Champion sprinter Rapid Journey began better than expected from box six and scored a scintillating three-lengths victory in the 1998 Melbourne Cup, downing Billy Cruise and Cerin Bale.
Farloc became the fastest greyhound in the world over 500 yards (457 metres) in 1954 when he ran in an exhibition at Harold Park and clocked 26.3, a time which was 2/10ths faster than the track and world record held jointly by China Lady, Macareena, and Plunkettâs Pride. The exhibition only came about because of an oversight in Farlocâs papers caused him to be a late scratching from the Harold Park Stake (1st Grade). The exhibition was not classified as a new track record.
Tasmanian star Fallen Zorro won the 2008 Carnival Cup over 715 metres at Sandown Park for trainer Shane Whitney. In a rare occurrence for a Victorian distance event, all three placegetters were interstate raiders: second was Princess Bale (originally from NSW) with Risk It, from South Australia, third.
In 1953 the GBOTA first introduced the Invitation Stake, run over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park. It was the first race in Australia to award prize money to every starter, irrespective of finishing position. Total prize money for this first race was ÂŁ170 ($340) and was distributed with ÂŁ90 for the winner, ÂŁ25 for second, ÂŁ15 for third and ÂŁ10 for all unplaced runners. The first field consisted of Arnfinn, Chief Putty, Cola Minda, Rua Lad, Sashweight, Silver Agricola, and Valiant Ross. Cola Minda (winner of the Harold Park Classic in September) won the race by half a length from Rua Lad with Arnfinn third.
The 1939 Melbourne Cup, run up the straight at Napier Park, initially resulted in a dead-heat between Sir Pontiac and John Beach with Mineâs A Pot only a head away third. A run-off took place and Sir Pontiac finished too strongly for John Beach to snare the ÂŁ175 ($350) first prize money by a head.
Prince Kerdieil defeated Ballerina Queen by just over two lengths in a match race run over 500 yards (457 metres) at Wollongong in 1959. Prince Kerdieil won in 28.2 which was 3/10ths outside Ballerina Queenâs track record. The victory was his 15th, with 11 placings, from just 31 starts. He had won the 1959 Lord Mayorâs Cup at Wentworth Park and finished third in the NSW Country Championship.
The second greyhound track to open in Sydney had its grand opening at Mascot in 1927. Races were conducted over 440 yards (402 metres) and 600 yards (548 metres).
Having just his third start in a race, Allocate kept his unbeaten record intact as he scored a decisive six lengths win in the 1973 Summer Cup, run over 732 metres at Harold Park. Exiting box one he downed Noble Mogul with kennelmate Corcoran just a half length away third.
Ralph The Mouth registered one of the most emphatic victories ever seen in the Hobart Thousand when he downed Awesome Torque by almost 10 lengths in 2005. The Leigh Wood-trained sprinter ran 25.60, a new race record.
Dynabolt registered a brilliant four and a half length win in the 1972 Summer Cup final, run over 800 yards (732 metres) at Harold Park, defeating a star-studded lineup which included Victorianâs Bandwagon John (second) and Lizrene (sixth). The fawn bitch ran a fast 43.1, just 1/10th outside the race record.
Whisky Assassin blitzed the 2004 Topgun field to win by nine lengths from Regal Ricky with Kobble Rock third. Whisky Assassin set a new track record for the 515 metres at Sandown, running 29.40. This clipped 9/100ths off Paua To Burnâs previous mark, which had only been established 35 days earlier. Paua To Burn was among the unplaced division. It was the last occasion the Topgun was run in December.
Do you know that if Destini Fireball wins the Bold Trease tonight it will become the 4th leading stakes earner in Australian greyhound history? Or that if Black Magic Opal wins the Melbourne Cup it will rise to 10th spot and itâs only two and a half years old? Shades of Brett Lee! Then this one may have sneaked under your guard – were the ever-consistent Peter Rocket to do the job it would place 2nd behind only the mighty Miata, which has earned $715k.
The money rankings have obviously got out of hand. They are becoming more and more meaningless. I doubt that Destini Fireball can win but it is not impossible. Still, it seems to be running at around 80% power these days, a far cry from its hey day from November 2012 to April 2013 when it won 14 of 16 starts, half of them over shorter trips.
Black Magic Opal can be beaten tonight but you would have to be pretty smart to do it. Only a really special dog would have any hope of running it down and I donât think one is there tonight. Of course, if it does not lead then all bets are off.
The point of all this is that, as it stands, ranking dogs on the basis of prize money is a lost cause. Allowing for inflation alone, Rapid Journey would leap into first place with well over $1 million in todayâs money, to say nothing about its wonderful consistency. Yet prize money has gone up in real terms as well with tonightâs winnerâs purse of $350,000 leading the way. In 1998 when Rapid Journey won the Cup it paid only $100k. In the same year Rapid Journey picked up the Adelaide Cup for $50k (now $75k), Easter Egg for $100k ($250k), Perth Cup for $40k ($140k), National Sprint Championship for $40k ($75k) and the TopGun for $70k ($150k), as well as lesser races. No dog alive today could have done all that.
In fact, it is extraordinary that 15 years later Rapid Journey can still take 7th spot in the money list. When it finished racing it was actually ranked 1st.What a shame he could not quite manage to pass on that amazing ability in the breeding caper. Maybe the genes will skip a generation or two?
One good thing about career prize money is that it does not limit calculations to a single year. But to make the figures realistic you must first select a base year and then adjust subsequent years by the CPI changes. Thatâs messier but much fairer. By doing that you can then compare apples with apples.
That aside, we have got to the stage where, tonight, the winner of an individual race can amass half the prize money Miata won over her entire career. That indicates that things have got well out of proportion. Arguably, first prizes of $250k to $350k are neither economically necessary to attract a good field nor do they do justice to all the other races that are cut back as a result. It should never have happened.
Using a different method, AGRA (Australian Greyhound Racing Association), which is a select grouping of major clubs, has gone to a lot of trouble to produce rankings for current racers and also for top sires and dams. In both cases they count what has been run and won in Group races in the calendar year â 10 months so far â and allocate points for each placing from 1st to 8th.
For current competitors, this is a fair enough process, always providing that the various dogs get enough chances to impress. It also rewards consistency by giving points to placegetters as well as winners. However, the rankings really donât lead anywhere. Nobody will ever remember them and they are overshadowed by the prize money listing.
AGRAâs sister rankings for sires and dams are also a snapshot of the last several months. This is more controversial as it rewards both luck and recent successes. Since stud life embraces several years, a short period cannot properly reflect which ones have done well and which not. Doubly so as artificial insemination and frozen straws stretch the sireâs effective life. The current ranking system is therefore not helpful. It is even biased. Top of the sireâs list at the moment is Wheres Pedro, which is responsible, amongst many good dogs, for the ever-present Destini Fireball. A close second in the damâs list is Greys Destiny who threw, guess who, Destini Fireball again. All due to a good run early in the year against often average opposition.
More to the point would be an ongoing ranking which shows both total and relative success of the sireâs or damâs progeny. For example, as with some thoroughbred scoring, the ratio of total wins and Group wins to total pups whelped would be more informative. That removes a flash in the pan but also properly grades a sire which had a shorter than normal life, perhaps through no fault of its own.
Not all Group races are of the same quality, regardless of the cash involved. National Championships, for example, are never that at all but a competition between three or four of the better dogs around, and therefore easier to win. Typically, the majority of smaller state representatives are never really competitive. Even the good ones may be there because of luck in the state run-offs.
I donât have a problem with the event â it offers some variety â but it should be termed a State of Origin, not a championship. If we want a real Championship, do it properly.
Similar comments could be made about races restricted by age or sex. They are also somewhat less competitive, yet their Group status can be purchased by any club with the cash to spend.
The final important measurement of dogsâ abilities comes via state and national Greyhound of the Year awards. Although they are always subjective and sometimes debatable they at least ensure that all-year performances are recognised. Like can be compared with like, while outages for injuries need not penalise a nominee.
There are other ways of measuring the best dog of the year, but they perhaps need more hard work to develop. I initiated one â Fastest Dog of the Year â by assessing each dogâs times in its best 10 wins in TAB races over 450m and longer. It was published annually in a now-defunct magazine. The method was to reduce all times to their equivalent at a single track (I had chosen Wentworth Park).
It worked pretty well and at least concentrated on two prime attributes of the greyhound â its speed and its versatility. Importantly, because of the wide range and number of qualifying races, it virtually eliminated the impact of luck, which has a huge effect on individual races.
Meantime, we can improve on whatâs done now. GOTY awards are worthwhile but prize money scores must be adjusted for inflation, as they are otherwise misleading. Breeding stock should be judged on the quality and productivity of their progeny over time, not on what they produce in a single year.
The Topgun may not have been the fairytale that Ken Gill, Helen Deacon or many other racing fans had hoped for, but rest assured that Ernie Bung Arrow has lost none of his amazing ability since his recent interstate voyage.
Returning back to the Angle Park circuit for the first time since eclipsing the stateâs biggest race, Ernie Bung Arrow lined up in the third and final heat of the Group 3 Brian Johnstone memorial conducted this afternoon.
Starting from box two as a $1.10 favourite, the son of Lochinvar Marlow sizzled out of the boxes, setting a first split of 4.33; just a length off the sectional record set by Ritza Ben earlier in the year. Motoring off the back 16.72, there was no sign of fatigue as he careered away to win by eight lengths in an overall time of 29.66.
Emerley Zodiac was clearly the best of the rest, but was no competition for the winner who would surely be âin the red âto claim his third Group title in as many months.
Earlier in the day the series kicked off with a depleted field of four runners, with an anticipated match-race between fancied pair of Set The Scene for Lawrence Callaghan and As It Goes for Ossie Chegia.
Those two runners would eventually fill the quinella in the opening heat, with Set The Scene making the pace for all of the 515 metres, stopping the clock at 29.91with sectionals of 4.43 and 16.99. He finished a couple of lengths clear of As It Goes and Redeeming who both progress to the semi-finals.
Farmeroo has been an eye-catching young chaser in recent weeks, and he continued that form by taking out the second heat a short time later. Beaten for pace early by Woodnear, who sprung out in 4.58, Farmeroo was too strong in the run home, turning a two-length deficit into a three-length win by the time the finish line whizzed by.
Farmeroo was the slowest of the three heats however, running 30.00 neat, eclipsing his previous best of 30.09 set last week. He gives Ken Gill and Helen Deacon another live chance however, of eclipsing the $25,000 on offer in two weeks time.
But with a distinct lack of depth amongst the nominations this year, the chances of any runner stealing the prize away from Ernie Bung Arrow do appear rather slim.
The Group 3 Brian Johnstone memorial continues next Thursday night with two semi-finals, before the main event gets takes centre stage on December 8.
In other news coming out of the Festival State, Middleton trainer, Matthew Payne has been asked to face the stewards in relation to a swab taken from Tian Hao Diva on 16th September that returned positive for a banned substance (Androstane).
Tian Hao Diva has since been transferred to Barry McPhersonâs kennels in Western Australia, however Mr. Payne remains the caretaker of several other chasers including the aforementioned pair of Ritza Ben and Woodnear. The inquiry will take place on Monday 2nd December.
It has to be said. I really donât want to see another race like the 2013 Shootout again. I certainly canât recall one like it previously. Who needs a formguide when a pin will do just as well?
Of the four runners, only one performed roughly as you would expect â Dyna Nalin â although its overall time was quicker than normal, no doubt helped by the small field. Its sectional of 5.21 was within its range but considerably slower than in the TopGun (its 5.13 at The Meadows would convert to a Sandown equivalent of about 5.09).
Xylia Bale gets the plaudits, all due to an uncharacteristic and unpredictable quick start. At every other run in its 46-race career, bar one, it has not got within two lengths of its 4.97 sectional. And two lengths is a huge differential on the way to the first marker. The single exception was tucked away over the Bass Strait at Launceston, when it broke the track record back in February against much weaker competitors. And, since Tasmanian timing systems are very unreliable, we canât even be sure of that. Still, I guess every dog has its day.
It is also noteworthy that Xylia Allen was heavily backed into a close third favouritism at $3.40 in NSW and outright favouritism in Victoria at $2.50 in a much larger pool. In either case those odds were arguably âundersâ, considering the form of the opposition and Xylia Allenâs normal habits. They were also considerably less than pre-racepurveyors were offering (that includes the Watchdog). And not only in early markets. Xylia Allenâs final Fixed Odds on Tabcorp was $3.00, or well above the Victorian SP of $2.50, created in a pool of $39,132. Consequently, itâs hard to guess whether the big push was due to smart money or just a late flood of cash from all over the state. Really strange.
Another way of looking at all that is that Xylia Allen started off at a speed it achieves just over 4% of the time but its Victorian tote price assumed it had a 40% chance of winning. Certainly, the small field suited its running habits but, theoretically, it was faced with running down two highly qualified leaders. That did not happen, of course.
But what of the other two? The record-equalling Banjo Boy was, by its standards, moderate all the way while Punch One Out ran like a stampeding buffalo â every which way. Its jump, and the one in the TopGun, were appalling to say the least, and then it ran like a mad thing back and forth across the track. Never before have I seen the dog do that, or anything like it, including in its previous runs at Sandown. Remember this is the same dog that recently got under The Meadows track record in a solo trial, and (allegedly) did the same over Lismore 420m on the previous Friday. Neither of those would have been possible with a slow start and erratic running.
The stewards say they did pre-race testing but, post-race, only the first two dogs were called in for a swab. Why on earth would you ignore the two that ran poorly?
The way Punch One Out performed, the least you might expect is a swab and a very thorough vet examination. Who knows what niggles it may have picked up during its lengthy travels back and forth to Melbourne? Punters who sent it out a close second favourite (including me) would expect no less. It put in a shocker and we are entitled to answers.
This is yet another example where the stewards appear to have little interest in form assessments. The race created serious questions, but none were asked.
Incidentally, those commentators who wondered about Xylia Allenâs relatively modest finishing effort are asking a bit much. This was not Damien Oliver holding up Fiorente for a late run to the line. Dogs cannot do it a both ends of the trip.
As for the concept of a four-dog Shootout, it makes no sense to judge its fortunes on the basis of one poor race. It adds variety and interest to the mix. However, there is probably value in making sure the competitors also have to put their own money on the line. There is nothing like self-interest.
JUSTICE NOT SEEN TO BE DONE
Last month I suggested that dogs caught fighting should never be entitled to collect prize money.
Just before the running of the Shootout, a maiden at Warrnambool fought the leader all the way down the home straight, eventually worrying it out of the race. This resulted in a 30/1 bolter getting up to win, which did not please a couple of punters around me.
The fighter, which happened to be the favourite, copped a 28 day suspension but still ended up running second and collecting $285 which, by rights, should be passed on to the trainer of the victim, Darren Brown.
Better yet, change the rules so that offenders are disqualified from the race, as would occur in the gallops and harness codes, to say nothing of human sporting contests. In that event this victim would have moved up from 4th to 3rd, which would have been some consolation.
INFORMATION FOR ALL
It was interesting to read that the Australian Veterinary Association submission to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry highlighted the need to create a ânationally accessible databaseâ of all things greyhound, including injury information.
It underlines the nonsense being created when you see Greyhounds Australasia, GRNSW (Ozchase) and GRV (Fasttrack) all build different versions of the same thing, and all have difficulty talking to each other. Of course, varying grading patterns and different reporting rules in each state do not help either. It is also confusing for private systems from National Tabform on down to lowly punters in the bush.
