THE heats of the 2015 Group 1 Australian Cup looked to offer a sensational night of racing on paper and, despite the wild Melbourne weather, when the lids flew open that is exactly what we got.
While the series contained some absolute superstars of the sport, there were plenty of upsets, with just two favourites claiming their heats and a spot in next Saturday’s feature.
The first of the eight heats saw Recruitment start as the favourite from box one on the back of a slashing 29.84 run the week prior, but it faced a tough task against the likes of Allen Deed (box four), Cosmic Wise (box five) and interstate raider Winsome Prince (box six).
The Deborah Coleman-trained greyhound began well from the inside and managed to push up on the fence in the run to the first turn, assuming the lead Peloton Bale (box two) and Winsome Prince. The top three stayed in that order for the remainder of that event, with Recruitment drawing clear to win by one-and-a-half lengths in a time of 29.90. Recruitment, a son of Cosmic Rumble and Josette Bale, has now won nine races from 24 starts.
The second heat promised an exciting speed duel between National Derby winner Fernando Bale (box two) and recent Shepparton Cup victor Azza Azza Azza (box three), with the former starting as the punter’s elect. However, it was the versatile Lamia Bale (box four) which bounded to the lead and, despite Fernando Bale’s best efforts, he could not reel her in, finishing just under three lengths behind the winner, which clocked 29.78. Xtreme Knocka (box one) rattled home to grab third with Azza Azza Azza finishing fourth. Lamia Bale, which is trained by Steve Collins, is in top form at present having run a gallant second in last Saturday’s Group 1 Rookie Rebel at The Meadows.
Wheeler-owned greyhounds dominated the result in the third heat, with the leviathan breeder owning the first four runners past the post, including the favourite, boom youngster Dyna Double One, which started odds on from box seven. After missing the kick, Dyna Double One was never really a winning proposition, as WA speedster Quartz Bale (box five) began beautifully and slipped clear to score in a best of night time of 29.60. The Paul Stuart-trained greyhound, which is not known for his early speed, has now won 11 races from 18 starts and looks to be a massive threat in the final if he can repeat his box manners from the weekend.
Punters believed that Paul Wheeler could get his third finalist in the fourth heat, sending Dyna Villa to the boxes as their top pick from the cherry. The two time Group 1 winner which generally explodes from the boxes missed it slightly from the inside, allowing the John Galea- prepared Sisco Rage (box three) to claim the early lead in the run to the first turn. Once in front, Sisco Rage, a Rookie Rebel finalist, looked nearly impossible to run down and proved to be precisely that, extending his margin to over four-and-a-half lengths when crossing the line in a fast 29.87. Dyna Villa battled on well for second with Astronomize (box eight) finishing third for Paul Stuart.
The track had well and truly received a lashing of rain by the time the fifth heat rolled around which the clock started to indicate. The race was a wide open affair on paper with last week’s Temlee placegetter Marcus Joe (box one) the one to beat from an ideal inside draw. Early on in the race, Warragul Cup victor Ronray Spirit (box five) took the lead and shot clear to set up a massive break on Hostile (box seven) and Marcus Joe down the back, however he started to get the wobbles turning for home. This allowed Hostile, a winner over the middle distance, to thunder to the lead and into the Australian Cup final ahead of a brave Marcus Joe, with Ronray Spirit tiring to fill the trifecta.
The series star made his appearance in heat six with My Bro Fabio (box seven) coming into his heat as a winner of two Group 1s at his last two starts. However, the Brooke Ennis- trained powerhouse couldn’t make up enough ground in the boggy conditions after his typical average beginning, failing three-and-one-quarter lengths short of the winner, Samus Allen (box two), on the line. Samus Allen, a daughter of Bekim Bale and Blachura Bale, clocked a sizzling 29.84 to secure her spot in the decider and has now won 15 of her 37 starts.
Heat seven was a one act affair with the favourite Luca Neveelk (box three) leading from go to whoa in a respectable 29.98. The lid pinger started getting tired turning for home as he usually does, but had enough in the tank to hold off Ollie Bale (box four) by one-and-a-half lengths on the line. It was a tremendous effort from Luca Neveelk, who is not known for his strength, to battle through the heavy conditions and score and there is no doubt that he will derive great benefit from that run.
The eighth and final heat saw the biggest upset of the night with short-priced favourite Awesome Project (box eight) only able to manage second behind classy youngster Emrys (box six) for Mario Briganti. The black dog managed to find the front early and fought on gamely to record a 30.06 win on a track that was at least a few tenths slow by the end of the night.
The final of the Group 1 Australian Cup will be run next Saturday night at The Meadows and will offer a $250,000 winner’s cheque.
Group 1 Australian Cup box draw
Box 1 – Sisco Rage – John Galea
Box 2 – Hostile – Darren Beasley
Box 3 – Quartz Bale – Paul Stuart
Box 4 – Luca Neveelk – Gerry Kleeven
Box 5 – Emrys – Mario Briganti
Box 6 – Recruitment – Deborah Coleman
Box 7 – Samus Allen – Jenny Hunt
Box 8 – Lamia Bale – Steve Collins
1st Reserve – Kerrigan Bale – Andrea Dailly
2nd Reserve – Fernando Bale – Andrea Dailly
A MASSIVE night of racing will take centre stage at The Meadows tonight with heats of two Group 1 features – the Australian Cup and the Superstayers.
Both series have attracted some of the nations best greyhounds to Victoria ensuring we are in for some terrific action throughout the card.
Race 2: Fernando Bale
Race 1: Winsome Prince
Leg 1: 1,3,4,6,8 – Leg 2: 1,3,5 – Leg 3: 1,2,4,7 – Leg 4: 2,7,8
$180 for 100%
1st: $10,000 2nd: $3,000 3rd: $1,500.
Alongside Melbourne Cup heat night, this is the best race card you will see all year. The first heat is one of the more open heats and if gun NSW speedster Winsome Prince can handle the track, he will take a power of beating. He is a high speed chaser and this track will suit his racing pattern, the only concern with him is that he can be a tad slow to begin at times and from the draw he will need a couple of things to go his way early. He has won 15 of 20 overall and I think he can handle himself well in his Meadows debut.
Allen Deed is all class and he is the current track record holder, like always his chances will come down to what happens in the first 50m. The middle pin isn’t ideal but it’s not the worst he could have drawn. He has the ability to step cleanly and there isn’t a whole lot of speed around him, so with a good getaway he might be able to balance up in the first half of the field. If you knew he was going to get a clear run you would empty the bank account but his racing pattern means that there is always a risk in the early stages with him.
Recruitment finally showed his true ability with a sizzling 29.84 win here last week and he is drawn to feature again, he will need to lead to win but from the red he should get every chance.
Cosmic Wise can’t be left out also, she won the Rookie Rebel here last week and she is probably better suited back to this trip.
Top Four: 6 – 1 – 4 – 5
Exacta: 1,4,6/1,4,5,6 ($9 for 100%)
Trifecta: 6/1,4,5/Field ($18 for 100%)
Quinella: 6 to rove with 1,4,5 ($3 for 100%)
1st: $10,000 2nd: $3,000 3rd: $1,500.
This appears to be a match race between two speed demons in Fernando Bale and Azza Azza Azza. I’m giving the edge to Fernando Bale, he is the more reliable beginner of the two chasers and he has the inside draw, so even if they both step cleanly he should have the speed to hold them out. He is absolutely flying at present and if he finds the early lead tonight, I can see a sub 29.60 run on the cards.
Azza Azza Azza has really put it altogether in recent weeks and he should run a bottler again. He showed last time out he has no trouble running the trip by scoring a strong win here in a sizzling 29.71, I think he will need to lead to win tonight but even if he camps second he should make Fernando Bale work hard for victory.
Xtreme Knocka isn’t the most talented chaser in the race but when he can find the rail in his races, he tends to chase very hard. He is likely to get burnt off early but he should stick on quite well and I can see him taking home some minor money.
Lamia Bale is super consistent and she rounds out the chances, she was far from disgraced in the Rookie Rebel and I’m expecting another forward showing.
Top Four: 2 – 3 – 4 – 1
Exacta: 2,3/1,2,3,4 ($6 for 100%)
Quinella: 2 to rove with 1,3,4 ($3 for 100%)
Trifecta: 2/1,3,4/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
The first heat for the stayers looks pretty straight forward, Space Star has taken all before him in recent weeks and although the red draw doesn’t suit, he still should have enough speed to push through and control the race. His winning time last week of 42.06 is simply off the charts and I think he should go through the series unbeaten and it is going to be a while until we see his next defeat.
My Mate Cobber is a classy WA stayer and he is still improving over this journey. He does his best racing when he can dictate the terms out in front, he should probably be able to cross and find the rail but once Space Star balances up I’m expecting him to give him windburn. He can’t beat the favourite but he does look a solid bet for the quinella spot.
Love Affair has a great record here and she could run home and snag some minor money, whilst if Zipping Felix can settle near the speed he could run a cheeky race at odds.
Top Four: 1 – 5 – 2 – 6
Trifecta: 1/2,5,6/2,5,6 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1/2,5,6/Field ($18 for 100%)
Exacta: 1/2,5,6 ($3 for 100%)
Quinella: 1 to rove with 2,5,6 ($3 for 100%)
1st: $10,000 2nd: $3,000 3rd: $1,500.
Another great lineup set to do battle and I think the outside division will get across and control the race. Dyna Double One is a star of the future and quite possibly the fastest chaser in the land. He has won four of five over this trip and he has a ridiculous 29.52 PB. There is very little early speed in this event so he should get across quite easily and if he finds the lure I can’t see them reeling him in.
Quartz Bale is a serious WA chaser and he could be the value in the event, he has scored some devastating wins in his home state and he was recently placed in the Group One Perth Cup. He will need some luck from the middle pin but if the favourites happen to make a mistake he should be there to capitalise.
Above All is a freak and if given a clear run he is a great chance, however I think his might get shuffled back early from the rails draw and he will find it hard to give these type of chasers a start and a beating.
Kerrigan Bale is airborne at present and if she pings the lids she can cause a minor upset.
Top Four: 7 – 5 – 1 – 2
Exacta: 5,7/1,2,5,7 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 7/,2,5/Field ($18 for 100%
Quinella: 7 to rove with 1,2,5 ($3 for 100%)
1st: $10,000 2nd: $3,000 3rd: $1,500.
Dyna Villa has been a tad disappointing of late but he has also been very unlucky, he is currently $4 fixed which is ridiculous odds for a chaser of his calibre. He has very little speed drawn on his outside tonight, so he should be able to hold the early lead and he has proven in his career to date that he is very hard to reel in when allowed to dictate the terms in front. He is way over the odds and I think he is the steal of the night.
Caustic Bale has an enormous engine and if he can get away cleanly he should run a big race, last week he overcame some early difficulties to score and I think with a clear run he is capable of getting down to around the 29.65 mark.
Astronomize is a classy WA chaser and he recently made the final of the Group One Perth Cup, he has seen the track and he has the speed to get across early, he could be the value in the event.
Ride The Rails and Midnight Flynn are both in great form and must be respected, however both are poorly drawn and they will need a lot to go right for them to feature.
Top Four: 1 – 8 – 6 – 3
Boxed Quinella: 1,3,6,8 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,6,8/1,3,6,8 ($9 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1/3,6,8/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
Lady Toy was desperately unlucky here last week but from the red tonight she should be afforded all the favours and she should return to the winners list. Her record here isn’t great but it’s too hard to ignore her effort at Cannington two runs back and from box one I can’t see her settling any worse than third as they head through the first turn.
Footluce Diva won a handicap here recently and she should set a cracking pace, I dont think she can hold on for the win but she should be able to snag some minor money.
Starc has been racing well in top company of late and he should atone for a luckless effort here last week. He has the ability to lead or come from off the speed in his races and that makes him a big threat.
Psychotic Gold really impressed me last week when placed in the Zoom Top and she should turn in a solid performance again tonight, she will need some luck early but she is very strong and she may just swoop over the top of them late in the race.
Top Four: 1 – 3 – 4 – 5
Trifecta: 1/3,4,5/Field ($18 for 100%)
Exacta: 1/3,4,5 ($3 for 100%)
Quinella: 1 to rove with 3,4,5 ($3 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1/3,4,5/3,4,5 ($6 for 100%)
1st: $10,000 2nd: $3,000 3rd: $1,500.
One of the more open heats of the night and I’ve gone with one of my favourites in Dyna Yemen. His form of late hasn’t been great but he has a big engine and he has won six of 12 over this journey. With Marcus Joe expected to lead, he should be able to drop in just behind him and get a nice sit for most of the journey and as they round for home he should be able to reel them in.
Marcus Joe turned in a great performance when placed here last week in the Temlee and he has a great overall record here. He has come up with the good draw and if he can hold them out early he should give a great sight.
Spring Leaf is in career best form and she is another who excels here, I’m a little concerned about the speed on her outside but with an ounce of luck early she should run a big race.
Hostile must also be respected, he is resuming from a spell and he is capable of spearing the lids, Chica Destacada is a great chaser but she appears to be off her game at present and I dont give her much hope.
Top Four: 2 – 1 – 4 – 7
Boxed Quinella: 1,2,4,7 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,2/1,2,4,7 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 2/1,4,7/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1,2/1,2/Field ($12 for 100%)
1st: $10,000 2nd: $3,000 3rd: $1,500.
My Bro Fabio is in scintillating form at present and with an ounce of luck he should win. Last week he turned in a stellar performance when winning the Temlee and from a similar wide draw tonight he should get every chance to win, however I wouldn’t be rushing in too take the short odds. There is a fair bit of speed in this event and there are likely to be a few chasers that are going to fall in his lap mid race. He is obviously the top pick but I would be happy to risk him tonight.
Diva’s Shadow is an explosive beginner and she blew her rivals away when scoring here last time in 29.83. With a clean getaway tonight she should have more than enough speed to cross and I think she might just steal the prize mid race.
Samus Allen beat a quality lineup at Sandown two runs back in 29.30 and she tends to save her best for this track and trip, she should settle in the top two early and I’m expecting a big run.
Top Four: 8 – 2 – 7 – 1
Boxed Quinella: 1,2,7,8 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 2,8/1,2,7,8 ($6 for 100%)
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
Quite an open affair but I found it hard to go past the in form Blinker’s On based on his performance here last week. He was very gallant in defeat in the Zoom Top and for a fleeting moment he looked as though he was going to get very close to Space Star. If he can step well again tonight he should be able to assume control mid race and he should prove too strong in the run home.
Opec Bale is bred to be a staying star and he has worked his way through the ranks nicely. He recently powered to the line when scoring at Sandown in 41.99 and he is unbeaten in two attempts here.
Flying Twist should set the early speed and if they shuffle up behind her she may just steal the prize, she has a great record over this journey and if she goes around at silly odds she may be worth a bet.
Deadly Boy rounds out the chances, he will settle near the speed and he has been placed in his only two tries over this trip.
Top Four: 2 – 3 – 5 – 6
Exacta: 2,3,5/2,3,5,6 ($6 for 100%)
Quinella: 2 to rove with 3,5,6 ($3 for 100%)
Trifecta: 2/3,5,6/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $10,000 2nd: $3,000 3rd: $1,500.
Luca Neveelk is all class and with the lack of early speed in this event I can see him leading throughout quite easily. He has won over this trip in a solid 30.15 previously but he is a much stronger chaser this time around and he should be running around 29.70ish on the lure.
Ikaku Bale finally delivered on his early promise with a dazzling 29.60 win here last week and if he repeats that effort he will take a power of beating, the only worry tonight is that he will need some room in the early stages and he is unlikely to get it.
Winsome Mission is a beast and if he can handle the track he will be right in the finish, he is suited to the wide draw and he just needs some luck at the first turn.
Dyna Nihilist has the rails draw and he is a must for your exotic bets, he might get too far back early to win but he will be steaming home and he can snag some minor money.
Top Four: 3 – 5 – 7 – 1
Boxed Quinella: 1,3,5,7 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 3,5,7/1,3,5,7 ($9 for 100%)
1st: $10,000 2nd: $3,000 3rd: $1,500.
Weblec Belle had her first look at the track here last week and she was super impressive when narrowly beaten by Azza Azza Azza. She should be able to improve on that effort and with a slow beginner on her outside she should get every chance to push through in the run to the first bend.
