to win the big event.
here is a look at the final field and Sportingbet’s current fixed odds market;
1 – Gemstone Jack ($14) – Anthony Bullock - A consistent type who has recently graduated to middle-distance racing and takes the step up to the “half mile” in this race. His last win over any ground was over 600 metres at this track in June. He did run a placing at The Meadows over 600 metres in July but is an unknown quantity at this journey. Take him on trust.
2 – Pedro’s Vineyard ($10) – Allan Anderson – A winner of just two races from 51 starts, the last of which was over this trip. She has only saluted the judge once in 2014 but has filled a placing in her last three starts, all over this trip. It would be a surprise to see her win but she is a place chance.
3 – An That – SCRATCHED
4 – Domenic’s Dove – ($4.20) – Clinton Tapp – Has been in stellar form of late winning three of her last four starts, all at this journey. Registered a best of 42.73 four starts back when she defeated Painted Dotty, the greyhound who is likely to be her main adversary in this race. She looks to be the main danger to the favourite.
5 – Alvin Benz ($21) – Brian Crawford – Is yet to win over this trip in six attempts. He has been beaten a fair space by Domenic’s Dove at his last two outings and appears to be more of a place chance than a winning one.
6 – Cosmic Fire ($14) - Could be the knockout dog in this race. Has a good strike-rate with 11 wins from 37 starts and stepped out for his first 720 metre race last time out where he finished third to Painted Dotty. He should be much better served for that run and is easily the best of the rest.
7 – Wild Cindy ($13) - Ted Medhurst – Had been racing well over the middle-distance trips before stepping up to staying events. She has only managed one placing from three attempts over this journey but it was a credible second to Domenic’s Dove two starts back. She needs to reproduce that run to be any hope of winning this but she is hard to have given her other two staying efforts.
8 – Painted Dotty ($1.55) - Michael Stringer – The big gun of this final. She has won her last four races, all over the longer trips at Richmond, Wentworth Park and at this track. She has a best of 42.73 and won here in 42.99 last week. She is yet to win from box eight in three attempts but does look to have a lot of class on most of these. She will take some beating.
9 – Hellyeah Oliver – SCRATCHED
10 – Mumford’s Son ($23) – Anthony Bullock - Has a decent career strike-rate with 14 wins from 43 starts. Had his first go over this trip last start where he finished fifth beaten eight lengths by Painted Dotty. He has not won since June and is hard to have in this race.
Tasmania will determine its National Sprint representative on Monday night at Launceston. The race, which runs at 9:58pm, features multiple Group One winner Buckle Up Wes, who was also the fastest qualifier into the state final. Anthony Bullock has qualified two finalists and his best chance looks to be Hellyeah Bolt.
Here’s a look at each of the finalists:
Box 1 – Her Highness (Keith Nichols)
The 30kg black bitch by Bartrim Bale and Witch Fantasy (Premier Fantasy – Witch Magic) has been rather impressive in Tasmania. She has had 17 career starts for 10 wins. At Launceston she has had eight starts for five wins and three placings. She won her heat last week in 30.00 but has a best of 29.88 at the track. Her record from box one is sound and it’s the box she won from last week. She meets a class greyhound in Buckle Up Wes in this so it will be interesting to see how she measures up.
Box 2 – Classic Spence (Anthony Bullock)
A winner of just three from 16 at the track, this dog by Mandagery Man and Camdale Alex (Bombastic Shiraz – Camdale Smudge) will probably struggle to feature. He has a best time of 30.04 at the track and is yet to win from box two.
Box 3 – Buckle Up Wes (Edward Medhurst)
He is the star of Tasmanian racing and has proven himself against the best sprinters in the land this year, taking out the Group One Australian Cup. The Collision and Everlong Bale (Primo Uno – Shique Bale) dog has had 17 starts at Launceston for 12 wins and he has recorded a best time of 29.33. He won his heat from box five last week in 29.59 by over ten lengths. He is the one to beat.
Box 4 – Black Rip (Shane Whitney)
Black Rip is a dog with an almost perfect record at Launceston; he has won six of his seven races there. He also finished second in the Group Two Launceston Cup last year. The Goodesy and Richmond Fox (Hallucinate – Great Fox) dog won his heat in 30.28 last week, slightly off his best time of 29.96. His record from box four is good but he isn’t always the best away. He will be afforded no mistakes in this field.