One difficult task is to chase down the race performances of the progeny of your favourite sire. For example, the otherwise very smart website, Greyhound-Data, has a marvellous presentation of Australian and worldwide breeding information but its race figures are hopelessly inaccurate.
Notably, the absence of any means of public access, and the inability to consider form and breeding in a single or related database, are factors which hold back the development of greyhound racing as well as making it more expensive to manage. Some things are worth competing for, but hard information is not one of them.
Sandown Parkâs landmark Superdog series got into swing Thursday night with an incredible card of racing that included three feature finals and eight Melbourne Cup preludes.
The main event of the night was Sandown Shootout, which is always an entertaining race for the greyhound purist. With four of the fastest, strongest dogs in Australia getting the track all to themselves, there are no excuses for any of the losers.
This yearâs race saw Topgun winner Dyna Nalin take on Triple Group 1 winner, Xylia Allen, NSW superstar, Punch One Out and recent Warragul record holder, Banjo Boy.
In other sports, when the true champions are challenged or have their colours lowered, they find a way back and sooner rather than later.
Well using that definition, Xylia Allen stamped her place as a true champion of our sport. After having her colours lowered in her last two Group finals, she exploded out of the boxes on this occasion, and ensured that no-one was trumping her this time around.
With a 4.97 first section, Xylia Allen led clearly out of the straight, and from there it was always going to be a big task to run her down. Banjo Boy settled in second place, but Dyna Nalin always looked like running past him, and eventually did so, taking good ground off the winner in the process. Punch One Out was always well back and couldnât match it with the mad pace up being set up front.
Xylia Allen stopped the clock at a staggering 29.07, completing the astonishing win and reminding us all just why she is the best greyhound this country has at present.
Now trained out of the Jenny and Peter Hunt kennel since the Graeme Bate disqualification, her numbers continue to grow by the week, currently totalling 19 wins from 45 starts and $454,000 in the bank. The ability to produce her best when it matters most puts her as an excellent chance to claim the sportsâ biggest prize, the Melbourne Cup, with heats kicking off next week.
Meanwhile, the second-tier feature for the night was the Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial, worth $25,000 to the winner over the 595 metres. Three of the runners were backing up from Saturdayâs Hume Cup final, with the rest of the field comprising of track specialists looking to defend their turf.
Bookkeeper would start $1.90 favourite despite drawing wide once again, with Surf Mail and Dashing Man given the best chances to cause the upset.
As it would turn out, Dashing Man from the Brooke Ennis kennel would put in a tough performance to run down a gallant Gambo Girl by half a head. Bookkeeper kept his consistent form going by filling a minor placing for the second time in a week, finishing third.
Dashing Man brings up win number nine with his Dillon Memorial victory, taking his career earnings to $71,000 for owner Tammy Stuhmcke.
Earlier in the night, the Ready2Race final took place, carrying $20,000 to the winner. Bringing together the best eight pups purchased from the Ready2Race Auction held at the Bendigo track last November, the final comprised of the top eight point earners from specific races throughout the year.
Kiss Me Ketut was certainly expected to be in the final when purchased for a five-figure price during the sale, and come a year later would line up as an odds-on favourite. Dominating the race like a good dog should, Kiss Me Ketut made every post a winner in a time of 29.45 ahead of Archie Gumballs.
Both the winner and runner-up are owned and trained by David Burnett, with Kiss Me Ketut being by Bombastic Shiraz out of Spiral Siyan and Archie Gumballs by Whereâs Pedro from Come on Roxy.
Other notable winners on the night came from the eight Melbourne Cup preludes that were scattered throughout. Those were taken out by were Dyna Beth who lead all the way, Evieâs Entity, Hawk Alone, Cornelius Fudge, Easton Bale backing up from Hume Cup, Supersonic Hawk at 30/1 , Tomac Bale who sizzled from box one and Spud Regis who closed out a tremendous night.
This Thursday night Sandown Park hosts a wonderful night of racing including the Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout, The Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m – $25,000 to winner), The Ready 2 Race Final ($20,000 to winner) and the VBIS Maiden Final ($12,000 to winner) not to mention the fourth instalment of this yearâs TAB Melbourne Cup prelude events.
The Shootout, of course, is the feature event and this year it is the first race in Sandown Parkâs new Million Dollar Triple Crown Initiative â with a bonus $500,000 to any greyhound that can win the Group 3 Shootout, The Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup and either the Group 1 Sapphire (Bitches) or Group 1 Harrison-Dawson (Dogs) in the 2013/2014 season. The bonus prizemoney and first place cheques from each of these events would see that greyhound amass a remarkable $1,000,000 in earnings.
Like the recent Group 1 TOPGUN, the Shootout is a wonderful concept and race that starts the industry talking. Arguments are held for and against the race and its place on the calendar.Â The finalists in the $50,000 dollar winner take all event then face criticism and comments from throughout Australia as to why they can and canât win.Â This year is the 15thÂ running of the event and the winner will join a list of past winners and household names such as inaugural winner Reggemite (1998), 2000 champ Go Wild Teddy, Triple Crown hero Bombastic Shiraz (2003) and more recently speed freak Bekim Bale (2011).
Race 8 – The Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout â 9.42PM Victorian Time
Box 1Â - Punch One Out (Knocka Norris â Little Egyptian)
The Grant Fennelly owned and trained Queensland sprint star who is the current Wentworth Park (29.27 â 520m) and Richmond (29.90 – 535m) track record holder.Â A last start 6thÂ in the Group 1 TOPGUN when she missed the start and was never sighted.Â Four time group finalist who tasted success at Albion Park in the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup in early October 2013. Will be suited by the small field and prior to the TOPGUN trialled an almost track record run at The Meadows with a scorching 29.55 (525m).Â Three starts at the Sandown Park circuit with a best 29.32 set in May 2013.Â Overall career record of 45 starts resulting in 22 wins and 14 placingâs and earnings in excess of $127,000.
Box 3Â â Dyna Nalin (Ashom Bale â Tally Bale)
The dual Group 1 winner is in career best form after coming off his second Group 1 victory in his last start TOPGUN success at The Meadows (Perth Cup also).Â Trained by leading mentor, Paul Stuart who put the polish on champion stayer Miata.Â Owned by The Wheeler Dynasty, this is the 5thÂ Group final for the March 2011 black 34 kilogram sprinter. Normally a slow beginner he jumped well last start and he does possess exceptional field sense and the ability to power to the line and finish strongly.Â With just the four starters here he will have plenty of room to show his ability.Â Just 2 previous Sandown starts for 1 win in a moderate 29.68 seconds recorded back in February 2013.Â He has improved lengths since then and is much better than that. Â With 40 career starts returning 26 wins and 8 placingâs he has quickly amazed $435,000 in prizemoney.
Box 5Â – Xylia Allen (Turanza Bale â Tayah Bale)
Australiaâs wonderful sprinting bitch lining up for her 13thÂ Group feature after a remarkable 2013 campaign with more still to come. She is the second starter owned by the Wheeler Dynasty.Â Fortunate to still be racing after the recent disqualification of her trainer G Bate, she is now prepared down the road by Victorian mentor Jenny Hunt.Â Luckless last start in the TOPGUN when exiting the same draw, she was the only making ground when others couldnât, finishing 3rd. Another that will be suited by the small field of 4 and has shown countless times that she can overcome any trouble and setbacks during the course of the race.Â A greyhound that has travelled throughout Australia in 2013 and raced the best the country has to offer winning 4 Group events (Group 1 National Sprint, Group 1 Sapphire Crown, Group 1 Peter Mosman and Group 2 Launceston Cup).Â Brilliant career record of 45 starts for 18 wins and 17 placingâs and in excess of $400,000 in prizemoney.Â The Launceston Track Record holder (29.09 â 515m) has fast wins on most Australian circuits (Wentworth Park 29.47, Cranbourne 29.96, Meadows 29.63 and Geelong 25.52) and will look to make it Group success number 5 with victory in this.
Box 7Â â Banjo Boy (Vee Man Vane â Off Springer)
Trained by Victorian Mentor Ken Virtue the Black and White April 2011 superstar is a greyhound on the up and with untapped ability as evidenced by his last start Warragul track record 29.51 â 460m. Â Â The veteran of just 21 career starts has recorded 13 wins and 4 seconds and over $50,000 in prizemoney â with 10 of his 13 wins in BON performances. The 34 kilogram sprint star faces his acid test in this event which is also his first Group final.Â The four dog field will suit the track specialist and allow him plenty of room and potential to showcase his sheer speed and ability. The second fastest dog ever around Sandown Park (29.01 â September 2013) is lightning out of the boxes and will be looking to lead and give the others something to catch.
1stÂ ReserveÂ â Crump (Superman â Mon Cherie)
The Troy Iwanyk trained chaser can consider himself unlucky not to gain a start after a wonderful 2013 campaign in which he has qualified in four group finals without luck or success. A greyhound with brilliant middle sections, he has recorded fast wins throughout Victoria including â Meadows (29.68 â 525m), Sale (29.52 â 520m) Warragul (25.58 â 460m) and Bendigo (23.67 â 425m).Â 31 career starts resulting in 15 wins and 7 placingâs including a fast 29.29 best at Sandown.Â Would be suited by the small four dog field.
2ndÂ ReserveÂ â Phenomenal (Collision â Tocsin)
Leading Victorian mentor Jason Thompson puts the polish on another up and coming superstar in Phenomenal.Â After news broke of the passing of his former great El Galo â it would be nice to see this up and comer gain a start here. Â A fast 29.27 personal best here posted in June 2013, he has recorded 9 wins and 3 placingâs from his 16 career starts.Â Yet to race at this level he is in the right hands where a win would not surprise for a young dog with plenty of ability and supporters throughout Australia.
Selections â 1 â 5 â 7 â 3Â
This year the ShootoutÂ field is made up of 2 distinct front runners in Punch One Out and Banjo Boy and 2 greyhounds that have the ability to work their way through a field and come from behind in Dyna Nalin and Xylia Allen. What is certain is that the race will be run and won, and the winner may just end up being the luckiest greyhound on the night.
The traditional Melbourne Cup-eve meeting at The Meadows always brings back memories of when Monday nights were on par with Thursday as the premier greyhound fixture.
With the Silver Bullet providing that exciting link between the Topgun and the Melbourne Cup, the Group 1 Hume Cup adds that middle distance flavour, and it again proved to be one of the most entertaining nights of the year.
This yearâs Silver Bullet saw a superstar field scamper over the 525 metres, with an open betting race greeting punters for sixth race of the night.
Peter Rocket ($4.20) had come up with the cherry draw for a second consecutive week and looked hard to beat on paper. However Desalle Bale ($5.30) had drawn comfortably in box eight, with the in-form Farmor Las Vegas ($6.60) next door in box seven. Buckle Up Mason ($5.10) and Iona Seven ($12.00) were hoping to overcome awkward middle alleys with Gold Town ($12.40) also in that category. Dark Warrior ($8.60) was at juicy each-way odds while veteran chaser Imry Bale ($8.10) rounded out the talented field.
Upon boxrise it was Dark Warrior who speared the lids, along with Farmor Las Vegas and Desalle Bale carving across out wide. Once the dust had settled around the first bend, Dark Warrior still showed the way, but it wasnât long before Farmor Las Vegas took control of the race.
Unleashing a powerful burst, the son of Knocka Norris and Farmor See You came away to win well in a brilliant time of 29.71.
Robert Brittonâs ferocious chaser put the writing on the wall Thursday night with an impressive win at Sandown Park, when he overcame a poor start and ran down National Time in the shadows of the post. He also qualified for the Adelaide Cup with what was easily the quickest heat time, running a slashing 29.36 on that occasion.
But on his 43rd career start, Farmor Las Vegas extended his record to 18 wins and 13 placings, with what is probably the biggest win of his career to date.
Of the beaten brigade, Dark Warrior put up the best fight, with Peter Rocket holding down third after only a moderate getaway.
Two races later it was the stayers turn in the Hume Cup final over 600 metres. Bookkeeper ($1.70) was a deserved favourite after breaking the track record in the heat, but box six may have not been the ideal draw. Proven Impala ($4.00) was closer to the rail in box three, and those two would subsequently dominate the market.
Despite the seasoned opposition, it was to be Alpe DâHuez ($11.30) who would upset the apple cart though, winning his first Group 1 final for Kelly Bravo and the Horizon Gold.
Sitting second behind Easton Bale ($27.70) with a lap to go, the son Bombastic Shiraz and Joop Muse was looming large a long way from home. Bookkeeper and Proven Impala both failed to find clear galloping room, especially when Easton Bale used plenty of the track, and Alpe Dâhuez was in the best position to swoop when the leader tired on the home corner.
Charging away like a quality greyhound should, the 34kg fawn chaser clicked into overdrive in the home straight to win the $75,000 prize in 34.33.
Bookkeeper got home hard for second, but was realistically never a winning hope, with Easton Bale clinging on to the minor end of the money, running a cheeky race.
Alpe Dâhuez has now had 44 starts for 17 wins and with this landmark victory, doubles his career purse to over $140,000.
The remainder of the program consisted primarily of a strong Grade 5 series. Vapourash was impressive winning the opening heat in 30.07, before Lukey Deez was successful in 30.09. Crackerjack Lil showed her usual dash against easier-than-normal opposition in 30.10, while Paw Licking lead all the way as expected in a slick 29.95. Mystic Fancy was a surprise winner of the fifth heat and Dyna Filbert rounded out the night with a good win from box two in 30.23.
Bookkeeperâs recent record run over 600m at The Meadows was meritorious, particularly from the awkward box 8, but it was out of kilter with national trends. The same was true when Wheres Keroma shaved its own 618m record at Richmond on Saturday night â at a speed rate only a tiny fraction below that of Bookkeeper.
Since Punch One Out ran her brilliant times at Richmond (535m) and Wentworth Park (520m) six months ago there have been 35 track records listed. I ignore 11 of those which were at re-built tracks where things have yet to settle down.
Of the remaining 24 times, 19 occurred over distances less than 450m. More than half of those were for less than 400m. Then two of the remaining five were at country tracks where competition has not always been stiff. This is telling us that nearly 9 out of 10 fast runs are the work of dogs which are unable to run out a long trip. Like 500m, for example.
Even the brilliant Black Magic Opal is busy collecting records for 450m/460m at the moment, although it has performed quite well over the 500s.
Times aside, there is an increasing trend to offer shorter races. The 390m/410m group in Victoria, involving seven tracks, is proving very popular, despite their disruptive bend starts. So, too, are the new trips over 388m at Angle Park and 400m at Gawler. Grafton has introduced a 305m trip. Albion Park added a 331m trip to the existing 395m. Oldies like Traralgon 298m, Cranbourne 311m and Dapto 297m sometimes occupy half the weekly effort. 302m trips are prominent on the Mandurah card. And, sadly, Wentworth Park has brought back 280m jump-outs which we thought had disappeared some years ago. At least the MGRA had the good sense to let Olympic Parkâs horrible 301m fade away when it moved to The Meadows.
Much of this action has occurred during the last four years or so and it shows no sign of abating. Where will it finish?
Already, there is a shortage of dogs which can handle 700m races, once very popular with punters. Oddly, two of the most prominent competitors came from a Wheeler background â Miata (grandsire Lansley Bale), which must have been a breeding accident, and Irma Bale, which could not really run out a strong 700m anyway but still captured big prize money. The Wheelers make no attempt to breed staying types, obviously reckoning that there are greater rewards to be had in sprints.
Efforts in four states to stimulate interest in longer trips, mostly by subsidising provincial prize money, are simply not working as they tend to attract ordinary dogs and run with short fields.