Dawkins Bale was a tad disappointing when beaten here last week but that was his first 500m run for three weeks, so I would expect him to improve on that run.
Droopy’s Bentley is an enormous talent and if I knew he was going to step cleanly he would be my top pick. Last time out he took a heap of ground off Dyna Double One in the run home and he went down by under two lengths in the Perth Cup Consolation.
Top Four: 5 – 4 – 7 – 6
Quinella: 5 to rove with 4,6,7 ($3 for 100%)
Exacta: 4,5/4,5,6,7 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 5/4,6,7/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
Tough race to close out the night but I think if Ralphy Cinel can handle the rise in distance he should be able to score. He recently captured the final of the Big Dog Cup at Albion Park and the way he hit the line in that event suggests that he should be able to cover the extra trip.
Big Kat has been racing in good fashion of late and she appears to be good value. She should be suited to the wide draw and three starts back she was narrowly beaten at Sandown Park in very fast time.
Evie Jane must be respected, she has a great record here and she can either lead or come from off the speed in her races, the middle pin is a worry but if she can avoid early bother she will be right in the mix.
Luna Jinx is probably the most talented chaser in the event but she does a lot of things wrong in her races, if she is over the odds she might be worth a bet.
Top Four: 5 – 7 – 4 – 6
Boxed Quinella: 4,5,6,7 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 4,5,7/4,5,6,7 ($9 for 100%)
Trifecta: 5/4,6,7/Field ($18 for 100%)
After six hours in the Victorian Supreme Court on Friday night, Awesome Project has been given the all clear to start in Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Cup heats at The Meadows.
It was announced early on Friday that Awesome Project would be ineligible to compete in the series after the Board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) met on Tuesday and resolved to amend the existing local racing rules and introduce a new rule which prohibits greyhounds to be transferred from a suspended person to a registered person who resides on the same property.
The Board of GRV amended the Local Racing Rule (LRR) 11.7 and introduced a new LRR 11.8 to directly address the situation that would allow a suspended person to transfer greyhounds into the name of another registered person living at the same address.
The rules came into effect at 9am Friday (February 27 2015) however the Board decided that the transfer of greyhounds from suspended former trainer Darren McDonald into his wife Joanne Gane’s name was to be voided. This struck many people by surprise, given the fact that Awesome Project was transferred into Gane’s name on February 14 2015.
It is the second time in as many weeks that Awesome Project has been withdrawn and re-instated from a feature race. Last week, Greyhound Racing Victoria stood down all greyhounds which were owned or trained by the persons suspended on Friday February 13, which meant that the black dog was taken out of the Group 1 Temlee.
It was later decided by GRV, after Canty threatened them with an injunction, that Awesome Project could line up in the race and he justified that ruling, running a terrific second behind My Bro Fabio for Gane.
The action continued in Victoria after the running of the Temlee, with GRV Chairman Peter Caillard resigning on Monday.
Ahead of tomorrows Australian Cup heats, Canty was informed on Thursday night that his greyhound would be withdrawn by stewards acting under their amended and new rules. Canty immediately sought legal advice which resulted in Friday’s after hours Supreme Court hearing.
GRV confirmed in a press release on Friday night that the Supreme Court of Victoria had granted an interim injunction allowing Awesome Project to take its place in the Australian Cup heats. It is still to be determined by the Court whether the injunction should be extended.
“Although we are disappointed with the outcome of this evening’s hearing, and respect the decision of the Court, we will continue take all available action to eradicate the practice of live baiting and take all available action against any individual involved in the practice of live baiting,” GRV’s CEO Adam Wallish said.
Canty on the other hand was understandably relieved to see his star chaser back in the field for the Group 1 Australian Cup heats.
“I think the right decision has been made …. he is back in the race,” Canty said.
Awesome Project will jump from box eight in race 11 at The Meadows on Saturday night for his new trainer Elizabeth Lloyd and will progress through to the following week’s $250,000 final if he is able to win his qualifier.
FORMER US president Harry Truman famously had a sign on his desk which read “the buck stops here”. Although far from being the originator of the phrase, Truman displayed the sign to make it clear he was the person ultimately responsible for running the government. Basically, the person at the head of any organisation who should shoulder the ultimate responsibility for any failings within that organisation. Those at the top are usually only too ready to accept the acclaim and the kudos for doing things right, and are happy to be paid pretty well for their endeavours, so it only stands to reason they should also be the first to put their hands up when the system fails, especially when it fails in such a dramatic way as we saw last week.
Yet, as the live-baiting scandal moves from the initial shock and awe stages into the internal inquiry stage there is the very real chance those at the absolute top will manage to keep their jobs, despite the overwhelming evidence of systemic failure to address what is clearly an issue that’d hardly been a secret to those on the front lines of animal welfare. After all, the key words here are “internal inquiry”, basically mates and colleagues going about the task of supposedly uncovering what their mates and colleagues have been doing.
The NSW government essentially did the right thing by disbanding, sacking, or removing – you pick the word you want – the GRNSW board. There was and isn’t, as I understand it, any suggestion any of the members of that board were involved directly in the live baiting of greyhounds. The point the NSW Premier and Racing Minister correctly made, in my opinion, is that, collectively, these were the people charged with overseeing greyhound racing in NSW and, essentially, they failed. That is, the buck should have stopped with them, and so it has.
Unfortunately, in Victoria and Queensland, those at the top of the racing tree remain virtually unscathed. Certainly the chairman of GRV, Peter Caillard, did the honourable thing and resigned from his position. That action showed a measure of integrity, no matter what pressures were being brought to bear behind the scenes.
Yet in Queensland the only senior person to have been removed so far is Wade Birch, the general manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations, and he’s only been “stood down” at this stage. One has to wonder whether there’s been a bit of a quiet word along the lines of, “look, this will all blow over in a few weeks, and it’ll be business as usual here in the Sunshine State. We’ll throw a few of those that were sprung under the bus, but all our mates will be back in the saddle before you can say Fine Cotton and cobalt”.
Am I being cynical? Maybe, but then you have to wonder how it is at all possible that those at the top of what is now called the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board can possibly remain in place given the story broken by journalist Brad Davidson in the February 18 edition of the Gold Coast Bulletin where he claimed, and I quote, “Racing Queensland have conceded they received an email detailing concerns about live baiting in October  from the animal welfare group which helped expose the illegal act … But RQ officials have blamed an ‘administrative error’ for not looking into the matter further.”
The article went on to say, “The Bulletin yesterday [February 17] obtained an email addressed to Racing Queensland chief executive Darren Condon from Ms Cotton on October 29, 2014, requesting a meeting to discuss ‘a number of animal welfare concerns I have, including … cruel training methods such as live baiting’. The email was addressed to Mr Condon’s office but the chief executive said yesterday an administrative error meant he never personally saw the email and that his assistant forgot to organise a meeting with Ms Cotton.”
Yet, in the first annual report delivered by the QACRIB the same Darren Condon notes: “Welfare continues to be a major focus for Racing Queensland across all its animal participants.”
Elsewhere in the same report comes the clearly fatuous statement: “We set the standard worldwide in the humane treatment of our animals and champion their welfare. We treat our animals, which our sport is totally dependent on, with the same respect and dignity we treat all our sporting legends.”
On Sunday, the ABC Offsiders program hosted by Gerard Whateley covered the story. After outlining the basics of industry participants suspended, greyhounds seized, sponsors pulling out and “ambassadors” leaving their posts came the “but” comment: “Rather incredibly the racing has gone on, unabated…”
Francis Leach, from ABC Grandstand, chimed in, “It beggars belief there hasn’t been a moratorium on the sport just to take stock, because this is obviously endemic and widespread industry practice. It’s gobsmacking.”
Whateley noted, “So the first line of defence was, this is a rogue minority within our sport. How did government not say to them, go away and prove that, because as of yesterday you claim not to have even known this was going on? How do you stand there with the motherhood statement and say, no, no this is not common practice? You, frankly, wouldn’t know.”
Whateley agreed with those who said the sport should have been stopped, for a short period of time. He felt racing should have been suspended for seven days. Fellow panellist Richard Hinds wondered, “Is this a practice that’s been going on and has got worse because the money’s come in, or has it always been there?”
Leach answered with the interesting point, regarding the high level of prizemoney now available, “The bigger the ‘pot’… the bigger challenge it is to people’s moral authority to do the right thing, and they really should have stopped it…”
“The staggering turnaround from Greyhound Racing Victoria,” said Whateley, “was they’d initially banned dogs from the affected stables (sic) from racing for the time being and then under threat of a Supreme Court challenge, which, frankly, they should have met, from owners they asked the owners to sign Statutory Declarations that they had no knowledge that their dog had live baited, which was absurd, and then in the Group 1 race last night which was at The Meadows, the Temlee, one of those dogs ran second, so it’s a purse of $30,000 and … so the trainer affected has been stood down, he was able to transfer all of his dogs into his wife’s name, the environment is absolutely unchanged, the owner was able to threaten the sport to get his dog to be able to run and they picked up their $30,000 …”
And yet, as I write this, the board of GRV remains steadfastly intact.
I would like to address a couple of points made by those who took the time and effort to comment on my first article on this subject.
Dale Hogan wrote: “Why not mention Sweet It Is since your bringing up dogs mentioned to rubbish them? What, is that a dog you have an interest in so you sweep that one under the rug? I have interstate friends that sent there dogs here to Victoria to compete in Group level racing and are now suspended even though only temporarily staying at ppl who were considered of high standing in racing the dogs hi or low lvl are not at fault so stop rubbishing them or at least mention them all because to me it seems like u just have your own agenda not the sports best interest…”
As I recall there was no mention in the program that Sweet It Is had been given live baits or been broken in using them, so I left it out of the equation. No, I do not have any kind of interest in Sweet It Is, nor, for that matter, do I have any financial or personal interest in any greyhound, anywhere. I have not owned, or part-owned, a greyhound since about 1992. I do not know any of the trainers or any of the people interviewed by, or who appeared on, the Four Corners program. Hence my error in the statement at the end of my piece regarding Amanda Hill, assuming she was still employed as a steward in Tasmania.
The reason I pointed out the overall poor performance levels of both Cee Cee Quoted and Dorak Dessa was not to denigrate those greyhounds per se, it was to make the argument that live baiting did not help either of them go from being slow to fast conveyances.
The best interests of greyhound racing at this juncture are to make sure absolutely every aspect of breeding to rearing to breaking-in to training and retirement is done completely transparently. No excuses.
EIGHT sensational heats of the Group 1 Australian Cup take centre stage at The Meadows this Saturday night with each winner progressing through to next week’s $250,000-to-the-winner final.
No fewer than 25 individual Group winners will contest the series, all looking to add their names to the honour roll which boasts some of the greatest names the sport has seen.
The inaugural Australian Cup was in 1958 at the old North Melbourne track and was won by champion chaser Rookie Rebel. Since then, greyhounds of the calibre of Benjamin John (1969), Tangaloa (1980), Ginger (1989), China Trip (1992-3), Tenthill Doll (1996), Brett Lee (2001), Bogie Leigh (2004) and Dyna Lachlan (2010) have taken home the coveted trophy, with last year’s prize going to the recently retired Tasmanian Buckle Up Wes.
The 2015 Australian Cup has attracted some of the best sprinters from across the nation.
Heat One - The first heat features last week’s Group 1 Rookie Rebel winner Cosmic Wise (box five) up against track record holder Allen Deed (box four) and boom NSW sprinter Winsome Prince (box six). Recruitment might be able to sneak under the radar, ideally drawn in box one after his slashing 29.84 last-start victory over the track and distance.
Heat Two – Fernando Bale (box two) and Azza Azza Azza (box three) headline the second heat with both coming into the series as recent feature race winners. Fernando Bale showed explosive speed throughout the three-week National Derby series at Wentworth Park, claiming that Group 1 event in devastating fashion. He will contest the heat as a winner of his past five races. Azza Azza Azza, a winner of 21 from 31, broke through for a deserved win in the Group 2 Shepparton Cup last month before scoring at The Meadows in a hot 29.71 last start. Outside of those two it is very open with Lamia Bale (box four), Dyna Nico (box five) and Secret Spell (box six) all in with a chance.
Heat Three – Anything Less (box one), Above All (box two) and Dyna Double One (box seven) are the star chasers in the third heat. Anything Less comes to Victoria with outstanding Wentworth Park credentials while Dyna Double One is fresh off his win in the Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation at Cannington. Above All will be aiming to bounce back from his solid fourth placing in last week’s Temlee.
Heat Four - If Dyna Villa (box one) can take out the Group 1 Australian Cup series he will become Australia’s highest stakes earner, but he has to bounce back from a couple of uncharacteristically poor performances. He is drawn in box one and has plenty of speed so he should find the front, but has had an extremely long preparation for such a young dog. The main dangers appear to be Ride The Rails (box four), Midnight Flynn (box five) and Astronomize (box eight).
Heat Five - Marcus Joe was all heart when placed third in last week’s Temlee and he looks drawn to feature in this series after coming up with box one for his heat. He will have to put his best paw forward with speedy greyhounds Chica Destacada (box three), Spring Leaf (box four), Ronray Spirit (box five) and Hostile (box seven) set to ensure an excellent battle to qualify for the final.
Heat Six - My Bro Fabio (box seven) has been in superb form, claiming the Group 1 Perth Cup and Temlee in recent weeks. He looks ideally suited out wide to swoop around the field, with his main opposition including Kiss Me Ketut (box one), Avondale Porche (box three) and Diva’s Shadow (box eight).
Heat Seven – Ikaku Bale (box five) stunned a lot of spectators last Saturday when scoring in a sizzling 29.60 over the track and distance, but he faces a much tougher task this week from the middle draw. Luca Neveelk (box three) is ultra consistent and looks to be the early leader, while Ritza Hattie (box six), Winsome Mission (box seven) and Waymore’s Blues (box eight) will also be right in contention.
Heat Eight – The final heat is an extremely open affair with the class runner definitely Awesome Project (box eight). He ran second in last Saturday’s Temlee and is as honest as they come. His biggest problem will be attempting to cross from the pink. Hawk Alone (box one), Dawkins Bale (box four), Weblec Belle (box five) and Droopys Bentley (box seven) are other notable contenders in the last qualifier.
GREYHOUND Racing Victoria chairman Peter Caillard has quit his post in the latest twist in the live-baiting saga.
Caillard informed Martin Pakula, the Victorian Minister for Racing, on Monday he has chosen to resign from his position on the board.
Nearly 40 registered participants have been suspended nationwide so far, including 15 from Victoria, after an investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners. Working with the RSPCA, Animal Liberation Queensland and Animals Australia, it exposed trainers using live rabbits, possums and piglets to train their dogs.
Caillard said in a statement he believed it was in the best interests of all involved for him to step down and that he was confident the required changes would be made for the sport to continue.
“Since the Four Corners program and subsequent discussions and developments, I have made the personal decision that I cannot remain as chairman,” he said.
“I believe in accountability for a chairman of an organisation and that it is in the best interests of the industry that a new person be appointed to this position.
“I wish to emphasise that I am firmly of the view that the new team that has been put in place at GRV are the right people to work with the RSPCA to stamp out this activity once they are given the appropriate powers to do so.
“As a final comment, I will remain available to work closely with the Government and the RSPCA to bring those responsible to justice. I am pleased this activity has been discovered and have no doubt it will be stamped out.”
Caillard also maintained he did not believe the practice was widespread, however, he said he could no longer be satisfied it was restricted to just those caught at the Tooradin trial track. He finished his statement by congratulating the government on its swift action to try to eradicate live baiting.
Also in Victoria and three Group 1 races were run and won at The Meadows on Saturday night with no major incidents to report after it was initially thought a large number of anti-racing protestors would be at the meeting.
The feature events – the Temlee, the Rookie Rebel and Zoom Top, were taken out by My Bro Fabio, Cosmic Wise and Space Star respectively.
Awesome Project, formerly trained by Darren McDonald, was on Friday given the all clear to take his place in the Temlee for McDonald’s wife Joanne Gane and finished second.
There was doubt as to whether the son of Collision and Honour Phase would run after he was suspended from racing earlier in the week when McDonald was stood down due to alleged baiting offences.
RQ Integrity boss on the outer
Racing Queensland has announced the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board has stood down the general manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations, Wade Birch.
Kevin Dixon, chairman of the QACRIB Board, said the action was taken following recent evidence which suggested procedures of the integrity department need to be addressed.
