Silver Bullet And Hume Cup Steal The Spotlight

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 year’s 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 wasn’t 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 Britton’s 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 D’Huez ($11.30) who would upset the apple cart though, winning his first Group 1 final for Kelly Bravo and the Horizon Gold syndicate.

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 D’huez 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 D’huez 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.

Shorter And Shorter

Bookkeeper’s 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 – 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 Park’s 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 – 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 don’t even have enough dogs in total, which is why so many of today’s 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 can’t 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.  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 Wenty’s 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 state’s 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 “crime” 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 that’s 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 can’t do that then they should let others take over.  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.

Garrett Is Punching Up Success As A Breeder

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

“I 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 didn’t have them, but I got introduced to them through Tricia and Sam Cauchi when they used to live down in Sydney at Box Hill”, Garrett explained

“My 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 there”

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.

“I 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.  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 ‘seeing as how you come all that way if you want to buy the bitch you can buy her’”

“It was just lucky for me that he changed his mind and sold her to me rather than one of the dogs”

Racing under the moniker Little Egyptian, Garrett’s 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

“I 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 opportunity”

“I 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 there”

“I 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 there”

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 Australia’s fastest bitch, Punch One Out

“I wasn’t 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 thrown”

Garrett chose the sensational speedster Knocka Norris for Little Egyptian’s first litter- a decision that has proved to be a masterstroke, just not for the reason she was expecting

“I 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 didn’t quite happen”, Garrett laughed.

Garrett kept one pup from the litter of eight- selling the rest.

“I kept one, Pride Of Egypt, and I sold the rest because I wasn’t sure whether she would throw”

“Grant (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 didn’t know what they would be, I just wanted to place them and have them sold. He actually only paid $800 for her”

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.

“This 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 produce”

“It’s 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 week”

“There 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 lovely”

“I 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 go”

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

“He just wasn’t 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 ran”

“Hopefully 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 again”

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

“I’m just waiting to see what the next litter are like- they are 12 months old to El Grand Senor, I kept two of them”

“I 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 them”

“I 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 big”

WA Star All Set For Shootout Success

Dyna Nalin has without a doubt done WA proud. Winning greyhound racing’s 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 member’s area of the Cannington greyhounds on Saturday night, there was no-one that didn’t let out a cheer for Paul Stuart’s 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 Carmody’s voice was decibels above the rest, cheering Dyna Nalin home as he crossed the line to a standing ovation from his WA crowd.

“I was overwhelmed by winning the race because he wasn’t expected to win”, Paul Stuart said.

“My 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.”

Stuart had less confidence in his chaser then his WA counterparts when hitting the first corner.

“I 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.”

“Glen Gallon came out really well, so it was five across the track. The two possible leaders missed the kick.”

Stuart believed it would have changed the complexity of the race if Tomac Bale had of jumped in front.

“Tomac Bale was the other one who tried to anticipate the start and banged his head on the lids and missed the start.”

“He came out with them but he didn’t get the lead advantage that he usually would get.”

“If he had of used that advantage he would have been harder to chase.”

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.

“All 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.”

“His 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.”

“Lucky he punched up underneath rather than checking off heals because it would have cost him a few lengths.”

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.

“It was the roughie that got up for them and a good result for myself.”

Winning the Topgun with Dyna Nalin was an enjoyable experience. Stuart didn’t feel as though there was pressure for his dog to win the race because he wasn’t odds on favourite.

“He hasn’t been put on a pedestal like Miata was.”

Racing Miata in big races was the most pressure Stuart has ever been under.

“If 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.”

“It’s a lot easier racing him.”

Dyna Nalin pulled up great after his unexpected win.

“He is bouncing around like a lunatic, he is 100 per cent.”

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.

“After the Topgun win he would have been pretty hard pressed not to get in there, especially with only 6 nominations.”

“I wasn’t fussed if he got in or not because we had another plan of attack with him.”

Because the Shootout is a race based on pure ability; it may be a bit harder this time around for the WA representative.

“He is smart in a full field, you can’t 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.”

“He wins a lot of his races through his track sense, that gets taken out play when you only have 3 dogs to work with.”

“He wouldn’t run any quicker on his own then he would in a race.”

Stuart believes all the dogs that made it into the Shootout picked themselves.

“All the dogs that got in earned and deserved their spot in the race.”

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.

“At the moment, staying over there has worked well because it is heating up over here.”

“He needs a couple of looks at Sandown and he wouldn’t have had the opportunity if I had of brought him home. It’s a good relationship we have, he is in the best of hands.”

Wanting and receiving a middle box, Dyna Nalin will be jumping from box three.

“The box draw is of vital importance.”

“It is a bit of an upside box draw, but I am happy where he is, it gives him every opportunity.”

“It means if he comes out he can do his own running from there.”

Sadly, The Numbers Don’t Always Work Out

The TOPGUN was a bit messy, wasn’t it?

OK, my preview said Dyna Nalin could not win, but it also said “barring accidents” 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.  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 “stand-up” 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. That’s 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, it’s 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 – like Dapto, Richmond and Ipswich – 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. It’s 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. Peter Rocket 5.15 5.13 -0.02
2. Punch One Out 5.09 5.21 +0.12
3.Tomac Bale 5.10 5.15 +0.05
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 Boy’s best track.

Cyclone Simone Storms Her Way Into The Spotlight

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 Ferguson’s 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 didn’t 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 Noodles’ 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.

“She was fast as a sprinter and fast as a stayer. She was a little bit moody but she was really good”, Ferguson explained of her former star, Smashing Amy.

“She 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 Irreplaceable’s pups so we actually sold all of them”

“The 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.

“It’s been really hard because they knew that they had a good dog”, Ferguson said.

“She has been a nightmare injury wise. She started off good but then she kept doing her pins”

“She 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 don’t put her up the straight because she has done her pins, so we were thinking how do we get her fit?”

“We put her around the circle but that wasn’t doing any good so we decided to free gallop her in the paddock every day for about six weeks before we brought her back”

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.

“You wouldn’t 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 fence”

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

“She goes nice early and if she finds the front she’ll 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 nice”

“Her 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 outside”

“I don’t 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 bit”.

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 series’ and will subsequently have to compete in open class

“We 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 strong”

Cyclone Simone is not the only exciting prospect in Ferguson’s 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 winner’s list in upcoming weeks.

Possibly most exciting of all is the resilient Unexplained who is on the comeback from injury. The Where’s Pedro – 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

“Unexplained 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 ever”

“His run home was sensational over 400-it was just beyond belief. That’s 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 him”.

“He has been a great dog and he is a fast dog- a very fast dog”.

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

“We are very excited about our Brett Lee- Stylish Scene litter- it is her last litter and they are eleven months old”

“They are the nicest pups I have ever seen.  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 winners”.

This Week In Racing History: October 29th – November 4th 2013

29th October

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.

30th October

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 Halla’s Rocket (eighth). It was the last time the race was run over 512 metres.

31st October

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.

1st November

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.

2nd November

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).

3rd November

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 Australian’s 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.

4th November

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.

Group 3 Shootout Field Released

Four of the nation’s 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 nation’s 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 Thompson’s breathtaking youngster Phenomenal (second reserve)

The all-important box draw will be conducted this Thursday night.

Odds On, Look On

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 – involving 502 races – 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
Total 502 119 58 49%

 

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. That’s the “better than bank interest” 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.  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. That’s 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), “enrolments in standard two-unit mathematics have declined steeply over the past decade and a significant proportion of students do not study maths at all”. 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, There’s More

The education of punters is not helped by the way tipsheets and formguides rate the runners’ 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?  Of course, we can’t. 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 – Ernie Bung Arrow and Dyna Nailin – and three were at 99 – 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 Fixed Odds, 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. It’s 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 – 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.

Victorian Sets The Standard In Vic Peters Heats

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  to finish second while Lorraine Roy’s 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 Thompson’s 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 Lach’s 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 Lach’s Wish on the line who charged home along the inside to bring up her fifth career win.  The blue bitch, which Tips the scales at just 26 kilograms, stopped the clock in a speedy 30.01 and will move on to next week’s 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.

 

 

Group 1 Stayers Play Out The Undercard At The Meadows

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 – The Group 1 Hume Cup.

With the Sale Cup being regarded as the ‘Middle-distance Championship of Australia’, 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.   