The inevitable conclusion is that the breed is fading. The industry has now got a tiger by the tail. Every possible indicator says that the public prefer longer races but we have not got the dogs to fill them. Actually, we donât even have enough dogs in total, which is why so many of todayâs races start with short fields.
Another contributor is the recent introduction of more TAB races for low class dogs. By definition, these are unsuited to longer races and so bolster the demand for short races. And they tend to flow through into the wider system.
So what do we do now?
It is reasonable to suggest that the rising importance of squibs is not in the interests of the breed or the industry. Solutions must then revolve around the need to add stamina to racing stock. Just throwing away cash in hope of a miracle is not working. The funds must be targeted to encourage the development of breeding strains which have some hope of producing a decent proportion of strong dogs.
To add details to such a proposal needs expert analysis and advice which is beyond this column. But it is something that fits into the Greyhounds Australasia charter. It should start the ball rolling by commissioning a study to determine how, what and where. Failure to address the trend does not bear thinking about.
Not enough cash to do that? Yes, there is. Just re-direct all the unproductive money going into distance subsidies and state breeding incentives.
Incidentally, it is little consolation that thoroughbreds are in much the same pickle, hence the increasing prominence of overseas staying types in big races. Major owner-trainer groups are routinely scanning Europe for potential targets these days. Check what happens tomorrow at Flemington.
MADNESS, SHEER MADNESS
Despite several requests, Tasmanian racing authorities continue to mislead the public by assigning sectional times at its three tracks to dogs which never ran them.
Every race report assigns the sectional time to the winner of the race, never mind whether it was responsible for it or not. Consequently, individual dog records end up with the wrong information, which is repeated later on. No running order is shown so the times cannot be cross-checked. Videos are usually absent but they would be argumentative anyway because you canât be sure where the marker is located.
GRNSW is an accessory to the crime by publishing this faulty information. In fact, they appeared in the heats and semi finals of the last two Vic Peters meetings at Wentworth Park.Â For example, Buckle Up Wes has a bucketful of Hobart and Launceston times against its name but we have no idea if they belonged to it or not. (In practice it began well enough in the semi but was taken out by the customary scrimmage at Wentyâs first turn).
This is disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful.
However, this is still only the tip of the iceberg. In their local formguides, authorities in Queensland, NSW and Victoria are still omitting sectional times run and published in other states. Or probably more correctly, they cannot be bothered collecting them. At the same time, sectionals at Queensland coastal tracks are rare while Wentworth Park meetings lack times run by dogs at Bulli and Maitland, the stateâs major one-turn tracks, as well as many from Canberra and the Northern Rivers. Substantial gaps were evident not only in the Vic Peters heats and semi finals, but also in the Adelaide Cup series a few weeks ago, in the National Championships at The Meadows, in the TOPGUN and in many others. This is unacceptable.
The word âcrimeâ is used here in a colloquial sense yet a comparison is in order. If you are a public company responsible to investors you are required to publish any information which might be material to the share price, and also to ensure that any information you do provide is correct. Breaches would have you up before the judge in a flash. Big fines, bans on directors or even jail sentences would be likely. Yet thatâs essentially what racing authorities are doing in respect to formguides and punters. The underlying principle is the same.
State racing authorities have chosen to take over the responsibilities of almost all formguide producers so it is incumbent on them to do it right. If they canât do that then they should let others take over.Â There are at least two organisations which are capable of that right now (not including Daily Form Service, which is a horse mob at heart).
Better still, get rid of the antiquated system which allows each state to do its own thing, based on whims and irrelevant tradition. A single national form database, of high quality and accessible to all, should be run by an independent body, responsible only to the public.
This is a case where one size does fit all, or should do.
It is funny to sit back and hear the stories about how various racing enthusiasts became hooked on our great sport. Many are born into the industry and have greyhound racing pulsing through their veins from birth. However for some, like Somersby trainer Dawn Garrett, their introductions are more of a coincidence- yet the racing fever is no less severe
âI have been involved on and off in the sport for 38 years. I was only very young when I got introduced to greyhounds- my parents didnât have them, but I got introduced to them through Tricia and Sam Cauchi when they used to live down in Sydney at Box Hillâ, Garrett explained
âMy mum used to sell Tupperware and Trish had a Tupperware Party and me and my sister went out with mum. The dogs were there, I have always loved animals, and I just fell in love with them and it went from thereâ
When Garrett purchased a white and black bitch in 2006, she could have had no idea what the daughter of Solve The Puzzle and Racy Princess would go on to achieve.
âI bought her as a pup off Neal Gray and I was very lucky to get her actually. She was the only bitch in the litter and he had three dog pups for sale. At the time I was staying up at Grafton and I saw them advertised. Â I always loved Solve The Puzzle, so I came down to have a look at them and he knew I was wanting a bitch and he said âseeing as how you come all that way if you want to buy the bitch you can buy herââ
âIt was just lucky for me that he changed his mind and sold her to me rather than one of the dogsâ
Racing under the moniker Little Egyptian, Garrettâs little darling turned into a nice little money spinner. The 25 kilogram pocket rocket won 11 races with 20 minor placings from 73 career starts
âI was very happy with what she did on the track. She never won a race in town but I think she would have had I had the proper opportunityâ
âI took her to Albion where she led but got run down. She still ran second and the dog that beat her turned out to be a handy stayer up thereâ
âI trialled her and she did a toe and I could never get her back right after that. She tore the ligaments and had she not done that and I kept going with her I would have gone back to Albion with her over the 600 and I reckon she would have won a race thereâ
While she was a handy racebitch, it was when she made the move to the breeding barn that her talent shone through, producing a pup that would mature into arguably Australiaâs fastest bitch, Punch One Out
âI wasnât even sure whether she would throw anything- I just had the opportunity to breed with her which was really good and she has surprised me with what she has thrownâ
Garrett chose the sensational speedster Knocka Norris for Little Egyptianâs first litter- a decision that has proved to be a masterstroke, just not for the reason she was expecting
âI always liked the dog on the track- he was a lovely looking dog and he was very fast. I was hoping he would have put a bit of early pace into the pups- but that didnât quite happenâ, Garrett laughed.
Garrett kept one pup from the litter of eight- selling the rest.
âI kept one, Pride Of Egypt, and I sold the rest because I wasnât sure whether she would throwâ
âGrant (Fennelly- owner/trainer Punch One Out) bought her and a dog- One Inch Punch- and we reared them here for him and he took them up there when they were about 12 months old. He got her very cheap actually- I sold them all cheap because I didnât know what they would be, I just wanted to place them and have them sold. He actually only paid $800 for herâ
While the whole litter is talented, there is no doubt that Punch One Out is a standout. The black bitch is a dual track record holder at Wentworth Park (29.27s) and Richmond (29.90s) while she also took out the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park last month. After finishing unplaced in the Group 1 Topgun last week, Punch One Out will be aiming to redeem herself next Thursday when she lines up for the four dog Group 3 Shootout at Sandown.
âThis is the first actual litter that I have bred completely by myself. I have whelped other bitches over the years, but this is the first litter I have bred out of my own bitch. She (Little Egyptian) has just really amazed me with the sort of pups she could produceâ
âItâs exciting to think that my little girl produced that and it is exciting to see them get in the group races. I would love to see her win the Shootout next weekâ
âThere has been a couple of people that have knocked the litter a bit- they were quick to criticize her (Punch One Out)- when she broke the record at Wenty they all said the track was lightning fast. But she won that Group race up at Albion a few weeks ago, so she (Little Egyptian) is a Group producer now and if she could win this Shootout it would be absolutely lovelyâ
âI follow all of them- I watch them all to see how they go. They are not mine, but they are like mine because I whelped them and reared them, so it is nice to follow them and see how they goâ
Garrett is awaiting the return of her chaser from the litter, Pride Of Egypt, which has been sidelined for almost a month. The white and black dog has a stack of talent- winning 10 from 24 with seven minor placings. His last start was at Wentworth Park where he ran unplaced behind Lucy Wires in the Group 3 Sydney Cup
âHe just wasnât right with his tonsils- they were a bit sore and it did tell on him in the race. I think had he been right then, he probably would have gone very close to winning it. The time was only average and especially with Smart Valentino out of the race it really opened it right up and he had trialled a lot quicker there than what they ranâ
âHopefully he will come back a lot better- he has had a lot of trouble with his tonsils. I have had them out and he is ready to start work againâ
It will be an exciting and hectic few months for Garrett with the next litter out of Little Egyptian off to the breakers soon and the valuable broodbitch ready to whelp in the next week
âIâm just waiting to see what the next litter are like- they are 12 months old to El Grand Senor, I kept two of themâ
âI am sending them away to be broken in on the first of next month so it is going to be interesting to see how they go and she is about to whelp again back to Knocka Norris- this time next week she should have themâ
âI went back to Knocka again because after what she threw in the first litter, I really had to go back there. I managed to get another straw off Sam a fair while back. She is definitely in pup and she looks nice and bigâ
Dyna Nalin has without a doubt done WA proud. Winning greyhound racingâs version of the Cox Plate, the Group 1 Topgun, on Saturday night was the icing on top of a highly decorated cake.
Nothing brings the segregated people of WA together like their very own calendar boy. In the memberâs area of the Cannington greyhounds on Saturday night, there was no-one that didnât let out a cheer for Paul Stuartâs star chaser.
As soon as Dyna Nalin pushed through on the first turn and sat in third position, confidence filled the room. His come-from-behind style is something that WA has grown used to. John Carmodyâs voice was decibels above the rest, cheering Dyna Nalin home as he crossed the line to a standing ovation from his WA crowd.
âI was overwhelmed by winning the race because he wasnât expected to winâ, Paul Stuart said.
âMy bloke came out better then normal. Had he been half a length slower he would have been on the receiving end- rather than just getting his back legs taken out, the whole of him would have shifted.â
Stuart had less confidence in his chaser then his WA counterparts when hitting the first corner.
âI was a little bit concerned that it was Peter Rocket in front and not one of the other leaders, because he was always going to be pretty hard to run down.â
âGlen Gallon came out really well, so it was five across the track. The two possible leaders missed the kick.â
Stuart believed it would have changed the complexity of the race if Tomac Bale had of jumped in front.
âTomac Bale was the other one who tried to anticipate the start and banged his head on the lids and missed the start.â
âHe came out with them but he didnât get the lead advantage that he usually would get.â
âIf he had of used that advantage he would have been harder to chase.â
On the night, Stuart was unaware Dyna Nalin had overcome being turned sideways in order to get into a leading position. Only upon watching the replay did he really begin to appreciate what his chaser went through to win the race.
âAll I saw was that he was with them early and he stayed straight and then I saw that he happened (to be) sitting second, so he must have got around cleanly.â
âHis biggest concern was how he was going to get past. I thought he was going to get chopped out half way down the home straight, he has a habit of trying to anticipate what a dog is trying to do in front.â
âLucky he punched up underneath rather than checking off heals because it would have cost him a few lengths.â
Once Dyna Nalin sat close to the rails, Stuart had confidence that his chaser would finish in first place.
The son of Ashom Bale is owned by Brendan Wheeler, whose family have a pretty good hold on the Topgun. Dyna Nalin was not only their third contender in the race- but their third consecutive winner.
âIt was the roughie that got up for them and a good result for myself.â
Winning the Topgun with Dyna Nalin was an enjoyable experience. Stuart didnât feel as though there was pressure for his dog to win the race because he wasnât odds on favourite.
âHe hasnât been put on a pedestal like Miata was.â
Racing Miata in big races was the most pressure Stuart has ever been under.
âIf he got beat, no one would have thought anything of it. When you have Miata and she gets beat they still talk to you, asking why.â
âItâs a lot easier racing him.â
Dyna Nalin pulled up great after his unexpected win.
âHe is bouncing around like a lunatic, he is 100 per cent.â
Topping off an outstanding month for Dyna Nalin, he has made it into the four dog Shoot Out at Sandown Park. In preparation for the Shootout, Dyna Nalin will trial there on Saturday morning.
âAfter the Topgun win he would have been pretty hard pressed not to get in there, especially with only 6 nominations.â
âI wasnât fussed if he got in or not because we had another plan of attack with him.â
Because the Shootout is a race based on pure ability; it may be a bit harder this time around for the WA representative.
âHe is smart in a full field, you canât get away with too much when there is only three others. They are going to be a lot better suited to the four-dog format.â
âHe wins a lot of his races through his track sense, that gets taken out play when you only have 3 dogs to work with.â
âHe wouldnât run any quicker on his own then he would in a race.â
Stuart believes all the dogs that made it into the Shootout picked themselves.
âAll the dogs that got in earned and deserved their spot in the race.â
Stuart will stay in WA for the Shootout because Miata is due to have her puppies on Melbourne Cup day. Dyna Nalin is in the care of Darren McDonald to reduce the amount of traveling he has to do prior to the big race.
âAt the moment, staying over there has worked well because it is heating up over here.â
âHe needs a couple of looks at Sandown and he wouldnât have had the opportunity if I had of brought him home. Itâs a good relationship we have, he is in the best of hands.â
Wanting and receiving a middle box, Dyna Nalin will be jumping from box three.
âThe box draw is of vital importance.â
âIt is a bit of an upside box draw, but I am happy where he is, it gives him every opportunity.â
âIt means if he comes out he can do his own running from there.â
The TOPGUN was a bit messy, wasnât it?
OK, my preview said Dyna Nalin could not win, but it also said âbarring accidentsâ and they were there in spades.
Three things upset the applecart. First, Ernie Bung Arrow botched the jump for the only time in its short history, thereby changing the nature of the run to the turn, and also giving Dyna Nalin extra room.Â Mind you, by his own standards Ernie also went moderately in its week-earlier trial at The Meadows, running 5.15 early, so perhaps we need to consider the nature of those Victorian boxes, which are more of the âstand-upâ type by comparison with other states. This is definitely an area where standardisation would be a good idea.
Then Spud Regis also started somewhat worse than it usually does, unlike its Australian Cup win, but was still with them at the judge the first time when the big squeeze occurred. Thatâs the luck of the game (or perhaps the fact that it had not raced for a month).
Third, half the field came together, line abreast, at the first turn. I had suggested that Tomac Bale (3) might lean on Punch One Out (2) but in fact the latter came out like a drunken sailor and 3, 4, 5 and 6 leant on each other just as they approached the judge, slowing them all down and ruining their chances. On top of that, Ernie was burrowing in to trying to make up for its tardy start.
As they slowed a fraction, the winner grabbed its opportunity and rounded the turn in second spot with a good look at the leader, Peter Rocket, which is not a noted beginner but a very handy race dog from the inside.
Dyna Nalin ended up running a pretty average 29.89 (average for this class), which is in its normal range. This is a very good dog in a field and it was untouched this time. More credit to it. However, there were several faster dogs in the field which failed to get a crack at them.
Perhaps luck dominated. But a problem is that The Meadows, like many other major tracks, has a way of creating its own hassles as they run to and around that first turn. The leader disappears around that corner while others are still trying to avoid clashes. In this case, the favourite was not there anyway. (It was slow out but, as I mentioned in the preview, itâs not normally brilliant at box rise but it then puts its foot on the accelerator to be close at the first turn. But not this time)..
The lesson is that Albion Park, Wentworth Park, Sandown Park, Launceston and Cannington, as well as The Meadows, all have design features which generate bias or early interference, or both. Indeed, the moderate beginning Dyna Nalin has itself won races at Cannington by wandering out and then cutting to the rail and whizzing around the corner while the field drifts off.
Some other tracks â like Dapto, Richmond and Ipswich â are even worse, although the latter two are easily fixable.