“Information that has to come to light in the past week suggests there are procedural issues within the integrity area of the business,” Dixon said in a press release on Sunday.
“As Mr Birch is the officer responsible for that department, the board has taken the decision that it is appropriate to stand Mr Birch down while those shortcomings are further understood.
“There is no allegation of improper conduct on Mr Birch’s part, however, in the board’s view, it was appropriate he be stood down until the review is completed.”
In total, 13 trainers have so far been stood down in Queensland for alleged live-baiting practices.
Also in the Sunshine State, Australian Racing Greyhound has requested an update in regards to the greyhounds removed from the properties of suspended participants, however, Racing Queensland was not able to provide further information by the time of publishing.
It is understood some owners have lost patience and are considering legal action. RQ has put the number of dogs seized at 100 but it is believed to be much higher than that.
Lavender says standing down was right call
In NSW, Greyhound Racing New South Wales board member Megan Lavender has publicly spoken about her decision to step down.
The entire board and CEO of GRNSW were asked to stand down or be fired by NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant last week.
Lavender, while disappointed, conceded it was in the best interests of the sport for them all to step down.
“It was in the public interest and in the interests of the greyhound racing industry as a whole that I offered my resignation as a board member of Greyhound Racing NSW to the Deputy Premier, Mr Grant,” Ms Lavender said.
“The only other alternative for the Government would have been to call an immediate halt to greyhound racing in our state. This was an option which I was not prepared to countenance because it would have resulted in the immediate unemployment of thousands of innocent NSW residents associated with greyhound racing – from the ladies serving at the tuck shop to the blokes sweeping out the kennels.
“It was for the greater good – the sacrifice of the few to protect the many – and, to quote Sydney Carton, ‘it is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known’.”
Lavender said she in no way supported the actions of the trainers depicted on the ABC’s controversial report.
“What we saw on Four Corners is not just abhorrent. It is revolting. It is vile. It is a crime predicated on evil,” she said.
“I hope that each and every one of the depraved individuals involved is prosecuted to the full extent of the law, which, in this case, can mean nothing short of a custodial sentence.”
MY BRO FABIO has capped off a sensational month of racing, claiming the Group 1 Temlee at The Meadows in a stunning come-from-behind performance.
Exiting from box eight, the son of Turanza Bale and Flamenco surprisingly got away well, sitting behind early leaders Marcus Joe and Chica Destacada, which both began quickly from the inside alleys. Heading into the back straight, notable finisher Awesome Project made his run along the rails, however, My Bro Fabio was looming on the outside of the field and shot away up the home straight to score easily in a fast time of 29.70.
Trainer Brooke Ennis and owner Michelle Jones will share $100,000 in first prizemoney, taking his total to an astounding $469,325. It was the 35kg heavyweight’s 25th career win from start No.48 and his fifth victory from six attempts when exiting from box eight.
My Bro Fabio has firmly stamped his authority as one of the most in-form greyhounds in Australia, having won the Group 1 Perth Cup two weeks ago, also from box eight.
New South Wales sprinter Awesome Project, owned by Brad Canty, was extremely gallant in defeat at big odds and reserve runner Marcus Joe, which gained a start from box one after the scratching of Zipping Willow, ran the race of his life to lead in the early stages and finish third.
DESPITE a difficult week in the greyhound racing industry, there is something positive to focus on tonight with the running of three Group 1 races at The Meadows- the Zoom Top, the Rookie Rebel and the Temlee.
Lets get into our selections for the meeting where we will hopefully find you plenty of winners.
Race 10: Lektra Concord
Race 9: Dyna Quirk
Leg 1: 8 – Leg 2: 1,2,4,6 – Leg 3: 1,2,7,8,9 – Leg 4: 5,7,8
$60 for 100%
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
Good race to kick a wonderful nights racing and I think the well drawn Lektra Utopia can get the job done at nice odds. In recent weeks he had been racing very well without winning but two starts back he was rewarded for his good form with a smart 25.34 Ballarat win. With the scratching of boxes three and four, this race is left with very little early speed, so he should be able to punch through early and if he holds them out he might lead all the way.
Caustic Bale is an absolute beast and if he gets a clear crack at them he will win, two starts back he overcame a slow start to score at Ballarat in 25.14 and if he is given a clear passage tonight it will be scary to see what he can put on the clock.
Dyna Glinda turned a few heads when scoring at Sandown Park on Thursday with a breathtaking 33.94 win, if she can bring that form here, she could be the value.
Fuelish was pretty ordinary at Ballarat on Wednesday and he faces a tough task in his metro debut, there is no doubting he has the talent to match these, however I would prefer to wait and see what he can do after a couple of attempts in this class.
Top Four: 1 – 5 – 8 – 9
Exacta: 1,5,9/1,5,8,9 ($9 for 100%)
Quinella: 1 to rove with 5,8,9 ($3 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1/5,8,9/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1,5/1,5/Field ($12 for 100%)
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
This should be an extremely competitive affair and I’m going to give the edge to the speedy Crackerjack Max. Three starts back he was desperately unlucky here when he was dragged down just as he was about to assume control, he showed that he took no harm from that run by scoring at Ballarat in a brilliant 25.22 at his next start. Once again he will need some luck early but he has blinding speed and there isn’t a lot of speed drawn underneath.
Ikaku Bale has the good draw and I am a big fan of this chaser, he has been a little disappointing in his most previous efforts but from the red tonight he should sight the lure a lot earlier and that will allow him to settle in a more threatening position. He is extremely fast and if he can get into some open space he could salute at nice odds.
Quarrel Bale is another with a big engine and he just needs an ounce of luck to feature, he has won three of nine here and I think he is capable of going sub 29.80 with a clear run, the only concern is that he can be slow to begin and he may get shuffled back early.
Alex’s Entity rounds out the chances, he has been racing in great form and the wide draw should suit, he should follow Crackerjack Max across early and if he settles in the top two he will take a power of beating.
Top Four: 6 – 1 – 2 – 7
Boxed Quinella: 1,2,6,7 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,6/1,2,6,7 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 6/1,2,7/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1,2,6/1,2,6,7/1,2,3,5,6,7 ($36 for 100%)
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
Midnight Flynn turned in a mammoth effort here last week and with an ounce of luck early he should atone for that luckless effort. He has a keen railer drawn directly underneath tonight and he likes to use a bit of the track himself, so he is drawn to get all the breaks. He has won here previously in a sizzling 29.84 and if he reproduces that time he will gap them.
Crackerjack Burn is rising in class but he is drawn to lead and he appears to be getting stronger with every start. He should hold them out early and if he can break away mid race he should have enough in hand to hold on for a top two finish.
Lektra Outlaw was a recent finalist in the Group 1 National Derby and he loves racing over this track and trip, if he can step cleanly he should follow Midnight Flynn across in the early stages and that will allow him to make his presence felt over the concluding stages.
If you’re looking for value, Dyna Orion could be sneak value for the place, he will be massive odds but he should be able to drop onto the rail early and he will hit the line solidly.
Top Four: 7 – 1 – 8 – 4
Boxed Quinella: 1,4,7,8 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,7/1,4,7,8 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 7/1,4,8/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
Dawkins Bale is the real deal and he is better suited to the 525m journey. Last time out he gave a quality line-up a start and a beating when scoring at Shepparton in a slick 25.16. He has a keen railer drawn underneath and two slow beginners drawn on his outside, if he can step on terms he should be able to drive into a top three position early and he should then put them to the sword as they head past the second marker. He is an extremely fast chaser and he could be a major player throughout the series.
Wind Whistler returned to form with a powerful 34.01 Sandown Park win two runs back and he will be steaming home again, I don’t think he can win but he could be a great anchor for second and third in your exotic bets.
Jayney Bale is much better than her recent form reads and she should be able to regain some confidence from the rails draw. She has won three of six here and she does own a slick 29.96 PB run.
Margins rounds out the chances, like the favourite, he has a massive engine and he just needs a few things to go his way early, I’m a little concerned with the speed on his outside so that is why I only have him as a place chance.
Top Four: 6 – 2 – 3 – 4
Boxed Quinella: 2,3,4,6 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 2,6/2,3,4,6 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 6/2,3,4/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $75,000 2nd: $22,000 3rd: $11,000 GOBIS: $10,000.
Space Star has been racing in rare form and I think he announced himself as the country’s best stayer when he overpowered the brilliant Lady Toy to win the WA Galaxy last time out. In running I thought he was gone once Lady Toy headed him but like a true champ he dug deep and found a way to win. He is perfectly placed in the pink and he has raced well here over the 600m journey, so the track shouldn’t pose too many problems. He reminds me a lot of Texas Gold and I think if he continues to progress he may even turn out to be a better stayer than Texas Gold.
Lady Toy was brilliant when narrowly beaten in the Galaxy last time and she should be a major player again, however she had her chance to roll the favourite and I don’t think she will get a better opportunity than that. Outside of Space Star this race lacks real depth so she should fill the quinella spot quite comfortably.
Blinker’s On has probably been a disappointment in his career so far, he promised so much so early but he is yet to really deliver. I believe he has the talent though to match these so if the favourites happen to find bother he might be in the right position mid race and he will be ready to pounce.
Flying Twist rounds out the chances, she is back to her brilliant best and she has the speed to lead them up, I don’t think she can hold on for the win but she is a must for the exotics.
Top Four: 8 – 2 – 7 – 5
Quinella: 8 to rove with 2,5,7 ($3 for 100%)
Trifecta: 8/2/Field ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 8/2,5,7/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $75,000 2nd: $22,000 3rd: $11,000 GOBIS: $10,000.
It really is hard to look past the in form Ralphy Cinel, he excels over this distance range and he recently destroyed a classy line-up in the Big Dog Cup at Albion Park and in the process he reeled off a blistering 34.66 and 34.70 in the heat and final respectively. He does like to move up the track a little in the early stages but Ride The Rails should give him plenty of room in the first 50m and if he finds the lure I can’t see anything reeling him in.
Ride The Rails has been absolutely flying of late and he should match motors with the red for most of the journey, his effort in the Warragul Cup final a few runs back was enormous and although I’m a little concerned about the inside draw tonight I think he is capable of overcoming a few difficulties in the early stages.
Sisco Rage is one of the hottest chasers in training at present and if he drew the red I would be all over him. He has turned in some terrific performances of late and he has a great record here, if he can avoid early bother he should make an impact at nice odds.
We can’t forget about Star Recall, she has taken all before her in recent months and if she pings the lids she will be right in the mix, my concern with her is that she is poorly drawn and there is a fair bit of speed drawn underneath her.
Top Four: 1 – 2 – 4 – 6
Boxed Quinella: 1,2,4,6 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,2/1,2,4,6 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1/2,4,6/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
I’m anticipating that Boxhead will go into box three and I think if he does he will take a power of beating. This exciting speedster has scored some sizzling provincial wins in his brief career to date and after two placing’s in three tries here I think he is ready to put it all together in town. If he steps on terms he should have the speed to cross and if he finds the lure early he should be off and gone as they head for the back straight.
Crackerjack Rose loves racing here and she has the good draw, if she can hold them out in the run to the first turn she becomes a serious winning chance, however I think she might get crossed but she will still battle on and that is why she is a great quinella prospect.
Dyna Keitaro blew away his rivals when scoring at Sandown last time in 29.32 and he raced well from wide draws in the past. If he manages to settle in the first half of the field, he should be there at the end.
Top Four: 9 – 1 – 8 – 7
Boxed Quinella: 1,7,8,9 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 1,9/1,7,8,9 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 9/1,7,8/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 1,8,9/1,7,8,9/1,2,5,7,8,9 ($36 for 100%)
1st: $100,000 2nd: $30,000 3rd: $15,000 GOBIS: $10,000.
Fantastic line-up and tonight is the night when Flash Reality really announces his arrival to the big time. He has always been considered a super talent but after a couple of injuries he appears to be the forgotten chaser. He appears well drawn out wide and last week he reeled off a sizzling 29.78 in a trial, the most impressive part about that run was the fact that he only went 5.21 to the first marker. I believe he is a genuine 5.04 or faster chaser to the first mark and so with a clear run he should be able to get down to the low 29.60’s and that will be enough to score.
Dyna Villa has been pretty ordinary in his past two starts but it takes a brave man to knock a champ. I think he is actually pretty well drawn in the middle and with the lack of speed drawn around him he should be able to drive through and settle in the top two at worst. If he holds them out it is hard to see them reeling him in as he will be reeling off explosive middle sections, however it is hard to tip him with any confidence based on his past two runs.
My Bro Fabio is a fierce chaser and he only needs an ounce of luck in running, he turned in an almighty performance to win the Group One Perth Cup and a repeat effort here will see him play a key role again, my concern with him though as that he is likely to be posted wide early and the Meadows doesn’t really suit his racing pattern. I know he has won here in 29.69 previously but he just about led on that occasion and I can’t see that happening tonight.
Top Four: 7 – 5 – 8 – 3
Boxed Quinella: 3,5,7,8 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 5,7/3,5,7,8 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 7/3,5,8/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
Earl Bale is a brilliant beginner and he should be able to cross and find the early lead tonight. Two starts back he led for most of the journey before being run down in the shadows of the post. If he can cross tonight he may be able to carve up the inside division in the process and that will allow him to get away mid race.
Dyna Quirk is the interesting runner, he has only had the six starts but he has won two of them and he is a member of an exciting litter. His 30.04 PB here would be good enough to win this race but I think with a clear passage early he is capable of probably going sub 29.90, I would have put him on top but I’m just a little concerned about his box manners at present.
Nockabout Aussie is an enormous talent and if you knew he was going to get a clear run you would be running for the ATM, however he isn’t very reliable and if there is trouble in the race it is likely that he will be right in the middle of it.
Dyna Nihilist is also another who is a trouble maker, however he is racing with a lot more confidence at present and he can show a little more early dash than the red.
Top Four: 8 – 3 – 4 – 1
Boxed Quinella: 1,3,4,8 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 3,8/1,3,4,8 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 8/1,3,4/Field ($18 for 100%)
Trifecta: 3,4,8/1,3,4,8/1,3,4,6,8,9 ($36 for 100%)
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
Tough race but if Lektra Concord can come out cleanly he should get every chance to lead all the way. Two starts back he posted sizzling sectionals before stopping the clock in a blistering 29.36 at Sandown. He has been placed in his only try here and this really looks to be his race.
Ultima Bale has a big engine and if he is given room early he too should make a big impact. He has had a month off racing so he should be nice and fresh and he should probably show a little more early zip than normal. He is very fast when given clear galloping room and he could be the value.
Blue Giant is another with a big motor and he will be steaming home late, he will need a few things to go his way early but if they do I would expect him to be there at the end.
Joey Valdez rounds out the chances, he was solidly placed at Sandown when resuming from a spell and he should have derived a lot of benefit from that run.
Top Four: 5 – 3 – 7 – 1
Quinella: 5 to rove with 1,3,7 ($3 for 100%)
Exacta: 3,5/1,3,5,7 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 5/1,3,7/Field ($18 for 100%)
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
Left Is Right has always showed promise but at Ballarat on Wednesday he announced his arrival as a star in the making. After beginning well he soon went into overdrive before posting a ridiculous 24.99 and only the real good ones get under 25 seconds. Tonight he should get a nice cart across from Mepunga Armagh and I am expecting him to assume control as they head for the back straight.
Campaspe Will has the class factor and he is resuming after three months off, he can be very hit or miss early but once he gets some clear galloping room there aren’t many chasers in the land that can go with him. It’s hard to tip him with any confidence because he is resuming but if he goes around at silly odds he is worth a bet.
Walt Bale will be hitting the line hard and he is a must for your exotics, whilst Dyna Tiber is better than his past couple of runs indicate and I would expect him to show improvement tonight.
Top Four: 8 – 6 – 4 – 3
Boxed Quinella: 3,4,6,8 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 6,8/3,4,6,8 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 8/3,4,6/Field ($18 for 100%)
THE Group 1 Temlee will be run and won at The Meadows on Saturday night and promises to be an exciting and enticing affair, despite the current furore that surrounds greyhound racing.
Zipping Willow has been withdrawn, giving the first reserve Marcus Joe an opportunity to compete for the $100,000 winner’s cheque.
My Bro Fabio is currently the $2.90 favourite with Sportingbet and is on a hot-streak, having claimed up his third straight win earlier this month in the Group 1 Perth Cup.