Things started out with an even affair, as three runners vied for favouritism in the opening heat. Just As Fancy would eventuate as the punters’ 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 other’s’ 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, Evie’s 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 Evie’s 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 D’huez 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 D’huez 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-      Alpe D’huez
  • Box 2-      Easton Bale
  • Box 2-      Proven Impala
  • Box 4-      Lektra Grey
  • Box 5-      Dyna Willow
  • Box 6-      Bookkeeper
  • Box 7-      Hala Belle
  • Box 8-      Born Ali

 

Dyna Nalin Nails It In The Topgun

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 runner 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 the South Australian sensation Ernie Bung Arrow. 

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  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. Champion sprinter Glen Gallon was very unlucky but lost no admirers when finishing fifth. 

Dyna Nalin is now a dual group 1 winner after he took out the Group 1 Perth Cup in February this year.  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.

Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heats Betting Preview

While tonight’s 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.  Open to greyhound whelped after April 1st 2011, the final will offer a whopping $75,000 to connections in two weeks’ 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 ‘500’ 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.  After that performance he debuted at headquarters with a fast 30.05s performance followed by a luckless fourth here at his last attempt. He isn’t 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 ‘500’ but if he can find the front and skip away, he is a chance.  Last start he won by 13.25 lengths at Richmond where he recorded a  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.  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.  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 tonight’s Group 1 Topgun but didn’t 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, Ding’s 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 Thompson’s 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 Sienna’s 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 isn’t 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.

First Out, Best Dressed

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 can’t 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 – quite possible although both tend to race one or two off the rail – 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 it’s 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.

Tony Brett Targets A Top Week On The Track

Before the end of the weekend, Queensland conditioner Tony Brett may snare two interstate Group trophies.

Brett is already half way there, having trained the beautifully-bred Regal Lauryn who took out the Group 2 Lismore Workers Club Cup on Tuesday night in NSW’s Northern Rivers region.

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

“She 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 fulfilling”, Brett said.

“Coming to the home turn I could see her winding up and I thought then that they wouldn’t hold her out”

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.

“She 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 bit”

“I 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 doesn’t 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 good”.

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,  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.

“She (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.

“The 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 raced”.

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 Queensland”

“Now 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 wasn’t for her bad habits, but unfortunately that’s 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 train”

“The other sister, Miss Lauryn- that didn’t win, in the coming months I think she could turn out to be a really good stayer”

“They’ll both run 600, no dramas, and I’m pretty confident Miss Lauryn will run 700- I just don’t 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 be”.

“Until 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 run”

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 state’s golden boy, Glen Gallon, will contest the prestigious Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun at The Meadows as he aims to become Australia’s highest stakes earner at what will also be his final race start.

“We 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 race”

Brett said the son of Flying Stanley and Incoherent is in terrific order ahead of his racing swansong.

“He is excellent. Since he got beaten about a fortnight ago we’ve 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 we’ve 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 Park”

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

“Punch One Out- I really know how good this bitch is and if you give her an inch I don’t 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 doubt”

“He 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 won’t let you down”.

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 Brett’s home where he will stand at stud.

“We’re 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 interesting”

“I 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 dog”

“We’ve 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 doesn’t kick on he is still going to live here for the rest of his life and he is going to get a good home”.

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 Declare Topgun A Match Race Between Punch One Out & Tomac Bale

Punters with online bookmaker Sportsbet think this Saturday’s Top Gun final is a battle of two – 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).

“If the early money is anything to go by, it’ll 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,” Sportsbet’s Ben Hawes said.

2013 Topgun Betting Market & Odds

(prices in brackets from 16 October)
$4.20   Punch One Out          (in from $6.50)
$4.50   Tomac Bale                 (out from $4.20)
$4.80   Spud Regis                   (out from $4.00)                   
$5.50   Peter Rocket               (steady)
$6.50   Xylia Allen                   (out from $5.00)
$7.50   Ernie Bung Arrow       (out from $7.00)
$8.00   Dyna Nalin                  (out from $6.50)
$12      Gold Town                   (steady)
$16      Marcus Joe                  (steady)
$21      Glen Gallin                  (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

Australian Racing Greyhound readers can also enjoy a further $1600 in Free Bets from our exclusive free bet offers.

Free Bet Offers

2013 Group 1 Topgun Preview

This Saturday Night the Meadows plays host to the 21st edition of the invitation-only Group 1 Topgun.  With a wonderful field of sprinters engaged the race features champion greyhounds from 4 different states. Victoria,  South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia – each entrant with their own realistic chance of taking out the first prize and the title of Topgun winner.   This year’s event will also be the final race of champion Queensland greyhound Glen Gallon, who with victory would surpass Miata as Australia’s highest stake winning greyhound.

As Greyhound racing’s 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.  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 don’t believe should exist, let alone carry the status that it does.  A walk up start, Group 1 status and $150,000 to the winner.  These arguments add to the aurora of the event, the build-up, the spectacle.  It is what the industry needs – fuelling discussions between participants, stakeholders, observers and punters alike.

Adding to the furore to this year’s 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.  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 dog’s 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 runner’s chances.

Sky Channel TOPGUN – The Meadows Race 8 – 525meters – 9:52PM Vic Time

Box 1 – Peter Rocket (Where’s Pedro – Belron Blue) – Vic

The Keith Hellmuth-trained Victorian sensation has been a wonderful performer since first gracing the track some 49 starts ago.  With a career record of 20 wins and 19 placing’s, 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 – 5 wins and 6 placing’s) 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 2 – Punch One Out (Knocka Norris – Little Egyptian) – 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.  Often mistaken as being a he, she is a flying machine as evidenced by track records at Wentworth Park and Richmond.  With 44 career starts resulting in 22 wins and 14 placings, the February 2011 whelp has won in excess of $125,000 in prizemoney.  She is a speed machine capable of anything on her day.  Whilst yet to win at the Meadows (1 start – 1 third),, she did trial just .10 seconds outside the track record last week when scorching in a solo trial running 29.55.  Well drawn and with fast beginner to her immediate outside she will have every chance.

Box 3 – Tomac Bale (Dyna Lachlan – Princess Bale) – Vic

The first of three finalists for Australia’s greyhound dynasty The Wheeler Family.  Trained by Victorian Mentor Mark Delbridge, Tomac Bale headlines a kennel who have had an amazing 2013.  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 placing’s and in excess of $150,000 in prizemoney.  If he begins will take plenty of catching. A speed machine who can be risky (at times) at box rise – followers will know his chances in the first few strides.

Box 4 – Spud Regis (Bombastic Shiraz – Phiona) – Vic

December 2010 whelp who has faced criticism and negative comments about his invitation into this year’s event.  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 placing’s, he has been a superstar on the track winning $450,000 in prizemoney.  In the kennel of leading Victorian Mentor Andrea Dailly, Spud Regis will have plenty of support despite the awkward draw in box 4.  He is a tenacious chaser who is brilliant early – a win would not surprise despite a limited preparation.

Box 5 – Xylia Allen (Turanza Bale – Tayah Bale) – Vic

Champion bitch who has had a wonderful 2013 campaign, including 4 Group wins (3 Group 1’s) – Group 1 National Sprint, Group 1 Sapphire Crown, Group 1 Peter Mosman and Group 2 Launceston Cup.  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 placing’s including $377,000 in earnings.  Fast PB of 29.63 at this track and distance. Second of the Wheeler runners and is a winning chance.

Box 6 – Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley – Incoherent) – 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 4th Group 1 win (Brisbane Cup 2011, Winter Cup 2012 and 2013).  A TOPGUN win would take his prizemoney past the great Miata as the all-time highest.  70 career starts resulting in 37 wins and 15 placing’s. Champion dog sure to be well supported in this despite the terrible draw.

Box 7 – Ernie Bung Arrow (Lochinvar Marlow – Slipper’s Tonic) – SA

Up and coming superstar from South Australia in the hands of popular mentor Ken Gill.  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.  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 8 – Dyna Nalin (Ashom Bale – Tally Bale) – WA

West Australian speed machine and the third runner owned by the Wheeler dynasty.  In the hands of leading WA trainer Paul Stuart (Miata) who is no stranger to winning big events away from home.  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.  Group performer who possesses a powerful motor and can finish over the top of these.  Career earnings in excess of $278,000 from 38 starts for 25 wins and 7 placing’s.  Has raced well at the Meadows with 3 starts resulting in 2 wins and a second including a 29.89 PB. Winning chance.

Reserves

Box 9 – Gold Town (Surf Lorian – 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.  Was in outstanding racing form prior to last start, when he fell in a heat of the Group 2 Geelong Cup.  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 – he is a strong greyhound capable of surprising if fortunate of gaining a start.

