If a week’s a long time in football, then a year is an eternity in greyhound racing. No dog’s story can prove this more than South Australian legend Ernie Bung Arrow.
Ernie was the hero of Angle Park in 2013 and his group race assault at Angle Park kicked off with the 2013 Group Three SA Derby in September. Next on the radar was the 2013 Group One Adelaide Cup, a title that Ernie will be trying to defend this year, starting with tonight’s heat. The final group win for Ernie was the 2013 Group Three Brian Johnstone Memorial.
After the win in the Brian Johnstone memorial the freak sprinter went on to win his next four starts. But from there it was all bad news. Ernie had his first serious injury early in 2014.
“I was just getting him ready to go back to Kel Greenough for the Temlee and he injured his his wrist. He had two chips and a crack in the wrist. We removed the two chips and had to plaster the crack, which put him out for a long time”, explained trainer Ken Gill.
“He was out for months and then when we were bringing him back he hit a fence and hurt himself again.”
“Then he hurt a monkey muscle at Kim’s and got kennel cough, it’s been one thing after another.”
With one run over the 388m at Angle Park since January the obvious question is how will the champion go in his return to big time racing.
“He can’t be 100% but will go ok. He won’t disgrace himself and I think he can just about lead. We just donât know how far off his best he is though. We haven’t had him over the 500 in those periods, but his box to box and post to post efforts have been good with excellent sectionals on his own.”
“The dog is a couple of run’s short and the last 50m might tell tonight. Another two to three weeks and we would have been right. I wouldn’t have got him this far and he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of Kim Johnstone however. Although she didnât race him, she has played a huge part. I definitely wouldn’t have him in this series tonight without all the hard work that Kim put in.”
Tonight and the future will be a waiting game for Ernie’s connections, but they are still hoping that he can reach the level of his past glory.
“We are on the list for the Topgun and it’s a possibility. But I think we will have a crack at the Melbourne Cup if he stay’s sound and we can get him back to the level he was at before.”
Greyhound Box Draw For The Meadows – Saturday, 4 October 2014
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,430 3rd: $720.
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,430 3rd: $720.
1st: $5,750 2nd: $1,645 3rd: $830.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $6,120 2nd: $1,750 3rd: $875.
1st: $6,120 2nd: $1,750 3rd: $875.
1st: $6,260 2nd: $1,790 3rd: $890.
1st: $5,320 2nd: $1,520 3rd: $760.
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,430 3rd: $720.
1st: $5,000 2nd: $1,430 3rd: $720.
My Bro Fabio set the track alight in last week’s Group Three Canberra Cup Heats and he will start the favourite for Sunday night’s final.
Lowering Prince Diablo’s 2011 track record of 29.96, My Bro Fabio was supremely dominant, romping away to a 12 length victory in 29.89 at his first start at the track. He had box one last week and is similarly drawn this week in box two for trainer Brooke Ennis. Gunning trainer Jodie Lord has three runners in the final and her best chance looks to be Cawbourne Whip boxed out wide.
The Canberra Cup has a quality honour roll, with previous winners of this race including former Topgun and Shoot Out winner Jaimandy Coops, Mark’s Wild Girl, Red Hot Lee, Runaway Promises, Mythological, Prince Diablo, Mepunga Geordie and Zipping Willow.
Be sure to check out Centrebet, where you can also get $200 in free bets.markets at
Here’s a look at the 2014 final which is scheduled to start at 8:09pm:
|ARG Comments: A moderate beginner who does not win out of turn. He is yet to win at the track and has won one from seven out of box one. He looks a rough hope at best.||
|My Bro Fabio||
|Jamie Ennis (Kennel Representative): “I was glad he could finally put a performance like that on the board last week. I know everybody has heard me say that he is the fastest dog I’ve had and that he has put some great performances in around The Meadows in heats and stuff like that, but it is great for him to finally get a track record. On ability and times, you’d like to think he can win the Canberra Cup but that is barring an accident or bad luck.”||
|ARG Comments: Has a reasonable strike-rate and boasts a quick win at Wentworth Park. Most of his 11 wins have either been in easier class or over shorter trips. It would be no surprise to see him lead but he will be under siege a fair way from home.||
|ARG Comments: A youngster who has been racing around the country tracks with moderate success. She will need to improve on her best time at the track of 30.55 if she is going to be a winning chance in this.||
|Rue De Kahn||
|ARG Comments: A top-line bitch and Group One National Futurity winner who has done plenty of racing at the elite level. She did not flatter on the clock in her heat win but is definitely the capable of going a lot quicker and could be the improver in the field. She is a definite each way proposition.||
|ARG Comments: This dog has hit a purple patch of form in the last three months with five straight wins, four of which were best on night performances. His heat win was a second slower than the favourite’s track record run which would suggest he is up against it. Should be close to the front early but may find this a little too tough.||
ARG Comments: A strong type who will have little trouble running a strong 530m trip. The concern is that he may be caught up in trouble early. He is definitely a place hope if he is lucky enough to secure a clear run.
|ARG Comments: A quality conveyance who is undefeated over this trip in the nation’s capital from three starts. She can be a little hit-or-miss at box rise but is as strong as they come. She looks the main danger to the favourite.||
|ARG Comments: A veteran Victorian bitch who races mostly over the middle distances. She is certainly not the worst here should she gain a start.||
|ARG Comments: A speedy type who raced on the pace before finishing third last week. Would need to lead to be any hope in the final should he get a start.||
Tommy Brislane is the 2014 Group One Megastar champion, after leading all the way from box three Friday night at Dapto, to secure the title for trainer Steve White and owner Geoff Slattery.
Starting at $8.30 with punters, the son of Premier Fantasy and Mary Virginia was having his first start for a month, after finishing second at Wentworth Park in the NSW National Sprint Final to Chica Destacada.
Trainer Steve White was happy with the box draw of three and was just hoping for some luck in the early stages.
âI think heâs well boxed. Itâs a very hard race as it should be for a group one and he just needs some luck running through the first corner.â
Tommy Brislane was best away with Tony Brettâs Flash Reality matching strides early on. The 34kg chaser bumped him off at the first turn and shot away down the back over Mark Gattâs Ritza Hattie, who was making good ground along the rail. Coming to the home turn Ritza Hattie made one last surge and missed by a neck in the end, with Tommy Brislane securing $75,000 for elated connections.
âOnce he went past me on the home turn I started cheering, then I saw on the TV that Ritza Hattie was getting closer and I was just hoping he could hang on. Mark Gatt has done a great job to get that dog back to her best after four months,â explained White.
âWith so many group winning dogs in the race, Tommy (Brislane) had been trialling well and I was hoping he would jump as well as what he had been.â
âWhen he bumped off Flash Reality at the first turn, I started to think he could win and Iâm really happy for the owner as well.â
Tommy Brislane burst onto the scene back in April at Wentworth Park and won seven of his first eight career starts, including a heat and semi final of the Group One Peter Mosman Classic in 29.71. After finishing fifth in the final, he returned one week later to clock a sizzling time of 29.51 over the 520m, stamping his authority as a genuine Group race contender.
Whiteâs next target will hopefully be the Group One Topgun at the end of October.
âI hope he can make the Top Gun now off the back of that performance and Iâll probably put him in the Bob Payne series as well.â
Tommy Brislane now has an impressive prizemoney total of $116,890 and recorded his tenth win on Friday night from fourteen career starts.
Group One Dapto Megastar Final Results:
1st â Tommy Brislane â Steve White ($75,000)
2nd â Ritza Hattie â Mark Gatt ($15,000)
3rd â Flash Reality â Tony Brett ($7,500)
4th â Woods â Marie Burton
5th â Chica Destacada â Doreen Drynan
6th â Lacey Lois â Peter Acers
7th â Zipping Willow â Jason Mackay
8th â Shoulders â Anthony Azzopardi
S1: 5.34 (4)
S2: 17.09 (3)
Run Home: 12.73
Margins: Neck x 3 Â˝
The Brindle Havoc-Runaway Joe ring-in took place at Lismore in 1949. Three men brought a greyhound they claimed was a Queensland sprinter named Brindle Havoc to race at Lismore. The dog was backed in from 5/2 ($3.50) to 1/3 ($1.30), but was discovered to be a ring-in and was in fact a well-performed NSW greyhound named Runaway Joe. The three men were disqualified, as was the dog. The attempted ring-in eventually led to the introduction of ear branding.
Paulâs Thunder won the first of two successive Sandown Cupâs, in 1970. The black bitch defeated Worthy View by two lengths with champion NSW chaser Busyâs Charm (Zoom Topâs litter sister) a length away third.
Bristol Sue, trained by Doug Payne, won the 1975 South Australian Sprint Championship at Angle Park by three and a half lengths in a track record 30.64 for the 512 metre trip.
Crystal Light, trained by Victorian Peter Giles, won a scrappy 1999 National Futurity, run over 520 metres at Wentworth Park, defeating Pascali Bale by three-quarters of a length with Poetic Light a neck away third.
Velocette managed to defeat the highly-fancied El Galo to collect the 2009 Australian Cup final and pocket $150,000 first prize money, an increase of $25,000 on the previous year. El Galo had also run second in 2008, behind Tasman Queen. The winner was trained by Graeme Bate, his first outright winner of the Cup after sharing the training honours with Blackjack Tom in 2003.
China Trip created history when she won her second consecutive Australian Cup in 1993, then run over 511 metres at Olympic Park. Exiting box six, China Trip began well and led all the way, just lasting to defeat South Australian sprinter True To Do by a head, exactly the same margin she had scored by when winning in 1993. Bomber Gleeson was third in both 1993 and 1994.
Blackjack Tom (trained by Graeme Bate) and Most Awesome (trained by Max Burdekin) dead-heated for first in the 2003 Australian Cup, only the second time a dead-heat had occurred in a major Melbourne sprint event (the first being the inaugural Topgun in 1993).
The first running of the Maturity Classic over 525 metres at the Meadows took place in 2002 with Rocka Cockatoo winning for Patricia Chaker. It was also the last time the final was held in March.
Path To Power set a new raced record of 29.69 in winning the 2006 DDC Launching Pad over 515 metres at Sandown for trainer Darren McDonald.
Worth Doing scored his ninth successive victory when he won the 1989 Richmond Gold Cup, over 537 metres, by eight lengths from top-class sprinter Mister Britain, running a fast 30.95. It was his 21st and last race start. He had raced just five times in 1989 for five wins and would controversially be named NSW Greyhound of the Year.
Harold Park reopened for racing in 1950 under the control of the GBOTA, led by secretary Vic Peters. Greyhound racing at the track had previously been under the control of the Harold Park Trotting Club. On the same night, the first Dave Alexander Memorial Stake was run, taken out by Itâs Easy.
They say a dog is a manâs best friend; this statement couldnât be closer to the truth about Paul Stuart and the freshly named 2013 WA Greyhound Of The Year, Dyna Nalin.
Itâs not just the man hugs or the conversations the pair have while in the kennels, itâs the way Dyna Nalin looks at Paul like he is the only person in the room.
Lovingly named Bobby, the big black dog certainly doesnât lack personality; always wagging his tail like he is something special, which he most definitely is.
In an extremely successful 2013 campaign, Dyna Nalin participated in 36 races, winning on 20 occasions and placing on 11, earning over $485,000. His first big win came at just his 15th career start; when he took out the 2013 Group 1 Perth Cup from box four.
âComing into the Perth Cup I thought he would have been a chance if he got the right run; he did outperform himself from what I had given him credit for.â Trainer Paul Stuart explained.
âHe was very young and inexperienced at the time, and you couldnât be confident with his racing style, let alone in a Group 1 with the likes of Glen Gallon.â
Dyna Nalin has made a name for himself with his come from behind racing style caused by his average early speed. Although watching his races has connections hearts in their mouths, it makes for extra exciting viewing as he rounds up his competitors with ease thanks to his strength.