The Brooke Ennis-trained chaser has a blistering personal best time of 29.69 at The Meadows and will give punters plenty of confidence from box eight, with an impeccable record of four wins from five attempts in the wide alley.
Robert Britton puts the polish on Above All, currently $3.20 with Sportingbet, which has only been beaten once at The Meadows in four starts. The son of Magic Sprite and Kara Janx is already a dual Group 1 winner and has a sizzling personal best time of 29.76 over the track and distance.
The is plenty of value to be found in the race, with Melbourne Cup hero Dyna Villa a massive $7.00 at time of publishing. A win in the race would take his prize money earnings to $736,330 – less than $10,000 away from breaking Xylia Allen’s all time record.
The race is scheduled to jump at 9.52pm (Victorian time).
|ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Has a love affair with this track and if he gained a start he wouldn’t be without a hope, especially if he comes up with the red draw. He has solid early speed and he can go with any of these mid race, will be big odds but is not without a serious chance if he gains a start.”|
|Kerry Drynan (Kennel Representative): “Happy with the box draw. She’s trialling well, but will have to step away cleanly to be competitive. Definitely not confident.”|
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “If this race was run in November/December she would have been a short priced favourite and just about a good thing, however at present she is racing well below her best and she is lacking confidence. She can ping the lids and when she finds the lure she is a different chaser, however I’m a little worried that she is going to bump with the red soon after box rise and I dont think she can recover after that.”
|ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Absolute freak and he is the current track record holder here. If you knew that he was going to get a clear run you would absolutely unleash on him because he is the fastest chaser in the race but his box manners aren’t reliable and he will be looking to push wide at the first bend. There is a fair bit of speed draw on his outside tonight so he isn’t going to get things his own way and he is likely to get squeezed out early. He is extremely strong in the run home so even if he does find bother early he should be able to run home into a place.”|
|Brad Canty (Owner): “I think he will go well, but he needs to come out running to be a chance in this race.”|
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Has been a great chaser for quite a while now and if he takes his place he is a genuine winning hope. Last time out he returned to form with a dazzling 29.39 Sandown Park win and he has the speed to get across and find the rail early. He tends to do his best racing at Sandown Park but he has raced well here in the past and if he can find the early lead he will prove very hard to reel in.”
|ARG’s Brad Bugeja: Absolute star and he loves racing here, his last couple of starts have been a tad disappointing but he is clearly better than that and he tends to race better from wide draws. With a slow beginner on his outside, he should get plenty of room to muster speed early and that should allow him to swoop into the early lead. He has proven in his career that he is a very fast chaser when he can dictate the terms out in front and he is always very hard to get past. I know he has been a tad disappointing of late but he should be ready to get back to his best and he might be over the odds tonight.”|
|Robert Britton (Trainer): “It’s a strong field. He’s feeling good so you gotta be in it with a chance.”|
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Freak talent who has had a couple of problems in recent weeks, if he is 100% fit then he is definitely a major player. Prior to having a short spell, he did capture the Group 1 Silver Chief final here and his effort to win that final was enormous. It is going to take another big effort tonight but if he is afforded a clear run early he should get every chance to put himself into contention. He obviously has to be respected but I think he will be under the odds tonight.”
|Tony Brett (Trainer): “He’s not badly boxed. If he can time the jump better than he did in his trial he will hopefully be up with the leaders heading into the first turn. He is feeling enormous and ready to run a great race.”|
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Classy Queenslander and he really caught the eye in his trial here last week. In that effort he posted a sizzling 29.78 and I think he is capable of finding at least two lengths on that run. He only went through the first marker in 5.21, so clearly he missed the kick. With a clean getaway tonight he should be able to hit the first marker in around 5.04 and that would see him vying for the lead and he will prove extremely hard to hold out whilst running around the 29.60 mark. He is sort of the forgotten one, about six months ago he was the next big thing in racing but unfortunately he has been sparingly raced of late due to injury, I think tonight is the night he announces his arrival to the big stage.”
|My Bro Fabio|
|Jamie Ennis (Kennel Representative): “He’s come back from Perth in really good halt and he’s trial at this track during the week was very good. I’m hoping Dyna Villa cuts hard to the fence, which he normally does and I’m sure he’ll run well, just need to luck at the first corner.”|
ARG’s Brad Bugeja: “Absolute beast and he turned in a monster effort to win the Perth Cup last time out. Once again he is going to have his work cut out because he is going to be giving a gun lineup a big head start, however if he can settle around mid field and avoid early bother, he should be able to put himself into contention. There is no doubting he has the talent to beat any one of these chasers but I’m a little concerned that he will be posted wide for most of the journey, I would be anchoring him for second and third in your exotics.”
Top Four: 7 – 5 – 8 – 3
Boxed Quinella: 3,5,7,8 ($6 for 100%)
Exacta: 5,7/3,5,7,8 ($6 for 100%)
Trifecta: 7/3,5,8/Field ($18 for 100%)
ZIPPING WILLOW is back in the Richmond Vale kennels of her original trainer, Jason Mackay, after a tumultuous week in the lead-up to the Group 1 Temlee at The Meadows.
After drawing box one in the invitation-only feature, the New South Wales superstar was being prepared in Victoria by Darren McDonald for both that event and for the upcoming Australian Cup series.
But, after just one week in McDonald’s care, her quest for Group 1 glory was halted as she became one of the many chasers suspended across the state when her new trainer was stood down for alleged live-baiting practices on Friday, February 13.
Zipping Willow’s owner and breeder Martin Hallinan found out on Saturday that McDonald was in trouble with the authorities.
“I only found out through word of mouth, nothing official,” Hallinan said.
“On Saturday morning I got a call to say that Darren was in trouble and that his licence was suspended, but nothing from Greyhound Racing Victoria to say that owners must move their dogs, no email at all.
“I got a hold of Darren and we put her in Joanne’s (Gane, McDonald’s wife) name and we thought everything was cruising along good until the Four Corners program came out.
“Then I heard they were going to scratch us all if they stayed in Joanne’s name, so I rang Glenn Rounds (prominent Victorian trainer) on Tuesday and said, ‘Please, Glenn, can you go and get my dogs? I don’t want to be scratched’.”
Rounds quickly collected Zipping Willow and transferred the daughter of Goodesy and Sirocco Lass into his name while Hallinan made plans to travel down to Victoria.
“I was going to drive down and check her over because she went extremely well in a trial at The Meadows on Monday night and I was going to stay down there until Friday and then head home,” Hallinan explained.
“I left at 2.30(pm), it’s a 10-hour drive, and it was probably 5.30(pm) when Brad Canty (owner of Awesome Project, also trained by McDonald) rang me to say that we were going to be scratched from the Temlee.”
“About 7 o’clock Glenn Fish (GRV chief steward) rang me and said that there had been a board meeting and it was decided that all dogs that had gone into Joanne’s name were going to be suspended.”
“I said, ‘That’s all right but that there was no notification for me to move that dog out, you could have given me 48 hours and I could have done it officially’. He said the board had spoken.”
After his solicitors sent letters on Tuesday night requesting that Zipping Willow be allowed to start, Hallinan received an email on Wednesday morning to advise that his star performer would not be starting in the Temlee.
“We were sent a slip that was sent to everyone saying that Darren McDonald was suspended on Friday the 13th at 12 o’clock at night. I rang back and said, ‘Glenn, I don’t want that, I want you to tell me Zipping Willow will not start on Saturday night’.
“He then sent me another email that said ‘Zipping Willow is suspended’. I called him back and said, ‘Glenn, just tell me in your terms that she is scratched, because when I go I am not coming back with her’. That’s why she was down there, she doesn’t travel good.
“He told me, ‘Martin, head for home, you will not start’.”
Hallinan then started the long and arduous trip back home to NSW with Zipping Willow.
“I was driving for home on Wednesday and I was back at Albury when the solicitor rang and told me that all the letters had been sent in and that there was a big possibility that she may get a run,” Hallinan said.
“But I was headed for home, I had already driven five hours.
“Yesterday (Thursday) Glenn Fish rang me and told me that he thought I was going to be back in because they had lots of complaints.
“I told him to scratch Willow, because she went to my house on Wednesday night and then to Jason’s house on Thursday to get her back in training ahead of the Easter Egg.
“We all got notified last night (that Zipping Willow was back in the race), but we have to file an affidavit to allow her to start again.”
Hallinan is adamant Zipping Willow will not be taking her place on Saturday night.
“We cannot drive back down there in Group 1 racing taking on Free For All dogs to make her look ordinary – you’d kick yourself all the way back home on Sunday for being so stupid.
“It would be different if she was a great traveller, I wouldn’t hesitate to drive back down there today, but I weighed her when I got home and she was 0.6kg down.
“She hasn’t had the normal week that she needed in the lead-up to a Group 1.”
Despite his disappointment, Hallinan has remained understanding in what has been an extremely difficult time in the greyhound racing industry.
“Realistically, what’s happened has happened and I just want to move on. Everyone is saying to sue or do this, do that, but it has been a traumatic week and I just want to move on and live with it and go from there,” he said.
“Everything has gone wrong but sometimes you have just got to turn the other cheek and that is my attitude with it all.
“I would love for Willow to be in it, I have never had a Temlee starter and I don’t think I have had a bitch as good as her for many years. It has all been a bad dream, but I just want to move on.”
GRV released a statement on Friday afternoon explaining that the suspension had been lifted on all involved greyhounds, meaning that technically Zipping Willow and Awesome Project could rightfully contest the race.
Awesome Project will still jump from box four in the Temlee on Saturday night for Joanne Gane.
“The Board of GRV yesterday received a report from the Chief Steward in relation to the progress of that inquiry,” their release said.
“Following receipt of that information, the Board has resolved to lift the suspensions provided that it receives a statutory declaration from the owner stating that, having made reasonable inquiries, they are not aware of the relevant greyhound having been trained using live baiting.
“Needless to say, the suspension may be reinstated if subsequent evidence has been received that the greyhound has been trained in such a manner.
“Suspensions under this Board resolution will be lifted in relation to greyhounds only. The 15 alleged offenders suspended by GRV in relation to live-baiting offences remain suspended.”
LEADING Londonderry trainer Harry Sarkis has been suspended immediately by GRNSW stewards following an inspection of his property and kennels.
Sarkis is no stranger to trouble with GRNSW stewards and has been stood down after the inspection revealed vials of substances permanently prohibited under the rules of greyhound racing.
The substances found have not been confirmed but were believed to be growth hormone. If that’s the case Sarkis would be the first trainer in any racing code in Australia to have been found to have used growth hormone, despite decades of its rumoured use in all codes.
GRNSW board member Peter Davis feels like a victim
Sacked GRNSW board member and Fairfax journalist Peter Davis on Thursday told Sky Sports Radio he “feels like a victim”, adding he “was in the right place at the wrong time”. Davis, who once owned and raced a greyhound named Amongst Thieves which was trained by Darren McDonald, says his greyhounds have “never seen a bunny … or anything else” and that “Brent Hogan is the best racing administrator racing has ever seen”.
Davis and his fellow board members were reportedly given the option to stand down or be sacked on Wednesday night.
Seized greyhounds in Queensland have uncertain future
Racing Queensland has confirmed to Australian Racing Greyhound it now has approximately 100 greyhounds in its care following a series of raids. The greyhounds were seized on the basis they may have been exposed to a practice which could compromise their welfare.
Veterinarians have inspected each greyhound to ensure the animals’ health and well-being. RQ will continue to have oversight of the welfare of any greyhounds seized.
RQ said “any owner, whose greyhound has been seized, and who wishes their dog to be returned to their ownership, is encouraged to contact RQ’s licensing department”.
The fate of high-profile and high-worth greyhounds such as Happy Haswell, owned by Reg Kay, is as yet unknown.
GRV names 10 and stands down a further five
Late on Thursday afternoon Greyhound Racing Victoria confirmed the 10 suspended registered greyhound participants and alleged offenders as: Paul Anderton, Kerry Chalker, Chris Connelly, Laurie Cunningham, Dennis Dean, Neville King, Darren McDonald, Anthony Mills, Stuart Mills, and Bob Smith.
Notably, as reported earlier, Anderton is a former GRV steward; King was at the time the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club president; Smith is a former operations and integrity manager of GRV; and, McDonald has been considered one of the most successful trainers of the past two decades.
GRV also announced another five participants have been stood down following review of video footage, but has declined to name them.
Close to 40 participants have been stood down nationwide, including some of the sport’s most prominent trainers. It is not yet known exactly how many registered participants will be implicated in total, however, Queensland Animal Liberation, which conducted the live-baiting investigation in conjunction with the RSPCA and Animals Australia, has estimated the figure to be 70.
Huge fines and jail terms are possible for those found guilty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
GRV announces only artificial lures permitted
The board of GRV has resolved that only artificial materials are permitted for use as a lure for the purpose of training a greyhound. This is effective immediately.
The decision means trainers will no longer be able to use dead animal carcasses or skins on the arm of a lure as a reward for their greyhound.
Controversy surrounds Temlee night at The Meadows
Brad Canty has threatened to put an injunction on The Meadows racing on Saturday night if his greyhound, Awesome Project, is not reinstated in the field for the Group 1 Temlee.
Trained for most of his career by Darren McDonald, Awesome Project was one of the greyhounds stood down from competing after his trainer was also stood down for alleged live-baiting practices.
“If the dog is not reinstated, we’ll be getting the race stopped and pretty confident that will happen,” Canty said.
“No one rang us … we heard nothing … they [GRV] have no idea what they’re doing.”
Also implicated by suspension is NSW star Zipping Willow, which was transferred to McDonald’s kennel just days before he was stood down in order to compete in the lucrative Australian Cup carnival. She had drawn box one in the invitation-only Temlee.
Staying on Temlee night, and it is expected a large group of animal activists will be holding a protest at The Meadows on Saturday. GRV CEO Adam Wallish said they were preparing for action such as this with increased security set to be in place.
”There has been a lot of planning and investment [that has gone into the carnival], it is an event that is steeped in history and some of the best greyhounds from around the country will be participating,” he said. “We are hopeful that it will be an uninterrupted and successful event.”
More sponsors pull the pin on greyhound racing
The list of sponsors which have pulled their sponsorship for greyhound racing has continued to grow. Mazda, Schweppes, Hyundai, Autobarn, Bendigo Bank, Century 21 and Macro Meats have all reportedly cut ties with the sport after the damning live-baiting footage that was shown on the ABC’s Four Corners program on Monday night.
As greyhound racing continues to lose valuable sponsors, Greens MP John Kaye has called for an immediate suspension of the sport.
“Trainers live-bait their dogs to give them a winning edge. All races must be suspended to stop these participants profiting from their unconscionable behaviour and the opportunity for any incentive for the practice to continue,” he said.
Amanda Hill stands by her statements
Amanda Hill, the former GRV steward who appeared on Four Corners, stands by what she said in the show despite a backlash from many greyhound racing participants. Australian Racing Greyhound spoke with Hill and on Friday will feature a full interview about her decision to appear on the ABC’s program and her thoughts on the future of greyhound racing.
Greyhound Box Draw For The Meadows – Saturday, 21 February 2015
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $75,000 2nd: $22,000 3rd: $11,000 GOBIS: $10,000.
1st: $75,000 2nd: $22,000 3rd: $11,000 GOBIS: $10,000.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $100,000 2nd: $30,000 3rd: $15,000 GOBIS: $10,000.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
Champion local sprinter True Vintage notched her fourth consecutive win in taking out the 1988 final of the Launceston Cup by six lengths over the 502-metre trip. True Vintage would go on to win 15 races on end to set a Tasmanian record for the most consecutive victories recorded in the island state.
The John Westerlo-trained Lukeamy won the 2005 National Futurity at Wentworth Park by a neck from Miss Bekkie Lee and All Style with future Golden Easter Egg winner Edie Beauchamp a close fourth.
The 1989 Olympic Park Distance Championship was won by Julep who downed Billy Dean by six lengths over the 732 metres trip in a fast 43.61.
Lochinvar Vogue took out the 2010 Wentworth Park Gold Cup for trainer Robert Smith, running the 720 metres in 43.40 and defeating champion Queensland all-distance chaser Dashing Corsair by two and a half lengths with other strong fancies Blue Lorian and Forty Twenty unplaced. This was the last occasion the race was run in February.