Box 10 – Marcus Joe (Velocette – Mojo Glory) Vic

Out of form recently, including a last start fall in a heat of the Group 2 Geelong Cup series.  The April 2011 whelp is owned and trained by Marcus Hill mentor Barry Maloney.  Has an incredible 29.66 PB at the Meadows and did win the Group 1 Maturity here in July 2013 beating Dyna Nalin.  25 career starts resulting in 7 wins and 10 placing’s he has close to $150,000 in career earnings. Is in a strong winning chance if he can rediscover his earlier career form

Selections – 2, 3, 8 and 1

With the race full of chances and conjecture, this year’s winner will not only be added to the honour role, but will be listed alongside some of Australia’s 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.

Saturday, 26 October 2013


Greyhound Box Draw For The Meadows – Saturday, 26 October 2013

Race No. 1Topcat Video Productions Final7:14 PM (VIC time)
Maiden Final event over 525 metres at The meadows Of $7,150 Prizemoney.
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,430 3rd: $720.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1SIENNA’S FANTASY [5]24130.75(1)R Britton (Lara)
2MIDNIGHT MANEUVA (NSW)[M]54452NBTJ Britton (Anakie)
3RALPHY CINEL (NSW)[M]51322NBTM Crowe (Myrniong)
4DI’VOIRE BELLE [M]57322NBTP Akathiotis (Reservoir)
5ALLEN RENEGADE (NSW)[5]32130.57(1)S Collins (Lara)
6MEPUNGA MOSS [5]130.34(5)J Britton (Anakie)
7WHY NOT HEATHER [M]32NBTW Gray (Wendouree)
8WARRIOR KING (NSW)[5]3129.96(8)B Ennis (Lara)
9ALLEN ODIN (NSW)[M]Res.2443NBTS Collins (Lara)
10BRODUS CLAY [M]Res.F2333NBTT O’donovan (Devon Meadows)
Race No. 2Rsn – Racing & Sport7:35 PM (VIC time)
Grade 5 event over 525 metres at The meadows Of $7,150 Prizemoney.
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,430 3rd: $720.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1SPREADING RUMORS [5]1724130.04(4)J Maple (Little River)
2OZZY BALE (NSW)[5]34321NBTP Hunt (Lara)
3LEKTRA HAPPY [5]1112430.48(8)A Dailly (Anakie)
4ZIPPING MAKKA (NSW)[5]23T1530.23(6)J Delaroche (Cranbourne North)
5IZACK BALE (NSW)[5]37368NBTA Dailly (Anakie)
6KING IVOR (NSW)[5]24245NBTK Walker (Henty)
7PENN BALE (NSW)[5]2213230.29(3)A Dailly (Anakie)
8DYNA HULA (NSW)[5]3111330.31(1)A Dailly (Anakie)
9GIFT OF TIME (NSW)[5]Res.47334NBTK Walker (Henty)
10LEKTRA LOIS [5]Res.2818730.22(4)A Dailly (Anakie)
Race No. 3Hume Cup Ht17:58 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 600 metres at The meadows Of $10,285 Prizemoney.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1JUST AS FANCY (NSW)[4]2352234.44(8)K Bravo (Lovely Banks)
2DESTINI FIREBALL (NSW)[3]3743734.27(2)E Rinaldi (Lethbridge)
3KAYO MARCIARNO [5]55257NBTG Neocleous (Yinnar South)
4NEW TIBUR [4]1261634.69(8)R Britton (Lara)
5SUPERSONIC HAWK (NSW)[5]33161FSHJ Britton (Anakie)
6LEKTRA GREY [5]16241NBTA Dailly (Anakie)
7PARIS SPARKS [4]5615834.62(4)D Pulis (Moe South)
8INFINITE WISH [5]11112FSTDA Langton (Anakie)
9ECHELONIC ACTION [5]Res.74273NBTL Jones (Woodend)
10CANDLE WISH [5]Res.43848NBTJ Maple (Little River)
Race No. 4Hume Cup Ht28:17 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 600 metres at The meadows Of $10,285 Prizemoney.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1GALLOPING ROCKY [4]3131134.76(2)R Conway (Bunyip)
2FREDDY’S SMILE (NSW)[5]24447FSHM Carter (Violet Town)
3DESTINI GOLD [5]3174434.93(2)E Rinaldi (Lethbridge)
4EMA’S PRINCESS (NSW)[5]8216734.65(6)R Britton (Lara)
5DYNA WERRIBEE (NSW)[4]3213135.08(7)S Collins (Lara)
6ROCK DOMINATION (WA)[5]2165434.76(6)J Briffa (Lara)
7PROVEN IMPALA [1]7211534.23(2)J Borg (Maryborough)
8BOOKKEEPER (NSW)[2]1122134.21(1)G Dainton (Cosgrove South)
9SWEET IT IS [5]Res.6443434.96(1)L Jones (Woodend)
10CANDLE WISH [5]Res.43848NBTJ Maple (Little River)
Race No. 5Hume Cup Ht38:40 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 600 metres at The meadows Of $10,285 Prizemoney.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1CINTIARNA [3]1852134.33(8)S Collins (Hazelwood)
2BLUE GIANT [4]7346334.53(8)P Akathiotis (Reservoir)
3EASTON BALE (NSW)[5]33232NBTA Dailly (Anakie)
4EVIE’S ENTITY [5]42261FSTDL Smith (Devon Meadows)
5STETSON DONNA [5]33647NBTP Dundon (Finley)
6MAJOR LEAGUE (NSW)[4]2826134.71(6)B Ennis (Lara)
7HAILSTORM BILLY (NSW)[5]16532FSTDA Langton (Anakie)
8SHADOW LANE [4]1343134.52(5)M Carter (Violet Town)
9SWEET IT IS [5]Res.6443434.96(1)L Jones (Woodend)
10ECHELONIC ACTION [5]Res.74273NBTL Jones (Woodend)
Race No. 6Macro Meats8:57 PM (VIC time)
Free For All event over 525 metres at The meadows Of $8,940 Prizemoney.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1JOSHUA BALE (NSW)[4]2112330.14(1)M Delbridge (Balliang)
2BUCKLE UP MASON (TAS)[3]1112129.76(2)G Bate (Lara)
3ALLEN MAKOTO (NSW)[1]1616329.78(4)M Delbridge (Balliang)
4IONA SEVEN (NSW)[4]2111430.31(1)R Britton (Lara)
5BRENT BALE (NSW)[2]1185330.00(8)M Delbridge (Balliang)
6IMRY BALE (NSW)[1]3611729.83(2)G Bate (Lara)
7GOLD TOWN [4]1111F29.92(1)P Hunt (Lara)
8DR. PAULIE [4]7747230.12(3)L Delbridge (Balliang)
Race No. 7Hume Cup Ht49:19 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 600 metres at The meadows Of $10,285 Prizemoney.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1ALPE D’HUEZ [5]31532NBTK Bravo (Lovely Banks)
2CZAR (NSW)[4]5214534.70(8)R Britton (Lara)
3BING GORDYN [5]42442NBTD Pell (Toolleen)
4HURRICANE ISAAC [4]1765334.62(1)A Flores (Yinnar South)
5SEE HIM FIRST [4]3141734.53(6)M Mallia-magri (Avalon)
6MAGPIE BOB [4]11361NBTD Hobby (Nambeelup)
7DASHING MAN (QLD)[4]3221234.45(1)B Ennis (Lara)
8ESPECIALLY [5]64451FSTDP Knott (Carnegie)
9ECHELONIC ACTION [5]Res.74273NBTL Jones (Woodend)
10CANDLE WISH [5]Res.43848NBTJ Maple (Little River)
Race No. 8Sky Channel Topgun (gobis)9:52 PM (VIC time)
S/E Group 1 event over 525 metres at The meadows Of $224,500 Prizemoney.
1st: $150,000 2nd: $43,000 3rd: $21,500 GOBIS: $10,000.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1PETER ROCKET [2]2112729.95(4)K Hellmuth (Pearcedale)
2PUNCH ONE OUT (NSW)[4]13211NBTG Fennelly (Mount Nathan)
3TOMAC BALE (NSW)[1]3251229.67(2)M Delbridge (Balliang)
4SPUD REGIS [1]1223129.63(1)A Dailly (Anakie)
5XYLIA ALLEN (NSW)[2]3321429.63(1)G Bate (Lara)
6GLEN GALLON (QLD)[4]2426329.69(3)T Brett (Grandchester)
7ERNIE BUNG ARROW (SA)[4]11111FSHK Gill (Lewiston)
8DYNA NALIN (NSW)[2]1411229.89(1)P Stuart (Nambeelup)
9GOLD TOWN [4]Res.1111F29.92(1)P Hunt (Lara)
10MARCUS JOE [3]Res.4726F29.66(3)B Moloney (Marcus Hill)
Race No. 9Hume Cup Ht510:20 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 600 metres at The meadows Of $10,285 Prizemoney.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1MY ILLUSION (NSW)[4]5622134.98(2)T Turnbull (Crowlands)
2TAKE IT ALL (NSW)[3]4426134.59(1)D Mcdonald (Devon Meadows)
3BORN ALI [3]6521134.35(8)R Britton (Lara)
4REBELATION [4]3225434.64(7)M Mallia-magri (Avalon)
5JETHRO (TAS)[2]1441334.57(2)K Greenough (Pearcedale)
6ARISING [4]3371234.27(8)J Cottrell (Langwarrin)
7LUKEY DEEZ [4]1356334.65(3)M Carter (Violet Town)
8HALA BELLE [4]5131434.44(1)J Borg (Maryborough)
9SWEET IT IS [5]Res.6443434.96(1)L Jones (Woodend)
10CANDLE WISH [5]Res.43848NBTJ Maple (Little River)
Race No. 10Hume Cup Ht610:37 PM (VIC time)
S/E Heat event over 600 metres at The meadows Of $10,285 Prizemoney.
1st: $7,200 2nd: $2,060 3rd: $1,025.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1DYNA WILLOW (NSW)[5]71122NBTS Collins (Lara)
2VICKY POLLARD [5]11257FSTDD Pell (Toolleen)
3HAWK ALONE [4]1432134.73(5)A Dailly (Anakie)
4SURF MAIL [3]6313334.79(2)D Mcdonald (Devon Meadows)
5IMMY ROSE [4]1514834.41(1)N Rooney (Lara)
6SPEED LANE [4]6352734.75(6)M Carter (Violet Town)
7ARIZONA PEARL (NSW)[5]64343NBTG Bate (Lara)
8OUR PALE ALE [5]63383NBTM Quick (Haddon)
9SWEET IT IS [5]Res.6443434.96(1)L Jones (Woodend)
10ECHELONIC ACTION [5]Res.74273NBTL Jones (Woodend)
Race No. 11Ajs Corporation10:57 PM (VIC time)
Mixed 4/5 event over 525 metres at The meadows Of $7,600 Prizemoney.
1st: $5,320 2nd: $1,520 3rd: $760.