Throughout the year Dyna Nalin went on to win the invite only Topgun and the Sale Cup. He also ran second in the Maturity Classic, Mandurah Cup and the Shootout.
Stuart names the Sale Cup as his favourite performance from his 2013 campaign.
âThe Sale run was his biggest challenge and his best performance, just because he didnât have the crack-a-jack form coming into the race unlike the others. He pulled something out that night that I didnât think he would, that was probably the biggest surprise and the most memorable. He surprised me big time!â
Winning the WA Greyhound Of The Year didnât come as too much of a surprise for Paul Stuart, although he wasnât 100% aware of the criteria involved in taking out WAâs greatest greyhound honour. He worried about John and Brenda Crossleyâs strong and speedy chaser On Coin who had all his wins on home soil.
âIf it was going off just WA form there were dogs that where well performed here. He would be hard pressed coming up against On Coin because he has had all his wins over here. It was a pretty clear cut selection in the end considering he was in the top three in the Australian Greyhound Of The Year. I figured he would have to go close.â
Stuart also had champion Miata nominated for WA Greyhound Of The Year for the second year running.
âI didnât think Miata was in with a chance at all because she only raced for three or so months.â
Even after claiming three Group races and running second in three more Stuart still canât compare Dyna Nalin to his champion Miata.
âHe is a very good dog but she was exceptional; Miata is just in a different league.â
The start of Dyna Nalinâs 2014 Campaign has been on the side of disappointing at his home track of Cannington. Without a win at headquarters this year and an unsuccessful Perth Cup series, WAâs traveling sensation has had to play catch up with the fine form created in his absence by Zelemar Fever and Sveta Monelli.
âHe doesnât have the form like he did last year. That is a combination of a few things; he is older now and has been running in top grade. He was disappointing over 600; I didnât rate him at all, he was pretty ordinary.â
âHe isnât showing his dash like he used to when he was younger. He wouldnât mind having a rest, but thatâs not an option at the moment with the Temlee and all that in a couple weeksâ time. After that he will be having a well-deserved break.â
The son of Ashom Bale â Tally Bale received his nomination for the Temlee last week; the final draw for the invite only race is set to be announced on Wednesday. Competing in the Australian Cup series will depend on if and how Dyna Nalin goes in the Temlee.
After what Stuart is hoping to be a successful trip to Victoria, Dyna Nalin will have a well-deserved rest to freshen him up for his next finals series, the Easter Egg.
While Dyna Nalin is on his working vacation in Victoria, he will be taking the first steps to becoming a sire.
âI just got the paper work back for his DNA and when he goes over for the Australian Cup he will be getting straws taken out of him. Wheeler wants to put him over a few bitches straight away. He could have pups on the ground while he is still racing.â
âWheeler defiantly wants to get some pups on the ground; the prize money is higher for the longer distances, so Wheeler wants to breed dogs with a lot more strength. With the right bitch I would use him as a stud dog. The right bitch would need plenty of speed, because he will throw strength.â
Dyna Nalinâs 2013 WA Greyhound Of The Year trophy will be able to sit among to cabinet full of awards that Paul Stuart has been able to take home; among them Pedrosaâs 2010 and Miataâs 2012 WA greyhound Of The Year trophy.
GRSAâs selection panel for the Greyhound of the Year has determined the five nominations for the prestigious title.
The Gala Awards Dinner will be held on February 22, where the S.A Bred, Sprinting and Staying awards will be announced as well as the overall South Australian Greyhound of The Year.
The panel will now conduct voting between the following five greyhounds for the 2013 title:
ERNIE BUNG ARROW
Breeding: Lochinvar Marlow – Slippersâ Tonic
Trainer: Ken Gill
Owner: Helen Deacon
2013 Record: 18 starts 16-1-0Â $146,620
Greyhound of the Month â July, September, October & December
Won â Heat, Semi & Final Champion Puppy
Heat & Final Schweppes SA Derby (G3)
Heat & Final Triple M Adelaide Cup (G1)
Heat, Semi & Final Brian Johnstone (G3)
The obvious candidate, Ernie Bung Arrow burst on to the scene in the second half of the year. Rising from the age-restricted races, Ernie Bung Arrow quickly garnered national attention via his explosive early speed and lightening sectional times.
Giving his rivals a head start in age, class and experience, he became the first dog in eight years to keep the Adelaide Cup trophy on home soil, before taking his place in the Invitation-only Topgun as a result. Having started 2014 in brilliant fashion with a fourth Group victory, Ernie Bung Arrow will be front of mind for panelists when the voting takes place.
Breeding: Emerley Carlos â Avid Willow
Owner/Trainer: Tony Lagana
2013 Record: 42 Starts.17-7-8 $71,650
Greyhound of the Month â January & February
Won âÂ Â Final SA Sprint Championship (G3 â third in heat)
Heat SA St Leger (third in semi & third in final)
Heat & Final Breeders 2013 Prelude (2)
Heat & Semi Howard Ashton (G3 – third in final)
Heat Gawler Breeders 2013 (second in final)
Consolation Gawler Gold Cup (G3 â third in heat)
Staking the claim of âMr Consistencyâ, Fire Tyson did all of his racing at the top level in 2013. His tendency to use the middle of the track has meant he has been able to overcome poor draws on several occasions. His tenacious nature and rare ability culminated with a final berth in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup.
Breeding: Collision â Abbadale Affair
Trainer: Troy Murray
Owner: Saliba Di Manno (Syn)
2013 Record: Â 34 Starts. 12-5-10 $40,590
Won â Heat West End Anniversary Cup (G3 â second in final)
Heat Gawler South Bakery Cup (third in final)
Heat Gawler Gold Cup (G3 – third in final)
Heat Strathalbyn Cup (fifth in final)
Simply brilliant at his best, Kalden Kurageous came across from W.A in late 2012 and started the new year with a bang. With several sub-30 times at Angle Park, Troy Murrayâs chaser would go on to win over five different distances at three different tracks in 2013. While he was unable to capture his best form in the middle part of the year, Kalden Kurageous bounced back like a good dog should, ensuring his nomination was well deserved.
Breeding: Falcon â Liza Brown
Owner/Trainer: Karen Bearpark
2013 Record: 51 Starts 20-11-8 $45,355
Won â Heat John Gray (second in final)
Final Shane McQueen (second in heat)
Previously known as a talented sprinter, Tercel changed his strategy in 2013 by stepping up to the 600-metre journey with instant success. Quickly knocking up 12 wins over the middle distance, as well as keeping his form over the sprints, no-one would begrudge Tercel a GOTY nomination. Interestingly, Tercel changed kennels in January 2014, racing under the care of Kim Johnstone in recent weeks.
Breeding: Token Prince â Stevie Mclaren
Owner/Trainer: Don Foster
2013 Record: 40 Starts 17-6-8 $30,150
Won â Heat Breeders Prelude 2013 (1) (second in final)
Heat Howard Ashton (G3 â sixth in semi)
Also sixth in Triple M Adelaide Cup consolation
6 starts over 731m at Angle Park for 5 wins and a second.
2 starts over 600m at Angle Park for 2 wins.
While the overall numbers donât look impressive, anyone that saw Token Mclarenâs runs over 600 and upwards in 2013 will understand his nomination. Uncovered as the stateâs next staying star, Token Mclaren had seven wins with a margin of over 10 lengths, including a 17-length demolition job over Angle Parkâs 731-metre trip in November. His times over all three distances were red hot, and are comparable with some of the great stayers in recent years. Expect 2014 to be even better for this highly talented chaser.
Apart from looking at the facts, figures and numbers, it’s always interesting to have a closer look at a race from a different perspective and to listen to trainers and owners and what they say and feel about their dogs. With the Paws of Thunder and Summer Distance Plate final happening on Saturday night, here’s a bit of a look behind the scenes at what some of these dogs are about and what their plans are for the future.
Did you know that Boyce Road is related to the fabulous Oaks Road? He is owned by Edwin Kingswell and trained by Mark Gatt, the same successful combination behind Oaks Road. Boyce Road is by Mystic Pace (Spiral Nikita-Leprechaun Pace) and she is a sister to Oaks Road. Mystic Pace was based in Queensland and never raced. She was mated to Collision in 2010 which resulted in one pup that didn’t race. She (went to Collision again in February 2012 and this repeat mating has produced a number of pups owned by Kingswell and trained by Gatt. You may have seen the likes of Addison Road, Black Road and Red Road racing around the traps and winning plenty. Boyce Road is one of that litter and he has now made a Group 1 final and is fast following in the footsteps of his highly successful uncle Oaks Road.
Smart Valentino has had an interesting preparation for this series with a couple of 500’s contested prior to the heats. Unfortunately there were no staying events available for Smart Valentino, meaning trainer Mark Swift had to resort to racing over 500 metres at Bathurst and Richmond. The benefit is that it has him jumping better, but it highlights the problems for class stayers in NSW. “Everywhere I nominated there was no 700’s, so I thought if I dropped him back to a 500 it might sharpen him a bit, which has worked because heâs starting to jump a bit better. But he just doesnât have the early speed when he hits the ground. It actually worked to his favour the 500âs. Thereâs nothing around”.
Set To Shine’s owner, George Tsohalis also raised a similar issue with the availability of staying events and if Set To Shine holds up, he is considering taking her down to Victoria to do some racing.
Smart Valentino’s next venture may also be in Victoria, depending on whether he gets an invite to the Zoom Top. âIâm waiting to see if he gets into the Zoom Top or not. I’ll find out halfway through the month they said. It’s best eight, invitation only. If he doesnât get into it Iâm going to give him a spell. Heâs the National Champ and won the Newcastle Cup so I’m hoping he’s a chance of getting an invite.” Swift Valentino certainly has the credentials and has no doubt earned a spot in that field.
Then there’s the two group race campaigners in each final that are heading towards potential stud careers at the end of their respective racing careers. Destini Fireball and Peter Rocket are both approaching four years of age and are in the twilight of their careers and they both have impressive resumes. Destini Fireball has cracked half a million dollars in prize money and Peter Rocket has won nearly $300,000. They also both share the same father, the great Where’s Pedro.
Destini Fireball has won four Group 1 races and one Group 2 race. These include the Group 1 Sale Cup, Group 1 Zoom Top, Group 1 Stayer’s Cup, Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup and the Group 2 AVM Distance Championship. A win in the Summer Distance Plate would round off his career well. This is what Rinaldi had to say about his charge, âevery time he steps out itâs been in Group company. Heâs had the young stayers to contend with coming along. Heâs a trooper. This is probably his last campaign, so weâre sorta going all out to try and compete in those races. Heâs won five group races, four Group 1âs and a Group 2 so heâs done pretty well. Thereâs been a lot of people asking when heâs going to stud so weâll just finish his race career and then heâll go to stud. Heâs a good dog, always puts in his best effort.”
As for Peter Rocket, he has won the Group 1 Dapto Megastar, the Group 2 Horsham Cup, ran second in the Group 1 Topgun and was a finalist in the Group 1 Adelaide Cup, Group 1 Melbourne Cup and Group 3 Christmas Gift. Keith Hellmuth, the dogâs trainer, said “heâs been in a lot. It (winning the Paws of Thunder) would be good for his resume. Heâs been a reserve in a couple of Group 1’s and Group 2’s and heâs also raced in a few. Heâs been around. He’s an adaptable dog, he loves travelling, loves getting in the car and sleeping. Heâll go anywhere. He just tries his ass off. After the race, I’ll keep him going, if heâs still keen. Iâd like to put him to stud but donât know if heâll get any bitches. Heâs going as fast as he was when he was young, he just needs a bit of luck.”