What precisely does that mean? I have no idea, other than that cutaway sections at the first turn, or their equivalent at The Meadows, are not the answer. Fiddling here and there is not going to help much either. From memory, The Meadows has already done that three times, with no obvious improvement. Itâs one of the two or three most heavily biased tracks in the country. Both Wentworth Park and Cannington were adjusted a decade ago, but are still messy (which is why Paul Wheeler for years refused to let his dogs race at Wenty). It requires a lengthy, detailed, scientific study of the art to establish desirable principles. Nothing less will do – especially for Cannington, which is facing a multi-million dollar outlay for a new track.
If we paid the same attention to track details as we do to drug detection most of these hassles would disappear.
Meantime, the only circle track where dogs seem to get around the corner consistently and in one piece is the lowly Northam in WA. Whether the lower class of dogs helps that happen, I am not sure, but it works. Why is this so? And what should be done to keep dogs reasonably separate, as occurs at Northam, Mandurah and Hobart?
But I would rather not see any more races like the 2013 TOPGUN.
Sectional Time Comparisons
|Average Last Ten||Actual In Topgun||Difference|
|1.Â Peter Rocket||5.15||5.13||-0.02|
|2. Punch One Out||5.09||5.21||+0.12|
|4. Spud Regis||5.04||5.14||+1.01|
|5. Xylia Allen||5.14||5.14||0|
|6. Glen Gallon||5.14||5.14||0|
|7. Ernie Bung Arrow||5.04||5.18||+0.14|
|8. Dyna Nalin||5.20||5.13||-0.07|
Note 1: You can normally expect the box 1 dog to come out a little quicker than its average.
Note 2: Dyna Nalin recorded 5.13, 5.29 and 5.17 at its previous three starts at The Meadows
Note 3: Times at other tracks are converted to a Meadows equivalent after analysing hundreds of performances by the same dog at both tracks.
And so on to the SHOOTOUT. Two really fast dogs are up against two strong finishers. If Dyna Nalin can win that I will give the game away. It is not the fourth best dog in Australia. And I imagine Xylia Allen might put on another big finish to gain a place. But it is also Banjo Boyâs best track.
Londonderry trainer Majella Ferguson is on the comeback from a quiet few months in the training department, with a small kennel that is certainly proving to be a case of quality over quantity.
Exciting prospect Cyclone Simone has made an instant impression since returning to the track earlier this month- winning two from two and taking her record to three from five overall. The daughter of champion sire Bombastic Shiraz was bred by Ferguson out of her highly talented racebitch Smashing Amy.
Smashing Amy was owned by Fergusonâs family and won fifteen races throughout her career, including the NSW Distance Championship at Wentworth Park, after which she represented the state in the National final at Perth. Although she didnât emerge from the series as a winner, Smashing Amy was no doubt talented- something which she has passed onto her progeny.
Aside from Cyclone Simone, the litter also includes the brilliant middle distance dynamo Bookkeeper. Bookkeeper stole the Topgun limelight momentarily over the weekend when he broke Nellie Noodlesâ 34.07s track record over the 600 metre trip at The Meadows, clocking a scintillating 34.05s in a heat of the Group 1 Hume Cup.
âShe was fast as a sprinter and fast as a stayer. She was a little bit moody but she was really goodâ, Ferguson explained of her former star, Smashing Amy.
âShe was a really good bitch. We bred the six of them at home, but we had a lot of pups at the time. We had Irreplaceableâs pups so we actually sold all of themâ
âThe people that own her, Ben and Wayne Carey, are friends of mine and she is their first dog. They are really nice people, they bought her as a pup and they let us rear her and do everything- she got broken-in and then came straight back to us”
It has not been a smooth introduction to racing for the first-time owners. While Cyclone Simone clearly has an abundance of talent, as is all too common with fast greyhounds, she has been plagued by injury problems for much of her career.
âItâs been really hard because they knew that they had a good dogâ, Ferguson said.
âShe has been a nightmare injury wise. She started off good but then she kept doing her pinsâ
âShe is three next February- she was really late starting. When we got her coming back last time we changed all her training- people were saying donât put her up the straight because she has done her pins, so we were thinking how do we get her fit?â
âWe put her around the circle but that wasnât doing any good so we decided to free gallop her in the paddock every day for about six weeks before we brought her backâ
Cyclone Simone debuted at The Gardens in July, defeating the highly talented Premier Mozz in a slick 29.85s. The black bitch was luckless in her next start at the track before finishing fourth at Dapto at her third track appearance. After this, she was trialled post-to-post at Wentworth Park and was then nominated for her first start at headquarters.
âYou wouldnât believe it- we had her ready and we were going to put her in at Wenty and she chased a duck in the let-out yard and ran straight into the fenceâ
Cyclone Simone returned to the track just under two weeks ago at Maitland, recording a slick 25.36s (BON) over the 450 metre trip. She then ventured back to Dapto, scoring in a heat of a 1-2 wins series by seven and a half lengths in a fast 29.78s.
The pint-sized powerhouse will return to Dapto tomorrow for the final; however she faces a much tougher challenge from box five. Despite being the only runner in the field to break the 30-second barrier at the track, the undefeated Rain Bale for Simon Rhodes is lining up from box seven and looks to have plenty of talent of her own.
Ferguson is hopeful of a good result from the lightly raced bitch and gives her a good chance despite the draw
âShe goes nice early and if she finds the front sheâll be winning, but this race is a little bit tricky because she had the two the other day and the one box was vacant, so it was a big advantage- but she does go niceâ
âHer first split was good but I notice that there are a couple of dogs in it that have got a couple of nice splits- that one of Simon Rhodes (Rain Bale) goes alright but at least it is drawn on her outsideâ
âI donât think the five will worry her because I was watching her the other day- after she came out she sort of moved out to the centre of the track a little bitâ.
All going well, Ferguson would like to target some feature events with Cyclone Simone in the future. Despite being lightly raced, because she is almost three, Cyclone Simone has missed many of the age restricted seriesâ and will subsequently have to compete in open class
âWe might have a look at The Gardens or possibly something like the Soldiers Saddle at Bathurst. Because she is that little bit late starting she misses things like the Laurels and a few of those age races- she missed the Vic Peters. She is very new to racing realistically, but she should be able to race on and I think she has a pretty bright future because she does go nice and as you can see when she leads she is fairly strongâ
Cyclone Simone is not the only exciting prospect in Fergusonâs kennel at present. Knocka Norris youngster Bleiswijk Billy is developing a handy little record for himself with three wins and a second from four starts at Maitland. The white greyhound got down to 25.43s at his last effort at the showground- indicating that he has some ability too.
The consistent Electro Storm has been flying the flag for the Ferguson kennels at Wentworth Park recently- clocking two blistering wins in 29.69s and 29.83s respectively before finding trouble at his last three starts. The son of Bit Chili is a classy customer and is sure to be back on the winnerâs list in upcoming weeks.
Possibly most exciting of all is the resilient Unexplained who is on the comeback from injury. The Whereâs Pedro â Stylish Scene dog has only had three trials since he started making his comeback, but broke the Richmond track record at his most recent preparation run- clocking a breathtaking 22.21s over the 400 metres
âUnexplained actually broke the track record at Richmond after the last on Wednesday. He has torn both hips- he did the first one and then we brought him back and he won at Ballarat and then he tore the second one in Melbourne, but he appears to have come back bigger and better than everâ
âHis run home was sensational over 400-it was just beyond belief. Thatâs the best he has ever gone there. He is possibly going to go to Melbourne or to Hobart- we are thinking the Ballarat Cup or the Hobart Thousand with himâ.
âHe has been a great dog and he is a fast dog- a very fast dogâ.
Ferguson also has high hopes for the final Stylish Scene litter by Brett Lee. The pups are half brothers and sisters to Unexplained and full relations to Group winners Irreplaceable and Dazzle You
âWe are very excited about our Brett Lee- Stylish Scene litter- it is her last litter and they are eleven months oldâ
âThey are the nicest pups I have ever seen.Â It has been amazing what she has thrown. She had eleven pups in her first litter (x Brett Lee)- they all won, there was six city winners and two group winnersâ.
Worth Doing scored a brilliant win in the 1988 Vic Peters Memorial Classic final over 520 metres at Wentworth Park, winning by six lengths and running a new track record, 29.74 on the grass surface.
Scottish Express won the 2002 Ipswich Cup, the first run over 520 metres. Proven Assassin, fourth the previous year, ran fourth again.
The first running of the Topgun to feature overseas invitees took place in 1997 at Sandown. Farloe Brook from England, Welcome Treat out of Ireland, and Pat C Caste of the United States were no match for winner Chicago Blue, from Victoria, who defeated compatriot Awesome Assassin, with Roanokee (Qld) third, on a wet track.
Golden Danny notched his 11th win in 13 starts at Ipswich when he annexed the 2001 Ipswich Cup from a top-class field which included Springtime Magic (third), Proven Assassin (fourth), and Hallaâs Rocket (eighth). It was the last time the race was run over 512 metres.
Wylie Boy became the first greyhound to be placed in a previous Topgun before going on to take out the race the following year when he scored in the 1996 running, at Sandown. Wylie Boy had run third to Rapid Hiker the previous year and defeated South Australian Oak Raider by three-quarters of a length with Zealous Guy just a head away third.
Champion trainer Stan Cleverley annexed the 1969 Vic Peters Memorial Classic with the brilliant black sprinter Milimsimbi who defeated Silent Retreat and Plunder Road (Victoria) over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park. Queensland star Pied rebel was fourth.
The 2003 Vic Peters Memorial Classic, run over 520 metres at Wentworth Park, was taken out by Collision. He scored by just over seven lengths for owner-trainer Tony Lockett and ran a race record 29.73. This clipped a massive 47/100ths off the previous race record set by Bigbad Luther in 1998.
Only first reserve, Royal Riddle gained a start in the 2006 Newcastle Cup when Peglana Star was scratched, and made the most of the reprieve to score from Kibble Kruncha and Miss Grub.
Victorian sprinter Rapid Hiker broke the track record with a 29.80 run to take out the 1995 Topgun ahead of NSW champion Tenthill Doll and Wylie Boy. Among the unplaced division was Queensland champ Flying Amy (sixth).
NSW speedster Paua To Burn won the 2005 Sapphire Crown Classic (formerly the Sir Arthur Rylah Sapphire Classic) at Sandown by 10 lengths to become the first greyhound to win the race twice in succession.
Cash Express from Victoria downed South Australianâs Key Card and Token Ned to take out the 2007 Canning Show Cup over 715 metres at Cannington.
Tasmanian stayer Fallen Zorro took out the 2008 Hume City Cup over 725 metres at the Meadows, running a race record 42.54 for trainer Shane Whitney.
The Geoff Watt-trained Woolley Wilson snared the 1972 Vic Peters Memorial Classic in the rain at Harold Park, earning $7,000 for his owner Gary Wilson. His kennelmate Benny McGrath was fourth.
The first running of the Topgun took place in 1993, over 511 metres at Sandown. In a sensational race run on a wet track, local stars Worth Backing and Golden Currency deadheated, just half a length clear of Revealing. Star Title from NSW was fourth, ahead of Queenslander Toban Leigh, Worthy Reward (NSW), Horatio (NSW) and Dallas Duo.
Four of the nationâs best greyhounds were announced tonight as the starters in the Group 3 Shootout to be held at Sandown on Thursday 7th November 2013. The $50,000 to the winner event may not have the standard eight dog field, but it is certain to be just as exciting.
The first runner to be announced was the exhilarating Xylia Allen for Avalon trainer Jenny Hunt. The black bitch, formerly trained by Graeme Bate, is arguably the best bitch in Australia after her terrific wins in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown, the Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic and the Group 1 National Sprint Championship. The daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale has been racing at the top level for the majority of the career and has amassed 18 wins and 17 minor placings from 45 career starts. The recent Group 1 Topgun placegetter has won over $400,000 in prizemoney and, with her glistening record, was virtually guaranteed a spot in the race from the moment that she was nominated.
The second runner announced was WA champion Dyna Nalin. The Paul Stuart-trained powerhouse notched up his second Group 1 win over the weekend when taking out the Sky Racing Topgun from the awkward box eight. The Perth Cup hero is a model of consistency having won 26 races from 40 starts and should provide an exciting match for fellow backmarker, Xylia Allen, as we find out which is the strongest chaser of the iron pair.
Dual track record holder Punch One Out was the third competitor to gain a start in the Shootout. The Queensland bitch is an absolute freak as shown by her scintillating track records at both Wentworth Park (29.27s) and Richmond (29.90s) and will definitely take some wearing down if she lands on the bunny. After racing against the nationâs elite sprinters in numerous group and feature races, the daughter of Knocka Norris and Little Egyptian was finally rewarded with a deserved Group trophy for her efforts earlier this month when she took out the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park. With the right credentials to her name, Punch One Out was a fitting runner to line up in the race.
Banjo Boy may be the new kid on the block but he is undoubtedly transforming into the king of Sandown. The Vee Man Vane two year old is yet to crack through for a feature win at the top level, however some of his times would rival some of the greatest greyhounds we have seen grace the racetrack. Banjo Boy will go into the race with a hatrick of wins at his last three starts- two of which have been at Sandown- one of which was in a blistering 29.01s. With just 20 starts to his name, he has untapped potential and is a strong contender for the title.
The reserves for the field will be the Troy Iwanyk- prepared Crump (first reserve) and Jason Thompsonâs breathtaking youngster Phenomenal (second reserve)
The all-important box draw will be conducted this Thursday night.
People get really annoyed when their odds-on favourite gets rolled but it happens more often than you think.
We had a look at the main meetings at four big tracks over the last 8 weeks â involving 502 races â and found that half of all these hotpots crashed out. Of the 119 odds-on starters, 49% won but 51% lost. Since they paid an average of under $1.70 this means that a dollar on each would result in a loss of at least 20% of your stake money.
Here is how they stacked up (Albion Park figures covered its two main weekly meetings).
|Wentworth Park||150 races||39 odds-on favourites||20 winners||49% lost|
|The Meadows||96 races||23 odds-on favourites||8 winners||65% lost|
|Sandown Park||96 races||14 odds-on favourites||7 winners||50% lost|
|Albion Park||160 races||43 odds-on favourites||23 winners||47% lost|
Two reasons for the failures seem to dominate. First, many gamblers have a sheep-like attitude and follow the favourite on down in price, even when it is not worth it. Thatâs the âbetter than bank interestâ syndrome. In some cases they may be betting when the price is better but the late money often tends to depress the price and so they get a surprise when the dividend emerges.
Changes like that seldom occur at the gallops but it is routine in the small greyhound pools.
The other factor is that the price may be terrible for the dog in question. Punters are assessing the dog on what it might do, or what it has done in the past, without properly considering its current form or its position in the race.
One example is Renegade Chief, sent out at $1.70 at The Meadows last week from box 3.Â It has had some good wins in the past but it had failed to win in its most recent six starts and was looking as though it lacked a bit of zip. In the event, it came out moderately and finished moderately, running fourth in average time. That form justified nearer $5.00 than odds-on yet the big move was still on.
Another was the in-form Farmor Las Vegas at $1.80 at Sandown last week. From box 8 it had to jump well, which it did, but three other dogs jumped quicker to make life difficult as they rounded the corner. Thatâs always a potential danger for outside dogs. The early pace was fairly predictable so those odds did not represent good value, never mind whether it was the best dog in the race or not.