No.NameFormBestTrainer

1OWEN BALE (NSW)[4]7414130.08(8)S Collins (Lara)
2LUCIFER’S FURY [4]2126730.39(4)P Love (Strathfieldsaye)
3ORARA GEORGE (NSW)[4]5334130.65(7)C Mclennan (Airport West)
4KOKODA SPIRIT [5]1426530.15(3)M Morrissey (Strathfieldsaye)
5DYNA SUZIE (NSW)[4]5226830.24(3)S Collins (Lara)
6DOLCE VITA [4]4231630.17(3)P Triaca (Redcastle)
7COLLIN BALE (NSW)[5]3778829.99(2)A Dailly (Anakie)
8SHERWOOD FLEX (NSW)[4]3334130.27(4)M Bannerman (Reefton)
9KALIMNA ELITE [5]Res.5656530.62(1)R Sharples (Murchison)
10DYNA TONY (NSW)[5]Res.6645630.62(7)S Collins (Lara)

This Week In Racing History: October 22nd- October 28th 2013

22nd

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 hadn’t been the Derby he would not have run him.

On the same night, Dream’s 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.

23rd

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.

24th

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.

25th

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 Glider’s Son, and Peter Glider) third.

26th

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.

Bob’s 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 Fool’s 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.

27th

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.

28th

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.

WA’s Best Sprinter Targets Topgun Trophy

Dyna Nalin is set to represent WA in the Group 1 Topgun at the Meadows next Saturday night.

WA’s 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.

“Running second probably hindered him if anything because they probably expected him to win,” Paul Stuart said.

“If he won he would have been an automatic start, but because he didn’t win he left himself open to be not selected.”

Dyna Nalin has drawn box eight in the final

“Box eight reduces his chances of winning quite severely,”

“It’s 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.”

Stuart believes that there are a number of dogs in the race that are drawn to win.

“Peter 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).”

“Tomac Bale is drawn quite well with box three, he should probably go close to leading.”

“Ernie Bung Arrow likes it out wide and he has box seven, he also likes to use a little bit of the track early.”

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.

“He won’t lead, no chance.”

“His 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.”

“Peter Rocket is the dog to beat because he has got the red.”

Paul Stuart will fly over with Dyna Nalin on Sunday morning, leaving girlfriend Adele Hobby to look after the kennels and a pregnant Miata.

“He will have a trial at the Meadows Monday night and that will be it going into Saturday.”

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.

“He ran second in the Maturity at the Meadows. Overall, including trials, he has been around there five or six times.”

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.  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.

“He is going for the Melbourne Cup anyway and hopefully he gets a run the in the Shoot Out.”

“The Shoot Out is 10 days after the Topgun and the Melbourne Cup heats are a week after that.”

“I’ll see what happens, I don’t know if I will bring him home or not, he is okay over there if he stays.”

The son of Ashom Bale and Tally Bale broke in well but didn’t have the early speed to match the dogs around Victoria. Therefore he looked to suit Cannington’s 530 metre trip.

“He was a bit of an experiment that turned out.”

After Dyna Nalin’s Perth Cup performance, he showed Cannington onlookers that he was the real deal when he easily upstaged one of WA’s strongest Puppy Classic fields.

Dyna Nalin’s 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.

“He can’t be perfect everywhere otherwise he would be Brett Lee.”

“He is always a place chance because that is the way he races, he can come from last and still run a place.”

“I can never be 100% confident with him because he’s at risk of getting caught in traffic.”

Dyna Nalin is Paul Stuart’s second participant in the Group 1 Topgun- in 2011 the late Pedrosa represented WA. Unfortunately he finished unplaced.

“I 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.”

WA’s talented chaser has proven once before that he can lead early at the Meadows, so here’s hoping he can find himself at the front end of the pack and put himself in a prime position for the Topgun title.

Gill’s Arrow Is Shooting Straight For Stardom

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 SA’s most prestigious event

“I’ve been in a group 3 a couple of times- I’ve won the Derby before and I have won the Gawler Cup before- but a Group 1 is a little bit better”.

“I 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 early”

“He has early pace and it wins 90% of races if they can lead, so I hope he can keep it”.

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 winner’s 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 Arrow’s 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.

“We 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 not”.

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 series’ for the dog he proclaims to be ‘the best dog I’ve trained’.

“I don’t 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 that’s worth 30-odd thousand and is a group 3. He is still only a young dog so I don’t think we will head to the Melbourne Cup. We will try and keep him in his own age as much as we can”.

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.

Bell Haven Chasing Consecutive Sydney Cups

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.  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.  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

“I 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 now”

“We 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 track”.

“The 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 race”.

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.

“I think that the wider the draw for her, the better. It’s 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 them”

“If we have a bit of luck we will be there, but if we have a bit of bad luck we mightn’t be”

“I haven’t 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 can’t give them too much of a start”.

Medhurst also believes that Bell Haven will have derived confidence from last week’s run, with her previous start at the Glebe circuit a rough and tough event from the get-go

“I 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 bit”

The daughter of Head Bound and It’s A She left for Sydney yesterday in order to prepare for tonight’s 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.

“She 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 race”.

“Deb’s the type of person that it doesn’t 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 it’s before or after the race”

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

“She is marvellous, we think the world of her and it’s all about her. When she is not Bell Haven and if she doesn’t perform well for a few starts in a row then we will seriously consider retirement.”

“She has done everything for us and the main thing is her, we just think the world of her- the owners love her.  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 magnificent”

“To 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 else”.

The Group 3 Bohemia Crystal Sydney Cup is race eight tonight at Wentworth Park and will jump at 9:47pm.

Lenehan’s Golden Boy Excels In Bob Payne

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.

“I’ve always loved greyhounds. My dad had them when we were children but there were 14 of us in my family and he couldn’t afford to race them. It was like a dollar to race them and two dollars if you won so you couldn’t make much money. He reared them up but never raced them much”, Lenehan explained.

“I 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 did”.

“We’ve 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 Nashemraro”.

“Sydney 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 ago”.

Lenehan has predominately bred and reared his greyhounds throughout his involvement within the sport, with his greyhounds being trained by some of the nation’s best.  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

“I 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 win”.

“It was not until he got to third I thought ‘well he is coming home hard, he’s got a good chance’. But I didn’t really expect him to win”.

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.

“He 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

“I was talking to Graeme Bate, it’s 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 field”.