Peter Rocket is also a tough dog and has shown his resilience after recovering from a serious thigh injury he suffered in the Adelaide Derby series. “When he went in the Adelaide Derby he tore his thigh over the sheath, in the triangle. I had to get it stitched back up and he had to have four or five months off and heâs come back perfect, it didnât affect him at all. Heâs never backed off once in his life, he just keeps going, he doesnât care.”
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the yet to be two year old Boyce Road. His career his just starting while the likes of Destini Fireball and Peter Rocket are winding up their careers. Keep an eye out for the Bold Trease field and let’s hope Smart Valentino gets a mention. And if you are a fan of Set To Shine, you might see her pop up in a field down in Victoria for a race in the near future.
Whilst we admired and had infinite conversations about the emergence of Australiaâs on-track superstars of 2013, our sensational stud dogs battled it out for top honours in the breeding barn, with legendary sire Bombastic Shiraz prevailing once again.
Sires receive points based on the performance of their offspring in Group races on a sliding scale from first to eighth position. Bombastic Shiraz blew his rivals away scoring 1384 points, with the ever consistent Whereâs Pedro finishing second on 1297 points and Collision third with 790 points.
Unfortunately the greyhound world mourned the passing of Bombastic Shiraz back in October at 12 years of age, with owner-trainer Darren Cairns left with a lifetime of memories on and off the track.
âBaileyâ sired an astonishing seven Group One winners, three Group Two winners and three Group Three victors for 2013. Bombastic Shiraz’s biggest win of the year came when Spud Regis, trained by Andrea Daily, saluted in the Group One Australian Cup worth an immense $250,000.
There were plenty of newcomers to the achievers list for 2013, with Ashom Bale (14th) making the biggest impression, largely thanks to his exiting son Dyna Nalin (x Tally Bale). Trained by Miataâs mentor Paul Stuart. This talented youngster collected two of the biggest races in Australia, the Group One Topgun and Group One Perth Cup.
Other new entrants on the list included: Lochinvar Marlow (22nd) sire of Ernie Bung Arrow, winner of the Group One Adelaide Cup, Group Three South Australian Derby and the Group Three Brian Johnstone Final. Goodesy (26th), sired Group Three Canberra Cup winner Zipping Willow. Droopyâs Marco (34th) is the sire of Group One Harrison-Dawson winner Clone Your Own and Vapour Whirl (30th), sired Townsville Cup winner Spirited Flame.
Magic Sprite made an enormous surge up the rankings after finishing the 2012 season in 42nd position. He finished in 12th spot at the end of 2013. The lightly raced sprinter was an incredibly popular sire throughout the year, particularly after the arrival of his superstar son Black Magic Opal (x Awesome Opal). Regarded as Australiaâs newest sensation, the Jason Thompson trained chaser saluted in the biggest race on the greyhound-racing calendar, claiming the $350,000 Group One Melbourne Cup.
Turanza Bale also had an astonishing 2013, jumping from 37th place to 4th place, being the sire of Group One Golden Easter Egg winner Grigorieva Bale. Turanza Bale is also the sire of superstar chaser Xylia Allen, winner of the Group One Sapphire Crown, Group One Peter Mosman Classic, Group Two Launceston Cup and Group Three Macro Meats Shootout.
For the girls, it was Tayah Baleâs year, being a newcomer to the list and finishing in top spot with 46 points. Greys Destiny had another great year jumping from eighth to finish second with 42 points and Princess Bale claimed third spot again for the second year running with 36 points.
Tayah Bale had a stunning year with her daughter Xylia Allen (x Turanza Bale), racking up big points winning two Group One races, a Group Two and Group Three race. Xylia Allen belonged to Tayah Baleâs first litter born in April of 2011, with a second litter of eight whelped to boom sire Ashom Bale in December of 2011.
Greys Destiny has been an extremely consistent broodbitch with the rise of Destini Fireball, her most successful offspring for 2013. The son of Whereâs Pedro took out the; Group One Superstayers, Group One Zoom Top, Group One Gold Cup and Group Two Distance Championship Final. Litter brother General Destini also was successful in the Group Three Perth Cup Consolation. Bred and trained by Norm Rinaldi, Greys Destiny has whelped three litters since then, two by Brett Lee and one to Velocette.
The Group 1 Gold 1242 2013 Sale Cup heats will be run on Wednesday night over the tough 650 metre trip. A number of noted stayers have been drawn amongst the six heats. The final will be run on Boxing Day where $75,000 will be awarded to the winner.
Heat One (Race 3 at 7:34pm)
Recent Horsham track record breaker Phenomenal lines up in the first heat out of box three. Since stepping beyond the 520 metre distance, Phenomenal has won a 595 metre event at Sandown followed by his record breaking run over 570 metres at Horsham. Clearly, he should have no trouble with the distance and all eyes will be on the clock if he steps cleanly and leads, which he has been able to do his last three runs. This is his first start at the track, but he is in the hands of the astute Jason Thompson so there will be no concerns about his preparation for this race. Born Ali in box seven has been racing in good form of late with three wins and a second from her last four starts over longer distance trips. Her box history suggests she may be better drawn inside but she is certainly strong enough to put herself in contention for a place. Cintiarna has a good record from box eight and is a very consistent bitch. She has had one start at Sale for a third placing, so she has the benefit of experience at the track. Last start Sale winner over the Cup distance, Newfire Riley, will jump from the suitable box two. He ran an average 37.64 time last week and spaces his wins, so he will be a place chance at best.
Heat Two (Race 4 at 7:49pm)
Bold Trease winner Cheetah Zorro appears from box seven in the second heat. She failed last start at The Meadows in a disappointing run over 725 metres, but she has been freshened for this run. Her latest form suggests she needs to be near the lead to win, so the early stages of the race will be telling. Amity Flame looks to be one of the main dangers in the race. The black dog will be jumping from box eight. Interestingly, he hasn’t won from that box, but he has won at Sale over the distance in 37.70 from box six. He is a last start winner at The Meadows over the staying trip in 42.40 and has won four of his last eight. Noaki Spitfire may give some cheek early from box three. At his only start at Sale in early December he ran fourth to Newfire Riley over the 650 metre distance. His best recent form is over the 595 metre trip at Sandown and he hasn’t won over a distance greater than 600 metres. Destini Gold had indifferent form before her last start win here at Sale over the Cup distance. She recorded a time of 37.61 at big odds of $43.00 from box six, the same box she has drawn in this heat.
Heat Three (Race 6 at 8:29pm)
Dyna Nalin makes the trip over from Western Australia to take his place in box three in heat three. The 2013 Topgun winner has recently stepped up to the longer trip, with two runs over the 642 metres at Cannington. He has run second both times so it will be interesting to see if the talented chaser can be competitive over the 650 metres at Sale. Tasmanian chaser Happy Tiger has box five for this heat and arrives in Victoria with three wins from his last three starts at distances of 600 metres or greater down in the Apple Isle. The draw hasn’t been kind to the black dog by Mogambo-Jacinta Bale, as he has only won once from the draw. The form of Czar, in box four, hasn’t been great. His last win was back in October at Horsham. Historically, he has good form at Sale, winning once and placing once from two starts. His record from box four isn’t too bad so he is worthy of consideration for a place. Gold Affair Two looks the likely leader from box one. She failed at her only start here at Sale last week but had the unsuitable box five.
Heat Four (Race 8 at 9:09pm)
Destini Fireball loves Sale, winning the both times he has started at the track and distance. He was a placegetter in the recent Bold Trease final and is well boxed inside. The main concern for the 45 month old chaser is that he has not won a race since July 2013. Lektra Grey hasn’t been racing too badly in the last month, recording two wins from his last four starts. He is a strong run on dog, so if he can get some luck early, which will be needed from box five, expect him to feature. Rock Domination will enjoy his good draw from box two, from which he has won six races. He should be able to overcome the moderate beginner Mimicking in box one to get prime spot on the rail. The test will be whether he runs out the 650 metres strongly. New South Wales chaser Zipping Milo will jump from box four for Jason Mackay. The Mantra Lad-Or Catra dog is the least experienced chaser in the field, but has won 13 from 25 and won three times over the 600 metre trip at The Gardens and Richmond, all in best of night. He is bred to be strong and goes good early so he is definitely in contention.
Heat Five (Race 9 at 9:28pm)
Flying Wentworth Park 720 metre Summer Cup winner Dyna Willow appears from box seven in heat five after a failed run in the Laurels over the sprint trip. Her two runs in the Summer Cup series were brilliant, recording a slick 41.92 at Wentworth Park in both the heat and final. In the Summer Cup she demonstrated that she didn’t have to lead to win. It’s her first start at Sale and she is one of the class runners in the field. Alpe D’Huez has drawn beautifully in box one and has a balanced record at Sale over this distance, starting four times for one win and three placings and a best of 37.52. He has won his last two on the trot and can add another win here. Maddison Dee has strong credentials over the longer trips and isn’t drawn too badly in box three. She won at Bendigo two runs back over 660 metres and has run third at her only start at Sale.
Heat Six (Race 10 at 9:49pm)
Didda Joe has drawn well in box eight, with a great record of six wins from the box. He was a recent winner at Sandown over the 595 metre distance at big odds of $20.00. He strikes staying star Lucy Wires in box six. The American bred bitch has been a revelation over the staying trip, winning the Sydney Cup at Wentworth Park back in October and following that up with a narrow second in the Bold Trease. Her run homes are remarkable, but she does tend to strike trouble early in her races. If she can steer clear of that, she should be winning this. Jethro loves box two and will exit that box in this heat. He has not placed in his last three starts, but can never be discounted based on his talent. The lightly raced three year old Gambo Girl hasn’t started since her second placing here at Sale on 24 November. She has had three wins and two seconds from her last six stars and will race fresh for this.
The heats offer up the prospect of a tantalising final with the chance that Phenomenal, Lucy Wires and Dyna Willow could all feature.
In what proved to be a roughly run Topgun, the 1999 version was taken out by the NSW sprinter Mint Magic, trained by Ray Watson. Run over 518 metres at the Meadows, the Topgun was run on a Friday night and had two overseas competitors, both from Ireland. It was also the first time the race had been granted Group One status. Mint Magic scored by 10 lengths from the Irish entrant Sweeping Storm, with Kantarn Bale third. Daydream Believer, also from Ireland, fell in the trouble at the first bend.
On the same night, Lynishia Star broke the 600 metres track record at the Meadows, running 34.24 to eclipse Poetic Rewardâs previous mark by 8/100ths.
Mozilla came from box five to win the 2005 Potential Stakes, run over 520 metres at Wentworth Park, defeating Jayell and Ficelle DâOr in a good 30.13, just 3/100ths outside the race record.
Victorian all-distance bitch Mandarin Girl annexed the 1976 Summer Cup, run over 732 metres at Harold Park. The Reg Darvill-trained greyhound scored by a neck from Meganâs Rebel with Cabanossi third. She earned $6,000 for the victory and would later be crowned NSW Greyhound of the Year.
Duel Lively upset the more fancied Ringside Fire and Tonightâs Wish to take out the 1997 Bookmakerâs Trophy (now the Carnival Cup) over 715 metres at Sandown Park.
Victorian sprinter Nobody Knew took out the 2003 final of the Hobart Thousand, scoring by five lengths from local hope Bubalo. The win was worth $40,000.
Waiwera Marika became the first New Zealander to win the NSW St Leger (now the Paws of Thunder) when she scored by three-quarters of a length from Dylan in the 1998 version. She was trained in Australia by Harry Hampson.
Lindale Blue, only the second West Australian to represent the state in the Topgun to that time took out the 2002 version, run at Sandown Park. Lindale Blue downed Excite Ability by four lengths and ran 29.76, a new race record.