Box 5 – Despicable Ben (Brendan Pursell)
This Westmead Hawk and Electron (Hallucinate – Little Fausta) dog has been very consistent in his short career. He has had 11 career starts for six wins and five placings. He has won two from four at Launceston. His best time of 29.84 was recorded at the track in late July. Last week, he did all the chasing behind Buckle Up Wes, finishing ten and a half lengths second. The draw has done him no favours.
Box 6 – Hellyeah Bolt (Anthony Bullock)
Hellyeah Bolt looks to be one of the biggest dangers to Buckle Up Wes although he could only manage third last week in his heat behind Her Highness. He ran second to Buckle Up Wes a month ago here at the track. Overall, he has won six from 11 at the track and has ran a personal best of 29.55. Although his form has been a little patchy over the last month, the Dyna Lachlan and Flash Diamond (Elite State – Chinatown Babe) dog is more than capable on his day.
Box 7 – Dominator Girl (Paul Hill)
Dominator Girl hasn’t won a race since May and she qualified for this race by running third to Buckle Up Wes last week. The High Earner and Bit Sweet (Solve The Puzzle -Chili Berger) bitch has won four from 11 at the track with a best of 29.81. She has never won from box seven so she will be at long odds to take this out.
Box 8 – Heliski (Michael Louth)
Heliski finished three lengths behind Her Highness last week from box six and moves even wider for the final this week. The Nitro Burst and Parsipanny (Collide – Mohar) dog has won just one race from the draw and his best first section is the slowest in the field so it looks unlikely that he will be able to cross the field. He has also won just three from 19 at the track with a best of 30.12. He will need to improve to be in the placings.
Both Little Miss Take (9) and Hello Benny (10) look to be up against it if they gain a start. Neither of the two chasers has a flash record at the track and they both have been in average form. Little Miss Take’s last win was in November last year and Hello Benny notched up his last win in May this year.
Champion chaser Buckle Up Wes (Collision – Everlong Bale) will be at prohibitive odds about winning Division One of the J G Nelson Cup (515 metres) at Monday nights LGRC meeting. Exeter based mentor Anthony Bullock, who prepares another standout in Hellyeah Bolt (Dyna Lachlan – Flash Diamond), has not conceded defeat however.
“Buckle Up Wes is better drawn than me and may very well lead. That would mean that it will be almost impossible to run him down, but I have not given up hope of winning,” he explained this week.
“I believe that there is only about two lengths between them. If my dog is spotting him four lengths in the run, he obviously can’t win, but that may not be the case.”
The outstanding chasers have almost identical Tasmanian and venue records. Buckle Up Wes has won 20 of 31 on Tasmanian soil and 11 of 15 at Launceston, whilst Hellyeah Bolt has greeted the judge at 18 of 30 Tasmanian attempts and in six of nine venue runs.
“Buckle Up Wes prevailed in the J G Nelson Cup heat but we had excuses,” Bullock explained.
“The two of them and Nooee’s Lad went hard into the first corner running a first spit of 5.05 and there was a shuffle up with my bloke coming off second best, but in saying that we are all aware that Buckle Up Wes is a star.”
The Bullock complex will also be represented by heat winner Gemstone Jack (Bit Chili – Right Way Gloria) in Monday night’s event, which carries a lucrative LGRC bonus in addition to a winners purse of almost $2,000.
Meanwhile Brighton trainer Brendan Pursell has qualified both Alonnah (Talks Cheap – Wooreddy) and Despicable Matt (Cosmic Rumble – Sky Twinkle) for Division Two of the J G Nelson Cup, drawing in the red and yellow boxes respectively.
“I am particularly happy with Alonnah of late and she should be able to sit just off the pace in the run. If Red Nitro begins like he did in the heat he may very well lead and she may sit behind him,” Pursell explained.
“Despicable Matt may also get a nice run in transit from the five box because he has a slow beginner each side of him. However it is a very even field and a difficult event to win.”
Ace Mangalore trainer Ted Medhurst has a great chance of winning Division Three of the J G Nelson Cup, with occupants of his kennel making up almost half of the field.
His kennel will be represented by Lonesome Cry-Infatuation littermates Yeah Right, Superficial and Star Chamber, who all debuted recently in impressive fashion.
However Launceston trainer Eileen Thomas, best known as the trainer of former speedster Damek, will provide very stiff opposition to the Medhurst trio with the highly promising Night Tremors (Fear Zafonic – Night Storm). The Christopher Essex owned sprinter has strung together a series of impressive victories in recent weeks.