“Graeme said all along that he’d be a champion if he could only box well. Most times he misses the start and even now he doesn’t get out quick. He is just using his track sense now, he knows where to go”.

“He just seems to have found his way. He will go through fields and not run into other dogs now”.

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.

“We are hoping to get into the Topgun but that’s a select field and only eight go into it. It’s worth $150,000 at The Meadows but I’ll just leave it to the trainer”.

“Graeme said that he (Hunt) has got a great setup and that he does a great job, it’s spotless and clean. Peter knows exactly what to do with them, he trains really well”.

Xylia Allen Excels In National Sprint Championships Victory

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 Greenough’s 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 Allen’s 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.

“I was very impressed with her genuine brains and her ability to work out the race and where to move as she was going around”, Bate said.

“It was her best win at The Meadows, it has been a track where she has had trouble”.

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.

“I was very confident (before the race)”, Bate reflected.

“Up the back when she hooked to the outside was when I thought she had a good shot”.

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.

“Of 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 there”, Bate commented.

“She 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 going”.

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.

“I wouldn’t 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 well”, Bate said.

Xylia Allen’s 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.

“I 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 greyhound”, 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. “It was a bit of a shock”, Bate admitted.

“I didn’t really expect it because I thought a few of the other trainers would be in front of me”.

“I thought I was just going along for Xylia Allen”.

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.

State Of Origin – NSW Greyhound Racing’s Top 17

With the deciding game of this year’s State of Origin series this Wednesday night, Australian Racing Greyhound has compiled our own state teams featuring the best of all time from Queensland and New South Wales. As always, a list of this nature draws with it controversy and we the authors acknowledge that an argument can be made for the countless other (greats) who are not listed below. This list represents the New South Wales team and their contribution to Australian greyhound racing; past, present and future.

1. COACH PAUL CAUCHI

Cauchi is a hall of fame inductee and was a leading trainer in NSW during 1971, 1972 and the 1980’s. Cauchi started his training career in 1958 and trained numerous champions including Ragsie, Coorparoo Flyer, Miami Moss, and Pied Rebel just to name a few. Cauchi trained winners of the group one Association Cup and the group one National Sprint Championship amongst a stack of feature wins.

2. COACH ALLEN WHEELER

How could you write a list of the best to come from NSW without mentioning the man that started the Bale dynasty? Although breeding was his forte, Wheeler still managed to train some of the dogs he bred to win group finals and he also took out the Sydney city owners and trainers premiership four times. The legacy of the Wheeler family will live on forever with their line of Bale, Dyna and Allen chasers.

3. Chief Havoc (Trion- Thelma’s Mate) Whelped September 1944

The white and fawn speedster was known in his era as ‘the wonder dog’ and was believed to be the fastest greyhound in the world. Chief Havoc or Patches as he was affectionately known was purchased by Jack Millerd at five weeks of age. Chief Havoc had 36 starts on the track for 26 wins and seven placings. He set or equalled records in races at Harold Park, Wentworth Park, Bathurst , Dubbo, Dapto, Tamworth , Maitland, Wollongong , Gosford, Parkes, Lismore, Casino, Cessnock and Grafton. When in his prime, crowds of 17,000 would flock to Harold Park to witness Chief Havoc race. He was seen as so superior in comparison to his opposition that trainers refused to nominate against him. In the breeding barn Chief Havoc sired 453 litters and became a legendary sire so much so that the first 15 NSW Greyhounds of the year were direct descendants of him. Chief Havoc died in 1957 and was laid to rest at the Gunnedah track.

4. Macareena (Chief Havoc- Casson) Whelped June 1951

After her father Chief Havoc stunned the nation with his sheer speed, Macareena came along and emulated his success- something that no one saw coming. Throughout her career the brindle bitch set the track ablaze, setting a total of 20 track records- one more than Chief Havoc. In a time when handicapped racing was popular, competitors started refusing to nominate their charges against Macareena unless their greyhounds were given a head start against her. Macareena retired with the outstanding credentials of 96 starts for 50 wins and 32 placings.

5. Black Top ( Top Linen- Classy Jane) Whelped February 1961

The great Black Top was bred at Birmingham Gardens, a suburb of Newcastle by Edna Hanson out of Bi-Annual Classic winner Classy Jane. Frank Holmes, the trainer of Classy Jane was given a pup from the litter as thanks for guiding her to victory in the prestigious event. The pup Holmes chose was Black Top. The black pup only raced for twelve months yet managed to record 17 wins and 2 seconds from a mere 20 starts. His most notable wins included the 1962 St Leger (running race record time), the 1962 Vic Peters Classic (in race, track and world record times over 500 yards) and the 1962 Interstate Challenge. Black Top retired to stud and commenced his duties in August 1963. The well-bred dog was a phenomenal sire- mating 1326 bitches, producing 6000 puppies with his progeny winning approximately 10,000 races. The Black Top dynasty was enormous with his offspring claiming countless records and feature races.

6. Zoom Top (Black Top- Busy Beaver) whelped August 1966

The dazzling Zoom Top has to be one of the most versatile chasers of all time. Almost half a century since she was born her legend lives on and she is still commonly referred to as one of the best to ever grace the track. The fawn flash started racing at just fourteen months of age breaking her maiden at Goulburn over 500 yards. Zoom Top was renowned for her ability to adapt to different distances without batting an eyelid. Zoom Top had 136 starts for 68 wins, 25 seconds and 14 thirds. Zoom Top won on 24 different tracks throughout her career, set or equalled 15 track records and won races from 292 metres up to 795 metres. Zoom Top made 17 major finals throughout her career winning eleven of them; Wentworth Park Gold Cup 68, 69 Association Cup 68, 69 Richmond Oaks 68, Dapto Silver Collar 68, Sydney Cup 68, Summer Cup 68, NSW St Leger 68, Olympic Park Distance Championship 69 and NCA Cup at Sandown 69.

7. Promises Free (Temlee- Tara Silk) whelped February 1980

Promises Free, or the Blue Flash as she was known as at the time was a champion bitch owned and bred by Alan Pringle. In 1981 Promises Free took out the NSW St Ledger at Wentworth Park running 30.82 seconds. The 28 kilogram bitch also claimed two major races in 1982. In April she went to Harold Park and won the Bi-Annual Classic before heading back to Wentworth Park in June where she claimed the National Futurity. As a proven group winner, Promises Free was retired to the breeding barn and produced the litter of the century when mated to Brother Fox. Whelped in 1986, it was Promises Free’s fourth litter and included nine male pups that were all retired to stud after their careers. The litter including Amerigo Man, Bogenfel, Carnival Boy, Edmonton, Fortune Bay, Half Nelson, Jet Cruiser, Walkabout Sid and West Cape. These dogs each went on to become influential sires, with their bloodlines pulsing through many of the chasers we see on the track to this day.

8. Winifred Bale (Temlee- Emiline Bale) whelped August 1980

Even the race caller was cheering for Winifred Bale in the 1983 National Sprint Championship at Harold Park, proclaiming ‘Go Winnie Go’ as she stretched out in front of the field. Winifred Bale was owned and trained by Allen Wheeler Jnr and had 81 starts for 41 wins and 28 placings. Winifred Bale helped to put the Wheeler’s on the map, forging a path of greatness for them within the industry. The red fawn and white bitch was the NSW Greyhound of the year in 1982 and 1983 and in the process gave Allen Wheeler his first NSW greyhound of the year which up until that point had eluded him with both Emiline Bale and Mercia Bale nominated but never receiving the top honour. Winifred Bale won feature events across two years; in 1982 she took out the Sandown Laurels and NSW St Leger whilst in 1983 she notched up victory in the Appin Opal, Ladies Bracelet, National Futurity, Richmond Oaks and the National Sprint Championship.

9. National Lass ( Chief Dingaan- Waroo Lass) Whelped September 1982

It is hard to compose a list of the best without including Richie Dean’s terrific bitch National Lass. Owned by Richard Zammitt, the black bitch was the NSW Greyhound of the year in both 1984 and 1985. During her career, National Lass was a sizzling sprinter but later made the transition to the staying trip where she was simply electrifying. Her feature wins included the 1984 Coca Cola Cup at the Gabba and The Sun Toy Fund Cup at Wentworth Park. In 1985 she returned and took out three feature races at Wentworth Park- The Sydney Cup, Summer Cup and a consecutive Sun Toy Fund Cup as well as the Christmas Gift at Richmond. In 1986 she claimed the Wentworth Park Gold Cup. National Lass also broke six track records, one of which was her own at; Gosford 689m (41.20 seconds), Wentworth Park 722m (42.70), Richmond 620m (37.20, 37.03), Richmond 537m (31.24) and Dapto 722m (42.82). National Lass was retired after dropping a back muscle at Wentworth Park but went on to become a fantastic broodbitch with her pup Little Deaver winning the 1991 St Leger and the 1992 National Derby.