Then an either-or situation prevailed at Albion Park on October 17 when that very smart racer Honey Bouquet drew the 8 box in a six-dog field. Seeing it listed at $4.50 in NSW, I thought that was great value and took an interest. In the event it just failed to cross the field and finished 3rd. But I would have been very disappointed as it finished up at $1.90 in NSW ($2.80 in Queensland). Smallish pools always pose that danger but the difference is stark. The following week, from the same box in an almost identical field, it managed to cross and lead even though its first sectional was almost identical to the previous week. But punters were wary this time and it paid $4.70 in NSW and $3.30 in Queensland. In neither of those races was an odds-on price justified. From the inside, maybe, but not from the 8, where luck plays a bigger part.
Obviously, both circumstances and ignorance of all the facts play a part in these ups and downs. Too many punters these days trust their emotions rather than the hard data (which they probably do not look at).
In that vein, consider this comment in a report on high school students by Fairfax Media (23 Oct), âenrolments in standard two-unit mathematics have declined steeply over the past decade and a significant proportion of students do not study maths at allâ. Could that be where these punters are coming from?
Whatever the influences, poor value on the Win tote would no doubt be a factor in the rise in popularity of exotic bets in recent times.
Wait, Thereâs More
The education of punters is not helped by the way tipsheets and formguides rate the runnersâ chances.
It has now become a universal habit for them to list the chances of each runner by some mysterious device which churns out a set of numbers like 100, 98, 96, 94 etc. Apparently, this is meant to tell us who the best and worst are. But what do the numbers mean? How can we apply them in practice?Â Of course, we canât. They are meaningless.
There was an extraordinary example in the TOPGUN where the GRV formguide rated all dogs in the range 100 down to 95. Two were at 100 â Ernie Bung Arrow and Dyna Nailin â and three were at 99 â Peter Rocket, Punch One Out and Tomac Bale. Those numbers bear no relationship whatever to the real pricing so how can that help the punter?
Pricing is the other conundrum. That same formguide, as well as the TAB and online bookies, display a list of odds for each dog. In every case those odds amounted to a book of around 130%, which is way outside what the totes (114%) or genuine bookies in a competitive market would charge. Itâs a complete rip-off for unsuspecting punters. They are trading uncertainty for a price that will never allow them to make a profit. Winners will never really be winners.
You might say the commercial operators are entitled to do what they like â buyer beware. So be it. But there is no excuse for state racing authorities to do likewise. Their responsibility is to serve and protect the public, not to lead them down the garden path.
The end effect is to degrade the concept of value pricing and instead encourage gamblers into quickie bets, much as would happen with a poker machine.
In either of these cases, those official formguides should tell the reader what the figures mean, how they were derived, and what the built-in profit was. Or, better still, get rid of the 100, 99, 98 nonsense.
While the focus of the industry was on the Group 1 Topgun at The Meadows last night, the youngsters also brought their best for the heats of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic at Wentworth Park.
The first heat went to one of many interstate competitors entered in the series, as Gimme Fuel ($3.00 favourite) led from go to whoa from box four. The Kelly Bravo-prepared pup never looked in danger after he landed in front, accelerating away from the rest of the field to score by four and one quarter lengths in a scintillating BON 29.64s. The son of Dyna Lachlan has been racing well in Victoria where he had won six from nine prior to last night, with his Sydney performance one of his most impressive displays to date. Local chaser Belfast Johnny ran a great race from box five Â to finish second while Lorraine Royâs Pleiades ran a fantastic race to finish third albeit over eight lengths off the winner.
While the first heat went to the favourite, the second went to an outsider when Waylin Joy triumphed at a massive $40.90. As expected, the majority of the money came for the exceptional bitch Ritza Hattie, but she had a tough run from box five when Lachlan Bomber collided with her just after the start. Waylin Joy was a clear last going passed the post on the first occasion and had to do plenty of work to navigate his way into a handy position down the back. As the race leader, Another Call, got weary entering the home straight, Waylin Joy pushed his way to the front along the rails and kicked clear to win by three lengths in a handy 30.01s. Ritza Hattie was resilient after finding trouble but could only manage second place. Nelirian filled the placings for Norman Rilen.
Avondale Porche remains undefeated after her efforts in taking out the third heat. The Knocka Norris bitch was taking on the Canberra Cup winner, Zipping Willow, but proved too tough throughout the run when notching up her ninth career win in 29.83s. Beginning flawlessly from box three, the blue bitch led all the way and fought off a mid-race challenge from Zipping Willow down the back for young gun trainer Beau Hedley. Soviet Missile ran second at big odds ($41.10) for Toby Weekes, while Ritza Liam rounded up the trifecta in third. Zipping Willow faded slightly to finish fourth, just fewer than four lengths off the winner.
Jane Curruthers scored a win with a member of her talented Magic Sprite x Elizabeth Royal litter in the fourth heat. Royal Sprite began brilliantly from box one and never gave anything else a chance, carving out a slick 29.77s over the 520 metres. The black dog has now won nine from 21 with five minor placings. Jason Thompsonâs Whata Good Size never left the winner alone, stalking him for the entire trip. However when the leading pair entered the straight, Royal Sprite was just a shade to strong, extending his lead to score by two and a half lengths at the finish.
The fifth heat went to Tasmanian sprinter Buckle Up Wes who managed to overcome a wide box eight draw to score convincingly in 29.93s. The son of Collision was having his second start at the track after running a blistering 29.82s in September, but raced like a track specialist as he rounded up the field entering the back straight. The black dog then drew clear to win by four and three quarter lengths on the line. Trained by Ted Medhurst, Buckle Up Wes has developed a promising record now with 12 wins from 19 starts.
The sixth and final heat went to yet another outsider when Lachâs Wish saluted at $22.30. The race was led by lid-pinger Bella Senora as the field charged out of the straight, but she quickly tired and faded back to finish an eventual fourth. Taking up the lead was the regally bred Frosty Vintage from box eight, however he was no match for Lachâs Wish on the line who charged home along the inside to bring up her fifth career win. Â The blue bitch, whichthe scales at just 26 kilograms, stopped the clock in a speedy 30.01 and will move on to next weekâs semi-finals looking a good chance at odds. Frosty Vintage was a little bit disappointing as the $3.90 second elect, but he will get a chance to redeem himself this Saturday.
The box draw for the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic semi-finals will be released this Tuesday along with the draw for the remainder of the meeting.
While the majority of attention at The Meadows on Saturday night was firmly placed towards Topgun, there were six heats held of what is usually a very entertaining and quite unique series â The Group 1 Hume Cup.
With the Sale Cup being regarded as the âMiddle-distance Championship of Australiaâ, the Hume Cup is actually the only time we get to see top level racing conducted around a two-turn middle distance metropolitan track, and the 2013 version is another not likely to disappoint. Â Â
Things started out with an even affair, as three runners vied for favouritism in the opening heat. Just As Fancy would eventuate as the puntersâ elect from box one, with Destini Fireball and Infinite Wish also receiving plenty of support. It was Lektra Grey for the Lenehan-Dailly combination that would steal the show however, going back-to-back after a big-margin win over the longer trip at Sandown last week.
Paying $8.30 on the local TAB, Lektra Grey overcame a tardy start to find itself second with a lap to go. Just As Fancy was showing the way, after Supersonic Hawk and New Tibur had jumped well but continued to get in each otherâsâ way. Lektra Grey soon slipped into overdrive as the favourite started tiring, and came away for a commanding victory in 34.41.
Destini Fireball ran on nicely into second spot, while Paris Sparks added value to the trifecta in third.
Heat two was expected to be match-race between the two widest runners, Bookkeeper and Proven Impala, however it turned out to be more of a one-act affair. Bookkeeper for the Glenn Dainton kennel flew out of the pink alley, and gave nothing else a chance in an impressive lead-all-the-way performance. While the multiple Group-race winner, Proven Impala was second for the duration of the event, it was powerless to stop Bookkeeper, who ended up six lengths in front in a slashing 34.05.
It gives the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Smashing Amy his first crack at a Group 1 event.
Temlee Winner, Cintiarna, dominated the betting for the third heat and drawn the red rug it seemed a formality that she would bring up her second win in a row. But sealing her own fate in the opening stages, Cintiarna wanted to run up the track, crashing into Blue Giant and sending him tumbling to the ground.
This carnage allowed 20/1 outsider, Easton Bale, to set up a handy lead with a lap to go. Once the field had settled, Evieâs Entity would soon emerge out of the pack and throw down the gauntlet to Easton Bale, with the pair drawing level turning for home.
In a titanic struggle, Easton Bale and Evieâs Entity went stride for stride throughout the home straight, with Easton Bale getting the nod on the post, giving Andrea her second winner for the series in 34.66. Major League was very noticeable in the ground it made up on the leading duo, finishing just over a length from the winner in third place.
There was to be no boilover result in heat four, with Alpe Dâhuez taking it out at odds of around $4.10. Displaying the powerful finish that has seen him win 16 races previously, the Kelly Bravo-trained dog flashed along the rails to narrowly beat Especially and Magpie Bob in 34.60.
Especially was the lamplighter for most of the event with Magpie Bob close in pursuit. While the chasing brigade always looked to be winding up, they seemed to take an eternity to make up the ground, with Alpe Dâhuez only gaining the lead in the final bound.
Named after a French ski resort, the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Joop Muse has now won over both longer trips at The Meadows.
After all of the Topgun excitement had wound up, it was back on with heat five of the Hume Cup. Defending champion Jethro was drawn five for Kel Greenough, with Darwin Cup winner Take It All where it likes to be, near the rails, in box two.
But punters would be left scratching their heads once again, as Born Ali for Robert Britton would come away as victor, ahead of Hala Belle and Lukey Deez in a time of 34.37. It was a race where nothing made ground from the back, and Born Ali capitalised on a speedy getaway to simply run the others off their legs.
Jethro put in what was clearly the worst run since his comeback, finishing a clear last, while Take It All was in fourth position for entirety of the 600-metre journey.
Veteren trainer, Steven Collins had to wait until the final event to ensure one of his brigade progressed onto next week, as Dyna Willow won in 34.67. Settling second behind Our Pale Ale in the early stages, Dyna Willow proved too classy as the race went on, winning with a couple of lengths to spare.
Without a doubt though, the run of the race and possibly the entire meeting was that of Surf Mail. Starting from box four, the former Queenslander copped a severe check just after boxrise and was a clear last around the first bend. Making up close to ten lengths by the time the field reached the home turn, Surf Mail looked the winner before checking off two sets off heels at the crucial moment. Despite losing all momentum for a second time, he still picked himself up to run second behind Dyna Willow, putting the writing on the wall for a strong performance in the very near future.
The Group 1 $75,000-to-the-winner Hume Cup final will be run on the traditional pre-Melbourne Cup Silver Bullet meeting Monday 4th November.
G1 Hume Cup box draw
- Box 1- Â Â Â Alpe D’huez
- Box 2- Â Â Â Easton Bale
- Box 2- Â Â Â Proven Impala
- Box 4- Â Â Â Lektra Grey
- Box 5- Â Â Â Dyna Willow
- Box 6- Â Â Â Bookkeeper
- Box 7- Â Â Â Hala Belle
- Box 8- Â Â Â Born Ali
With Australia’s eight best sprinters engaged, nobody knew which way to look going into the Group 1 Topgun tonight (Saturday) at The Meadows. In the end it was the Paul Stuart-trained Dyna Nalin that claimed the $150,000 first prize and top honours for his home state, WA.
The favourite for the prestigious invite-only event was the freakish Punch One Out ($2.80) who looked ideally drawn in box two, however it was an open field with only one runnerÂ starting at double figure odds- Glen Gallon ($23.40)
When the lids flew open, six of the eight competitors charged towards the first turn in unison. The only two missing from the line were Punch One Out and theÂ South Australian sensation Ernie Bung Arrow.Â
With 24 powerful paws all vying for the top spot, things got a little tight. Dyna Nalin (box eight), who began surprisingly well, loomed ominously on the outside of the field before crossing Glen Gallon (number six) on the first turn. In doing so, Xylia Allen (number five), Spud Regis (number four) and Tomac Bale (number three) were all inconvenienced as the big black dog Â set out after Peter Rocket (number one) who managed to avoid interference and punch up along the rails and sprint away.
Down the back it was a race in two, although Dyna Nalin was still giving Peter Rocket a three length head start. As they approached the home turn, the pink rugged runner managed to level up with the Victorian and edge his way through to assume the lead along the inside. Once he straightened up, Dyna Nalin put the paw to the floor and sprinted away to score by 3.19 lengths in a slick 29.89s.
Peter Rocket battled on well to finish second ahead of the fast finishing Xylia Allen who pipped Tomac Bale on the line for a top three position.Â Champion sprinter Glen Gallon was very unlucky but lost no admirers when finishing fifth.Â
Dyna Nalin is now a dual group 1 winner after he took out the Group 1 Perth Cup in February this year. Â The 34 kilogram powerhouse has now won 26 races with eight minor placings from 40 career starts, while he is the first WA-trained chaser to take out the Topgun since the mighty Lindale Blue who triumphed in 2002.
While tonightâs Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun is the definite highlight of an exciting night of racing nationwide, six sensational heats of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic will also be staged at Wentworth Park. Â Open to greyhound whelped after April 1st 2011, the final will offer a whopping $75,000 to connections in two weeksâ time.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat One- 8:10pm
There are multiple chances in this race with the money likely to be coming for numbers four, five, seven and eight.
Number four, Gimme Fuel (currently $2.30 fixed price with Sportsbet), is trained in Victoria by Kelly Bravo. The son of Dyna Lachlan has only had nine starts but has clocked some sizzling times down south including a slick 27.90s over the â500â at Bendigo three starts ago. With some average beginners on his inside, he should get every chance to bounce straight on the bunny and bound away.
Number five, Belfast Johnny (currently $3.20 fixed price with Sportsbet), has been ultra-impressive in his eight race starts- clocking a near track record 24.97s at Maitland three starts ago.Â After that performance he debuted at headquarters with a fast 30.05s performance followed by a luckless fourth here at his last attempt. He isnât electrifying out of the boxes but has great speed when he hits the ground. If Gimme Fuel can begin on his inside, he might get a nice cart across into the race.
Number seven, Cut Me Off (currently $4.00 fixed price with Sportsbet), is from the consistent Lagogiane kennel but is the most inexperienced runner in the field- only having had four starts prior to tonight. While he is no doubt talented, as shown by his promising times at Maitland (25.25s) and Wentworth Park (30.10s), he is also a slow beginner and will have to jump a lot better to be able to find the fence from box seven.
Number eight, Bit Betta (currently $8.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) probably has the most early pace and he is more than capable of finding the front, despite being drawn in the pink. He is yet to race over the â500â but if he can find the front and skip away, he is a chance.Â Last start he won by 13.25 lengths at Richmond where he recorded aÂ flying 22.41s- he may be worth a sneaky bet at odds.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Two- 8:28pm
The favourite in the second heat will undoubtedly be the exciting Ritza Hattie (currently $2.30 fixed price with Sportsbet). The Mark Gatt- trained bitch was a brilliant winner at Nowra last start where she clocked a new track record 29.53s, however she is awkwardly drawn in the five. While she is freakishly fast it is a much tougher assignment tonight.
Paired with the bad draw, Ritza Hattie also has the talented Lachlan Bomber (currently $4.80 fixed price with Sportsbet) drawn directly on her inside. The Sharron Webster-trained dog is a head case for the outside which may bring everything undone for the super bitch drawn to his right.
Mike Marlow (currently $5.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) is enjoying a great run of form at present, but he too may it difficult from box seven.Â He is more than capable of jumping straight to the front, but he will need to do just that to avoid the imminent danger likely to affect the two runners on his inside.Â Big chance if he can do so, although he does get a bit weary near the line.