Glorious Ninth won the 1947 Sprint Championship over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park. The race held significance for the run of Chief Havoc who finished sixth, beaten five and a half lengths. It was Chief Havocâs second unplaced run (and last) of his career and the only time he would finish out of the placings in nine city starts.
Zoom Top became the first and only greyhound to ever make a clean sweep of the four major distance races held in Sydney when she took out the 1968 Summer Cup over 800 yards at Harold Park. The Fawn Flash downed her litter sister and kennelmate Busyâs Charm by three lengths. Bunyip Bint, who had broken the 14-year-old track record the previous week in the semi-finals finished down the course.
A triple dead-heat for first in a photo-finish took place over 558 metres at the Gabba in 1972. The numbers 4 (Dinoâs Chance), 6 (Sir Mullaway), and 8 (Black Karo) went into the frame as the joint winners. Sir Mullaway had won on the opening night of the Gabba track earlier the same year.
The 2000 Topgun became the last to feature representatives from England, Ireland, or the United States. The event was run at Sandown and taken out by Placard from NSW who downed the English contestant Droopyâs Zola by almost five lengths. Winged Runner, from Queensland, was third, while American entrant Gentle Memory was last.
The 1979 Sun Toy Fund Cup, an annual best-eight event held to support a charity run by The Sun newspaper, was taken out by the classy Mercia Bale. She defeated Giniâs Choice by four lengths with Jodarlene third.
On a fast night of racing, the semi-finals of the 1972 NSW St Leger (now the Paws of Thunder) saw the five-year-old 580 yards (530 metres) track record equalled and then broken. Likely Light ran 30.8 to equal Roman Earlâs track mark, set in March 1967. That was the second time she had equalled the record, which had also been matched by six other greyhounds over the years. Later that night, Benny McGrath flew out of box one to score by 12 lengths in his St Leger semi-final and run 30.7 to set a new track record.
Champion sprinter Rapid Journey began better than expected from box six and scored a scintillating three-lengths victory in the 1998 Melbourne Cup, downing Billy Cruise and Cerin Bale.
Farloc became the fastest greyhound in the world over 500 yards (457 metres) in 1954 when he ran in an exhibition at Harold Park and clocked 26.3, a time which was 2/10ths faster than the track and world record held jointly by China Lady, Macareena, and Plunkettâs Pride. The exhibition only came about because of an oversight in Farlocâs papers caused him to be a late scratching from the Harold Park Stake (1st Grade). The exhibition was not classified as a new track record.
Tasmanian star Fallen Zorro won the 2008 Carnival Cup over 715 metres at Sandown Park for trainer Shane Whitney. In a rare occurrence for a Victorian distance event, all three placegetters were interstate raiders: second was Princess Bale (originally from NSW) with Risk It, from South Australia, third.
In 1953 the GBOTA first introduced the Invitation Stake, run over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park. It was the first race in Australia to award prize money to every starter, irrespective of finishing position. Total prize money for this first race was ÂŁ170 ($340) and was distributed with ÂŁ90 for the winner, ÂŁ25 for second, ÂŁ15 for third and ÂŁ10 for all unplaced runners. The first field consisted of Arnfinn, Chief Putty, Cola Minda, Rua Lad, Sashweight, Silver Agricola, and Valiant Ross. Cola Minda (winner of the Harold Park Classic in September) won the race by half a length from Rua Lad with Arnfinn third.
The 1939 Melbourne Cup, run up the straight at Napier Park, initially resulted in a dead-heat between Sir Pontiac and John Beach with Mineâs A Pot only a head away third. A run-off took place and Sir Pontiac finished too strongly for John Beach to snare the ÂŁ175 ($350) first prize money by a head.
Prince Kerdieil defeated Ballerina Queen by just over two lengths in a match race run over 500 yards (457 metres) at Wollongong in 1959. Prince Kerdieil won in 28.2 which was 3/10ths outside Ballerina Queenâs track record. The victory was his 15th, with 11 placings, from just 31 starts. He had won the 1959 Lord Mayorâs Cup at Wentworth Park and finished third in the NSW Country Championship.
The second greyhound track to open in Sydney had its grand opening at Mascot in 1927. Races were conducted over 440 yards (402 metres) and 600 yards (548 metres).
Having just his third start in a race, Allocate kept his unbeaten record intact as he scored a decisive six lengths win in the 1973 Summer Cup, run over 732 metres at Harold Park. Exiting box one he downed Noble Mogul with kennelmate Corcoran just a half length away third.
Ralph The Mouth registered one of the most emphatic victories ever seen in the Hobart Thousand when he downed Awesome Torque by almost 10 lengths in 2005. The Leigh Wood-trained sprinter ran 25.60, a new race record.
Dynabolt registered a brilliant four and a half length win in the 1972 Summer Cup final, run over 800 yards (732 metres) at Harold Park, defeating a star-studded lineup which included Victorianâs Bandwagon John (second) and Lizrene (sixth). The fawn bitch ran a fast 43.1, just 1/10th outside the race record.
Whisky Assassin blitzed the 2004 Topgun field to win by nine lengths from Regal Ricky with Kobble Rock third. Whisky Assassin set a new track record for the 515 metres at Sandown, running 29.40. This clipped 9/100ths off Paua To Burnâs previous mark, which had only been established 35 days earlier. Paua To Burn was among the unplaced division. It was the last occasion the Topgun was run in December.
Do you know that if Destini Fireball wins the Bold Trease tonight it will become the 4th leading stakes earner in Australian greyhound history? Or that if Black Magic Opal wins the Melbourne Cup it will rise to 10th spot and itâs only two and a half years old? Shades of Brett Lee! Then this one may have sneaked under your guard – were the ever-consistent Peter Rocket to do the job it would place 2nd behind only the mighty Miata, which has earned $715k.
The money rankings have obviously got out of hand. They are becoming more and more meaningless. I doubt that Destini Fireball can win but it is not impossible. Still, it seems to be running at around 80% power these days, a far cry from its hey day from November 2012 to April 2013 when it won 14 of 16 starts, half of them over shorter trips.
Black Magic Opal can be beaten tonight but you would have to be pretty smart to do it. Only a really special dog would have any hope of running it down and I donât think one is there tonight. Of course, if it does not lead then all bets are off.
The point of all this is that, as it stands, ranking dogs on the basis of prize money is a lost cause. Allowing for inflation alone, Rapid Journey would leap into first place with well over $1 million in todayâs money, to say nothing about its wonderful consistency. Yet prize money has gone up in real terms as well with tonightâs winnerâs purse of $350,000 leading the way. In 1998 when Rapid Journey won the Cup it paid only $100k. In the same year Rapid Journey picked up the Adelaide Cup for $50k (now $75k), Easter Egg for $100k ($250k), Perth Cup for $40k ($140k), National Sprint Championship for $40k ($75k) and the TopGun for $70k ($150k), as well as lesser races. No dog alive today could have done all that.
In fact, it is extraordinary that 15 years later Rapid Journey can still take 7th spot in the money list. When it finished racing it was actually ranked 1st.What a shame he could not quite manage to pass on that amazing ability in the breeding caper. Maybe the genes will skip a generation or two?
One good thing about career prize money is that it does not limit calculations to a single year. But to make the figures realistic you must first select a base year and then adjust subsequent years by the CPI changes. Thatâs messier but much fairer. By doing that you can then compare apples with apples.
That aside, we have got to the stage where, tonight, the winner of an individual race can amass half the prize money Miata won over her entire career. That indicates that things have got well out of proportion. Arguably, first prizes of $250k to $350k are neither economically necessary to attract a good field nor do they do justice to all the other races that are cut back as a result. It should never have happened.
Using a different method, AGRA (Australian Greyhound Racing Association), which is a select grouping of major clubs, has gone to a lot of trouble to produce rankings for current racers and also for top sires and dams. In both cases they count what has been run and won in Group races in the calendar year â 10 months so far â and allocate points for each placing from 1st to 8th.
For current competitors, this is a fair enough process, always providing that the various dogs get enough chances to impress. It also rewards consistency by giving points to placegetters as well as winners. However, the rankings really donât lead anywhere. Nobody will ever remember them and they are overshadowed by the prize money listing.
AGRAâs sister rankings for sires and dams are also a snapshot of the last several months. This is more controversial as it rewards both luck and recent successes. Since stud life embraces several years, a short period cannot properly reflect which ones have done well and which not. Doubly so as artificial insemination and frozen straws stretch the sireâs effective life. The current ranking system is therefore not helpful. It is even biased. Top of the sireâs list at the moment is Wheres Pedro, which is responsible, amongst many good dogs, for the ever-present Destini Fireball. A close second in the damâs list is Greys Destiny who threw, guess who, Destini Fireball again. All due to a good run early in the year against often average opposition.
More to the point would be an ongoing ranking which shows both total and relative success of the sireâs or damâs progeny. For example, as with some thoroughbred scoring, the ratio of total wins and Group wins to total pups whelped would be more informative. That removes a flash in the pan but also properly grades a sire which had a shorter than normal life, perhaps through no fault of its own.
Not all Group races are of the same quality, regardless of the cash involved. National Championships, for example, are never that at all but a competition between three or four of the better dogs around, and therefore easier to win. Typically, the majority of smaller state representatives are never really competitive. Even the good ones may be there because of luck in the state run-offs.
I donât have a problem with the event â it offers some variety â but it should be termed a State of Origin, not a championship. If we want a real Championship, do it properly.
Similar comments could be made about races restricted by age or sex. They are also somewhat less competitive, yet their Group status can be purchased by any club with the cash to spend.
The final important measurement of dogsâ abilities comes via state and national Greyhound of the Year awards. Although they are always subjective and sometimes debatable they at least ensure that all-year performances are recognised. Like can be compared with like, while outages for injuries need not penalise a nominee.
There are other ways of measuring the best dog of the year, but they perhaps need more hard work to develop. I initiated one â Fastest Dog of the Year â by assessing each dogâs times in its best 10 wins in TAB races over 450m and longer. It was published annually in a now-defunct magazine. The method was to reduce all times to their equivalent at a single track (I had chosen Wentworth Park).
It worked pretty well and at least concentrated on two prime attributes of the greyhound â its speed and its versatility. Importantly, because of the wide range and number of qualifying races, it virtually eliminated the impact of luck, which has a huge effect on individual races.
Meantime, we can improve on whatâs done now. GOTY awards are worthwhile but prize money scores must be adjusted for inflation, as they are otherwise misleading. Breeding stock should be judged on the quality and productivity of their progeny over time, not on what they produce in a single year.
The Topgun may not have been the fairytale that Ken Gill, Helen Deacon or many other racing fans had hoped for, but rest assured that Ernie Bung Arrow has lost none of his amazing ability since his recent interstate voyage.
Returning back to the Angle Park circuit for the first time since eclipsing the stateâs biggest race, Ernie Bung Arrow lined up in the third and final heat of the Group 3 Brian Johnstone memorial conducted this afternoon.
Starting from box two as a $1.10 favourite, the son of Lochinvar Marlow sizzled out of the boxes, setting a first split of 4.33; just a length off the sectional record set by Ritza Ben earlier in the year. Motoring off the back 16.72, there was no sign of fatigue as he careered away to win by eight lengths in an overall time of 29.66.
Emerley Zodiac was clearly the best of the rest, but was no competition for the winner who would surely be âin the red âto claim his third Group title in as many months.
Earlier in the day the series kicked off with a depleted field of four runners, with an anticipated match-race between fancied pair of Set The Scene for Lawrence Callaghan and As It Goes for Ossie Chegia.