10. Brother Fox ( Little Blade- Pitstock Park) whelped February 1983

Brother Fox was without a doubt one of the best dogs not only of his generation, but of all time. The red brindle speed machine only had nineteen starts on the track but that resulted in twelve wins and five placings. The great champ started his career in the Grafton Maiden Classic in 1984 winning his heat before finishing third in the final. Brother Fox went on to notch up victories at Maitland and Singleton before heading to Harold Park to contest the Vic Peters Memorial Classic. Brother Fox was emphatic in the final scoring by five lengths in a track record time of 25.82 seconds. Brother Fox returned to the race track the following year winning the Potential Stakes at Wentworth Park before heading to Tasmania for a crack at the Hobart Thousand. In his heat, Brother Fox not only won but also set a track record of 28.35 seconds. ‘The Fox’ then broke his own track record in the semi-finals (28.21) before taking out the final the following week (28.31). After an unsuccessful Adelaide Cup series, Brother Fox returned to NSW and took out the Vic Peters Bi-Annual Classic (now the Peter Mosman) at Harold Park. This was the last feature win for Brother Fox who was then retired to stud by Steve Kavanagh. Despite having a service fee of $1,000 Brother Fox was inundated with bookings and went on to become a leading sire and sire of sires.

11. Worth Doing ( Brother Fox- Versatile Miss) Whelped November 1986

Anyone who witnessed this speed machine at his best would say Worth Doing is one of the fastest dogs they have seen. The beautiful blue brindle dog claimed two group one’s throughout his career. In October 1988 Worth Doing took out the group one Vic Peters Memorial final in track record time clocking 29.74 seconds. The following February, the son of Brother Fox returned to Wentworth Park and triumphed in the group one National Derby. In the era of grass at Wentworth Park, Worth Doing emerged as a champion after his staggering 20 length win where he smashed the track record running a scintillating 29.50 seconds- a time that in those days was unheard of. Worth Doing was retired to stud and became a champion in the breeding barn as a sire of multiple group winners, many of whom went on to stand at stud and become great producers themselves.

12. Jessica Casey (Amerigo Man- Osti’s Shadow) Whelped Jan 1989

Jessica Casey was a beautifully bred bitch who was destined to be a star on the race track. The blue brindle speedster raced in an era dominated by tenacious and champion chasers and proved herself worthy of being compared to them. Jessica Casey was the NCA NSW 1991 Greyhound of the year, crowned after her stunning performance in the 1991 National Sprint Championship whilst she also took out the 1992 Golden Easter Egg.

13. Rapid Journey ( Amerigo Magic- Miss Courtney) Whelped May 1995

Rapid Journey is often thought to be the best dog of the 90’s. Bred in NSW by John and Jane Curruthers, the red brindle powerhouse did not have the most fashionable bloodlines but he certainly possessed the heart to make up for it. Rapid Journey did not set the world on fire when he first started his career and spent his early days racing around local country tracks. As he matured he developed into a handy city dog before blossoming into a champion. Rapid Journey retired with the career statistics of 54 starts for 33 wins, 6 seconds and 5 thirds. Included in those wins were track records at Wentworth Park (520), Dubbo (516), Cannington( 530) and Beenleigh(555). Rapid Journey took out the 1998 Adelaide Cup, 1998 Golden Easter Egg, 1998 Perth Cup, 1998 National Sprint Championship, 1998 Melbourne Cup and the 1998 Topgun. When claiming the Topgun Rapid Journey became Australia’s Highest Stakes Earning greyhound with $530,995 in the bank.

14. Mint Magic (New Fox- Franklin Mint) Whelped May 1997

Ray Watson’s Mint Magic was a brilliant chaser of her time facing the starter on 37 occasions from which she managed 25 wins and 6 placings. The red brindle bitch started her career racing around the Hunter Valley, breaking her maiden at Singleton before moving on to Cessnock and Maitland. Throughout her career, Mint Magic took out the group two Border Park Galaxy over two consecutive years in 1999 and 2000 whilst she also emulated her sire New Fox when taking out the group one Topgun at The Meadows. The 29 kilogram bitch held track records on the grass at Maitland 457m (25.33) and Singleton 384m (21.05).

15. Paua To Burn (Awesome Assassin- Alice Dooley) Whelped July 2002

The great Paua To Burn was bred, owned and trained by Steve White. White raced her dam and her grand dam, with Alice Dooley producing some handy city winners and record breakers from her first three litters to Light Of Fire, Awesome Assassin and Elle’s Commando however it was her fourth litter, a repeat mating to Awesome Assassin that a superstar of the track was born. Paua To Burn had 58 starts from which she notched up 28 wins and 13 minors. The black and white bitch made 17 group race finals and took out her fair share including the 2004 Laurels, 2004 & 2005 Sapphire Crown Classic, 2005 Golden Easter Egg, 2005 Temlee, 2006 New Year’s Cup and the 2006 Rookie Rebel. Paua To Burn also set five scorching track records throughout her career; Nowra 520m (29.98), Bulli 472m (26.02), Sandown 515m (29.41), The Meadows 600m (34.09) and Wentworth Park 520m (29.51)

16. Cindeen Shelby (Bombastic Shiraz- Proper Shelby) Whelped August 2006

Cindeen Shelby was bred by Deen Parkinson and owned by Ray Parkinson. The red fawn bitch started her career racing at the Gardens, Maitland, Gosford and Wentworth Park before claiming her first group final, the 2008 group two Young Stars Classic at start fifteen. This was the start of a fantastic career for Cindeen Shelby who was later transferred to Kel Greenough’s Victorian kennel. Greenough steered her to victory in the 2009 group one Topgun, 2009 group one Paws of Thunder, 2009 group one Sapphire Classic and the 2009 group two black top. By the time she retired in 2010 Cindeen Shelby had won 32 of her 55 starts with 9 seconds and 3 thirds and over $443,000 in prizemoney.

17. Black Magic Opal (Magic Sprite- Glamorous Opal) May 2011

A good list would not be complete without a greyhound representing the present and future. Bred by Les and Carol Hudson on the Central Coast of NSW, Black Magic Opal may not have a shelf full of trophies from group wins yet, but he looks set to be the next star of the sport. So far the black dog has claimed one group race, the group two Maitland Gold Cup before being sold to Victoria. A NSW pup at heart, Black Magic Opal has won 19 of his 24 starts with 4 minor placings and despite his tender young age, he looks as if he can conquer the group racing scene in Australia and potentially become one of the greats.

State Of Origin – Qld Greyhound Racing’s Top 17

With the deciding game of this year’s State Of Origin series this Wednesday night, Australian Racing Greyhound has compiled our own state teams featuring the best of all time from Queensland and New South Wales. As always, a list of this nature draws with it controversy and we the authors acknowledge that an argument can be made for the countless other (greats) who are not listed below. This list represents the Queensland Team and their contribution to Australian Greyhound Racing; past, present and future.

1.Tony Zammit – (Trainer – Coach)

Champion Queensland Trainer and Hall of Fame inductee. Winner of 17 Metropolitan Queensland Training Premierships including 11 in a row. Trained Qld Greyhound of the Year winners and finalists as well as countless group winners. Zammit has produced top chasers including – Surf Lorian, Credibility and Trojan Tears amongst a host of other superstars. Involvement in the industry spanning over 40 years and a testament to the racing game. Possesses the ability to always have his chasers give 110%.

2. Tony Brett (Trainer)

Tony Brett has put the polish on some of the best greyhounds to have graced the track in recent years including Bogie Leigh, Black Enforcer, Glen Gallon and Queen Lauryn to name only a few. A trainer that tests his ability on a national scale, he isn’t afraid to travel interstate targeting feature group races and the rewards that they bring. A trainer with a great belief in his ability he has put the polish on Greyhound of year winners and finalists, track record holders and countless group winners.

3. Top Simbi (Milimsimbi – Susie Voile) Whelped March 1971

In the 1970’s, Thursday night racing at the Gabba would come alive under lights and the greyhound the crowd came to see was the Queensland Greyhound Hall of Famer Top Simbi. He excelled at the Gabba winning 20 and running second 3 times from 24 starts. Overall he won 30 races from 49 starts. He was the Gabba Greyhound of the year in 1973 and 1974. A white and brindle chaser his best wins included Lord Mayer’s Cup, Gabba Sprint Championship and the Exhibition Trophy. Trained by Bert Kennedy he was famous for living on the family lounge and was the Gabba 558m track record holder.