Victorian Nelirian (currently $5.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) is ideally drawn in the one to avoid trouble and scoot away, as is lid pinger Another Call (currently $7.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) in box three, however he struggles near the line and will need them to jam up behind him.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Three- 9:10pm
Zipping Willow (currently $3.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) received an invitation to tonightâs Group 1 Topgun but didnât quite make the final eight. The Group 3 winner will be looking to show everyone why she should have been selected when she jumps from box eight. Although it is a tricky box, she is an excellent beginner with a best time of 29.59s at the track. If she steps cleanly they will have a tough time running her down.
Avondale Porche (currently $2.80 fixed price with Sportsbet) is undefeated from eight starts but will face her acid test here tonight. The Knocka Norris bitch is boxed terrifically in the three and is a sensational beginner. Punters will be hoping she can bounce to the front and that Zipping Willow is unable to cross from out wide. If she is leading out of the first turn, she will win.
Number four, Dingâs Chance (currently $6.00 fixed price with Sportsbet), is another promising type having won 14 of his 28 starts. The son of Mogambo won in 30.10s at his track debut last week and will represent a genuine winning chance at generous odds from the blue.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Four- 9:27pm
Pantone Green (currently $7.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) ran a blistering 5.33s first section here last week and if he can repeat that tonight there is not much that will lead him despite being drawn poorly in the green. Whether the son of Magic Sprite can hold on to the top spot against a high class field is another question, but he is capable of putting on a cheeky display out in front.
The class runner of the field is Jason Thompsonâs Whata Good Size (currently $2.20 fixed price with Sportsbet), however he will have to get out of box five quick to avoid being chopped off by Pantone Green. On the bunny he is capable of running some sizzling sectionals and as a proven performer in this type of grade, he is hard to go passed.
Rails runner Royal Sprite (currently $2.40 fixed price with Sportsbet) could be absolutely anything however he needs the breaks to go his way as he is usually a very poor beginner. From box one he should get the opportunity to push up along the inside and go out after the leader but, depending who is out in front, he might find it difficult to reel the frontrunner in if it is carving some slick time. Nevertheless, if he can begin with them, he is more than capable of landing the cash having rocketed around the Glebe circuit in a hot 29.67s.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Five- 9:47pm
Kelly Bravo has another member of the Dyna Lachlan x Runway Model litter engaged in the fifth qualifier, with Siennaâs Dream (currently $4.60 fixed price with Sportsbet) exiting box four. The fawn bitch has only had six starts but has won four of those down in Victoria around Horsham (23.33s) and Geelong (25.86s). She has plenty of early pace so she should be up with the leaders in the early stages, but the two turns are completely different to the one turn tracks that she has been racing on. One would have to hope and trust that she has some two-turn experience before putting the money on at slim odds.
Tasmanian chaser Buckle Up Wes (currently $2.40 fixed price with Sportsbet) has to contend with box eight, however he does have the advantage of a run on the track. The black speedster showed great early toe at the track three starts back when zipping around in 29.82s. A repeat performance of that will make him the one to beat.
Another interstate raider, Living Proof (currently $3.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) looks a great chance in this race. The Collide dog will be aiming for four wins on the trot when he jumps from box three after recent wins at Sandown (29.76s), Warragul (26.07s), and the Meadows (30.04s). He isnât overly quick out of the boxes but does have good pace when he hits the ground- he will only need to avoid interference in the first few strides to be able to balance up and be very competitive.
The best of the local hopes would appear to be box five starter King Cobber (currently $5.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) for Frank Hurst. The Swift Fancy youngster has won three from eight including 30.37s over the track and distance, but he lacks genuine zip and will need luck in this classy event from the poor draw.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Six- 10:12pm
Queenslander Placid Planet (currently $2.60 fixed price with Sportsbet) looks to have plenty of talent with five wins and six minors to his name after 12 starts up north. Trained by in form mentor Troy Sharpe, Placid Planet will be aiming to make it a hatrick of wins after two good wins at Albion Park- his most recent in a sub 30 time. Box four is not ideal, but there does not appear to be any blistering speed underneath him.
Frosty Vintage (currently $4.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) has recorded a good 30.66s at Richmond recently which is fast enough to be right in this if he can transfer that form to headquarters. The regally bred pup is a little bit hit and miss- if he brings his A-game he is more than capable of winning but he will have to be on his best behaviour, especially from box eight
Being Good (currently $4.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) has put the times on the board at Gosford (29.89s) and Richmond (30.63) but she is a slow beginner and may find it hard from the seven.
Other than that it is a pretty even race. The surprise runner may be Bella Senora (currently $9.00 fixed price with Sportsbet). The Adam Wade-trained bitch has been racing well at Maitland against some seasoned and well-performed campaigners. She is not a very tough bitch but she has good speed and if she finds the front she may prove a challenge for some of these inexperienced youngsters to run down.
Working out big races like the TOPGUN is never easy because there is always a lot of talent involved.
However, at a track like The Meadows the local peculiarities are important, mainly the heavy bias to inside boxes and the importance of getting around that first turn on the rail.
Barring major interference, this year there are two runners that cannot win. Glen Gallon (6) and Dyna Nalin (8) are not only poorly boxed but will also be giving them a start. You canât do that in top events.
Xylia Allen (5) has much the same problem and will depend on accidents to be able to negotiate its way through the field, just as it had to do in the Geelong Cup (4th).
Ernie Bung Arrow (7) will give them a fright for a while but will stay off the track and should be overtaken by the time the home turn arrives.
Peter Rocket on the rails will do everything right but that may not be quite enough this time. Just outside it, Punch One Out (2) is the big rage yet it does not normally come out of the boxes brilliantly and depends on mustering speed on the way to the turn.
In turn, that will depend on whether Tomac Bale (3) leans on it on in the early stages â quite possible although both tend to race one or two off the rail â incidentally leaving the way clear for Peter Rocket to move up into the placings.
Either way, Spud Regis (4) is likely to lead the inside division and will also have room inside the flying Ernie Bung Arrow. They should be the leaders into the back straight. The only question with Spud Regis is that it has not raced for a month and we are dependent on the Daillys presenting it in hardened condition.
Spud Regis has won here previously in 29.63 and won its last race here in 29.83 on September 21. The odds are that it will lead into the home straight, after which itâs just a matter of whether the heavy hitters can round it up. If it is at its best, they will just miss out. Ernie will have disappeared, of course.
By the way, the GRV Watchdog shows Tomac Bale leading Spud Regis early. Not on my calculations, which are based on average sectional performances, not their occasional best run.
Good race, though.
Before the end of the weekend, Queensland conditioner Tony Brett may snare two interstate Group trophies.
Beginning well from box three, the daughter of Surf Lorian and Queen Lauryn was too strong for the Janette Finneran-trained Edge, storming home down the outside to score by two and a half lengths in a slick 29.96s. Brett, who also trains fellow finalist and litter sister Miss Lauryn, was pleased with the efforts of his tenacious brindle chaser
âShe went really well. It was a good night down there, plenty of people. The owner (Leonard Antonio) outlaid plenty of money to buy Queen Lauryn pups, as you could imagine, so to see him get a return was very fulfillingâ, Brett said.
âComing to the home turn I could see her winding up and I thought then that they wouldnât hold her outâ
Going into the race, punters did not show much love for the 27 kilogram bitch- sending her out at $10. However, with a good beginning, Brett knew that she had the talent to be competitive against the classy line-up.
âShe tends to want to get a bit wide in her races and she needed to jump to be any chance. She can jump, which she did on Tuesday night, but she can also miss it a little bitâ
âI went down knowing my race would be run and won within the first ten metres. If she came out and ran wide, which she did, but was still able to hold the front I knew she would be a good chance. The other runner I had, Miss Lauryn- her sister, she doesnât have as much acceleration but she tends to come home pretty strong. It was a case of who managed to get the run through and did everything right and she (Regal Lauryn) was just too goodâ.
Brett has also drawn comparisons between the two bitches and their champion mother- a winner of 28 races including five Group events (2008 Group 2 Bogie Leigh Queensland Futurity, 2008 Group 1 Solo Sapphire Classic,Â 2009 Group 1 Cartwright Property Gold Cup, 2009 Group 3 Darwin Cup and the 2009 Group Two All Stars Sprint). Although they may not be quite as accomplished on the racetrack, Brett said that they do share similar racing styles.
âShe (Regal Lauryn) races a lot like her mum- she has a little bit of a flat spot through the second section and then she starts to get wound up again. I knew if she could stay with him (Edge-leader), probably two or three lengths off him, that she could be right there at the finish even though she still tracks wide.
âThe litter before this one she had a dog called Harry The Great and he equalled the 331 record at Albion Park. She has thrown on but these two girls have probably been the best and they are probably the closest to the way she racedâ.
Brett believes that they should both be able to continue on and become competitive little bitches in some upcoming feature events. In particular, he believes that Miss Lauryn will turn into a handy stayer.
She (Miss Lauryn) ran second in the Darwin Cup and Regal Lauryn won the Eric Thompson Maiden, which is the biggest maiden at Albion Park for the year, and she won the Ipswich Young Guns- they are not Group races but they are the bigger sort of races up here in Queenslandâ
âNow she has knocked this one off she has a nice resume behind her. She is the type of girl that could be a group dog if it wasnât for her bad habits, but unfortunately thatâs just the way she races. If things go her way she looks very good but, if not, she tends to find a bit of trouble and can look very ordinary- she is a tough one to trainâ
âThe other sister, Miss Lauryn- that didnât win, in the coming months I think she could turn out to be a really good stayerâ
âTheyâll both run 600, no dramas, and Iâm pretty confident Miss Lauryn will run 700- I just donât know whether this girl (Regal Lauryn) will. We have just got to work out whether we keep her over the 500 or whether to step her up. I reckon, come the end of the year, a race like the Sale Cup over the 650 is where they will beâ.
âUntil then, the Brisbane Cup at the end of the year for Regal Lauryn and we have probably got to look for better races for her now because, like I said, when she jumps she has got the ability- to break 30 at Lismore on Tuesday night was a really good runâ
The Grandchester mentor is now looking to add another feature to an already successful week- this time at the highest level. On Saturday night, the sunshine stateâs golden boy, Glen Gallon, will contest the prestigious Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun at The Meadows as he aims to become Australiaâs highest stakes earner at what will also be his final race start.
âWe mapped out a way we would like to finish him up just after he won the Brisbane Cup and that was the aim- to make the Topgun. It was great to get an invite and then to make the final eight and have him go out in this raceâ
Brett said the son of Flying Stanley and Incoherent is in terrific order ahead of his racing swansong.
âHe is excellent. Since he got beaten about a fortnight ago weâve just sort of mapped it out and he is primed and ready. He has got to be able to get out of the boxes a bit better than normal so weâve done all the work in that department and just freshened him up a little bit- he just seemed to lack a bit of spark at his last couple at Albion Parkâ
While Brett says that Glen Gallon can never be discounted, he also acknowledges that it is a sensational field. The astute trainer considers fellow Queenslander Punch One Out as the biggest threat to the winner of 37 races
âPunch One Out- I really know how good this bitch is and if you give her an inch I donât think there is any dog that can beat her. If I could back a dog now for the Shootout in a couple of weeks, she would be it. I think she is the fastest dog in Australia without any doubtâ
âHe will be ready to go and if the breaks come his way and it is his turn to win, he will. He is going as good as he ever has. Being in box six in such a great race- he will need things to go his way- but give him half a chance and he wonât let you downâ.
There is no doubt that Glen Gallon will be the sentimental favourite for many enthusiasts when he aims for his fifth Group 1 win and to take his prizemoney earnings up to almost $770,000. Win, lose or draw he is guaranteed a life of luxury at Brettâs home where he will stand at stud.
âWeâre just going to keep him at home- he is moving from the racing kennels to our backyard, about 50 metres away. He has got to get used to being a pet which will be interestingâ
âI will stand him here. He has about ten litters on the ground already and we have sold quite a few straws. His breeding career has taken off really nice. I think he is going to get the numbers and the quality of bitches to get a real chance at the stud game and I think he will make a super stud dogâ
âWeâve never sort of kept any as pets before, but he is pretty special so we decided to keep him here. We put our hands up to keep him here and even if his stud career doesnât kick on he is still going to live here for the rest of his life and he is going to get a good homeâ.
The invitation-only Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun is race eight at The Meadows on Saturday night and will jump at 9:52pm Victorian time.
Regal Lauryn Wins The 2013 Lismore Cup
Punters with online bookmakerÂ SportsbetÂ think this Saturdayâs Top Gun final is a battle of two â signalling out Punch One Out and Ernie Bung Arrow as the ones to beat.
The duo have attracted almost the identical amount of money with absolute daylight to the rest of the field. Punch One Out is now the outright favourite, firming from $6.50 into $4.20 in the last two weeks, while Ernie Bung Arrow remains one of the outside hopes at $7.50.
Tomac Bale ($4.20 out to $4.50) and Spud Regis ($4.00 out to $4.80) have both drifted in betting, as has Dyna Nalin ($6.50 out to $8.00).
âIf the early money is anything to go by, itâll be Punch One Out and Tomac Bale fighting it out at the death for the cash but we do expect late support for a number of the other star runners in this gun field,âÂ Sportsbet’s Ben Hawes said.
2013 Topgun Betting Market & Odds
(prices in brackets from 16 October)
$4.20Â Â Punch One OutÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (in from $6.50)
$4.50Â Â Tomac BaleÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $4.20)
$4.80Â Â Spud RegisÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $4.00)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
$5.50Â Â Peter RocketÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (steady)
$6.50Â Â Xylia AllenÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $5.00)
$7.50Â Â Ernie Bung ArrowÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $7.00)
$8.00Â Â Dyna NalinÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (out from $6.50)
$12Â Â Â Â Â Gold TownÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (steady)
$16Â Â Â Â Â Marcus JoeÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (steady)
$21Â Â Â Â Â Glen GallinÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â (steady)
Topgun punters can claim a $500 free bet from Sportsbet by using the link below and opening a new betting account with the online bookmaker.
Sportsbet $500 Free Topgun Bet
This Saturday Night the Meadows plays host to the 21stÂ edition of the invitation-only Group 1 Topgun.Â With a wonderful field of sprinters engaged the race features champion greyhounds from 4 different states. Victoria, Â South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia â each entrant with their own realistic chance of taking out the first prize and the title of Topgun winner.Â Â This yearâs event will also be the final race of champion Queensland greyhound Glen Gallon, who with victory would surpass Miata as Australiaâs highest stake winning greyhound.
As Greyhound racingâs most controversial race, arguments have continued around the Topgun format since the first running in 1993 when the race finished in a dead heat between Golden Currency and Worth Backing.Â The Topgun creates media attention and is marketing genius. It gets participants talking and butting heads, participants argue for and against and ultimately the result is media attention on a race that many donât believe should exist, let alone carry the status that it does.Â A walk up start, Group 1 status and $150,000 to the winner.Â These arguments add to the aurora of the event, the build-up, the spectacle.Â It is what the industry needs â fuelling discussions between participants, stakeholders, observers and punters alike.
Adding to the furore to this yearâs event is the drawing of champion greyhound Xylia Allen in box 5. Whilst definitely deserving her place in the final field, Greyhound Racing Victoria have done themselves and the integrity of the industry no favours by allowing Hall of Fame trainer Graeme Bate to be listed as her trainer.Â Recently disqualified for elevated Testosterone levels Bate is facing nine months on the sidelines if an appeal before VCAT is not successful. GRV have since approved the transfer of Bate’s team to his son in law Peter Hunt. Some would say that in fairness to others in the industry, Bates punishment should have affected his whole team, not just changed the name of the dogâs trainer.