Up and coming NSW stayer Shady City broke the 631 metres track record at Bathurst, running 37.18 to clip 2/100ths off the previous mark.
The first running of the Launceston Cup on the new Mowbray course took place in 2005 with the Ted Medhurst-trained Obie Trice defeating Hitech King by almost five lengths over the 515-metres loam distance.
Little Denver equalled the race record of 30.03 for the 520 metres trip in taking out the 1992 National Derby by four lengths at Wentworth Park. Credibility was second and National Hand third. Both the winner and third placegetter were litter brothers (impeccably bred by Worth Doing out of National Lass) and owned and trained by Jeff Johnston.
Bogenfel took out the 1989 Shepparton Summer Cup, run over 440 metres, scoring by three and a half lengths from Quick Royal in a fast 24.80.
Whippy’s Image, trained by Jason Thompson, downed South Australian star Scull Murphy to win 2008 The Temlee at the Meadows, running a race record 29.68.
Beeandee won the 1940 Division 1 final of the Launceston Cup, run over 430 yards on the circle at the White City circuit. The main divisions of the Cup (Division’s 2 and 3) had been decided a week earlier. Beeandee scored by a length and earned £50 ($100) for the victory.
Nimble Twinkle downed Dainty Sherry and Harris Tweed to win the 1979 Wentworth Park Gold Cup, run over 722 metres on the grass surface.
A greyhound meeting took place at the Showgrounds in Taree in 1928 in what was possibly the first race meeting held in the northern NSW town.
Paua To Burn blitzed her rivals in the 2006 The Rookie Rebel, scoring by 10 lengths over Benowa Rocket (who came into the race as first reserve) and Blue Mania in the 600 metres event at the Meadows. Paua To Burn ran a sizzling 34.16 after carving out a first sectional of 8.84. On the same night, Closing Argument took out the 525-metre The Temlee by just over six lengths in a race record 29.66, the third-fastest run on the course to that date.
THE final fields have been announced for three of Australia’s most prestigious invitation-only greyhound races: the Temlee, the Rookie Rebel and the Zoom Top.
Each race holds Group 1 status and will be run and won at The Meadows on February 21. The box draw for each will be held on Saturday (February 14).
The Temlee, worth $100,000 to the winner, will be run for the sprinters over 525 metres with the finalists in the race having won an incredible $2.42 million between them.
Each individual greyhound is a Group winner and all eight are in tremendous form with Dyna Villa being the boom pup on the scene. A win in the Temlee would take him within $10,000 of becoming Australia’s highest stakes earner.
The field in alphabetical order is as follows:
Above All, Allen Deed, Awesome Project, Chica Destacada, Dyna Villa, Flash Reality, My Bro Fabio, Zipping Willow
Res: Marcus Joe, Musquin Bale
The Rookie Rebel will be conducted over the 600-metre trip offering $75,000 to the winner. The standout performer at this early stage appears to be Star Recall, the winner of last year’s Sale Cup, but she will face a tough task against the likes of Lamia Bale, Ralphy Cinel and the Kelly Bravo-trained duo of Ride The Rails and Waymore’s Blues.
The eight chosen runners are:
Cosmic Wise, Echelonic Action, Lamia Bale, Ralphy Cinel, Ride The Rails, Sisco Rage, Star Recall, Waymore’s Blues
Res: Cornelius Fudge, Come On Fantasy
Finally, in the Zoom Top eight stayers will battle for Group 1 glory, however, the race will lack some depth with the absence of top Victorian bitch Sweet It Is. Darren McDonald’s multiple Group 1 winner hasn’t been seen since the end of last year when finishing third in the Sale Cup behind Star Recall. Still, an intriguing final awaits.
The final field will consist of:
Blinker’s On, Flying Twist, Lady Toy, Psychotic Gold, Pumped Up Zarr, Shall She Rock, Space Star, Starc
Res: Zipping Maggie, Zipping Rory
The three races will be run on the same night as the preliminaries of the Group 1 Australian Cup with the winners guaranteeing themselves a spot in the following week’s heats.
Many of the Temlee contenders will also head towards the Australian Cup series, with the final on March 7 boasting $250,000 to the winner.
VICTORIANS dominated in the west on Saturday night, taking out the two Group 1 features at Cannington, the Perth Cup (530m) and the Galaxy (715m).
The Galaxy was the first to jump, with the Rob Britton-trained Space Star starting a dominant favourite from box seven. The striking black son of Bekim Bale and Tonto Tears began well, following the pacemaker Starc (box six) over to the fence in the early stages before assuming the lead in the run to the line on the first occasion.
Despite finding the front early, it was not an easy assignment for Space Star as mad railer Lady Toy (box one) pushed up underneath him down the back, laying down a stern challenge.
The two chasers were level coming off the back and continued to eyeball each other into the home straight, with Space Star having to dig deep, but eventually striding clear to score by one-and-a-quarter lengths in a fast 41.63.
Lady Toy held on for second with Starc filling the trifecta.
Space Star has now won 18 races from 29 starts including another tenacious victory in last month’s Group 2 Summer Distance Plate at Wentworth Park. He is yet to miss a place since joining Britton’s kennel last November, winning seven of 10 starts for the leading conditioner.
Three races later and it was time for the sprinters to have their crack at the elite level, with eight superb canines doing battle in the Perth Cup.
Star Recall started the $2.10 favourite from box one, ahead of the exhilarating My Bro Fabio (box eight) and local boom pup Astronomize (box two).
When the lids flew open it was Downlight (box six) and Star Recall vying for the lead, with the former managing to cross to the fence around the first turn with Star Recall stepping off and finding trouble, putting herself out of play.
Down the back and Whodat Knockin’ (box three) railed underneath Downlight to assume the lead, but all eyes soon became fixed on the big-striding My Bro Fabio, which circled the field and was quickly closing in on the lamplighter.
Around the home turn, the Brooke Ennis-trained son of Turanza Bale and Flamenco loomed up beside the leader, thundering past him in the straight to win by a length in 30.34.
Whodat Knockin’ finished second with Quartz Bale (box four) third.
Star Recall chased her little heart out to grab fourth.
My Bro Fabio has now won 24 of his 47 starts with more than $369,00 in prizemoney earnings.
Both Group 1 victors are expected to head to The Meadows on February 21 for the Temlee night. Space Star has been invited to take his place in both the Rookie Rebel (600m) and the Zoom Top (725m) while My Bro Fabio has been invited to the Temlee (525m) and the Rookie Rebel (600m) respectively.
THE 1982 final of the National Futurity, run over the 530 metres trip on the old grass circuit at Wentworth Park, bore witness to a sensational finish featuring two of the mightiest bitches to have ever raced in Australia.
Promises Free, a blue bitch by Temlee out of Tara Silk, had carved an undefeated swathe since winning her maiden at Warrnambool in September 1981. She had been ‘put away’ by breeder-trainer Jack Pringle after that victory, only to reappear to contest the NSW St Leger (now Paws of Thunder) series at Wentworth Park in December. With good early speed Promises Free had annexed the final and then gone on to win over 457 metres at Harold Park and 507 metres at Bathurst, in a heat of the Tooheys Draught Trophy. She won the final, held at Harold Park, a week later, downing former champion Victorian stayer Bianca Lee by six-lengths.
Prior to the National Futurity, Promises Free had scored a magnificent seven-length victory in the Bi-Annual Classic (now Peter Mosman Memorial) at Harold Park to stretch her unbeaten record to 10.
Winifred Bale, also sired by Temlee, out of Emiline Bale, was one of the stars of the Allen Wheeler kennels. The fawn and white bitch was whelped in August 1980 and began racing at just 16 months of age, winning a maiden over 400 metres at Richmond, with her smart litter sister Gwendalyn Bale, third.
Since then Winifred Bale had raced a further 13 times for six wins and two placings, making the final of the Appin Opal, but being scratched due to injury from the event.
She had failed in her first five city starts, all at Harold Park, before finally breaking through. Her Wentworth Park Futurity semi-final was to be her debut at the Glebe course.
Semi-final night, 19 June, began for the Wheeler kennel when their charge Hi Taxi defeated My Alisha.
The second semi-final saw Promises Free make it 11 on end when she overcame box five to be second at the first turn and then reach the lead at the end of the back straight before going on to down Swift Talent by six-lengths in 31.02.
Winifred Bale had box two in the third semi-final and reached the lead at the first turn to go on and win by two-lengths from Boston Mist in a strong 31.09.
Mighty Renae won the last semi-final, using box one to full effect to beat Cleo’s Magic with Gwendalyn Bale third.
When Promises Free came up with box one for the Futurity final she was considered unbeatable, and punters sent her to the boxes as a 1/2 ($1.50) favourite, especially following the scratching of Mighty Renae which reduced the field to seven runners. Winifred Bale, at the time, was not considered in the class of the favourite and from box seven she went out at 20/1 ($21.00), easily the longest price of her 15-start career.
When the lids lifted though, it was Winifred Bale who stepped brilliantly and raced across to the lead, followed by Promises Free. The pair raced like this to the home turn, with Promises Free at one point checking off Winifred Bale’s heels.
Into the home straight and Winifred Bale held sway but Promises Free dug deep and lunged at her rival right on the line to snatch victory by a head, with Swift Talent just three-quarters of a length away third.
Promises Free repeated her semi-final time of 31.02 to notch her 12th successive win and pick up $6,000 prize money.
Promises Free and Winifred Bale never met again on the racetrack, but they did ‘clash’ at the end of the year when both were announced as among the four finalists for the 1982 NSW Greyhound of the Year title, the other pair being Bobby Rich and champion stayer National Lee.
Promises Free went on to win her first 14 starts, an Australian record for the start of a career, and was retired after winning 16 of her 18 starts, including another major event, the Richmond All Stars. Winifred Bale finished the year with 18 wins and 14 placings in 41 career races. Her efforts to take the NSW St Leger, NSW National Sprint Championship, and Sandown Laurels as well as being runner-up in the Futurity and third in the Vic Peters Memorial Classic, Young Star Classic and Richmond Oaks tipped the votes in her favour and she was named Greyhound of the Year.
IT WAS a massive weekend for brilliant speedster Star Recall, taking out the 2014 WA Greyhound of the Year title on Sunday night, just 24 hours after qualifying for her second Group 1 Perth Cup final.
Trained throughout most of the year by Linda Britton, who won the leading trainer award, the daughter of High Earner and No Recall notably ran third in the 2014 Perth Cup final and second in the Group 1 National Sprint Championship behind Chica Destacada.
Later in the year, Star Recall was transferred to Linda’s brother Jeff Britton to continue her career in Victoria where she made the final of the Melbourne Cup and took out the Group 1 Sale Cup over 650 metres.
Owner Kevin Dover was delighted with the announcement his bonny bitch had won the state’s highest accolade.
“You never know how these things are going to turn out but I was glad when they announced that she had won it because she definitely deserved it with all of her achievements,” Dover said.
“I was a little bit unsure if she would win it because all of her achievements in Melbourne didn’t count because she was under another trainer.
“But she was pretty consistent, she made 12 finals, she started off in the Sandgroper and then went on to the Perth Cup and then just continued on with it through the year.”
Star Recall defeated former kennel-mate Zelemar Fever and Cannington specialist On Coin to take out the title.
Sunday’s function was made even sweeter for Dover when he selected box one for Star Recall in this Saturday night’s Perth Cup final. The black chaser was an all-the-way victor from box three in her qualifier last week, running a quick 30.17 over the 530-metre trip.
It was a remarkable effort to ping the lids like she did, with her heat run just her second start since dropping back in trip after a highly successful middle-distance campaign.
“Her last race was on New Year’s Day, she won over the 595 at Sandown Park and then she didn’t have another start until her Cup Prelude the week prior at Cannington,” Dover said.
“She has nailed the start both weeks even though she was dropping back in distance. If she can do it again this week from the red and stay out of trouble on the first bend then she should be pretty hard to catch.”
Dover believes her experience over a longer trip is helping her run out the testing 530-metre Cannington trip a lot better.
“She has always been good at the start and the second split but now she is finishing off her races and is getting stronger from racing over 600 – so she is not going to be running out of steam coming down the straight, that’s for sure.”
Star Recall has won her past five racetrack appearances and 29 from 47 overall. She will face some tough opponents in this week’s $140,000-to-the-winner final including My Bro Fabio, which has drawn box eight after a phenomenal last-to-first display to win his heat last week.
Dover is aware the race is filled with fast greyhounds, but remains optimistic his pride and joy will perform well.
“With My Bro Fabio out in the eight, if he gets held up a bit she could get a winning break going down the back. If she can run under 30 seconds there isn’t going to be much that can run her down. If he can then he deserves it.
“But there are other good ones in it — Astronomize is in the two so if Star misses it slightly then he can get in front of her and he is certainly quick enough. Paul Stuart has three in it and even the one John Carmody has got, Downlight, he is a good dog, too.
“It is going to be full-on at the first turn, we have just got to hope that everyone gets around safely and if she is first across the line then that will be fantastic.”
Dover believes Star Recall is a better race dog than this time last year when she placed third in the Perth Cup final. Starting 2014 with just her maiden race win, she has certainly come along in leaps and bounds.
“It has only been a year since she won the Sandgroper at Mandurah, at the time we were pleased with that and thinking it would be nice if she could make it to Cannington and win a few on the city track.
“Before we knew it she had won her heat of the Perth Cup and the following week she was in the final. It all happened so fast and we couldn’t believe it.
“As each month goes on she has got better, she keeps making the step up. She has been racing against the best dogs, she missed going through her grades because she was good enough to be going in the Group races.
“By going to Victoria she has matured and settled down. The first time that she went over there after the Perth Cup last year she was young and jumping around going silly and just wouldn’t settle. Since the last trip and going to Jeff she has settled down and grown up and she is really putting it together now.”
Dover said Star Recall would return to Victoria with Jeff Britton after the Perth Cup final after receiving invitations for both the Temlee and Rookie Rebel. While a final decision is yet to be made, he said they were leaning more towards the 600-metre Group 1 on February 21.
Dover was also full of praise for Jeff and Linda Britton, who is facing 18 months on the sidelines after Zelemar Fever returned a positive swab.
“I stayed with Jeff at the start of her Melbourne Cup campaign. He is very good with how he treats his dogs and his staff treat them very well and Star has really taken to their place.
“We will definitely be staying in contact with Linda … It is easy for me as the owner to sit back and watch her go around, but you see the amount of work that goes into it and the way that Linda treats all her dogs, they all look up to her and they admire her as much as she admires them.
“The job that she has done with Star Recall is fantastic and now Jeff is taking over to carry on, I think Linda is still going to get a lot of joy out of seeing her win and she deserves a lot of the credit, that’s for sure.”
DESPITE being drawn in an incredibly tough race, grand campaigner On Coin will have plenty of supporters for his heat of the Group 1 Perth Cup at Cannington on Saturday night.
John Crossley’s ultra-consistent greyhound will exit box one in the fifth race of the night and is up against the flying Star Recall (box three), Group 1 winner Ollie Bale (box six) and the speedy Gone To Heaven (box seven).
To make things even more challenging, it will be On Coin’s first run in three weeks.
The son of Primo Uno and West On Lee was on the sidelines for more than two months after being injured in October last year and when he returned to the track at the start of 2015 it soon became apparent he wasn’t 100 per cent right.
At his most recent run he got caught out wide from the pink and was never in calculations, finishing fifth.
“He was coming back from injury and he didn’t need that box eight and after that run he pulled up with a bad tendon,” Crossley explained.
“He had one bad tendon injury and then he copped it a second time.
“That’s been the reason he hasn’t really been on the track the past two months.”
However, Crossley believes On Coin has recovered from the setback, although he admitted it was a rush to get him back in time for the Group 1 feature.
“It was hit and miss whether we would have hime back racing for this week but he has been trialling down the straight track really good and he has been pulling up on his tendon fine,” he said. “He seems right, but it will be pretty hard for his first run back.
“I couldn’t believe the dogs he has drawn against in his heat. I think there are three Grade 1 dogs in it, so it is not an easy race to win especially being his first run.
“There are some excellent dogs in the race, but he has drawn the one and I am sure he will do his best, he always does when he races.”
On Coin has been tremendous for Crossley and his wife Brenda. The red brindle powerhouse has faced the starter on 66 occasions for 30 wins and 24 minor placings.