4. Pretty Fearless (Pretty Short – Fearless Payout) Whelped January 1985

The 1987 Queensland Greyhound of the Year and another inducted into the Queensland Hall of Fame, Pretty Fearless travelled the country racing and beating the best at the time. Trained by Reg and Mary Crawford, the brindle chaser won the Coca-Cola Cup at the Gabba and the Mining Cup (Perth) and All State Challenge (Perth). He started 47 times for 20 wins and 20 placing’s and finished his career on top of the prizemoney list at the time with $103,000 in stakes.

5. New Tears (Pretty Short – Starfire Lady) Whelped June 1985

A brilliant race track performer who would become an even greater success at stud. A race career that compiled 32 starts resulting in 24 wins, he was a track record holder at Ipswich, Tweed Heads and Olympic Park. At stud he dominated the Australian scene and his name can be found in the pedigree of some of the all-time greats including – Trojan Tears, Sobbing Sal and Light Of Fire. His daughters have thrown champions including Brett Lee, Big Daddy Cool and No Intent to name but a few. A Queensland star both on and off the track, a Queensland Hall of Famer and one of the most potent pedigrees in Australian racing.

6. Tenthill Flyer (Chariot Supreme – National Queen) Whelped May 1988

The broodbitch responsible for generations of greyhounds, Tenthill Flyer produced the first two inductee’s into the Australian Greyhound Hall of Fame in brilliant bitches, Tenthill Doll (by Malawi’s Prince) and Flying Amy (by Credibility). The Jim Gallaway trained chaser had ability on the track setting a track record at Moree and winning a Lord Mayer’s Cup at the Gabba. Found in the pedigree of many champions, she changed the industry off the track producing offspring who can be found in the champions of the past and today.

7. Credibility (Worth Doing – No Liability) Whelped December 1989

Super-fast greyhound on the track who would make his mark as a sire, producing champions whose pedigrees dominate Australian racing. The winner of 21 races with a further 9 placing’s from 39 starts, he was a Track record holder at Toowoomba. He tasted success in winning the Lawnton Cup, Gold Coast Derby, and was a finalist in the National Derby, Tweed Galaxy and Richmond Derby. At stud he produced Just The Best, Nobody’s Fool, Yo Yo’s Boy, Faithful Hawk and Bearability to name a few. A Queensland Hall of Fame inductee.

8. Flying Amy (Amerigo Man – Tenthill Flyer) Whelped May 1992

The Ron Ball trained immortal Flying Amy was a superstar both on and off the track, where her influence continues in racing pedigrees throughout Australia. With 59 career starts resulting in 42 wins, 5 seconds and 5 thirds, the 1994 and 1995 Queensland Greyhound of the Year winner is the best of all time. An inductee into the Hall of Fame, the brindle bitch broke the magical 30 seconds at Albion Park on 9 occasions and was the long standing track record holder at an unheard of 29.73. A multiple group winner and finalist, she is the dam of Just The Best and the most influential greyhound in Queensland history.

9. Tenthill Doll (Malawi’s Prince – Tenthill Flyer) Whelped March 1993

Greyhound Hall of Fame inductee Tenthill Doll was Queensland born and commenced racing on the old Toowoomba track prior to her sale to NSW for $20,000 after 13 starts. A wonderful racetrack performer, she finished her career with 56 starts for 31 wins, 10 seconds and 7 thirds. A multiple group winning bitch and finalist she would be remembered for her success in 3 consecutive Group 1’s, the Egg, Perth Cup and Australian Cup. Finishing her career with $382,000 in prizemoney (Australian Record at Time) she was known for her ability to lead or come from behind in what was a remarkable career. From the same dam as fellow legend Flying Amy, a brilliant greyhound that changed the lives of those around her.

10. Just The Best (Credibility – Flying Amy) Whelped January 1997

Champion sire Just The Best has influenced the pedigrees of greyhounds the world over. The winner of 9 races from 15 starts, with a further 3 placing’s his average winning margin was in excess of 11 lengths. Sub 30 sec runs at Albion Park indicated his ability and he came close to the Albion Park track record with a Best 29.78 – the second quickest ever at the time. Injury stopped a race track career but his success continued off it. At stud JTB produced champions including Hall of Famer Bogie Leigh, Surf Lorian, Elite State and Big Daddy Cool plus many more. JTB female offspring continue to produce with his dams throwing champions including stud dogs and group winners. With royal bloodlines he was destined to be a success and continues to be so.

11. Bogie Leigh (Just The Best – Hypo Havoc) Whelped April 2001

With a career record of 68 starts for 48 wins, 12 seconds and 5 thirds Bogie Leigh set race tracks alight throughout Australia winning over $488,000 in prizemoney. Trained by leading mentor Tony Brett the black chaser was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Bogie Leigh started in 13 Group race finals, winning the 2003 Group 1 Brisbane Cup, 2003 Group 1 Sapphire Crown Classic, 2003 Group 2 Queensland Futurity, 2003 Group 3 Lismore Cup, 2004 Group 1 Golden Easter Egg, 2004 Group 1 Australian Cup. She was the 2004 QLD Greyhound of the Year and the best of her time.

12. Surf Lorian (Just The Best – Barrio Fiesta) Whelped April 2002

Multiple track record holder Surf Lorian produced on the track and continues to produce off it as a leading sire of Group winners and track record breakers throughout Australia. From 19 careers starts, Surf Lorian won 15 with 1 second and 1 third. Track record performances at Albion Park 520 (29.73 Equal (Twice)), Ipswich 520m (30.18), Gold Coast 429 (24.06), and Gold Coast 457 (25.61). The winner of the Group 2 Peter Mosman at Wentworth Park, Surf Lorian was also a Group finalists in the Group 1 Winter Cup at Albion Park and the Group 2 Qld Derby. At stud he has produced Slater, Made To Size, Miss Hot Gossip, Blue Lorian plus many more.

13. Black Enforcer (Token Prince – Miss Corleone) Whelped June 2003

Black Enforcer was a track superstar who dominated racing in 2005. From 35 career starts he finished with 26 wins and 2 placing’s tasting group success when winning the Group 1 Topgun and Group 2 Queensland Derby. He represented Queensland in the National Sprint Final finishing 4th in the final behind Pure Octane. He ran BON times at every track he raced; Albion Park, Gold Coast, Wentworth Park and the Meadows. Retiring to stud with $207,000 in prizemoney, the black chaser was a member of a fantastic litter that included Qld sprint start Token Jet. Black Enforcer has continued to make a name for himself at stud with his offspring winning Group events and being track record holders.

14. Made To Size (Surf Lorian – Queen Size) Whelped April 2005

The Reg Kay trained superstar joins the team as the fastest ever at Albion Park, an unheard of 29.57 TR. The red fawn chaser broke the magical 30 seconds at Albion Park on 7 occasions in his decorated career that finished with 48 starts for 21 wins, and 19 placing’s. On the track he won the Group 1 Winter Cup, Group 3 Pert Cup Consolation, and was a finalist in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup and Group 1 Brisbane Cup where he suffered a career ending injury. Sold at stud to overseas interest he now stands in Macau.

15. Dashing Corsair (Malfoy – Rose Flamenco) Whelped April 2007

The champion greyhound was the first ever to win both the National Sprint (2009) and National Distance (2011) finals – an event that first started in 1965. The 2010 Queensland Greyhound of the Year was trained by Dwyer Lennon and has won the most races at Albion Park, 33 in total eclipsing the long standing record of Winged Runner. Overall he was an iron dog, facing the starter on 124 occasion’s for 57 wins, 16 seconds and 14 thirds. He was a brilliant sprinter and stayer as well as multiple group winner and finalist. He won the 2009 Group 1 National Sprint final in Perth, the 2011 Group 1 National Distance in Brisbane, Group 3 Big Dog Cup, the Super stayers invitational. Overall he sits number 14 on the all-time prizemoney list with $455,000.