Those two runners would eventually fill the quinella in the opening heat, with Set The Scene making the pace for all of the 515 metres, stopping the clock at 29.91with sectionals of 4.43 and 16.99. He finished a couple of lengths clear of As It Goes and Redeeming who both progress to the semi-finals.
Farmeroo has been an eye-catching young chaser in recent weeks, and he continued that form by taking out the second heat a short time later. Beaten for pace early by Woodnear, who sprung out in 4.58, Farmeroo was too strong in the run home, turning a two-length deficit into a three-length win by the time the finish line whizzed by.
Farmeroo was the slowest of the three heats however, running 30.00 neat, eclipsing his previous best of 30.09 set last week. He gives Ken Gill and Helen Deacon another live chance however, of eclipsing the $25,000 on offer in two weeks time.
But with a distinct lack of depth amongst the nominations this year, the chances of any runner stealing the prize away from Ernie Bung Arrow do appear rather slim.
The Group 3 Brian Johnstone memorial continues next Thursday night with two semi-finals, before the main event gets takes centre stage on December 8.
In other news coming out of the Festival State, Middleton trainer, Matthew Payne has been asked to face the stewards in relation to a swab taken from Tian Hao Diva on 16th September that returned positive for a banned substance (Androstane).
Tian Hao Diva has since been transferred to Barry McPhersonâs kennels in Western Australia, however Mr. Payne remains the caretaker of several other chasers including the aforementioned pair of Ritza Ben and Woodnear. The inquiry will take place on Monday 2nd December.
It has to be said. I really donât want to see another race like the 2013 Shootout again. I certainly canât recall one like it previously. Who needs a formguide when a pin will do just as well?
Of the four runners, only one performed roughly as you would expect â Dyna Nalin â although its overall time was quicker than normal, no doubt helped by the small field. Its sectional of 5.21 was within its range but considerably slower than in the TopGun (its 5.13 at The Meadows would convert to a Sandown equivalent of about 5.09).
Xylia Bale gets the plaudits, all due to an uncharacteristic and unpredictable quick start. At every other run in its 46-race career, bar one, it has not got within two lengths of its 4.97 sectional. And two lengths is a huge differential on the way to the first marker. The single exception was tucked away over the Bass Strait at Launceston, when it broke the track record back in February against much weaker competitors. And, since Tasmanian timing systems are very unreliable, we canât even be sure of that. Still, I guess every dog has its day.
It is also noteworthy that Xylia Allen was heavily backed into a close third favouritism at $3.40 in NSW and outright favouritism in Victoria at $2.50 in a much larger pool. In either case those odds were arguably âundersâ, considering the form of the opposition and Xylia Allenâs normal habits. They were also considerably less than pre-racepurveyors were offering (that includes the Watchdog). And not only in early markets. Xylia Allenâs final Fixed Odds on Tabcorp was $3.00, or well above the Victorian SP of $2.50, created in a pool of $39,132. Consequently, itâs hard to guess whether the big push was due to smart money or just a late flood of cash from all over the state. Really strange.
Another way of looking at all that is that Xylia Allen started off at a speed it achieves just over 4% of the time but its Victorian tote price assumed it had a 40% chance of winning. Certainly, the small field suited its running habits but, theoretically, it was faced with running down two highly qualified leaders. That did not happen, of course.
But what of the other two? The record-equalling Banjo Boy was, by its standards, moderate all the way while Punch One Out ran like a stampeding buffalo â every which way. Its jump, and the one in the TopGun, were appalling to say the least, and then it ran like a mad thing back and forth across the track. Never before have I seen the dog do that, or anything like it, including in its previous runs at Sandown. Remember this is the same dog that recently got under The Meadows track record in a solo trial, and (allegedly) did the same over Lismore 420m on the previous Friday. Neither of those would have been possible with a slow start and erratic running.
The stewards say they did pre-race testing but, post-race, only the first two dogs were called in for a swab. Why on earth would you ignore the two that ran poorly?
The way Punch One Out performed, the least you might expect is a swab and a very thorough vet examination. Who knows what niggles it may have picked up during its lengthy travels back and forth to Melbourne? Punters who sent it out a close second favourite (including me) would expect no less. It put in a shocker and we are entitled to answers.
This is yet another example where the stewards appear to have little interest in form assessments. The race created serious questions, but none were asked.
Incidentally, those commentators who wondered about Xylia Allenâs relatively modest finishing effort are asking a bit much. This was not Damien Oliver holding up Fiorente for a late run to the line. Dogs cannot do it a both ends of the trip.
As for the concept of a four-dog Shootout, it makes no sense to judge its fortunes on the basis of one poor race. It adds variety and interest to the mix. However, there is probably value in making sure the competitors also have to put their own money on the line. There is nothing like self-interest.
JUSTICE NOT SEEN TO BE DONE
Last month I suggested that dogs caught fighting should never be entitled to collect prize money.
Just before the running of the Shootout, a maiden at Warrnambool fought the leader all the way down the home straight, eventually worrying it out of the race. This resulted in a 30/1 bolter getting up to win, which did not please a couple of punters around me.
The fighter, which happened to be the favourite, copped a 28 day suspension but still ended up running second and collecting $285 which, by rights, should be passed on to the trainer of the victim, Darren Brown.
Better yet, change the rules so that offenders are disqualified from the race, as would occur in the gallops and harness codes, to say nothing of human sporting contests. In that event this victim would have moved up from 4th to 3rd, which would have been some consolation.
INFORMATION FOR ALL
It was interesting to read that the Australian Veterinary Association submission to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry highlighted the need to create a ânationally accessible databaseâ of all things greyhound, including injury information.
It underlines the nonsense being created when you see Greyhounds Australasia, GRNSW (Ozchase) and GRV (Fasttrack) all build different versions of the same thing, and all have difficulty talking to each other. Of course, varying grading patterns and different reporting rules in each state do not help either. It is also confusing for private systems from National Tabform on down to lowly punters in the bush.
One difficult task is to chase down the race performances of the progeny of your favourite sire. For example, the otherwise very smart website, Greyhound-Data, has a marvellous presentation of Australian and worldwide breeding information but its race figures are hopelessly inaccurate.
Notably, the absence of any means of public access, and the inability to consider form and breeding in a single or related database, are factors which hold back the development of greyhound racing as well as making it more expensive to manage. Some things are worth competing for, but hard information is not one of them.
Sandown Parkâs landmark Superdog series got into swing Thursday night with an incredible card of racing that included three feature finals and eight Melbourne Cup preludes.
The main event of the night was Sandown Shootout, which is always an entertaining race for the greyhound purist. With four of the fastest, strongest dogs in Australia getting the track all to themselves, there are no excuses for any of the losers.
This yearâs race saw Topgun winner Dyna Nalin take on Triple Group 1 winner, Xylia Allen, NSW superstar, Punch One Out and recent Warragul record holder, Banjo Boy.
In other sports, when the true champions are challenged or have their colours lowered, they find a way back and sooner rather than later.
Well using that definition, Xylia Allen stamped her place as a true champion of our sport. After having her colours lowered in her last two Group finals, she exploded out of the boxes on this occasion, and ensured that no-one was trumping her this time around.
With a 4.97 first section, Xylia Allen led clearly out of the straight, and from there it was always going to be a big task to run her down. Banjo Boy settled in second place, but Dyna Nalin always looked like running past him, and eventually did so, taking good ground off the winner in the process. Punch One Out was always well back and couldnât match it with the mad pace up being set up front.
Xylia Allen stopped the clock at a staggering 29.07, completing the astonishing win and reminding us all just why she is the best greyhound this country has at present.
Now trained out of the Jenny and Peter Hunt kennel since the Graeme Bate disqualification, her numbers continue to grow by the week, currently totalling 19 wins from 45 starts and $454,000 in the bank. The ability to produce her best when it matters most puts her as an excellent chance to claim the sportsâ biggest prize, the Melbourne Cup, with heats kicking off next week.
Meanwhile, the second-tier feature for the night was the Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial, worth $25,000 to the winner over the 595 metres. Three of the runners were backing up from Saturdayâs Hume Cup final, with the rest of the field comprising of track specialists looking to defend their turf.
Bookkeeper would start $1.90 favourite despite drawing wide once again, with Surf Mail and Dashing Man given the best chances to cause the upset.
As it would turn out, Dashing Man from the Brooke Ennis kennel would put in a tough performance to run down a gallant Gambo Girl by half a head. Bookkeeper kept his consistent form going by filling a minor placing for the second time in a week, finishing third.
Dashing Man brings up win number nine with his Dillon Memorial victory, taking his career earnings to $71,000 for owner Tammy Stuhmcke.
Earlier in the night, the Ready2Race final took place, carrying $20,000 to the winner. Bringing together the best eight pups purchased from the Ready2Race Auction held at the Bendigo track last November, the final comprised of the top eight point earners from specific races throughout the year.
Kiss Me Ketut was certainly expected to be in the final when purchased for a five-figure price during the sale, and come a year later would line up as an odds-on favourite. Dominating the race like a good dog should, Kiss Me Ketut made every post a winner in a time of 29.45 ahead of Archie Gumballs.
Both the winner and runner-up are owned and trained by David Burnett, with Kiss Me Ketut being by Bombastic Shiraz out of Spiral Siyan and Archie Gumballs by Whereâs Pedro from Come on Roxy.
Other notable winners on the night came from the eight Melbourne Cup preludes that were scattered throughout. Those were taken out by were Dyna Beth who lead all the way, Evieâs Entity, Hawk Alone, Cornelius Fudge, Easton Bale backing up from Hume Cup, Supersonic Hawk at 30/1 , Tomac Bale who sizzled from box one and Spud Regis who closed out a tremendous night.
This Thursday night Sandown Park hosts a wonderful night of racing including the Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout, The Group 3 Sir John Dillon Memorial (595m – $25,000 to winner), The Ready 2 Race Final ($20,000 to winner) and the VBIS Maiden Final ($12,000 to winner) not to mention the fourth instalment of this yearâs TAB Melbourne Cup prelude events.
The Shootout, of course, is the feature event and this year it is the first race in Sandown Parkâs new Million Dollar Triple Crown Initiative â with a bonus $500,000 to any greyhound that can win the Group 3 Shootout, The Group 1 TAB Melbourne Cup and either the Group 1 Sapphire (Bitches) or Group 1 Harrison-Dawson (Dogs) in the 2013/2014 season. The bonus prizemoney and first place cheques from each of these events would see that greyhound amass a remarkable $1,000,000 in earnings.
Like the recent Group 1 TOPGUN, the Shootout is a wonderful concept and race that starts the industry talking. Arguments are held for and against the race and its place on the calendar.Â The finalists in the $50,000 dollar winner take all event then face criticism and comments from throughout Australia as to why they can and canât win.Â This year is the 15thÂ running of the event and the winner will join a list of past winners and household names such as inaugural winner Reggemite (1998), 2000 champ Go Wild Teddy, Triple Crown hero Bombastic Shiraz (2003) and more recently speed freak Bekim Bale (2011).
Race 8 – The Group 3 Macro Meats Shootout â 9.42PM Victorian Time
Box 1Â - Punch One Out (Knocka Norris â Little Egyptian)
The Grant Fennelly owned and trained Queensland sprint star who is the current Wentworth Park (29.27 â 520m) and Richmond (29.90 – 535m) track record holder.Â A last start 6thÂ in the Group 1 TOPGUN when she missed the start and was never sighted.Â Four time group finalist who tasted success at Albion Park in the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup in early October 2013. Will be suited by the small field and prior to the TOPGUN trialled an almost track record run at The Meadows with a scorching 29.55 (525m).Â Three starts at the Sandown Park circuit with a best 29.32 set in May 2013.Â Overall career record of 45 starts resulting in 22 wins and 14 placingâs and earnings in excess of $127,000.