Remarkably, all of those victories have been at Cannington where he holds a blistering 29.85 personal best over the 530-metre trip.
“His stakes earnings now are around $230,000 and he has made that the hard way, he hasn’t won any big, major races to boost his prize money,” Crossley said.
“He has done it by being consistent week-in, week-out for the past two years.”
With his terrific record, many would not realise On Coin has been plagued by injury throughout his career. The 31-kilogram chaser frustratingly missed last year’s Perth Cup and had to decline invitations for the 2014 Temlee and Topgun.
“He has been invited to two big races in Melbourne but he was injured for both,” Crossley said.
“He has missed all the big races due to injury and he damned near missed this one, too.”
Few people could deny Crossley and On Coin thoroughly deserve a feature success and their time in the spotlight.
As the three-and-a-half-year-old reaches the twilight of his racing career, there would be no more fitting time for the local champ to salute and qualify for the $140,000-to-the-winner final.
“I have been in the sport since it started and he is definitely the best dog I have had,” Crossley said.
“It would be nice to win the big one, it would be a really nice going-out present, but it is going to be tough.”
There are seven heats of the Group 1 Perth Cup on Saturday night at Cannington with each winner and the fastest second placegetter progressing to the following week’s final. There are also two heats of the Group 1 Galaxy for the stayers, with the first four from each qualifying for the decider.
On Coin is $4.40 to win his heat on Saturday and rated a $31 chance to win the final on February 7. Bet 365 will give new customers up to $200 in bonus bets to place on the Perth Cup upon sign-up.
Fifty-three invitations have been sent out for the three Group 1 races on February 21: the Temlee (525m), Rookie Rebel (600m) and Zoom Top (725m), all of which will be run and won at The Meadows.
Twenty-six greyhounds have been invited to compete in the $100,000-to-the-winner Temlee, the list containing some of the best sprinters from across Australia (and New Zealand).
Group 1 Temlee invitees:
Above All - Winner of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand and Group 1 Silver Chief Classic. The Kiwi-owned son of Magic Sprite and Kara Janx is one of the most exciting youngsters in the country.
Allen Deed – The Andrea Dailly-trained powerhouse, which won last year’s Adelaide Cup final, is an absolute freak when he gets some clear galloping room and is the track record holder at The Meadows.
Avondale Porche – Extremely consistent bitch which was on the sidelines for nearly a year with seasonal issues. She returned in fantastic style winning the Group 2 Cranbourne Cup earlier this year.
Awesome Project – Darren McDonald’s ultra-consistent charge which is yet to salute in a Group 1 but does have two Group 2 features to his name – the Group 2 Gosford Gold Cup and the Group 2 Harrison-Dawson.
Blitzing Mayhem – Top-class New Zealand greyhound which has won 35 of his 55 races including two Group 1 races and one Group 2.
Chica Destacada – Flying NSW bitch which scored a memorable victory in the 2014 Group 1 National Sprint Championship at Cannington. She also ran second in the Melbourne Cup behind Dyna Villa.
Dream It – Honest dog which has some top wins around Victoria and has saluted in 19 of his 49 starts for trainer Brooke Ennis.
Dyna Double One – Freakish animal with just six starts to his name. He clocked an incredible 29.52 in his semi-final of the Group 1 Silver Chief Classic before running third to Above All in the final.
Dyna Villa – Rarely puts a paw wrong in his races and at less than two-and-a-half years of age has already tasted success in two of the sport’s biggest races – the Group 1 Melbourne Cup and the Group 1 Paws of Thunder.
Flash Reality – Talented Queensland sprinter which won the Group 2 Queensland Derby and made the final of the Group 1 National Sprint Championship and the Group 1 Dapto Megastar before being sidelined through injury. Has resumed racing in recent weeks and should be nearing his peak.
Iva Vision – Boom youngster from the Sunshine State which took out the Group 3 SA Derby and the Group 2 Sandown Shootout. While he can be tardy early, he has a massive motor and excellent field sense that tends to find him in the money.
Keybow – Dual Group 1 winner which has been a model of consistency throughout his career for Darren McDonald. He is blessed with a mix of speed and strength and is rarely too far away in feature races.
Lamia Bale - Won two Group races in the space of 10 days late last year for Steve Collins. She is also invited to compete in the Rookie Rebel which may be a better fit for her.
Luca Neveelk – One-turn specialist which has limited experience on two-turn tracks but has proven he can match it with the best of them, making the final of last year’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup.
Marcus Joe – Group 1 Maturity Classic winner which is never in the spotlight but rarely puts in a bad effort.
Maximum Lil – Is in career-best form. She recently won a heat of the Group 1 Paws of Thunder for trainer Andrea Dailly before running fifth in the decider.
Musquin Bale - Old-timer with 22 wins from 74 starts which is still capable of matching it with the youngsters on his night.
My Bro Fabio - Absolute machine when he is on song which has put in some dazzling performances around Sandown and The Meadows while he also won last year’s Group 3 Canberra Cup the week after smashing the track record in his heat.
Oakvale Destiny - The blue bitch oozes class and makes up for her lack of early speed with her excellent navigation. She was a winner of last year’s Group 1 Sapphire Crown Classic.
Ride The Rails - Has been flying since coming into Kelly Bravo’s kennels, making the finals of the Group 1 Hobart Thousand and the Group 2 Warragul Cup.
Ritza Hattie - After a string of luckless runs, things finally turned around for the Mark Gatt-trained bitch when she took out this year’s Group 2 Gosford Gold Cup. She has experience in Victoria and is capable of holding her own against the top dogs.
Shoulders - Gun speedster which ran a cracking second in the Group 1 Maturity Classic and has posted scintillating times around Wentworth Park.
Spring Leaf - Another from Andrea Dailly’s kennels which has been in top form of late, making the Paws of Thunder final.
Star Recall - Extremely versatile bitch which was placed twice at Group 1 level in 2014 before finally breaking through for a deserved win at the top level in the Sale Cup on Boxing Day.
Winsome Prince - Won his first 11 starts and looks to be one of the most promising youngsters in New South Wales. Would be interesting to see how he stands up against the elite class away from home.
Zipping Willow - Pin-up Sydney greyhound which has won 20 races at Wentworth Park and 34 overall from 52 starts.
Group 1 Rookie Rebel invitees:
Allen Deed - Also invited to take his place in the Group 1 Temlee. Would be right in the race if he were to accept.
Awesome Project - Looks like he would be suited nicely by the middle-distance run, even though he is a dual Group winner over the sprint trip.
Blinkers On - Handy stayer trained by Brooke Ennis which will be targeted towards the Zoom Top.
Come On Fantasy - Has a handy record over the middle distance for Joe Borg and is a winner of six from 27 overall.
Cornelius Fudge - Ultra-consistent dog which rarely puts in a bad performance. Deserves a shot at a big feature such as this.
Cosmic Wise - Made the Melbourne Cup final over the sprint trip but is much better suited to the middle distance and would make her presence felt in a race like this.
Echelonic Action - Litter brother to Sweet It Is which is nowhere near as fast as his superstar sister but has his share of ability.
Eliza Blanche – Looked like being a superstar when she broke her maiden at The Meadows and she has indicated she has the potential to become a genuine middle-distance campaigner once she matures.
Hostile - Hasn’t been seen so far in 2015 but is a massive talent when on song.
Lady Toy - Recently won the Listed Maidment Memorial, indicating she has plenty more to offer over the longer trip.
Lamia Bale - Well suited over the middle trip. She won the Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial over 595 metres at Sandown last year and this looks to be her caper.
Lillycette – Tassie bitch which held her own over the middle distance when she had a three-week stint in Victoria late last year/early this year.
Mullaway - Queenslander that mixes his form but could feature if he brought his best
My Bro Fabio - Is better known as a sprinter but he would be a massive player if Brooke Ennis decided to accept for the Rookie Rebel rather than the Temlee.
My Mate Cobber - WA sprinter turned stayer which would represent the West well if he were to get his chance to line up.
Ralphy Cinel - Has a serious engine, particularly when drawn on the inside, and is capable of matching it with most on his night.
Ride The Rails - Has been in dazzling form recently and despite being predominantly known as a sprinter, he is another which looks as though he would be suited by the rise in trip.
Sisco Rage – Consistent dog which has won 20 races for trainer John Galea.
Space Star – One of the best stayers in the country, but he holds two track records over the middle trip so he would be right in this race, too.
Star Recall - Scored her Group 1 win over 650 metres at Sale after two placings at the top level over the sprint. It will be interesting to see which race Jeff Britton opts for.
Waymore’s Blues - Another in-form greyhound which is really hitting his straps at present for Kelly Bravo. He always looked to be a super talent and he is finally showing it off.
Group 1 Zoom Top invitees:
Ash Flash - WA stayer which made the final of the National Distance Championship last year and would hold her own if given the chance to start.
Blinkers On - He is capable of a feature win over the staying trip. The son of Comic Rumble and Good Oil is a winner of 10 races from 27 starts.
Flying Twist – Perhaps not of the same class as some of the other invitees but has been racing well enough to deserve an invite for Andrea Dailly.
Lady Toy - Also invited for the Rookie Rebel but she would probably be more suited for the Zoom Top as she tends to get back in her races and charge home.
Luna Jinx - SA stayer which has a handy record in her home state.
My Mate Cobber - The WA dog has put together some excellent performances over the staying trip at Cannington in recent weeks and looks ready to be tested. He is also invited to the Rookie Rebel, but this race looks a better fit.
Opec Bale - Has only just stepped up over the staying trip for Mark Delbridge but he looks like he could be a genuine top stayer in the making.
Psychotic Gold - Reasonable distance runner from South Australia which has done enough for an invitation.
Pumped Up Zaar - Has put in some handy runs at Wentworth Park during his career and has been racing against Group company at his past few starts. Wouldn’t be without claims in a race such as this.
Shall She Rock - Recently broke the track record at Warragul over 680 metres. Can definitely run and would not be out of place in this.
Space Star - Looks to be Australia’s next top stayer and has really made the step up to Group class since joining Rob Britton’s kennel.
Starc - Has been mixing it with some top-grade stayers and he recently led for most of the way in the Group 2 Summer Distance Plate. May be short of top class but is as honest as the day is long.
Sweet It Is - Australia’s staying sweetheart which is an absolute freak. She will have no problems making the cut.
Takahashi - Has an excellent record of 21 wins from 33 starts and appears ready for the challenge of the rise in class.
Zipping Maggie - Excellent stayer on her night which can put in some breathtaking performances.
Zipping Rory - Has been down on his best form recently but is a talented greyhound and deserves a crack at a Group 1 win.
Racing and Wagering Western Australia this week announced three finalists for its prestigious greyhound-of-the-year title to be presented at a gala awards night on February 1. They are On Coin, Star Recall and Zelemar Fever.
On Coin, which was also a finalist in the 2013 award, notched up 11 wins from 20 starts in 2014. Despite suffering several injuries last year, the John Crossley-trained chaser won the Lew Dorsa Memorial Final, Sandi’s Me Mum Memorial Final and the Winter Cup. The son of Primo Uno and West On Lee also contested the WA Sprint Championship and Group 2 Solo All Stars Sprint.
Star Recall, now trained in Victoria by Jeff Britton, had 32 starts in 2014 for 20 wins and eight placings. The daughter of High Earner and No Recall made 12 feature finals, with her biggest success a third in the Group 1 Perth Cup at Cannington. Her wins included “The Sandgroper”, Mandurah Oaks, Spring Gift and WA Sprint Championship.
Zelemar Fever is now retired and was trained by Linda Britton. The daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Noaki Pace won eight of her 25 races in 2014, with her biggest achievement being selected for the Group 1 Temlee. She finished fifth in the Group 1 Perth Cup and unfortunately fell in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown at Sandown Park.
GRV making the grades
Greyhound Racing Victoria will introduce two new grades this month, with grade 6 and grade 7 giving greyhounds the chance to build up more experience before joining fifth-grade contests.
Maiden winners will automatically become grade 7 greyhounds and after another win will move up to a grade 6.
The rollout of the new grades starts on Monday, January 26.
Stars check out Cannington
Six greyhounds contesting the $140,000 Group 1 Perth Cup heats next weekend had exhibition trials at Cannington on Saturday night over the 530m.
Space Star trialled over the 642m distance, as he prepares to line up in this week’s Group 1 $80,000 Galaxy heats.
The trial results were:
Allen Deed – 30.29
Dyna Double One – 30.35
Avondale Porche – 30.86
Droopys Bentley – 30.43
Above All – 30.31
Space Star – 37.09
Keep an eye on
After almost falling at box rise, Nightwatchman produced a sensational effort to come from last and finish second in a heat of the Group 1 National Derby on Saturday night at Wentworth Park. If he gets a trouble-free start in this week’s semi-finals, watch for another strong finish.
Lock in your diary
Heats of the Group 3 Big Dog Cup over 600m at Albion Park.
Semi-finals of the Group 1 National Derby and Futurity over 520m at Wentworth Park.
Heats of the Group 1 Perth Cup over 530m at Cannington.
Heats of the Group 1 Galaxy over 715m at Cannington.
On March 28, 1980, the greyhound still rated by many as the best to have ever set paw on the Warragul course annihilated his opponents in taking out the flagship race at the track.
The latest edition of the Warragul Cup is on Friday night over 460 metres. But 35 years ago, the race was conducted over the 424-metre trip and Tempix had confirmed his status as the greyhound to beat when he won his heat by 11 lengths from Polish Wonder, running 24.40, which was easily the best of the meeting and a mere 1/100th outside the track record he had set in February 1979. Despite drawing box six in his heat, Tempix had gone around at the incredibly short of odds of 1-16 ($1.06).
Tempix drew well in box two for the Warragul Cup final and punters had no hesitation in piling on the cash; the brindle dog, by Temlee out of Pixie Dianne, was sent out a 1-2 ($1.50) elect.
Having what would be his 10th, and as it happened his last, start at Warragul, the champion sprinter gave his supporters no cause for concern as he leapt beautifully from the boxes and simply cruised away to score by nine lengths from Peco Again, running a fast 24.49, easily the best of the meeting once more.
Tempix finished his Warragul career with a perfect score of 10 starts over 424 metres for 10 wins. The closest any greyhound had come to him in those 10 wins was one-and-three-quarter lengths. In four of his wins he had scored by 10 lengths or more.
Yet this Warragul Cup win was just one remarkable victory in what was an incredible sequence that is unlikely to be witnessed again.
Three major country cups, Geelong, Warragul and Horsham, were all due for decision in the space of just 20 days and Tempix was set for all three.
He contested a heat of the Geelong Cup over 457 metres on March 18 and won by three lengths in 26.51 (best), then, three days later he won his heat of the Warragul Cup.
On March 24, three days after his Warragul Cup heat, Tempix blitzed his rivals with a four-length victory in the Geelong Cup final, again in the best time of the meeting (26.40), and took his record at that course to three wins from three starts.
So, his Warragul Cup victory came just four days after his Geelong Cup success and was his fourth race in just 10 days.
Eight days later, Tempix won his heat of the Horsham Cup by 15 lengths, starting at a prohibitive 1-10 ($1.10) and running the 480 metres in a new track record time of 27.60. It was his first start at the course.
Then, just two days later, Tempix backed up to take out the final by five-and-a-half lengths, starting at the same price. It was also his seventh consecutive win.
Tempix would go on and take out the Warrnambool Cup a few races later before being injured in finishing third in the Ballarat Cup and being retired soon after.
He’s back! WA’s fastest bred chaser On Coin is making his second return from injury this year in the heats of the Group Two All Star Sprint at Cannington. He has spent two months on the sidelines nursing a tendon injury, with rest the best method of recovery for Crossley’s excitable chaser
Don’t let time away from the racetrack discourage you. After three months away from the track at the start of the year when he tore his shoulder muscle off the bone, On Coin came back just as quick as before recording 30.31 first up in a heat of the Lew Dorsa and then took out the final in a sizzling 30.10. But it gets better, at just his third start back the son of Primo Uno – West On Lee broke the magical 30-second barrier for the second time clocking 29.94.
“It looks like he is the kind of dog that likes time away from the track. He has had bad injures at bad times”, trainer John Crossley explains.
On Coin’s shoulder injury prevented him from accepting his invitation to the 2014 Group One Temlee at the start of the year. Crossley felt the same heartache last week when he had to decline his invitation to the Group One Topgun, which is set to run on Saturday the 25th of October at The Meadows.