16. High Earner (Collision – Double Guess) Whelped May 2007

Second overall in the prizemoney list behind the mighty Miata, the ill-fated High Earner set Australian racetracks alight with his tenacious chasing ability and brilliant box speed. The winner of 33 starts, with a further 13 seconds and 8 thirds from 69 overall starts he was a 6 time Group winner and 12 time Group finalist. With Group 1 wins in the Perth Cup (twice) and Temlee he was a favourite all over Australia. From an outstanding damline that has also produced El Galo and Never Enough he lived up to his name on the track before his ill demise off it when his stud career was just beginning.
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17. Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley – Incoherent) Whelped August 2009

Third on the all-time prizemoney list with $597,000, Queensland’s favourite greyhound continues to inspire the industry with his performances around Australia. The 14 time Group finalist and 3 time Group 1 winner has raced the best since his 8th start. With 64 starts resulting in 36 wins and 12 minor placing’s, he has traversed Australia captivating the industry with guts and determination. Trained by leading mentor Tony Brett, Glen Gallon last start won the Group 1 Winter Cup at Albion Park. Although reaching the twilight of his career, he will long be remembered as one of the greats for Queensland and Australia.

Pushing The Boundaries: Roanokee

In March 1997 trainer Roger Green stated the best distance for his smart young sprinter Roanokee was “from 450 to 500 metres, but he has such brilliant early pace he is capable of getting away with a big 520 metre sprint at Wentworth Park.”

By New Tears out of Free Method, the brindle dog was already proving to be one of the best sprinters to come out of Queensland having made the finals of three major races at Wentworth Park. In the last of these he had just failed to run out the 520 metres, going under narrowly in the National Derby.

As it happened, Green was wrong on one count. Roanokee would never again make a Wentworth Park major final. Yet, just a few months after his statement, the champion sprinter would blitz a reasonable line-up in the Queensland Derby, taking the event in race record time before going on to snare his biggest prize: the 1997 Melbourne Cup, defeating a hot field.

Roanokee was whelped in November 1994 and commenced racing at the July carnival in Grafton in 1996 where he won his first two starts, both over 407 metres, before finishing second at his next run.

Green decided to have a crack at the Young Star Classic series at Wentworth Park with his 20-month-old speedster. He led up in his semi-final but was run down by the smart Kedo’s Millie, and in the final he again reached the lead but ran out of steam in the home straight and faded to finish sixth to Jazzy Tom.

Five successive victories followed, at Toowoomba, Ipswich, Lismore and the Gold Coast, before a seventh to Grysbok in the Lismore Cup (a best eight event).

In October Green had Roanokee back at Wentworth Park for a crack at the Vic Peters Memorial Classic. In his semi-final, Roanokee led all the way and broke his duck at Wentworth Park, defeating Tricky Wind by just over two lengths.

In the final he was never able to reach the lead and faded from second to fifth place behind Tricky Wind, Tranquil Fire, Byrneville Kara and Louisiana Lass, in what proved to be a very good field.

Returning to Queensland Roanokee notched five straight wins at Ipswich and the Gold Coast, including a solid success in the Ipswich Gold Cup.

Green set Roanokee for the Winter Carnival Cup (then known as the Eukanuba Cup) over 520 metres at Albion Park. In his heat he was run down and narrowly beaten by Saint Hallett, but in the $45,000-to-the-winner final Roanokee kept going to defeat Weeping Vixen and Jurassic Vapour in a fast 30.06.

Roanokee ended 1996 having raced 20 times for 14 wins and three seconds.

He began 1997 with wins at Ipswich and Toowoomba and then went back to Wentworth Park for a crack at the National Derby, winning his heat and semi-final and drawing box one for the final. In an exciting and close-fought race Roanokee led everywhere but on the line, fading right at the end to be beaten a neck into third place by Comrade In Arms and fellow Queenslander Deep North.

It wasn’t long after this that Roger Green confessed Roanokee struggled beyond 500 metres but his early speed should help him annex a major Group event.

After a win at Dapto he was set for the Golden Easter Egg but was knocked out after running could only run second in a heat and fifth in his semi-final.

At the end of April he failed to beat a runner home in his heat of the Australian Cup at Sandown, but was later found to be injured and would not race again for almost two months.

When Roanokee returned, in June 1997, he put together a wonderful sequence of nine consecutive wins. It started with two wins over 457 metres at Toowoomba, followed by wins in the heat and final of the Gold Coast Cup (457 metres) and then a resounding success in the heat and final of the Queensland Derby at Albion Park.

In the Derby final, Roanokee scored by six and half lengths in 30.00, setting a new race record and finally proving Roger Green’s claim that he could win a major 520 metre event.

Three more victories followed, at the Gold Coast, Ipswich and a heat of the Brisbane Cup, downing Barrio Babe, to make it nine straight since he resumed.

Barrio Babe reversed the placings in the Brisbane Cup final, downing Roanokee by three-quarters of a length with Victorians Lansley Bale and Chicago Blue third and fourth respectively.

Invited back for a second crack at the Lismore Cup, Roanokee led all the way to score narrowly from Leonie’s Osti. In fourth place was Rapid Journey, then just beginning to make a name for himself.

Roanokee was invited to contest the Topgun in October and did well on a wet track, beaten just under three lengths into third place by Chicago Blue and Awesome Assassin.

Victories followed at Ipswich and Albion Park and then the-now three-year-old took on the Melbourne Cup, easily winning his heat before picking up the $100,000 winners purse in downing Lansley Bale and World Title in the final. It was to be the high-water mark of his grand career.

Back in Brisbane, Roanokee again made the final of the Winter Carnival Cup (that year called the Nutrience Cup), but from a wide alley could only run sixth behind Wine Glass in the final.

He closed out the year with a win in top grade at Albion Park to finish 1997 having raced 32 times for 23 wins and four placings. It was no surprise when Roanokee was named as Queensland Greyhound of the Year, defeating Smooth Rumble and Wine Glass for the honour.

He began 1998 by again failing to make the Australian Cup final when last behind eventual final winner Fibba in his heat.

The brindle quickly bounced back with victory in the Toowoomba Cup before ending his career with another failed tilt at the Golden Easter Egg, running second in his heat and fourth in his semi-final.

Roanokee finished with 40 wins, six seconds, and two thirds from only 59 starts. He was undefeated in seven starts at the Gold Coast and eight runs at Toowoomba, all of them over 457 metres. At Albion Park he won eight of 11 starts with two seconds. He earned $297,850 in prize money, at the time an amount second only to Flying Amy among Queensland-domiciled greyhounds.

Bombastic Shiraz Bows Out In Grand Style

2012 will be remembered as the year one of Australia’s greatest ever sires retired from his stud duties, but not before stamping his authority as the best sire once again from the Australian Greyhound Racing Associations rankings that award points to offspring who compete in group races on a sliding scale. Taking out first place after a sensational year, Bombastic Shiraz finished with 1580 points, last year’s winner Collision was runner up with 1111 points and Where’s Pedro again took out a top three placing in third with 928 points.

Undoubtedly Bombastic Shiraz’s best offspring for 2012 and one of his greatest of all time is the Western Australian superstar Miata (x Winsome Bluebird). During her amazing year establishing herself as one of the greats, she claimed four group one races including; Cannington’s Galaxy, Wentworth Park’s Association Cup, Hobart’s Distance Championship and Sandown’s Bold Trease. This now makes her eligible for the greyhound racing hall of fame, a feat that now seems imminent with still plenty of racing left in her career.

In total Bombastic Shiraz’s offspring took out eight group ones, four group twos and four group three races.
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Graeme Bate & Gunda Bale Upset The Laurels Classic Final

Gunda Bale caused one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Macro Meats Laurels when the rank outsider proved too good at Sandown Park tonight.

With first split record holder Purcell Bale missing the start from box 2, the field jostled for position in the run to the first turn. Many greyhounds found trouble however Gunda Bale stuck fast to the rails and found herself three lengths clear on entering the back straight.

The chasing pack set off in pursuit of the unexpected front runner, however they could do little to reign in the lamp lighter, Gunda Bale going on to defeat the gallant Oenjay Dancer by 1.5 lengths with favourite and kennel mate Langi Bale a further 1.5 length away third in 30.01 seconds.
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Breaking Down The Numbers

I can only speak for myself, but I find the ever-changing list of Australian prizemoney records seen on this site to be really fascinating. It’s amazing how numbers can tell a story, or in a lot cases, be so misleading.

What it does do is read as a who’s who of our sport over the past 20 years, with just about every Melbourne Cup, Australian Cup, Topgun and Golden Easter Egg winner getting a mention. I found it a bit of a stroll down memory lane, with mumblings along the lines of ‘Oh remember him’ being heard many times as my eyes scanned down the table of names. But when the raw figures are broken down, without any other context and looked at in a bit more depth, some fascinating findings begin to emerge.

First of all, the three dogs at the top of the tree – High Earner, El Grand Senor and Radley Bale – all raced at a similar time and have all retired within the last two years. They all won between 33 and 37 races, however El Grand Senor had 59 fewer starts than Radley Bale and 26 less than High Earner.
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