Box 3Â â Dyna Nalin (Ashom Bale â Tally Bale)
The dual Group 1 winner is in career best form after coming off his second Group 1 victory in his last start TOPGUN success at The Meadows (Perth Cup also).Â Trained by leading mentor, Paul Stuart who put the polish on champion stayer Miata.Â Owned by The Wheeler Dynasty, this is the 5thÂ Group final for the March 2011 black 34 kilogram sprinter. Normally a slow beginner he jumped well last start and he does possess exceptional field sense and the ability to power to the line and finish strongly.Â With just the four starters here he will have plenty of room to show his ability.Â Just 2 previous Sandown starts for 1 win in a moderate 29.68 seconds recorded back in February 2013.Â He has improved lengths since then and is much better than that. Â With 40 career starts returning 26 wins and 8 placingâs he has quickly amazed $435,000 in prizemoney.
Box 5Â – Xylia Allen (Turanza Bale â Tayah Bale)
Australiaâs wonderful sprinting bitch lining up for her 13thÂ Group feature after a remarkable 2013 campaign with more still to come. She is the second starter owned by the Wheeler Dynasty.Â Fortunate to still be racing after the recent disqualification of her trainer G Bate, she is now prepared down the road by Victorian mentor Jenny Hunt.Â Luckless last start in the TOPGUN when exiting the same draw, she was the only making ground when others couldnât, finishing 3rd. Another that will be suited by the small field of 4 and has shown countless times that she can overcome any trouble and setbacks during the course of the race.Â A greyhound that has travelled throughout Australia in 2013 and raced the best the country has to offer winning 4 Group events (Group 1 National Sprint, Group 1 Sapphire Crown, Group 1 Peter Mosman and Group 2 Launceston Cup).Â Brilliant career record of 45 starts for 18 wins and 17 placingâs and in excess of $400,000 in prizemoney.Â The Launceston Track Record holder (29.09 â 515m) has fast wins on most Australian circuits (Wentworth Park 29.47, Cranbourne 29.96, Meadows 29.63 and Geelong 25.52) and will look to make it Group success number 5 with victory in this.
Box 7Â â Banjo Boy (Vee Man Vane â Off Springer)
Trained by Victorian Mentor Ken Virtue the Black and White April 2011 superstar is a greyhound on the up and with untapped ability as evidenced by his last start Warragul track record 29.51 â 460m. Â Â The veteran of just 21 career starts has recorded 13 wins and 4 seconds and over $50,000 in prizemoney â with 10 of his 13 wins in BON performances. The 34 kilogram sprint star faces his acid test in this event which is also his first Group final.Â The four dog field will suit the track specialist and allow him plenty of room and potential to showcase his sheer speed and ability. The second fastest dog ever around Sandown Park (29.01 â September 2013) is lightning out of the boxes and will be looking to lead and give the others something to catch.
1stÂ ReserveÂ â Crump (Superman â Mon Cherie)
The Troy Iwanyk trained chaser can consider himself unlucky not to gain a start after a wonderful 2013 campaign in which he has qualified in four group finals without luck or success. A greyhound with brilliant middle sections, he has recorded fast wins throughout Victoria including â Meadows (29.68 â 525m), Sale (29.52 â 520m) Warragul (25.58 â 460m) and Bendigo (23.67 â 425m).Â 31 career starts resulting in 15 wins and 7 placingâs including a fast 29.29 best at Sandown.Â Would be suited by the small four dog field.
2ndÂ ReserveÂ â Phenomenal (Collision â Tocsin)
Leading Victorian mentor Jason Thompson puts the polish on another up and coming superstar in Phenomenal.Â After news broke of the passing of his former great El Galo â it would be nice to see this up and comer gain a start here. Â A fast 29.27 personal best here posted in June 2013, he has recorded 9 wins and 3 placingâs from his 16 career starts.Â Yet to race at this level he is in the right hands where a win would not surprise for a young dog with plenty of ability and supporters throughout Australia.
Selections â 1 â 5 â 7 â 3Â
This year the ShootoutÂ field is made up of 2 distinct front runners in Punch One Out and Banjo Boy and 2 greyhounds that have the ability to work their way through a field and come from behind in Dyna Nalin and Xylia Allen. What is certain is that the race will be run and won, and the winner may just end up being the luckiest greyhound on the night.
The traditional Melbourne Cup-eve meeting at The Meadows always brings back memories of when Monday nights were on par with Thursday as the premier greyhound fixture.
With the Silver Bullet providing that exciting link between the Topgun and the Melbourne Cup, the Group 1 Hume Cup adds that middle distance flavour, and it again proved to be one of the most entertaining nights of the year.
This yearâs Silver Bullet saw a superstar field scamper over the 525 metres, with an open betting race greeting punters for sixth race of the night.
Peter Rocket ($4.20) had come up with the cherry draw for a second consecutive week and looked hard to beat on paper. However Desalle Bale ($5.30) had drawn comfortably in box eight, with the in-form Farmor Las Vegas ($6.60) next door in box seven. Buckle Up Mason ($5.10) and Iona Seven ($12.00) were hoping to overcome awkward middle alleys with Gold Town ($12.40) also in that category. Dark Warrior ($8.60) was at juicy each-way odds while veteran chaser Imry Bale ($8.10) rounded out the talented field.
Upon boxrise it was Dark Warrior who speared the lids, along with Farmor Las Vegas and Desalle Bale carving across out wide. Once the dust had settled around the first bend, Dark Warrior still showed the way, but it wasnât long before Farmor Las Vegas took control of the race.
Unleashing a powerful burst, the son of Knocka Norris and Farmor See You came away to win well in a brilliant time of 29.71.
Robert Brittonâs ferocious chaser put the writing on the wall Thursday night with an impressive win at Sandown Park, when he overcame a poor start and ran down National Time in the shadows of the post. He also qualified for the Adelaide Cup with what was easily the quickest heat time, running a slashing 29.36 on that occasion.
But on his 43rd career start, Farmor Las Vegas extended his record to 18 wins and 13 placings, with what is probably the biggest win of his career to date.
Of the beaten brigade, Dark Warrior put up the best fight, with Peter Rocket holding down third after only a moderate getaway.
Two races later it was the stayers turn in the Hume Cup final over 600 metres. Bookkeeper ($1.70) was a deserved favourite after breaking the track record in the heat, but box six may have not been the ideal draw. Proven Impala ($4.00) was closer to the rail in box three, and those two would subsequently dominate the market.
Despite the seasoned opposition, it was to be Alpe DâHuez ($11.30) who would upset the apple cart though, winning his first Group 1 final for Kelly Bravo and the Horizon Gold.
Sitting second behind Easton Bale ($27.70) with a lap to go, the son Bombastic Shiraz and Joop Muse was looming large a long way from home. Bookkeeper and Proven Impala both failed to find clear galloping room, especially when Easton Bale used plenty of the track, and Alpe Dâhuez was in the best position to swoop when the leader tired on the home corner.
Charging away like a quality greyhound should, the 34kg fawn chaser clicked into overdrive in the home straight to win the $75,000 prize in 34.33.
Bookkeeper got home hard for second, but was realistically never a winning hope, with Easton Bale clinging on to the minor end of the money, running a cheeky race.
Alpe Dâhuez has now had 44 starts for 17 wins and with this landmark victory, doubles his career purse to over $140,000.
The remainder of the program consisted primarily of a strong Grade 5 series. Vapourash was impressive winning the opening heat in 30.07, before Lukey Deez was successful in 30.09. Crackerjack Lil showed her usual dash against easier-than-normal opposition in 30.10, while Paw Licking lead all the way as expected in a slick 29.95. Mystic Fancy was a surprise winner of the fifth heat and Dyna Filbert rounded out the night with a good win from box two in 30.23.
Bookkeeperâs recent record run over 600m at The Meadows was meritorious, particularly from the awkward box 8, but it was out of kilter with national trends. The same was true when Wheres Keroma shaved its own 618m record at Richmond on Saturday night â at a speed rate only a tiny fraction below that of Bookkeeper.
Since Punch One Out ran her brilliant times at Richmond (535m) and Wentworth Park (520m) six months ago there have been 35 track records listed. I ignore 11 of those which were at re-built tracks where things have yet to settle down.
Of the remaining 24 times, 19 occurred over distances less than 450m. More than half of those were for less than 400m. Then two of the remaining five were at country tracks where competition has not always been stiff. This is telling us that nearly 9 out of 10 fast runs are the work of dogs which are unable to run out a long trip. Like 500m, for example.
Even the brilliant Black Magic Opal is busy collecting records for 450m/460m at the moment, although it has performed quite well over the 500s.
Times aside, there is an increasing trend to offer shorter races. The 390m/410m group in Victoria, involving seven tracks, is proving very popular, despite their disruptive bend starts. So, too, are the new trips over 388m at Angle Park and 400m at Gawler. Grafton has introduced a 305m trip. Albion Park added a 331m trip to the existing 395m. Oldies like Traralgon 298m, Cranbourne 311m and Dapto 297m sometimes occupy half the weekly effort. 302m trips are prominent on the Mandurah card. And, sadly, Wentworth Park has brought back 280m jump-outs which we thought had disappeared some years ago. At least the MGRA had the good sense to let Olympic Parkâs horrible 301m fade away when it moved to The Meadows.
Much of this action has occurred during the last four years or so and it shows no sign of abating. Where will it finish?
Already, there is a shortage of dogs which can handle 700m races, once very popular with punters. Oddly, two of the most prominent competitors came from a Wheeler background â Miata (grandsire Lansley Bale), which must have been a breeding accident, and Irma Bale, which could not really run out a strong 700m anyway but still captured big prize money. The Wheelers make no attempt to breed staying types, obviously reckoning that there are greater rewards to be had in sprints.
Efforts in four states to stimulate interest in longer trips, mostly by subsidising provincial prize money, are simply not working as they tend to attract ordinary dogs and run with short fields.
The inevitable conclusion is that the breed is fading. The industry has now got a tiger by the tail. Every possible indicator says that the public prefer longer races but we have not got the dogs to fill them. Actually, we donât even have enough dogs in total, which is why so many of todayâs races start with short fields.
Another contributor is the recent introduction of more TAB races for low class dogs. By definition, these are unsuited to longer races and so bolster the demand for short races. And they tend to flow through into the wider system.
So what do we do now?
It is reasonable to suggest that the rising importance of squibs is not in the interests of the breed or the industry. Solutions must then revolve around the need to add stamina to racing stock. Just throwing away cash in hope of a miracle is not working. The funds must be targeted to encourage the development of breeding strains which have some hope of producing a decent proportion of strong dogs.
To add details to such a proposal needs expert analysis and advice which is beyond this column. But it is something that fits into the Greyhounds Australasia charter. It should start the ball rolling by commissioning a study to determine how, what and where. Failure to address the trend does not bear thinking about.
Not enough cash to do that? Yes, there is. Just re-direct all the unproductive money going into distance subsidies and state breeding incentives.
Incidentally, it is little consolation that thoroughbreds are in much the same pickle, hence the increasing prominence of overseas staying types in big races. Major owner-trainer groups are routinely scanning Europe for potential targets these days. Check what happens tomorrow at Flemington.
MADNESS, SHEER MADNESS
Despite several requests, Tasmanian racing authorities continue to mislead the public by assigning sectional times at its three tracks to dogs which never ran them.
Every race report assigns the sectional time to the winner of the race, never mind whether it was responsible for it or not. Consequently, individual dog records end up with the wrong information, which is repeated later on. No running order is shown so the times cannot be cross-checked. Videos are usually absent but they would be argumentative anyway because you canât be sure where the marker is located.