Astute Mangalore trainer Gary Fahey is yet to win a Breeders Classic Final in Hobart, but has a great chance of doing just that on Thursday night when he is represented by littermates Bruny Venture and Rip And Tear in the annual feature.
“I won the Breeders Classic Final last year at Devonport with Daniel’s Bay and the Launceston Breeders Classic Final several years ago with Miki Moto Mike, but have yet to succeed in the Hobart. So here’s hoping,” Fahey explained.
Fahey considers the Island Syndicate owned Bruny Venture, by Mogambo out of Dennes Point, to be the best chaser in the race, but as always he feels that luck will play a huge part in proceedings and that the blue box is not the ideal place to be.
“He leaves the boxes satisfactorily, but then gathers speed very quickly. I have no doubt that if he can take up the running he will prove to be very hard beat and it’s in his favour that he has been able to overcome bad boxes at virtually every start he has had.”
Fahey nominates the Gary Johnson prepared Buckle Up Fletch (Dyna Lachlan – Everlong Bale) as the main danger on Thursday night, but also rates the Robert Gourlay prepared Izon Destruction (Lochinvar Marlow – White Ruler) and his other runner Rip And Tear, as great winning chances.
“Buckle Up Fletch is a brilliant beginner which has drawn to suit and Izon Destruction is a very promising bitch showing heaps of potential.”
Fahey and his brother Greg purchased the very well related bitch Dennes Point from prolific breeder Barry Heawood, who has been involved with Breeders Classic glory on at least ten previous occasions.
“We bred the Mogambo litter on the proviso that Barry and the Island Syndicate retain one of the pups, which has turned out to be Bruny Venture. Greg and I race the remaining four, which are also displaying plenty of talent.”
The Leith based Johnson has great respect for Bruny Venture and believes that he is the Breeders Classic testing material, a view shared by pre-post bookmakers who have installed the chaser as $2.80 favourite for the $5,000 to the winner plus breeders bonus event.
“I am very impressed with Bruny Venture and consider him a worthy favourite for the Breeders Classic, but believe that my greyhound will run a great race provided he does everything right.”
Meanwhile trainers Gaylene Townsend and Brendan Pursell took training honours at Tuesday’s NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway when they both prepared doubles on a ten event card.
The Ranelagh based Townsend provided a major upset when the $19.50 commodity Bandit’s Revenge (Surf Lorian – Mescal Siyan) took out a Grade 5 event and then was successful with the smart chaser That Was Then (Cosmic Chief – Flippin Cool), which took out the Grade 3/4.
Former harness racing trainer-driver Pursell was seen in the winners circle with hot favourite Despicable Lea (Mogambo – Dashing Puzzle) in the Juvenile and the nicely bred Alonnah (Talks Cheap – Wooreddy) in the Grade 4.
Patrick Ryan and his family relocated to Dilston north of Launceston on the East Tamar Highway only a few short months ago, but already they have established a training complex and entered the Tasmanian winners circle on six occasions.
Originally from Townsville, they spent six years in Brisbane before returning north, but eventually decided to venture south and with the help of mutual friend and fellow trainer Neville Allison, found the property of their dreams and negotiated a deal.
Many years ago Patrick Ryan prepared a winner at his first attempt as an 18 year-old, when the bitch Rivella greeted the judge on the Townsville circuit.
“A friend of mine prepared her and set her for an almighty plunge, which unfortunately did not come off, so he gave her to me lock stock and barrel with her kennel thrown in for good measure,” he explained.
“All I did was walk her around the streets for a couple of weeks, entered her for a race and to my amazement she blitzed her opposition, meaning that I was hooked on the industry forever.”
The ensuing years saw the Ryan kennel produce many winners including the outstanding bitch Wine Glass, which made the final of both the Adelaide and Melbourne Cups and represented Queensland in the National Sprint Championship.
The Bellamy family also entrusted him with the smart bitch Barrio Fiesta, the winner of 18 of 49 lifetime outings and later the dam of outstanding chaser and sire Surf Lorian.
With the six victories under his belt and eight chasers in his kennel, Ryan is now intent on establishing himself in the Tasmanian industry and hoping to unearth an interstate connection capable of providing him with a steady stream of greyhounds.
“I am very impressed with the way that the industry is structured in Tasmania and the fact that locally bred chasers are so well catered for, but unfortunately I am a couple of years away from that situation and until I can purchase some well related bitches to breed from, I may have to rely on interstate greyhounds,” he explained.