Nevertheless, the aurora of controversy surrounding the Topgun will continue and with a quality field assembled, Australian Racing Greyhound looks into each of the 8 finalists and 2 reserve runnerâs chances.
Sky Channel TOPGUN â The Meadows Race 8 â 525meters â 9:52PM Vic Time
Box 1Â â Peter Rocket (Whereâs Pedro â Belron Blue) â Vic
The Keith Hellmuth-trained Victorian sensation has been a wonderful performer since first gracing the track some 49 starts ago.Â With a career record of 20 wins and 19 placingâs, the August 2010 whelp has won in excess of $225,000 in prizemoney. With group wins in the Group 1 Megastar and the Group 2 Horsham Cup he is a multiple group finalist capable of running sub 30 at
the Meadows. With wonderful track form (12 starts â 5 wins and 6 placingâs) he looks well drawn in the cherry with the bonus of a wide runner drawn to his outside. Should have room to move early.
Box 2Â â Punch One Out (Knocka Norris â Little Egyptian) â Qld
Owned and Trained by Grant Fennelly, the 27 kilogram speed machine is coming off her first group win when successful at her most recent start- the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup when running a flying 29.75 (BON) at Albion Park.Â Often mistaken as being a he, she is a flying machine as evidenced by track records at Wentworth Park and Richmond.Â With 44 career starts resulting in 22 wins and 14 placings, the February 2011 whelp has won in excess of $125,000 in prizemoney.Â She is a speed machine capable of anything on her day.Â Whilst yet to win at the Meadows (1 start â 1 third),, she did trial just .10 seconds outside the track record last week when scorching in a solo trial running 29.55.Â Well drawn and with fast beginner to her immediate outside she will have every chance.
Box 3Â â Tomac Bale (Dyna Lachlan â Princess Bale) â Vic
The first of three finalists for Australiaâs greyhound dynasty The Wheeler Family.Â Trained by Victorian Mentor Mark Delbridge, Tomac Bale headlines a kennel who have had an amazing 2013.Â Loves the Meadows with 7 wins from 11 starts here including a 29.67 PB. Group 2 winner of the Launching Pad, he is a multiple group finalist and was second at his most recent start, the Group 1 Adelaide Cup Final. 23 starts resulting in 12 wins and 4 placingâs and in excess of $150,000 in prizemoney.Â If he begins will take plenty of catching. A speed machine who can be risky (at times) at box rise â followers will know his chances in the first few strides.
Box 4Â â Spud Regis (Bombastic Shiraz â Phiona) â Vic
December 2010 whelp who has faced criticism and negative comments about his invitation into this yearâs event.Â Returning from a brief stud career, his last performance was very impressive winning at this track and trip in BOD 29.83 one month ago. Track specialist with 10 starts resulting in 6 wins and 1 placing. The son of legendary greyhound Bombastic Shiraz, he is himself a 3 time group winner including the 2012 Group 1 Adelaide Cup, Group 3 SA Derby and Group 1 Australian Cup. With 31 careers starts returning 16 wins and 10 placingâs, he has been a superstar on the track winning $450,000 in prizemoney.Â In the kennel of leading Victorian Mentor Andrea Dailly, Spud Regis will have plenty of support despite the awkward draw in box 4.Â He is a tenacious chaser who is brilliant early â a win would not surprise despite a limited preparation.
Box 5Â â Xylia Allen (Turanza Bale â Tayah Bale) â Vic
Champion bitch who has had a wonderful 2013 campaign, including 4 Group wins (3 Group 1âs) â Group 1 National Sprint, Group 1 Sapphire Crown, Group 1 Peter Mosman and Group 2 Launceston Cup.Â Tenacious chaser who would run through a brick wall. Can be tardy early but does have excellent race awareness and field sense. 42 Career starts resulting in 17 wins and 16 placingâs including $377,000 in earnings.Â Fast PB of 29.63 at this track and distance. Second of the Wheeler runners and is a winning chance.
Box 6Â â Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley â Incoherent) â Qld
Queensland Champion and third on the overall all-time prizemoney list with $618,000 in career earnings. Regular group performer in the hands of leading Queensland mentor Tony Brett. The four year old superstar is having his final race start before retiring to stud and is looking for his 4thÂ Group 1 win (Brisbane Cup 2011, Winter Cup 2012 and 2013).Â A TOPGUN win would take his prizemoney past the great Miata as the all-time highest.Â 70 career starts resulting in 37 wins and 15 placingâs. Champion dog sure to be well supported in this despite the terrible draw.
Box 7Â â Ernie Bung Arrow (Lochinvar Marlow â Slipperâs Tonic) â SA
Up and coming superstar from South Australia in the hands of popular mentor Ken Gill.Â The November 2011 whelp is the baby of the field and has only faced the starter on 14 occasions for 13 wins and 1 second. Last start Group 1 Adelaide Cup winner where he was ultra-impressive in what was his toughest test to date.Â The TOPGUN will be his first start at the Meadows and outside of South Australia. Trialled well and is sure to be improved after having his first look. Exceptional from the boxes, he has the ability to lead and is a definite winning chance.
Box 8Â â Dyna Nalin (Ashom Bale â Tally Bale) â WA
West Australian speed machine and the third runner owned by the Wheeler dynasty.Â In the hands of leading WA trainer Paul Stuart (Miata) who is no stranger to winning big events away from home.Â Strong chaser who was victorious in winning the Group 1 Perth Cup in devastating fashion. Well drawn in box 8 as he can be a little tardy at box rise.Â Group performer who possesses a powerful motor and can finish over the top of these.Â Career earnings in excess of $278,000 from 38 starts for 25 wins and 7 placingâs.Â Has raced well at the Meadows with 3 starts resulting in 2 wins and a second including a 29.89 PB. Winning chance.
Box 9Â â Gold Town (Surf Lorian â Golden Gwen) Vic
Trained by Lara mentor Peter Hunt, Gold Town has been a group performer throughout his 64 start career. Does have wonderful Meadows form with 19 starts resulting in 5 wins and 11 placings.Â Was in outstanding racing form prior to last start, when he fell in a heat of the Group 2 Geelong Cup.Â Recent form includes fast wins at Wentworth Park (Group 2 Bob Payne winner in 29.59BON) and Geelong (29.81B). Bank balance in excess of $191,000 â he is a strong greyhound capable of surprising if fortunate of gaining a start.
Box 10Â â Marcus Joe (Velocette â Mojo Glory) Vic
Out of form recently, including a last start fall in a heat of the Group 2 Geelong Cup series.Â The April 2011 whelp is owned and trained by Marcus Hill mentor Barry Maloney.Â Has an incredible 29.66 PB at the Meadows and did win the Group 1 Maturity here in July 2013 beating Dyna Nalin. Â 25 career starts resulting in 7 wins and 10 placingâs he has close to $150,000 in career earnings. Is in a strong winning chance if he can rediscover his earlier career form
SelectionsÂ â 2, 3, 8 and 1
With the race full of chances and conjecture, this yearâs winner will not only be added to the honour role, but will be listed alongside some of Australiaâs all-time greats – including: Rapid Journey (1998), No Intent (2001), Bombastic Shiraz (2003) and Meticulous (2007) as well as a host of famous Australian greyhounds of years gone by.
Greyhound Box Draw For The Meadows – Saturday, 26 October 2013
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,430 3rd: $720.
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,430 3rd: $720.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
1st: $150,000 2nd: $43,000 3rd: $21,500 GOBIS: $10,000.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.
1st: $5,320 2nd: $1,520 3rd: $760.
Bright Agricola took out the Harold Park Derby for owner Schute Saxon and trainer George Bunn, scoring over 800 yards (732 metres) at Harold Park, just five weeks after springing a toe. His owner said if it hadnât been the Derby he would not have run him.
On the same night, Dreamâs Image won the 1949 Two-Year-Old Produce Stakes over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park by half a length from the politically-incorrectly named Chief Nigger.
Edie Beauchamp collected $15,000 for winning the 2005 Canberra Cup, the first year the event had been given Group status. The Cup was first run in 1979.
Queensland invitee Black Enforcer won the 2005 Topgun for trainer Tony Brett.
Awesome McLaren won the 1997 South Australian Derby in 29.79, just 4/100ths outside the race record set four years earlier.
El Grand Senor downed Enry Walt and Snozz in the 2010 Topgun, at the Meadows, running 17.48 for the second section and clipping 4/100ths off his own record for that section.
Tasmanian sprinter Awesome Cole narrowly annexed the 2004 Canberra Cup, using box one to full advantage.
Cindeen Shelby took out the 2009 Topgun, becoming the first NSW winner since Placard in 2000. Sired by 2003 Topgun winner Bombastic Shiraz, Cindeen Shelby had run officially seventh the previous year in the Topgun. She also emulated the feat of Wylie Boy in winning the Topgun at the second attempt.
One of the fastest sprinters of all time, The Smoother, won at his first start in 1969, scoring by a widening 12 lengths over 400 yards (366 metres) up the Wyong straight in 20.4, the best time of the meeting.
The final of the 1976 Sydney Cup, postponed from the abandoned meeting of the 16th, was run on a Monday evening and saw Glahda defeat the Victorian stayer Minnie Jubilee with Camden Glider (later the dam of NSW Greyhound of the Year Gliderâs Son, and Peter Glider) third.
Recognised as the first great greyhound of Queensland night racing, Top Simbi won his maiden race over 558 metres at the Gabba in 1972 by 16 lengths.
Bobâs One became the first NSW greyhound to win the Ipswich Cup since Whip Tip 11 years earlier when he scored in the 1999 version, defeating Ngarutao by three-quarters of a length and earning $15,000.
The Reg Kay-trained Foolâs State won the 2004 Ipswich Cup in a race record 30.52, scoring by almost six lengths and earning $20,000.
Jaimandy Coops picked up a massive $140,000 for snaring the 2006 Topgun, run at Sandown. Jaimandy Coops scored by almost five lengths from evergreen Train A Journey, running 29.48, just 8/100ths outside the race record.
David Bale and Desalle Bale ran first and second for trainer Graeme Bate in the 2012 Topgun. David Bale won by just a head and earned a whopping $150,000 for his 29.92 romp at The Meadows. David Bale had only been first reserve, and gained a start from box 8 when NSW representative Bye Bye Bucks was scratched.
Victorian star Tegimi won the 1978 Vic Peters Memorial Classic by five lengths over 457 metres at Harold Park. After striking interference when second in his semi-final, Tegimi was only first reserve for the final, but gained a run from box two when fellow Victorian Basmarg was scratched. He was the fourth Victorian to win the prestigious classic since its inception in 1951.
Brilliant sprinter Head Honcho (later a top-rank sire) won the 1993 Shepparton Cup for trainer Jason Thompson, downing the smart Tranquil Flame.
Dyna Nalin is set to represent WA in the Group 1 Topgun at the Meadows next Saturday night.
WAâs talented youngster continues to assert his dominance in WA greyhound racing, winning an astonishing 25 out of 38 races. His biggest WA honour came in the final of the Group 1 Perth Cup when, at just 23 months of age, he rattled home for victory and $140,000 in prize money.
Dyna Nalin, along with 28 other greyhounds, received his invite to the Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun around a month ago.
Trainer Paul Stuart says he was a little surprised at first when Dyna Nalin gained a start. Initially he had doubted whether or not his chaser would make it through to the invitation-only final after he ran second in the Group 3 Mandurah Cup last Friday night.
âRunning second probably hindered him if anything because they probably expected him to win,â Paul Stuart said.
âIf he won he would have been an automatic start, but because he didnât win he left himself open to be not selected.â
Dyna Nalin has drawn box eight in the final
âBox eight reduces his chances of winning quite severely,â
âItâs hard to win at the Meadows from box eight in any race, let alone in a Group 1, with seven of the highest rated dogs in the country.â
Stuart believes that there are a number of dogs in the race that are drawn to win.
âPeter Rocket has drawn the best out of the lot of them, he has got the red box, with a bit of a wide runner next to him in box two (Punch One Out).â
âTomac Bale is drawn quite well with box three, he should probably go close to leading.â
âErnie Bung Arrow likes it out wide and he has box seven, he also likes to use a little bit of the track early.â
Being a slow beginner with little early pace, Stuart believes Dyna Nalin is going to need a lot of luck take home the Topgun title.
âHe wonât lead, no chance.â
âHis best scenario is to come out with them and maybe get a run across with the seven dog (Ernie Bung Arrow) because it has got the speed.â
âPeter Rocket is the dog to beat because he has got the red.â
Paul Stuart will fly over with Dyna Nalin on Sunday morning, leaving girlfriend Adele Hobby to look after the kennels and a pregnant Miata.
âHe will have a trial at the Meadows Monday night and that will be it going into Saturday.â
As for the Victorians home track advantage, Dylna Nalin has an almost perfect record at the Meadows. From just three starts, he has two wins and a second to his name.
âHe ran second in the Maturity at the Meadows. Overall, including trials, he has been around there five or six times.â
Despite his signature come-from-behind style, Dyna Nalin mustered enough early speed to lead the field and win in his first start at the Meadows.
After the Topgun, Dyna Nalin will contest the Group 1 Melbourne Cup series.Â The black dog does not need to go into a prelude, having qualified by winning the Perth Cup earlier in the year.
Stuart is also contemplating a run in the Shoot Out at Sandown.
âHe is going for the Melbourne Cup anyway and hopefully he gets a run the in the Shoot Out.â
âThe Shoot Out is 10 days after the Topgun and the Melbourne Cup heats are a week after that.â
âIâll see what happens, I donât know if I will bring him home or not, he is okay over there if he stays.â
The son of Ashom Bale and Tally Bale broke in well but didnât have the early speed to match the dogs around Victoria. Therefore he looked to suit Canningtonâs 530 metre trip.
âHe was a bit of an experiment that turned out.â
After Dyna Nalinâs Perth Cup performance, he showed Cannington onlookers that he was the real deal when he easily upstaged one of WAâs strongest Puppy Classic fields.
Dyna Nalinâs strong finishing style fell through for him in the Mandurah Cup over the 490 metre trip last week. After jumping averagely, Dyna Nalin gave his fellow competitors more than a few lengths before storming home. However, he ran out of distance on the line, allowing Te Amo to hold on to the victory.
âHe canât be perfect everywhere otherwise he would be Brett Lee.â
âHe is always a place chance because that is the way he races, he can come from last and still run a place.â
âI can never be 100% confident with him because heâs at risk of getting caught in traffic.â
Dyna Nalin is Paul Stuartâs second participant in the Group 1 Topgun- in 2011 the late Pedrosa represented WA. Unfortunately he finished unplaced.
âI thought he deserved to be in the race, but being a WA dog it makes it tougher. It was good to see them consider him.â
WAâs talented chaser has proven once before that he can lead early at the Meadows, so hereâs hoping he can find himself at the front end of the pack and put himself in a prime position for the Topgun title.
With an unusual name and an adorable roman-nose, Ernie Bung Arrow was always going to stand out on the racetrack. On Thursday night, the highly talented youngster emerged on an all new level when he took out the Group 1 Adelaide Cup in front of a bumper crowd at Angle Park.
Trained at Lewiston by Ken Gill, Ernie Bung Arrow has now won 13 of his 14 race starts with his only defeat occurring in August when he ran a close second behind Emerley Zodiak at Angle Park.
The son of Lochinvar Marlow was the favourite heading into the event on Thursday evening, despite being drawn out wide in box eight and facing a sharp rise in class against proven group performers such as Tomac Bale, Ronan Izmir, Peter Rocket and Kokoda Spirit.