GRNSW is an accessory to the crime by publishing this faulty information. In fact, they appeared in the heats and semi finals of the last two Vic Peters meetings at Wentworth Park.Â For example, Buckle Up Wes has a bucketful of Hobart and Launceston times against its name but we have no idea if they belonged to it or not. (In practice it began well enough in the semi but was taken out by the customary scrimmage at Wentyâs first turn).
This is disgraceful. Absolutely disgraceful.
However, this is still only the tip of the iceberg. In their local formguides, authorities in Queensland, NSW and Victoria are still omitting sectional times run and published in other states. Or probably more correctly, they cannot be bothered collecting them. At the same time, sectionals at Queensland coastal tracks are rare while Wentworth Park meetings lack times run by dogs at Bulli and Maitland, the stateâs major one-turn tracks, as well as many from Canberra and the Northern Rivers. Substantial gaps were evident not only in the Vic Peters heats and semi finals, but also in the Adelaide Cup series a few weeks ago, in the National Championships at The Meadows, in the TOPGUN and in many others. This is unacceptable.
The word âcrimeâ is used here in a colloquial sense yet a comparison is in order. If you are a public company responsible to investors you are required to publish any information which might be material to the share price, and also to ensure that any information you do provide is correct. Breaches would have you up before the judge in a flash. Big fines, bans on directors or even jail sentences would be likely. Yet thatâs essentially what racing authorities are doing in respect to formguides and punters. The underlying principle is the same.
State racing authorities have chosen to take over the responsibilities of almost all formguide producers so it is incumbent on them to do it right. If they canât do that then they should let others take over.Â There are at least two organisations which are capable of that right now (not including Daily Form Service, which is a horse mob at heart).
Better still, get rid of the antiquated system which allows each state to do its own thing, based on whims and irrelevant tradition. A single national form database, of high quality and accessible to all, should be run by an independent body, responsible only to the public.
This is a case where one size does fit all, or should do.
It is funny to sit back and hear the stories about how various racing enthusiasts became hooked on our great sport. Many are born into the industry and have greyhound racing pulsing through their veins from birth. However for some, like Somersby trainer Dawn Garrett, their introductions are more of a coincidence- yet the racing fever is no less severe
âI have been involved on and off in the sport for 38 years. I was only very young when I got introduced to greyhounds- my parents didnât have them, but I got introduced to them through Tricia and Sam Cauchi when they used to live down in Sydney at Box Hillâ, Garrett explained
âMy mum used to sell Tupperware and Trish had a Tupperware Party and me and my sister went out with mum. The dogs were there, I have always loved animals, and I just fell in love with them and it went from thereâ
When Garrett purchased a white and black bitch in 2006, she could have had no idea what the daughter of Solve The Puzzle and Racy Princess would go on to achieve.
âI bought her as a pup off Neal Gray and I was very lucky to get her actually. She was the only bitch in the litter and he had three dog pups for sale. At the time I was staying up at Grafton and I saw them advertised. Â I always loved Solve The Puzzle, so I came down to have a look at them and he knew I was wanting a bitch and he said âseeing as how you come all that way if you want to buy the bitch you can buy herââ
âIt was just lucky for me that he changed his mind and sold her to me rather than one of the dogsâ
Racing under the moniker Little Egyptian, Garrettâs little darling turned into a nice little money spinner. The 25 kilogram pocket rocket won 11 races with 20 minor placings from 73 career starts
âI was very happy with what she did on the track. She never won a race in town but I think she would have had I had the proper opportunityâ
âI took her to Albion where she led but got run down. She still ran second and the dog that beat her turned out to be a handy stayer up thereâ
âI trialled her and she did a toe and I could never get her back right after that. She tore the ligaments and had she not done that and I kept going with her I would have gone back to Albion with her over the 600 and I reckon she would have won a race thereâ
While she was a handy racebitch, it was when she made the move to the breeding barn that her talent shone through, producing a pup that would mature into arguably Australiaâs fastest bitch, Punch One Out
âI wasnât even sure whether she would throw anything- I just had the opportunity to breed with her which was really good and she has surprised me with what she has thrownâ
Garrett chose the sensational speedster Knocka Norris for Little Egyptianâs first litter- a decision that has proved to be a masterstroke, just not for the reason she was expecting
âI always liked the dog on the track- he was a lovely looking dog and he was very fast. I was hoping he would have put a bit of early pace into the pups- but that didnât quite happenâ, Garrett laughed.
Garrett kept one pup from the litter of eight- selling the rest.
âI kept one, Pride Of Egypt, and I sold the rest because I wasnât sure whether she would throwâ
âGrant (Fennelly- owner/trainer Punch One Out) bought her and a dog- One Inch Punch- and we reared them here for him and he took them up there when they were about 12 months old. He got her very cheap actually- I sold them all cheap because I didnât know what they would be, I just wanted to place them and have them sold. He actually only paid $800 for herâ
While the whole litter is talented, there is no doubt that Punch One Out is a standout. The black bitch is a dual track record holder at Wentworth Park (29.27s) and Richmond (29.90s) while she also took out the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park last month. After finishing unplaced in the Group 1 Topgun last week, Punch One Out will be aiming to redeem herself next Thursday when she lines up for the four dog Group 3 Shootout at Sandown.
âThis is the first actual litter that I have bred completely by myself. I have whelped other bitches over the years, but this is the first litter I have bred out of my own bitch. She (Little Egyptian) has just really amazed me with the sort of pups she could produceâ
âItâs exciting to think that my little girl produced that and it is exciting to see them get in the group races. I would love to see her win the Shootout next weekâ
âThere has been a couple of people that have knocked the litter a bit- they were quick to criticize her (Punch One Out)- when she broke the record at Wenty they all said the track was lightning fast. But she won that Group race up at Albion a few weeks ago, so she (Little Egyptian) is a Group producer now and if she could win this Shootout it would be absolutely lovelyâ
âI follow all of them- I watch them all to see how they go. They are not mine, but they are like mine because I whelped them and reared them, so it is nice to follow them and see how they goâ
Garrett is awaiting the return of her chaser from the litter, Pride Of Egypt, which has been sidelined for almost a month. The white and black dog has a stack of talent- winning 10 from 24 with seven minor placings. His last start was at Wentworth Park where he ran unplaced behind Lucy Wires in the Group 3 Sydney Cup
âHe just wasnât right with his tonsils- they were a bit sore and it did tell on him in the race. I think had he been right then, he probably would have gone very close to winning it. The time was only average and especially with Smart Valentino out of the race it really opened it right up and he had trialled a lot quicker there than what they ranâ
âHopefully he will come back a lot better- he has had a lot of trouble with his tonsils. I have had them out and he is ready to start work againâ
It will be an exciting and hectic few months for Garrett with the next litter out of Little Egyptian off to the breakers soon and the valuable broodbitch ready to whelp in the next week
âIâm just waiting to see what the next litter are like- they are 12 months old to El Grand Senor, I kept two of themâ
âI am sending them away to be broken in on the first of next month so it is going to be interesting to see how they go and she is about to whelp again back to Knocka Norris- this time next week she should have themâ
âI went back to Knocka again because after what she threw in the first litter, I really had to go back there. I managed to get another straw off Sam a fair while back. She is definitely in pup and she looks nice and bigâ
Dyna Nalin has without a doubt done WA proud. Winning greyhound racingâs version of the Cox Plate, the Group 1 Topgun, on Saturday night was the icing on top of a highly decorated cake.
Nothing brings the segregated people of WA together like their very own calendar boy. In the memberâs area of the Cannington greyhounds on Saturday night, there was no-one that didnât let out a cheer for Paul Stuartâs star chaser.
As soon as Dyna Nalin pushed through on the first turn and sat in third position, confidence filled the room. His come-from-behind style is something that WA has grown used to. John Carmodyâs voice was decibels above the rest, cheering Dyna Nalin home as he crossed the line to a standing ovation from his WA crowd.
âI was overwhelmed by winning the race because he wasnât expected to winâ, Paul Stuart said.
âMy bloke came out better then normal. Had he been half a length slower he would have been on the receiving end- rather than just getting his back legs taken out, the whole of him would have shifted.â
Stuart had less confidence in his chaser then his WA counterparts when hitting the first corner.
âI was a little bit concerned that it was Peter Rocket in front and not one of the other leaders, because he was always going to be pretty hard to run down.â
âGlen Gallon came out really well, so it was five across the track. The two possible leaders missed the kick.â
Stuart believed it would have changed the complexity of the race if Tomac Bale had of jumped in front.
âTomac Bale was the other one who tried to anticipate the start and banged his head on the lids and missed the start.â
âHe came out with them but he didnât get the lead advantage that he usually would get.â
âIf he had of used that advantage he would have been harder to chase.â
On the night, Stuart was unaware Dyna Nalin had overcome being turned sideways in order to get into a leading position. Only upon watching the replay did he really begin to appreciate what his chaser went through to win the race.
âAll I saw was that he was with them early and he stayed straight and then I saw that he happened (to be) sitting second, so he must have got around cleanly.â
âHis biggest concern was how he was going to get past. I thought he was going to get chopped out half way down the home straight, he has a habit of trying to anticipate what a dog is trying to do in front.â
âLucky he punched up underneath rather than checking off heals because it would have cost him a few lengths.â
Once Dyna Nalin sat close to the rails, Stuart had confidence that his chaser would finish in first place.
The son of Ashom Bale is owned by Brendan Wheeler, whose family have a pretty good hold on the Topgun. Dyna Nalin was not only their third contender in the race- but their third consecutive winner.
âIt was the roughie that got up for them and a good result for myself.â
Winning the Topgun with Dyna Nalin was an enjoyable experience. Stuart didnât feel as though there was pressure for his dog to win the race because he wasnât odds on favourite.
âHe hasnât been put on a pedestal like Miata was.â
Racing Miata in big races was the most pressure Stuart has ever been under.
âIf he got beat, no one would have thought anything of it. When you have Miata and she gets beat they still talk to you, asking why.â
âItâs a lot easier racing him.â
Dyna Nalin pulled up great after his unexpected win.
âHe is bouncing around like a lunatic, he is 100 per cent.â
Topping off an outstanding month for Dyna Nalin, he has made it into the four dog Shoot Out at Sandown Park. In preparation for the Shootout, Dyna Nalin will trial there on Saturday morning.
âAfter the Topgun win he would have been pretty hard pressed not to get in there, especially with only 6 nominations.â
âI wasnât fussed if he got in or not because we had another plan of attack with him.â
Because the Shootout is a race based on pure ability; it may be a bit harder this time around for the WA representative.
âHe is smart in a full field, you canât get away with too much when there is only three others. They are going to be a lot better suited to the four-dog format.â
âHe wins a lot of his races through his track sense, that gets taken out play when you only have 3 dogs to work with.â
âHe wouldnât run any quicker on his own then he would in a race.â
Stuart believes all the dogs that made it into the Shootout picked themselves.
âAll the dogs that got in earned and deserved their spot in the race.â
Stuart will stay in WA for the Shootout because Miata is due to have her puppies on Melbourne Cup day. Dyna Nalin is in the care of Darren McDonald to reduce the amount of traveling he has to do prior to the big race.
âAt the moment, staying over there has worked well because it is heating up over here.â
âHe needs a couple of looks at Sandown and he wouldnât have had the opportunity if I had of brought him home. Itâs a good relationship we have, he is in the best of hands.â
Wanting and receiving a middle box, Dyna Nalin will be jumping from box three.
âThe box draw is of vital importance.â
âIt is a bit of an upside box draw, but I am happy where he is, it gives him every opportunity.â
âIt means if he comes out he can do his own running from there.â
The TOPGUN was a bit messy, wasnât it?
OK, my preview said Dyna Nalin could not win, but it also said âbarring accidentsâ and they were there in spades.