Ably assisted by his 19 year-old son Brennan, who has spent time in Queensland with the likes of Tony Brett, Steve Williams and Ron Bell, Ryan travels to the beach at Beechford at least three days a week with members of his team.
“Our property is ideally located as far as the beach and the Launceston and Devonport tracks, meaning that travelling does not pose the problems that it did during the six years that we spent in Brisbane,” he explained.
On Tuesday at the NWGRC meeting conducted at the Devonport Raceway, Winsome Tommy (Bit Chili – Ramblin’ Ruby) provided the kennel with their sixth Tasmanian winner when he prevailed in a Grade 5 (452 metres), recording a time of 25.84 and paying a win dividend of $2.80.
“He was previously in Sydney with John Finn and probably hasn’t raced up to his ability here in Tasmania, but we now think we have worked him out and hopefully he will go on with it.”
Meanwhile Richmond trainer Margaret Rossendell’s long trip to the Devonport Raceway proved to be a profitable one when she prepared the last two winners on the ten event card in littermates Wee Fire and Janda, both by Lochinvar Marlow from Arrow On Fire.
Wee Fire recorded a time of 25.96 when she prevailed in a Grade 5 (452 metres) and then Janda upset a confident betting plunge on the Russell Watts prepared Superbowl (Kinloch Brae – Spiral Rose), by recording a time of 25.85 in winning another Grade 5 (452 metres) in brilliant fashion.
Connections boasting a long association with the LGRC were seen in the winners circle at the Devonport Raceway on Tuesday afternoon when the well related bitch Crystal Innings (High Earner – Ricky’s Angel) led throughout to score an impressive victory in the Grade 5 event (452 metres).
The bitch is raced by LGRC Chairman John Newson and prepared for him by veteran Newnham mentor Doug Cassidy, who is assisted in his endeavours by his wife Pam, who occupies the position of Vice Chairman. In addition, both Doug and Pam are life-members of the club, having devoted many hours of their time over the years to what is probably Tasmania’s most financial greyhound racing organisation.
“It is a great result for all of us, we are close friends, reside in the same location and are all involved with the Launceston Greyhound Racing Club,” Doug Cassidy explained on Wednesday.
John Newson purchased Crystal Innings from John Quill early this year when attempting to procure a well related bitch, to be used ultimately for breeding purposes.
“John asked me if I was prepared to train her for him and brought her to my kennels early in March,” Cassidy explained.
“It has taken time to get her to the races because she came in season, but I have been patient with her and am naturally hoping that she can win a race or two for us before she is eventually retired to the breeding barn.”
On Tuesday Crystal Innings flew the lids and was never in danger of defeat in the premier position, recording a time of 25.91 and paying the handsome win dividend of $10.70.
“I expect her to improve further still. I take her for long walks up as far as the Rocherlea football ground and then gallop her of a Friday and she is handling the work load well.”
Two races prior Crystal Innings’ litter sister Flash Innings recorded her tenth win when successful in the Grade 2/3 event (452 metres) for co-owners Quill and Ricky Ponting and Relbia mentor Tony Dawson.
Originally declared an emergency for the event, she also led throughout, recording a time of 25.78 and paying a win dividend of $5.40.
Meanwhile another veteran of the sport in Richmond’s Steve Hutt, enjoyed a successful day at the NWGRC meeting when his kennel was represented by the winners King Nitro and Red Nitro, members of a Nitro Burst – Wind Fire litter raced by John Carr.
King Nitro prevailed in the Grade 4 (452 metres) in the time of 25.82 and Red Nitro made good use of the red box to take out the Adam Brooks Grade 4 (452 metres) in the time of 25.66.
Since the littermates were transferred to the Hutt complex they have recorded nine wins in total, while accumulating a purse of in excess of $14,000.
Smart chaser Pioneer Mogul (Collision – Pepper Spice) continued on his winning way at the NWGRC meeting when he upstaged some very well credentialed rivals in the Grade 4 (452 metres).
Bridport trainer Richard Hall has unearthed the key to the chaser, which has won three of his last four starts and five of 17 lifetime outings while taking stakes of in excess of $8,000.
In defeating race favourite Glitzy Bling (Dyna Lachlan – Miss Bling) and Golden Sage (Knocka Norris – Trina Sage), Pioneer Mogul recorded a time of 25.77 and paid a win dividend of $3.80.