“I wasn’t able to accept the invitation for the Topgun which was a shame. I couldn’t have trialled him any earlier than I did so it wouldn’t have worked out. He would have had to fly over and trial around The Meadows first because he hasn’t seen the track. He hasn’t travelled before either so I don’t know how he will handle it.”
Crossley is going into Saturday night All Star heats with an air of confidence after On Coin broke 17 seconds trialling over the shorts (297 metres) on Monday night.
“He pulled up good after the trial, he is back on now!”
Crossley believes that his biggest challenge will come from Paul Stuart’s Coconut Grove after drawing box four in the third heat of the night.
With $40,000 up for grabs in next week’s final, box draws hold great significance with a lot of early speed coming from the inside of the track. Running first or second in the heats on Saturday night will secure a rug in the following weeks final. The two fastest third placing’s will make up the reserves who will be hoping for the late call up.
Heat One – 8.25pm
Tiggerlong Amigo is returning to Cannington after taking out the Group Two WA Derby in May for Darren McDonald. This time around he has drawn box two, which will help in his endeavours to find the rails. In his previous two starts at Cannington he has hit the line strongly, which should see his as a real danger even if he misses the start.
Astronomic has drawn the cherry in the first heat of the night for trainer Paul Stuart. The son of Cosmic Rumble – Right On Ruby is yet to win upon return from a successful nine-start stint in Victoria with Darren McDonald, winning on three occasions and placing on five others. His first start back on WA soil saw him jump from box eight and get held wide, unable to get into the race. He made the trip to Mandurah to contest in the Mandurah Cup heats, but was stuck on the outside of the track again, missing out on a run in the final. This week he will appreciate the inside box which should see him camp on the rails with a very real chance of winning.
Takahashi has found herself in box four for the second week in a row. After returning from injury last week running second, the superstar stayer will be fitter for the run. It’s a given that she will be coming home strongly so expect her to be right up there come time to cross the finish line.
Heat Two – 8.42pm
Luba Monelli is dropping back in distance in second heat jumping from box one. The speedy beginner will more then appreciate the inside box which should allow her to camp on the rails and take out the race. If Luba Monelli feels the pressure early from You Can Dream (box two) it will be a very different story come time to cross the line.
You Can Dream is jumping from box two for the second week in a row. The quick beginner has been in fine form lately in Free For All company over the 530. Two weeks ago she made the 642 metre distance her own by leading all the way to win in her second appearance over the distance. She loves the inside boxes which should give her the helping hand to win this heat.
Proven Will is better suited closer to the rails but has shown on numerous occasions that he can win from anywhere. His last two starts at Mandurah over the 490 metre distance saw him looking for more ground at the finish line, so the return to Cannington should see him rearing to go. If he comes out of the boxes cleanly he is a real possibility to take the race out at decent odds.
Heat Three – 9.02pm
On Coin is jumping from box four on return; with seven starts for four wins wearing the blue rug. odds are in his favour. With injury time to freshen up away from the track he should be out of the boxes cleanly, his only issue could be his race fitness heading into the home straight.
Coconut Grove won impressively on debut last week from box three. With another inside draw the 36 kilo dog should only improve. Last week he crossed straight to the fence, with You For Real on his inside it could mean trouble out of the boxes for the duo.
You For Real has drawn perfectly in box one. Last week she jumped from box three and went straight to the rails out of the boxes. She will need to lead by plenty early because there are a number of strong dogs that will be making ground.
Heat Four – 9.17pm
Thunder Rama had no luck in the Mandurah Cup last week after putting in an impressive win in the heats. His early speed when he hits the ground should dismiss the awkward box six on his return the Cannington. His consistent Cannington form sees him right in the race, with a good chance of winning if he gets out of the boxes cleanly.
My Mate Cobber is a lightly raced chaser with just 17 starts to his name but don’t let his inexperience bother you, after returning from injury he has produced numerous 30.30 performances that have proven he has the talent. The litter brother to Star Recall is starting from box seven and will hopefully jump better than his last start over the distance.
Coxie is a sneaky chance of taking out this heat from box eight. He defied the odds in the WA Bred Championship three starts ago by defeating a hot field. Box eight will make things a little bit harder for the Joe Dailly trainer chaser but you can’t discourage this greyhound.
Despite the glow of Group Two heat racing on Saturday night at headquarters, all talk and eyes will be on the return of WA bred royalty, On Coin in the third heat. Although there is just the one greyhound that made the trip interstate to try their luck in the Group event (Tiggerlong Amigo), WA will have their hands full.
Ernie Bung Arrow became a local hero in South Australia and simultaneously captured the hearts of racing fans nationwide when he won the 2013 Adelaide Cup, giving his veteran trainer Ken Gill his first win at Group One level after four decades in the sport.
Just over a year later Gill is nursing Ernie back to health after he sustained a career ending injury when winning at Gawler on October 9.
“That night when he walked back to me he was a bit lame and then he started to get swelling down the leg. I thought he had done a monkey muscle and would be out for six weeks”, Gill explained.
“The next morning it was different. It’s the bicep in the front of the chest and shoulder that runs down to his elbow.”
Ernie is now on the long road to recovery after requiring surgery to help repair the muscle, but Gill is expecting his former kennel star to make a full return to health.
“He is feeling a bit sorry for himself. He has got a bucket on his head and he has got a brace down his leg and his elbow.”
“It’ll be a couple of months before he is back to where he should be. It’s five weeks before we take the brace off and then he’ll take a few weeks to be able to put that leg back down on the ground and use it properly again.”
“Eventually he’ll be able to go out on my track and have a free gallop and do all of those things.”
It has been a tough year for Gill and Ernie Bung Arrow.
Just as the pair appeared to have the racing world at their feet, Ernie was put on the sidelines in February after chipping a bone in his wrist during a trial. That ruled out all plans of a Victorian campaign where he was a serious contender for the upcoming Group One Temlee at The Meadows.
That was just the start of the setbacks that Gill and Ernie had to endure.
During his comeback preparations Ernie injured his monkey muscle and contracted the kennel cough, all of which saw his return to the track pushed back until September.
Ernie bounced back after eight months off the scene with a win over 388 metres at Angle Park, before slipping on the mat and finishing back in the field when trying to defend his Cup crown in October.
His fans would only see him race on one more occasion when he won his last race at Gawler. That victory saw the son of Lochinvar Marlow and Slipper’s Tonic retire with the remarkable record of 24 starts for 21 wins and one minor placing.
The injury was a heartbreaking blow for Gill who believed that Ernie was almost back to his best.
“He was trialling good and I thought he was back. I hadn’t got him back to a full 500 but his early splits were fantastic.”
Aside from his Adelaide Cup success, Ernie Bung Arrow also claimed the Group Three SA Derby and the Group Three Brian Johnstone Memorial. He also made the final of the Group 1 Topgun and earned in excess of $168,000- not bad for a pup that only cost $900!
Gill is now hoping that he will make it as a sire and has plans to stand him at stud once he is fully recovered. There is no doubt that his phenomenal early speed is sure to be highly sought after by potential breeders.
“He had tremendous early speed. I don’t think there has been a more consistent dog out of the boxes that I have seen in my 40 odd years. He was consistent every time, it wasn’t just once in a while.”
“When I first got him going out of the 500 boxes I thought he probably wouldn’t run 500 because he was so good early, but his last section was as good as any dog, probably better. He had all three sections; first, middle and last, all in one”.
It is bittersweet looking back on Ernie’s Bung Arrow’s career. Although most people can only dream of having a dog that can win them a Group One, it would have been incredibly frustrating to see him not reach his full potential due to injury. But Gill can’t speak highly enough of his mate Ernie, who took him on the ride of a lifetime.
“It was fantastic. In the kennel at home kids could get him out and play with him but when he was at the races he knew what he was there for and he was on the job. He was just a lovely dog.”
If a week’s a long time in football, then a year is an eternity in greyhound racing. No dog’s story can prove this more than South Australian legend Ernie Bung Arrow.
Ernie was the hero of Angle Park in 2013 and his group race assault at Angle Park kicked off with the 2013 Group Three SA Derby in September. Next on the radar was the 2013 Group One Adelaide Cup, a title that Ernie will be trying to defend this year, starting with tonight’s heat. The final group win for Ernie was the 2013 Group Three Brian Johnstone Memorial.
After the win in the Brian Johnstone memorial the freak sprinter went on to win his next four starts. But from there it was all bad news. Ernie had his first serious injury early in 2014.
“I was just getting him ready to go back to Kel Greenough for the Temlee and he injured his his wrist. He had two chips and a crack in the wrist. We removed the two chips and had to plaster the crack, which put him out for a long time”, explained trainer Ken Gill.
“He was out for months and then when we were bringing him back he hit a fence and hurt himself again.”
“Then he hurt a monkey muscle at Kim’s and got kennel cough, it’s been one thing after another.”
With one run over the 388m at Angle Park since January the obvious question is how will the champion go in his return to big time racing.
“He can’t be 100% but will go ok. He won’t disgrace himself and I think he can just about lead. We just don’t know how far off his best he is though. We haven’t had him over the 500 in those periods, but his box to box and post to post efforts have been good with excellent sectionals on his own.”
“The dog is a couple of run’s short and the last 50m might tell tonight. Another two to three weeks and we would have been right. I wouldn’t have got him this far and he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of Kim Johnstone however. Although she didn’t race him, she has played a huge part. I definitely wouldn’t have him in this series tonight without all the hard work that Kim put in.”
Tonight and the future will be a waiting game for Ernie’s connections, but they are still hoping that he can reach the level of his past glory.
“We are on the list for the Topgun and it’s a possibility. But I think we will have a crack at the Melbourne Cup if he stay’s sound and we can get him back to the level he was at before.”
Which Chariot, later to become a pre-potent outcross sire, won his second Australian start, over 375 yards at Goulburn, in 1960. The UK import had raced with success in England before being brought to Australia. He had won his first start, also over 375 yards at Goulburn, three weeks earlier.
Queensland sprinter Questions caused a minor upset when he defeated champion sprinter Rapid Journey in the 1998 final of the Brisbane Cup for owner-trainer Dennis Reid. Fellow Queenslander Faithful Hawk was a strong third.
Arvo’s Junior took out the 2003 Sir John Dillon Memorial over 715 metres at Sandown. In doing so, he notched his 13th successive win on the track and was unbeaten at the distance. The win meant he equalled Striding Ahead’s record of 13 consecutive metropolitan wins in Melbourne (which had been achieved at Olympic Park).
The Dave Irwin-trained Tommie Streaker won the Dapto Leagues Club Maiden in 1997, scoring by five lengths in a fast 29.85 and earning $20,000 for the win. Tommie Streaker went on to win the 1998 Christmas Gift (Wentworth Park), Bulli Gold Plate, Wyong Derby and 1999 Toowoomba Cup.
At a cost of $18 million the new Wentworth Park racetrack and grandstand opened, in 1987. The grass track had race distances of 520 and 720 metres. A crowd estimated at around 7,000 people attended the night. The first race winner (over 520 metres) was War, from box one; the first 720 metres winner was Tiara Rapid; the last race (720 metres) was won by Aunt Becky; the fastest time of the night over 520 metres was 30.20, run by Tiger Flyer; the fastest over 720 metres was 42.13 by former Victorian stayer Sonic Wave, who won a heat of the Sydney Cup. Darinelli Star became the first to fall in a race, the Free For All, won by Flash Jass.
Coorparoo Flyer became the first Queensland sprinter to take out the National Sprint Championship when he scored in the 1975 event, run over 530 metres at Wentworth Park. Trained by Paul Cauchi, Coorparoo Flyer defeated NSW hope Solid Bond by a head with South Australian Cape Soon third. The winner picked up $8,000 for first.
Champion bitch Flying Amy defeated Dynamic Driver by eight lengths to take out the 1995 Brisbane Cup (520 metres, Albion Park) in a new race record time of 29.89. Flying Amy earned $50,000 for the win.
Tasmanian star Busy Vintage won the 1984 National Sprint Championship, run over 457 metres at Harold Park. The David Crosswell-trained sprinter defeated Victorian Eaglehawk Star by three lengths with West Australian Blue Echo third. Blue Echo had won his previous 14 starts on end and was attempting to emulate the effort of South Australian speedster Kate’s A Scandal who won the 1981 National Sprint Championship to record her 15th successive win, then an Australian record.
Track specialist Temlee scored a six lengths victory in the 1974 National Sprint Championship, run over 511 metres at Olympic Park. Exiting box four, Temlee defeated South Australian champion Bristol Sue with NSW representative Thunder’s Pride third.
NSW sprinter Bob’s One took out the 1999 Brisbane Cup by almost six lengths from Queensland stars Faithful Hawk and Questions in a fast 30.02.
Cannington gets to celebrate 50 years of the National’s on Saturday night with eight of Australia’s best sprinters showcasing their speed from the 530 metre boxes in hope of becoming the 2014 Group One National Sprint Champion.
WA trainer Linda Britton is the only trainer in the National’s series to qualify two greyhounds into the final field. Zelemar Fever and Star Recall made it through after running first and second in the deciding final last week.
Star Recall holds the least experience of the two jumping from box six. With only 30 career starts and 16 wins to her name she has more then made her mark on WA greyhound racing.
The Daughter of High Earner – No Recall is one of seven talented bitches that come from the litter of 10.
This isn’t her first group campaign, at the start of the year she made the trip to Victoria in the hope of an Australian Cup victory with litter sister High Recall. Although unsuccessful, the 26 kilo bitch returned to her home track Cannington in fine form producing a 30.37 victory and has been hard to beat since. Two months ago she recorded a flying personal best of 30.18 and has been an integral to the success of the Britton kennel.
Star Recall’s racing style sees her jump to the front of the field on most occasions with an average first sectional of 5.73, her best being 5.59. Its hard to fault her performance in recent weeks, she hasn’t been unplaced in 13 starts, eight of those being wins. Star Recall always has a cheer squad on track courtesy of her owner Kevin Dover and his family.
Saturday night is a tough ask for the WA star, but racing on her home track will give her the confidence she needs for a Group One win.
“Star Recall is a more experienced race dog compared to Australian Cup time so that should work in her favour. She is also much better suited on her home turf.” Trainer Linda Britton explained.
“It’s hard to separate Star Recall and Zelemar Fever in the race. They both know the track very well but Zelemar Fever is three to four lengths quicker then Star Recall.”
On paper Zelemar Fever had been in a minor slump in form of late with her first win in a over a month coming last week. The daughter of Bombastic Shiraz – Noaki Pace found her early speed again, charging home to win by two lengths over Star Recall in a time of 30.40.
“I’m pleased she is coming along, she has hit form again.” Britton explained.
Zelemar Fever isn’t a newcomer in group races, with her Group One Temlee victory at The Meadows the highlight of her and trainer Linda Britton’s careers.
Zelemar Fever will jump from box four on Saturday night, a let down compared to the red box she won from last week.
“It’s no secret that she loves box one and she hasn’t drawn as well this week, but if she begins I give her every chance.”
Owners Gary and Craig Weston will be hoping Zelemar Fever struts her stuff all the way to the boxes and back to the winners dais on Saturday night to add another group title to her name.