However, punters evidently knew a good thing when they saw it.
When the lids flew open for the $75,000-to-the-winner final, Ernie Bung Arrow showed the electrifying early speed that has become a trademark for the black powerhouse, finding the front on the first corner and shooting away.
As the runners turned for home, Ernie Bung Arrow was in no danger as he ran to the line five and a half lengths ahead of the Mark Delbridge-trained Tomac Bale in a scintillating 29.70s. Filling the trifecta was dual group winner Ronan Izmir for Jason Thompson, with fellow Victoria Iona Seven finishing seven lengths behind the winner in fourth.
For Gill, it was the biggest win throughout his 42 year training career. While he had previously trained winners of both the SA Derby and the Gawler Cup, up until last Thursday, the illustrious Group 1 win had eluded him. However, with an ideal draw going into the race, Gill knew he had his best chance of snaring a win at the top level in the SAâs most prestigious event
âIâve been in a group 3 a couple of times- Iâve won the Derby before and I have won the Gawler Cup before- but a Group 1 is a little bit betterâ.
âI was reasonably confident without being over-confident going into the race- box eight suits him because he gets a clear run and nothing is going to hit him earlyâ
âHe has early pace and it wins 90% of races if they can lead, so I hope he can keep itâ.
Remarkably, it was also the second Group victory for Ernie Bung Arrow from just his last three starts. Last month, the ultra-talented youngster claimed the Group 3 SA Derby and the $25,000 winnerâs cheque. While he does not turn two until the end of next month, Ernie Bung Arrow has now accumulated a wealthy bank account just shy of the $120,000 mark- not bad for a pup that was purchased for just $800.
Ernie Bung Arrowâs victory in the Adelaide Cup has now earned him an interstate vacation this weekend. The 31.8 kilogram dog will head to Victoria this Saturday night where he will trial at The Meadows. It is anticipated he will be racing at the track in just under a fortnight when the stars of the canine world assemble for the Group 1 Topgun.
âWe are hoping (He gets a start in the Topgun). He is booked to fly over there Saturday morning and we are going to trial him Saturday night at The Meadows whether he gets a start in the Topgun or notâ.
After the Topgun, Gill is likely to avoid the tempting Melbourne Cup series in favour of a feature race closer to home, before looking at some age-restricted seriesâ for the dog he proclaims to be âthe best dog Iâve trainedâ.
âI donât know about the Melbourne Cup because he has got one back on over here in Adelaide that he is just about a shoe in for, the Brian Johnstone, and thatâs worth 30-odd thousand and is a group 3. He is still only a young dog so I donât think we will head to the Melbourne Cup. We will try and keep him in his own age as much as we canâ.
Whatever series he goes on to target, if Ernie Bung Arrow maintains his brilliant early speed and tenacious chasing attitude, he looks set for a fruitful career ahead on the track.
Tasmanian stayer Bell Haven will return to the mainland tonight to defend her title in the Group 3 Bohemia Crystal Sydney Cup at Wentworth Park. Â Bell Haven claimed the race last year when defeating Ebby Miss by three lengths in a speedy 42.25s. However, she will face a tough test tonight when she exits box four in the $25,000 to the winner final.
The Ted Medhurst-trained greyhound has only been lightly raced since finishing second behind Lashing Jill in the Tasmanian Distance Championship- with her last start heat performance just her second start back since August. Â Beginning well from box six, the black bitch parked behind the leader for much of the race and stuck on well to finish second behind the fast finishing Set Sail South.
Medhurst said that he had specifically targeted the Sydney Cup series with Bell Haven, rather than some of the other staying features that have been held around the nation in recent weeks. Given that it was her first run back for nearly a month, Medhurst was also pleased with her performance last Saturday
âI was pleased with her run last week. She has had a few injury problems which we have tried to manage and I think we have got a hold of them nowâ
âWe purposely decided that as she started to get on (in age) that we would basically race her at Wentworth Park- about every month they have a decent race up there and she has shown a real liking for the trackâ.
âThe only other distance race that was on was at The Meadows and, although she got beat a nose there in a Group 1, she is yet to win on the track. So, we decided to avoid the Meadows this time and just concentrate on the Wentworth Park raceâ.
Heading into the event, Medhurst considers it to be a fairly even affair. The Mangalore mentor admits that he would have preferred to see his distance diva drawn out wide, but still thinks she can feature in the finish if she places herself prominently in the early stages.
âI think that the wider the draw for her, the better. Itâs a very strong and even field. The depth of the field is very strong so if any of the four, five or even six top contenders do something wrong the other dogs will beat themâ
âIf we have a bit of luck we will be there, but if we have a bit of bad luck we mightnât beâ
âI havenât had a real good look at the speed maps of the race, but to be a winning chance I think she would want to be in the first four early. As I said, there are some really good dogs in there which are just as good as her and you canât give them too much of a startâ.
Medhurst also believes that Bell Haven will have derived confidence from last weekâs run, with her previous start at the Glebe circuit a rough and tough event from the get-go
âI think the run last week brought her forward a little bit and has done her confidence a bit of good. Last time she raced she got flattened and got bumped a fair bit, but last week to run a nice even race and get to the line good we were pleased and conversely her confidence seems to have lifted a bitâ
The daughter of Head Bound and Itâs A She left for Sydney yesterday in order to prepare for tonightâs feature. Following their usual routine, Bell Haven will be handled by group winning trainer Debbie Cannan . Cannan part owns the bitch with fellow Tasmanian Russel Milner, who also owned former TOPGUN hero No Intent.
âShe has followed the same regime this week as she does every time that she races interstate- she flies out the day before the race and she will be back home the day after the raceâ.
âDebâs the type of person that it doesnât matter whether they run last or win, she still loves them. She loves the animal and she gives them a kiss and pat every time she sees them irrespective of whether itâs before or after the raceâ
At just over three and a half years of age, Bell Haven is entering the twilight stage of her career. With a great record of 62 starts for 26 wins and 18 minor placings, Medhurst says that he is happy to continue racing her until she decides she has had enough of the racing caper
âShe is marvellous, we think the world of her and itâs all about her. When she is not Bell Haven and if she doesnât perform well for a few starts in a row then we will seriously consider retirement.â
âShe has done everything for us and the main thing is her, we just think the world of her- the owners love her. Â I just respect her so much because of the traveling she has done. She has been so unlucky in a couple of big races but in our eyes she has been just magnificentâ
âTo win a Sydney Cup with her last year was a dream and if we could do that with her again it would be wonderful- more for the dog than anybody elseâ.
The Group 3 Bohemia Crystal Sydney Cup is race eight tonight at Wentworth Park and will jump at 9:47pm.
When legendary Victorian breeder John Lenehan purchased his first greyhound in 1978 he could have never imagined that he would still be reaping the rewards nearly four decades later.
Lenehan purchased a pup, which would grow up to race under the name Sydney Gem, for $800. Sydney Gem went on to have a handy racetrack career but in the breeding barn she was phenomenal. The daughter of Lively Band and Monalee Again established a fantastic breeding line that has unearthed many champions of the racetrack and still exists to this day.
Fast forward to Saturday the 28th September 2013 where another descendant of the prolific producer, Gold Town, stamped himself as one of the most consistent chasers in Australia at present, with a dominant victory in the Group 2 Bob Payne Spring Sprint at Wentworth Park.
Some may call it luck how Lenehan started off in the game, others may call it fate. Either way it is a remarkable story.
âIâve always loved greyhounds. My dad had them when we were children but there were 14 of us in my family and he couldnât afford to race them. It was like a dollar to race them and two dollars if you won so you couldnât make much money. He reared them up but never raced them muchâ, Lenehan explained.
âI always wanted to get into greyhound racing. I bought a farm and I had eight children so I never had much money myself. I put on a $2 quadrella one day at the horses and I won $1000 so I decided to buy a greyhound with it and it turned out to be the best thing I ever didâ.
âWeâve had some great dogs over the years. We had Sydney Dingaan that won the Melbourne Cup and a stack of races. She was the first dog inducted into the hall of fame at Warrnambool. Bomber Gleeson won the Shepparton Cup, Warrnambool Cup and the Hobart Thousand and was 3rd in two Australian Cups and 3rd in the Golden Easter Egg in Sydney. We also bred Black Pirate, Wild Pirate, Sheedy and Nashemraroâ.
âSydney Gem was inducted into the hall of fame in Melbourne earlier this year for being an outstanding broodbitch. All of our dogs are still bred down from that one bitch- the first dog I brought 38 years agoâ.
Lenehan has predominately bred and reared his greyhounds throughout his involvement within the sport, with his greyhounds being trained by some of the nationâs best. Â Gold Town is trained by successful Lara conditioner Peter Hunt.
The son of Surf Lorian and Golden Gwen went into the $40,000 to the winner feature on Saturday night well in the market. However, he had to contend with a poor draw in box five.
After a moderate beginning, Gold Town managed to miss the early interference that put the race favourite, Zipping Willow, out of play. The striking black dog parked himself prominently in third position in the run down the back before looming up beside Good Odds John around the side and assuming the lead as the field entered the straight. Gold Town then put the paw to the floor, dashing ahead of his competitors, holding out the fast finishing Xylia Allen by one length in a blistering 29.59s
Lenehan was thrilled with the performance of his classy campaigner
âI thought he would need a lot of luck but it was just his own track sense that got him there. I thought he would have to be out quick, I thought the six (Cracker Jack Lil) would be a lot quicker than him, so it was a great winâ.
âIt was not until he got to third I thought âwell he is coming home hard, heâs got a good chanceâ. But I didnât really expect him to winâ.
Gold Town has now won 19 races with 22 minor placings from 61 race starts. The 32 kilogram chaser has raced competitively at the elite level for quite some time now, with Lenehan believing that he is starting to mature as a race dog in his recent runs.
âHe ran 3rd in the Silver Chief in Melbourne earlier in the year where he was slow out of the boxes and got checked. He just missed out on second and he also ran second in the Traralgon Cup
âI was talking to Graeme Bate, itâs his stepson Peter Hunt that trains him, and I reckon he has improved out of sight in his last couple of runs and in the fieldâ.
âGraeme said all along that heâd be a champion if he could only box well. Most times he misses the start and even now he doesnât get out quick. He is just using his track sense now, he knows where to goâ.
âHe just seems to have found his way. He will go through fields and not run into other dogs nowâ.
In the lead up to a busy time of year for Group racing in Victoria, Gold Town has now affirmed himself as a genuine contender for some of the big feature races which are fast approaching. Lenehan is hoping that his powerhouse sprinter will do enough to earn an invitation for the Group 1 Topgun, but is happy to leave the decisions with Hunt.
âWe are hoping to get into the Topgun but thatâs a select field and only eight go into it. Itâs worth $150,000 at The Meadows but Iâll just leave it to the trainerâ.
âGraeme said that he (Hunt) has got a great setup and that he does a great job, itâs spotless and clean. Peter knows exactly what to do with them, he trains really wellâ.
If there were any doubts that Xylia Allen was a true champion, they were dismissed on Saturday night as the bonny black bitch stormed home to record an astonishing triumph in the group 1 AGRA National Sprint Championship at The Meadows.
Gaining a start in the race as the AGRA Wild Card runner, Xylia Allen was blessed with box one for the $75,000 to the winner final and used the coveted rails alley to perfection as she dashed away to claim her fourth group victory; her third at group 1 level.
After a moderate beginning, Xylia Allen was outpaced in the run to the first turn by the fancied Tomac Bale, who took up the lead as the field made their way into the back straight. With Kel Greenoughâs sizzling speedster Paw Licking parked on her outside, Xylia Allen tried to push through along the rails in search of the bunny however, she was denied a run by the race leader. In a move that showed tremendous field sense, Xylia Allen quickly switched to the outside, slipped into another gear and shot away from her opposition to score an emphatic victory by just under two lengths in a scintillating 29.63 seconds. Tomac Bale was gallant in defeat, running second, whilst the NSW representative, Zulu Zeus, ran a great race to finish third.
Xylia Allenâs legendary trainer, Graeme Bate, was elated with the win of his special bitch, commending her racing style and how she puts herself into the race at the right time.
âI was very impressed with her genuine brains and her ability to work out the race and where to move as she was going aroundâ, Bate said.
âIt was her best win at The Meadows, it has been a track where she has had troubleâ.
After finishing fourth in the state qualifier the week prior behind Tomac Bale, Bate was confident that she could produce her best on final night. Down back straight, it became obvious that the 31 kilogram powerhouse was the one to beat.
âI was very confident (before the race)â, Bate reflected.
âUp the back when she hooked to the outside was when I thought she had a good shotâ.
Xylia Allen now boasts the record of 38 starts on the track from which she has managed 17 wins and 12 minors.
As mentioned, it was the fourth group win for the daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale who claimed her first group trophy in February this year, when annihilating her opposition in the group 2 Launceston Cup. Xylia Allen continued to race competitively in group company over the following months, before her defining moment came in the group 1 Sapphire Crown in May, where she defeated flying NSW bitch, Punch One Out, in a brilliant 29.51 seconds at Sandown.
Xylia Allen then lined up for a campaign in NSW, where she spearheaded a talented Bate-trained team that was targeting the group 1 Peter Mosman Classic at Wentworth Park. After running third at the Ultimo circuit in the group 3 Ladies Bracelet just over a month prior, Xylia Allen transformed into a different bitch, pinging straight to the front of the field from box two to claim the Classic by one and three quarter lengths in a sizzling 29.47 seconds.
Since triumphing in the Peter Mosman, Xylia Allen had raced without luck in the group 1 Winter Carnival Cup at Albion Park, whilst she also contested the group 1 Maturity Classic series at The Meadows. Her success on Saturday proved that she is back to her brilliant best.
With three dazzling wins at the highest level to her name at such a young age, Xylia Allen now looks set to enjoy a successful racing season in the near future. Bate, who has already compared her to his previous champions Kantarn Bale and Lansley Bale, rates her as one of the best sprinters currently racing in Australia.
âOf the three dogs in the Greyhound Of The Year (Miata, Xylia Allen and Destini Fireball) she was the only sprinter so she would have to be up thereâ, Bate commented.
âShe has already earned $360,000. To do that at 28 months is a pretty good effort. I am very excited about her future and I am hoping she can keep goingâ.
Although alluding to the fact that her future career may entail races over the staying trip, Bate is holding off whilst she is racing so dominantly over the sprint.
âI wouldnât step her up at the moment with the way that she is racing. Perhaps if she was getting into trouble or being knocked around but she is racing wellâ, Bate said.
Xylia Allenâs next mission will be the group 3 Coffex Coffee Oaks at Angle Park with the heats to be run on Thursday 5th September before the $25,000 final the following week. After that, it will be a busy few months with major Victorian races including the group 1 Topgun and the group 1 Melbourne Cup.
âI have always loved the Melbourne Cup, it is one of my signature races and I think I have a fair dinkum chance in it this year. She is my number one greyhoundâ, Bate said.
Saturday was the pinnacle night of a great weekend for Graeme Bate who was named Trainer Of The Year at the AGRA awards night on Friday. âIt was a bit of a shockâ, Bate admitted.
âI didnât really expect it because I thought a few of the other trainers would be in front of meâ.
âI thought I was just going along for Xylia Allenâ.
Xylia Allen was also nominated for AGRA Greyhound Of The Year however, she was pipped at the post by the mighty Miata who took out the top honour for the second year in a row. Whilst she may not have taken out the big one, Xylia Allen still had her moment in the spotlight when she took out the Run Of The Year for her phenomenal performance to take out the group 1 Sapphire Crown.