At 9.37pm Perth time, the boxes will open and in a matter of seconds the Group One National Sprint Champion will be named, taking home not only the title but $75,000.00 in prizemoney.
|Dominator Girl (TAS)|
|Comments: ARG comment: She has done well to get here in the absence of Buckle Up Wes. May find this a hard task even though she has a great record from box one.|
|Chica Destacada (NSW)|
|Comments: Doreen Drynan (Trainer): “Box two is a good box to have but it all depends on the start and if there is any trouble. I think Tony Brett’s dog Flash Reality and Linda Britton’s Zelemar Fever will be hard to beat. She (Chica Destacada) has had three starts around Cannington, two race starts and a trial so I didn’t feel the need to trial her again.”|
|Flash Reality (QLD)|
|Comments: Tony Brett (Trainer): “Box three is all right; he just needs to do what he has been doing the last couple of weeks and the big track suits him to the ground. It’s a hard call to pick a winner, I think the winner will come from the inside; the two (Chica Destacada) has been here before. Also the WA chasers having a hometown advantage is a big thing.”|
|Zelemar Fever (WA)|
Comments Linda Britton (Trainer): “She isn’t drawn as well as last week but if she begins i put her in with a good chance.”
|CrackerJack Dak (VIC)|
|Comments: Jordan Cooper (Owner) : “If he doesn’t lead he can’t win. It’s a tough field and we will need everything to go right.”|
|Star Recall (WA)|
|Comments: Linda Britton (Trainer) - “If she begins, I think she is in with a good show. She is much better suited on her own turf.”|
|Bessy Boo (NSW)|
|Comments: Christine Proctor (Trainer): “The box isn’t that great, either one two or three would have been best but that’s the run of it. Chica Destacada is fast when she gets on the bunny and Tony Brett’s Flash Reality is a good chance but every dog is a chance in the race. He is well suited to the track, the longer distance will suit him because his last sectional is strong and he will motor home. He can also come from behind so he doesn’t need to be in front.”|
|Wild Soul (SA)|
|Comments: Kim Johnstone (Trainer): “He is going to need a lot of luck; he isn’t the best beginner so he isn’t going to be able cross any of the dogs early on. I think Zelemar Fever will be hard to beat because its her home track as well as Tony Brett’s Flash Reality because it’s been racing enormously.”|
Cannington plays host to National Sprint Championship final in 2014 for only the fifth time in the history of the event. It first staged the race in 1979, when NSW champion Acclaim Star scored a brilliant win. Acclaim Star became Australia’s highest prize money winner during his career. Then, in 1989, local superstar Sandi’s Me Mum annexed the first of two consecutive Sprint Championships. She too went on to become Australia’s highest prize money winner. In 1998, the great Rapid Journey came from box six and almost last place at the first turn to score. He finished his career as Australia’s highest prize money earner, and the first to pass half a million dollars.
That Cannington/prize money nexus was broken in 2004 when NSW sprinter In For Life was victorious. The last time the race was run in Cannington, the late all-distance champion Dashing Corsair from Queensland was successful.
If the past is anything to go by, then a genuine topliner is needed to take out the race when it is run at Cannington.
The first National Sprint Championship was run on 11 September 1965 over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park. The race was taken out by NSW sprinter Best Sun (box seven), trained by Eddie Batiste. Indeed the first four across the line were all from NSW, with second place going to Satyr Rocket, two lengths behind Best Sun, with Chariot Charm a length away third and Black Tass fourth. Queenslander He’s Lightning was fifth ahead of the Victorian Billy Vee.
Eddie Batiste, who earned £2,000 for the win, had earlier made headlines as being the man who discovered the lifeless bodies of Dr Gilbert Bogle and Mrs Margaret Chandler in 1963, in a case that baffled the nation.
Tracks & Distances
Eleven tracks across six states have held the final. Between 1965 and 1976 the race alternated between New South Wales and Victoria. Since 1977 it has moved around the country.
Harold Park 1965, 1969, 1973, 1980, 1983, 1984 (457 metres)
Olympic Park 1966, 1970, 1974, 1981, 1992 (511 metres)
Wentworth Park 1967, 1971, 1975 (530 metres), 1991, 1994, 1999, 2005, 2008 (520 metres),
Sandown Park 1968, 1972 (507 metres), 1976, 1985 (513 metres), 1990, 1995 (511 metres), 2007 (515 metres),
Gabba 1977, 1982, 1988 (558 metres)
Angle Park 1978, 1986, 1993 (512 metres), 1997, 2003, 2010 (515 metres)
Cannington 1979, 1989, 1998, 2004, 2009 (530 metres),
Albion Park 1996, 2002, 2011 (520 metres),
Launceston 2000 (522 metres), 2006 (515 metres)
Hobart 1987 (457 metres), 2012 (461 metres)
The Meadows 2001 (518 metres), 2013 (525 metres)
When Is The Race Run
Until 2006 and again in 2009 it was run in either September or October. In 2007, 2008, and since 2010 it has been held in August.
Biggest Winning Margins
Gallant Ruler (NSW) won by 12 lengths in 1994, Red Zero (NSW) by eight lengths in 1969, Knocka Norris (Q) by seven and a half lengths in 2008, and Temlee (V) by six lengths in 1974.
Closest Winning Margins
Coorparoo Flyer (Q) 1975, Bit Chili (NSW) 2007, and Smooth Fancy (NSW) 2010 all prevailed by a head, while King Miller (NSW) 1971, Prince Of Tigers (WA) 1997, Rapid Journey (NSW) 1998, In For Life (NSW) 2004 and Dashing Corsair (Q) 2009 all scored by just a neck.
Most Successful Trainers
Petar Jovanovic leads with three winners (Scenic Spa 1985, Stetson 1986 and Shayne’s Champ 1996, although Maryanne Jovanovic is also credited in Scenic Spa’s success) ahead of Gerry O’Keefe with Sandi’s Me Mum (1989 and 1990), Graeme Bate with Henerik Bale (2001) and Xylia Allen (2013) and Reg Kay with Elite State (2003) and Knocka Norris (2008). Paul Cauchi trained Coorparoo Flyer to win in 1975 and although his charge Clover Duke won in 1976, it was technically trained by Charlie Gatt, as Cauchi was under suspension at the time.
Only the West Australian great, Sandi’s Me Mum, in 1989 and 1990.
Metz Magic in 2011. The Queenslander replaced Tonneli Bale in a race which also saw the scratchings of Pedrosa (replaced by Maybe Elite) and Damek, who was unable to compete for Tasmania, and was replaced by Hellyeah Jacko.
Benjamin John (fourth in 1968 and 1969), Pied Rebel (second in 1969 and 1970), Coorparoo Flyer (Won 1975, third 1976), Odious (fourth 1975, second 1976), White Panther (third 1979, fourth 1980), Winifred Bale (seventh 1982, Won 1983), Defiant Lea (fourth 1983, eighth 1984), Apache Eye (unplaced 1987 & 1988), Sandi’s Me Mum (Won 1989 & 1990), Mister Britain (unplaced 1989 & 1990), Faithful Hawk (third 1998, seventh 1999), Mallee Rebel (eighth 2000, sixth 2001), Buckingham Chuck (second 2006, seventh 2007), Pedrosa (fourth 2010, scratched 2011), Glen Gallon (sixth 2011, second 2012)
Chariot Charm (third 1965), Munich Boy (third 1967), Busy’s Charm (second 1969), Tara Flash (sixth 1971), Shapely Escort (seventh 1971, injured), Woolley Wilson (eighth 1972), Half Your Luck (second 1973), Bristol Sue (second 1974), Ungwilla Lad (eighth 1975), Sole Force (second 1978), Tempix (seventh 1979), Glider’s Son (sixth 1981), Eaglehawk Star (second 1984), Shining Chariot (second 1986), Camden’s Ghost (third 1986), True Vintage (second 1987), See Yah (third 1988), Highly Blessed (third 1990), Hotshot (fourth 1998), Reggemite (fifth 1998), Top Shiraz (fourth 1999), Carlisle Jack (second 2001), Modern Assassin (third 2002), Sun Hero (third 2004), Scull Murphy (fourth 2007), Paw Licking (fourth 2013)
From its inception in 1965 and until 1973, a series of heats and quarter finals were usually held NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, and Queensland, with the top point scorers coming to the host state for, usually, a pair of semi-finals. The eight top point scorers through these semi-finals would then go to make up the final field. In 1973, South Australia was added to the contenders, with Western Australia included in 1976.
Since 1977, each state has conducted its own series and sent the winner to contest the final in the host state. The Northern Territory was also included from 1982
In 1980, trainer Ken Howe had the favourite Fast Sapphire engaged in the final, and gave Ernie Rowe, the greyhounds’ former mentor, the honour of walking the greyhound to the 457 metre boxes at Harold Park. Fast Sapphire (box one) scored a brilliant win, and was immediately retired to stud.
In 1981, South Australian bitch Kate’s A Scandal set a new Australian record of 15 successive victories, eclipsing the 14 straight set by Harryed in 1950. In the same race were the NSW pair of Glider’s Son and Peter Glider. It was the first time a major national race had featured litter brothers bred, owned, and trained by the same person, namely John MacDonald.
In 1988, NSW star See Yah ran third to Queensland champion Dancing Gamble while wearing his dog collar. His trainer had forgotten to remove the collar when loading See Yah into the boxes.
Greyhounds WA held just two heats of the WA National Sprint Championship on Saturday night. Despite the lack of numbers the standard of WA chasers were high, with On Coin holding the majority of interest.
In the first heat of the night, Temlee winner Zelemar Fever (box two) was $1.85 favourite over kennelmate Star Recall ($2.80) who jumped from box eight. As the boxes opened Jump The Queue (box seven) landed at the front of the field leaning into the fence. Luba Monelli (box three) sat tight in second position as Star Recall made her run from box eight. Zelemar Fever looked to be in a good position when she moved in front of Luba Monelli to sit third. Star Recall quickly outclassed Jump The Queue, snatching the lead at the 600 metre boxes. The daughter of High Earner – No Recall pulled away to win 1 ¼ lengths in 30.35. Luba Monelli ran home well to finish second with Zelemer Fever looking to tire towards the line into third position and Jump The Queue finishing fourth.
The second heat of the night was all about On Coin. He started odds on favourite ($1.40) from box one with his closest rival Gone To Heaven (box four), paying $4.80. As anticipated On Coin jumped and won, leaving the rest of the field to fight for their rugs in next weeks final. Black Dymas (box five), Freeway Force (box eight) and Gomes (box two) began the battle for the minor placing’s out of the boxes. You Can Dream (box seven) also pushed up to ensure she was a chance to get through to next weeks deciding final. In the end Gomes ran on strongly to finish second with Freeway Force and You Can Dream finishing third and fourth respectively. Gone To Heaven failed to make an impact on the field after being squeezed out of the race in the early stages. On Coin was the fastest qualifier with a time of 30.20.
The box draw for the 2014 National WA Sprint Championship is as follows:
1 Zelemar Fever Linda Britton
2 Luba Monelli David Hobby
3 Star Recall Linda Britton
4 Gomes Linda Britton
5 On Coin John Crossley
6 Freeway Force Kieth Harding
7 You Can Dream Dennis Calleja
8 Jump The Queue Peter Hepple
9 Deyna Linda Britton
10 Black Dymas Jason Stuart
It’s Western Australia’s turn to showcase their talents in the National Sprint heats on Saturday night at Cannington over the 530 metre distance. With just the two heats set to be run, the first four placegetters will receive a rug in next weeks WA deciding final.
Heat One – 8.10 PM, Perth time
Linda Britton looks to have the two favourites in the first heat of the National Sprint, Zelemar Fever, jumping from box two and Star Recall, jumping from box eight.
Reigning Temlee winner Zelemar Fever is set to start at $2.50 favourite. After a fall at Sandown’s Sapphire Crown she looks to have lost her zip out of the boxes that has seen her land in front of the field time after time. Her previous three starts have seen her manoeuvre through the field and hit the finish line with strength. If she manages to jump to the lead it’s hard to see anything catching her.
Star Recall is currently paying $2.80 to take out the heat from box eight. The little black bitch has been in great form from the start of her career, only missing out on finishing in the top three on four occasions. She missed out on the Oaks series and looks to be a genuine contender after a freshen up on the sidelines last week.
Luba Monelli returns from four months on the sidelines for trainer David Hobby. Prior to her break, Luba Monelli produced some impressive victories over the 600 metre trip. It’s a tough ask for Luba Monelli ($15.00) to take out this heat with chasers that are capable of clocking some very quick times.
Peter Hepple’s Jump The Queue ($5.00) will be the likely leader from box seven but will have to rely on trouble behind if she is to take out this heat.
Heat Two – 8.30 PM, Perth time
The winner of the second heat looks likely to come out of the inside boxes, especially with On Coin off the red. Since his return from a shoulder injury sustained in January, On Coin has set the standard high in WA. Almost week in week out On Coin has produced best of the night performances. The brindle chasers box manners have improved, which has helped him find the lead heading into the back straight on multiple occasions. He is the dog to beat in this heat and is paying $2.00 for the win.
Gone To Heaven has shown a return to form in recent weeks, pulling together two great performances in lower grade company. Jumping from box four, paying $3.50 for the win, she will need to be at her best to finish first past the post.
Last week, veteran Gomes proved that he could still perform in top company, clutching \victory in the closing stages. From box two he is starting at $15.00 for the win and it’s going to take a lot for the old boy to win, but like he showed last week he is capable of surprises.
With the first four chasers getting a run in the deciding final next week, it will bring them one week closer to possibly being named the 2014 National Sprint Champion.
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One of the highlights of a big night of racing at Sandown Park on Thursday night is the final of the Group One Sapphire Classic.
The event has been around since 1974 and was originally an age restricted race open to dogs and bitches. Token Prince won the race in 1997.
In 2002, the event was changed to a bitches only race. Since 2002 some outstanding bitches have taken out the feature event. The honour roll includes the likes of Bogie Leigh, Paua To Burn (twice), Betty’s Angel, Que Sera Sera, Queen Lauryn, Cindeen Shelby and Xylia Allen. The race wasn’t run in 2010 due to a change in the Australian Greyhound Racing Association calendar.
West Australian trained bitch Zelemar Fever (3) is the favourite for this years race, scoring in fast 29.34 in the fastest of the four heats last week. She is the 2014 Temlee champion and looks to have a good chance of adding another a Group race victory to her CV.
The Sapphire Classic is Race 6 on the card and jumps at 8:52pm. Here’s a look at this years final;
|Comments: Tom Dailly (Co-Trainer) – “She has drawn nicely, we hope she to get a clear run early and see what she can do.”|
|You Say Goodbye|
|Comments: Handy bitch who missed the start last week and suffered some interference. She showed good chasing tenacity to qualify for the final but a repeat of last week’s box manners will probably mean trouble. She has recorded a best of 5.00 to the first mark and will need to draw on that to put herself in the race.|
|Comments: Linda Britton (Trainer) – “The inside draw is better with her, it is a lot better then getting the six. I would prefer her closer to the inside but I am happy with the three. She has always been above average and always tries her best. We are hoping she goes well.”|
|Comments: ARG opinion – Got lucky turning for home last week after Especially and Cairnlea Ella suffered interference. She took advantage of this opportunity to run into second place. She could find trouble from the draw.|
|Comments: Angela Langton (Co-Trainer) - “She’s very strong and probably one of the fastest in the race but she is slow early. We are hoping for some luck early but she has a fast beginner on her outside.”|
|Comments: Linda Britton (Trainer) - “She will definitely need to show her early pace again. She trialled quicker then the time she ran last week. She was a little unsettled last week and we had a bit of trouble with her weight. We are hoping she goes better this week as she has had a chance to settle a bit more.”|
|Comments: Robert Britton (Trainer) - “Very happy with how she went last week. If she can repeat the 5.02 split from last week it would be good. However, I would have preferred an inside draw. It will be tough to get across from out there. There is a lot of pace in the race. If they can run 5.02 early you expect them to lead, with all of the pace in the race though, the inside dogs have some sort of advantage.”|
|Comments: Angela Langton (Co-Trainer) - “We were hoping she would draw inside as she likes to be on the fence. She is a better beginner then her sister and hopefully she begins and gets a cart across. She is also strong.”|
|Comments: Has taken to Sandown well but is a slow beginner and will need some luck if she gets a start.|
|Comments: Likely to struggle if she gets a start. Led last week but was run down by Oakvale Flyer and Prue Bale.|
Zelemar Fever (3) has drawn well and will need to begin on terms to avoid interference into the turn. She has the time on the board and only needs to repeat that to secure the win. There’s a bit of pace in the race and Linda Britton’s other chaser, Te Amo (6), could very well lead as she has Oakvale Destiny (5) on her inside. Oakvale Destiny is a slow beginner and will give Te Amo that extra little bit of room. Watch for Oakvale Destiny in the closing stages as she is very strong. Prue Bale (1) couldn’t quite get to the lead last week but she has drawn the cherry this week which should give her every chance.
Oakvale Flyer (8) is a better beginner then her sister Oakvale Destiny and she is also strong. She looks an each-way chance if she can get some luck from the pink box. Amadeus Strikes (7) has been beginning well her last couple of starts but moves to the undesirable outside alley. Last week’s first section was great and if she can do that again, she could get near to the lead. You Say Goodbye (2) missed the start from box two last week and can’t afford to do the same this week. Her sister, Hot Dream (4), took advantage of the opportunities that were presented to her last week but she isn’t likely to get the same favours again this week.