Three things upset the applecart. First, Ernie Bung Arrow botched the jump for the only time in its short history, thereby changing the nature of the run to the turn, and also giving Dyna Nalin extra room.Â Mind you, by his own standards Ernie also went moderately in its week-earlier trial at The Meadows, running 5.15 early, so perhaps we need to consider the nature of those Victorian boxes, which are more of the âstand-upâ type by comparison with other states. This is definitely an area where standardisation would be a good idea.
Then Spud Regis also started somewhat worse than it usually does, unlike its Australian Cup win, but was still with them at the judge the first time when the big squeeze occurred. Thatâs the luck of the game (or perhaps the fact that it had not raced for a month).
Third, half the field came together, line abreast, at the first turn. I had suggested that Tomac Bale (3) might lean on Punch One Out (2) but in fact the latter came out like a drunken sailor and 3, 4, 5 and 6 leant on each other just as they approached the judge, slowing them all down and ruining their chances. On top of that, Ernie was burrowing in to trying to make up for its tardy start.
As they slowed a fraction, the winner grabbed its opportunity and rounded the turn in second spot with a good look at the leader, Peter Rocket, which is not a noted beginner but a very handy race dog from the inside.
Dyna Nalin ended up running a pretty average 29.89 (average for this class), which is in its normal range. This is a very good dog in a field and it was untouched this time. More credit to it. However, there were several faster dogs in the field which failed to get a crack at them.
Perhaps luck dominated. But a problem is that The Meadows, like many other major tracks, has a way of creating its own hassles as they run to and around that first turn. The leader disappears around that corner while others are still trying to avoid clashes. In this case, the favourite was not there anyway. (It was slow out but, as I mentioned in the preview, itâs not normally brilliant at box rise but it then puts its foot on the accelerator to be close at the first turn. But not this time)..
The lesson is that Albion Park, Wentworth Park, Sandown Park, Launceston and Cannington, as well as The Meadows, all have design features which generate bias or early interference, or both. Indeed, the moderate beginning Dyna Nalin has itself won races at Cannington by wandering out and then cutting to the rail and whizzing around the corner while the field drifts off.
Some other tracks â like Dapto, Richmond and Ipswich â are even worse, although the latter two are easily fixable.
What precisely does that mean? I have no idea, other than that cutaway sections at the first turn, or their equivalent at The Meadows, are not the answer. Fiddling here and there is not going to help much either. From memory, The Meadows has already done that three times, with no obvious improvement. Itâs one of the two or three most heavily biased tracks in the country. Both Wentworth Park and Cannington were adjusted a decade ago, but are still messy (which is why Paul Wheeler for years refused to let his dogs race at Wenty). It requires a lengthy, detailed, scientific study of the art to establish desirable principles. Nothing less will do – especially for Cannington, which is facing a multi-million dollar outlay for a new track.
If we paid the same attention to track details as we do to drug detection most of these hassles would disappear.
Meantime, the only circle track where dogs seem to get around the corner consistently and in one piece is the lowly Northam in WA. Whether the lower class of dogs helps that happen, I am not sure, but it works. Why is this so? And what should be done to keep dogs reasonably separate, as occurs at Northam, Mandurah and Hobart?
But I would rather not see any more races like the 2013 TOPGUN.
Sectional Time Comparisons
|Average Last Ten||Actual In Topgun||Difference|
|1.Â Peter Rocket||5.15||5.13||-0.02|
|2. Punch One Out||5.09||5.21||+0.12|
|4. Spud Regis||5.04||5.14||+1.01|
|5. Xylia Allen||5.14||5.14||0|
|6. Glen Gallon||5.14||5.14||0|
|7. Ernie Bung Arrow||5.04||5.18||+0.14|
|8. Dyna Nalin||5.20||5.13||-0.07|
Note 1: You can normally expect the box 1 dog to come out a little quicker than its average.
Note 2: Dyna Nalin recorded 5.13, 5.29 and 5.17 at its previous three starts at The Meadows
Note 3: Times at other tracks are converted to a Meadows equivalent after analysing hundreds of performances by the same dog at both tracks.
And so on to the SHOOTOUT. Two really fast dogs are up against two strong finishers. If Dyna Nalin can win that I will give the game away. It is not the fourth best dog in Australia. And I imagine Xylia Allen might put on another big finish to gain a place. But it is also Banjo Boyâs best track.
Londonderry trainer Majella Ferguson is on the comeback from a quiet few months in the training department, with a small kennel that is certainly proving to be a case of quality over quantity.
Exciting prospect Cyclone Simone has made an instant impression since returning to the track earlier this month- winning two from two and taking her record to three from five overall. The daughter of champion sire Bombastic Shiraz was bred by Ferguson out of her highly talented racebitch Smashing Amy.
Smashing Amy was owned by Fergusonâs family and won fifteen races throughout her career, including the NSW Distance Championship at Wentworth Park, after which she represented the state in the National final at Perth. Although she didnât emerge from the series as a winner, Smashing Amy was no doubt talented- something which she has passed onto her progeny.
Aside from Cyclone Simone, the litter also includes the brilliant middle distance dynamo Bookkeeper. Bookkeeper stole the Topgun limelight momentarily over the weekend when he broke Nellie Noodlesâ 34.07s track record over the 600 metre trip at The Meadows, clocking a scintillating 34.05s in a heat of the Group 1 Hume Cup.
âShe was fast as a sprinter and fast as a stayer. She was a little bit moody but she was really goodâ, Ferguson explained of her former star, Smashing Amy.
âShe was a really good bitch. We bred the six of them at home, but we had a lot of pups at the time. We had Irreplaceableâs pups so we actually sold all of themâ
âThe people that own her, Ben and Wayne Carey, are friends of mine and she is their first dog. They are really nice people, they bought her as a pup and they let us rear her and do everything- she got broken-in and then came straight back to us”
It has not been a smooth introduction to racing for the first-time owners. While Cyclone Simone clearly has an abundance of talent, as is all too common with fast greyhounds, she has been plagued by injury problems for much of her career.
âItâs been really hard because they knew that they had a good dogâ, Ferguson said.
âShe has been a nightmare injury wise. She started off good but then she kept doing her pinsâ
âShe is three next February- she was really late starting. When we got her coming back last time we changed all her training- people were saying donât put her up the straight because she has done her pins, so we were thinking how do we get her fit?â
âWe put her around the circle but that wasnât doing any good so we decided to free gallop her in the paddock every day for about six weeks before we brought her backâ
Cyclone Simone debuted at The Gardens in July, defeating the highly talented Premier Mozz in a slick 29.85s. The black bitch was luckless in her next start at the track before finishing fourth at Dapto at her third track appearance. After this, she was trialled post-to-post at Wentworth Park and was then nominated for her first start at headquarters.
âYou wouldnât believe it- we had her ready and we were going to put her in at Wenty and she chased a duck in the let-out yard and ran straight into the fenceâ
Cyclone Simone returned to the track just under two weeks ago at Maitland, recording a slick 25.36s (BON) over the 450 metre trip. She then ventured back to Dapto, scoring in a heat of a 1-2 wins series by seven and a half lengths in a fast 29.78s.
The pint-sized powerhouse will return to Dapto tomorrow for the final; however she faces a much tougher challenge from box five. Despite being the only runner in the field to break the 30-second barrier at the track, the undefeated Rain Bale for Simon Rhodes is lining up from box seven and looks to have plenty of talent of her own.
Ferguson is hopeful of a good result from the lightly raced bitch and gives her a good chance despite the draw
âShe goes nice early and if she finds the front sheâll be winning, but this race is a little bit tricky because she had the two the other day and the one box was vacant, so it was a big advantage- but she does go niceâ
âHer first split was good but I notice that there are a couple of dogs in it that have got a couple of nice splits- that one of Simon Rhodes (Rain Bale) goes alright but at least it is drawn on her outsideâ
âI donât think the five will worry her because I was watching her the other day- after she came out she sort of moved out to the centre of the track a little bitâ.
All going well, Ferguson would like to target some feature events with Cyclone Simone in the future. Despite being lightly raced, because she is almost three, Cyclone Simone has missed many of the age restricted seriesâ and will subsequently have to compete in open class
âWe might have a look at The Gardens or possibly something like the Soldiers Saddle at Bathurst. Because she is that little bit late starting she misses things like the Laurels and a few of those age races- she missed the Vic Peters. She is very new to racing realistically, but she should be able to race on and I think she has a pretty bright future because she does go nice and as you can see when she leads she is fairly strongâ
Cyclone Simone is not the only exciting prospect in Fergusonâs kennel at present. Knocka Norris youngster Bleiswijk Billy is developing a handy little record for himself with three wins and a second from four starts at Maitland. The white greyhound got down to 25.43s at his last effort at the showground- indicating that he has some ability too.
The consistent Electro Storm has been flying the flag for the Ferguson kennels at Wentworth Park recently- clocking two blistering wins in 29.69s and 29.83s respectively before finding trouble at his last three starts. The son of Bit Chili is a classy customer and is sure to be back on the winnerâs list in upcoming weeks.
Possibly most exciting of all is the resilient Unexplained who is on the comeback from injury. The Whereâs Pedro â Stylish Scene dog has only had three trials since he started making his comeback, but broke the Richmond track record at his most recent preparation run- clocking a breathtaking 22.21s over the 400 metres
âUnexplained actually broke the track record at Richmond after the last on Wednesday. He has torn both hips- he did the first one and then we brought him back and he won at Ballarat and then he tore the second one in Melbourne, but he appears to have come back bigger and better than everâ
âHis run home was sensational over 400-it was just beyond belief. Thatâs the best he has ever gone there. He is possibly going to go to Melbourne or to Hobart- we are thinking the Ballarat Cup or the Hobart Thousand with himâ.
âHe has been a great dog and he is a fast dog- a very fast dogâ.
Ferguson also has high hopes for the final Stylish Scene litter by Brett Lee. The pups are half brothers and sisters to Unexplained and full relations to Group winners Irreplaceable and Dazzle You
âWe are very excited about our Brett Lee- Stylish Scene litter- it is her last litter and they are eleven months oldâ
âThey are the nicest pups I have ever seen.Â It has been amazing what she has thrown. She had eleven pups in her first litter (x Brett Lee)- they all won, there was six city winners and two group winnersâ.
Worth Doing scored a brilliant win in the 1988 Vic Peters Memorial Classic final over 520 metres at Wentworth Park, winning by six lengths and running a new track record, 29.74 on the grass surface.
Scottish Express won the 2002 Ipswich Cup, the first run over 520 metres. Proven Assassin, fourth the previous year, ran fourth again.
The first running of the Topgun to feature overseas invitees took place in 1997 at Sandown. Farloe Brook from England, Welcome Treat out of Ireland, and Pat C Caste of the United States were no match for winner Chicago Blue, from Victoria, who defeated compatriot Awesome Assassin, with Roanokee (Qld) third, on a wet track.
Golden Danny notched his 11th win in 13 starts at Ipswich when he annexed the 2001 Ipswich Cup from a top-class field which included Springtime Magic (third), Proven Assassin (fourth), and Hallaâs Rocket (eighth). It was the last time the race was run over 512 metres.
Wylie Boy became the first greyhound to be placed in a previous Topgun before going on to take out the race the following year when he scored in the 1996 running, at Sandown. Wylie Boy had run third to Rapid Hiker the previous year and defeated South Australian Oak Raider by three-quarters of a length with Zealous Guy just a head away third.
Champion trainer Stan Cleverley annexed the 1969 Vic Peters Memorial Classic with the brilliant black sprinter Milimsimbi who defeated Silent Retreat and Plunder Road (Victoria) over 500 yards (457 metres) at Harold Park. Queensland star Pied rebel was fourth.
The 2003 Vic Peters Memorial Classic, run over 520 metres at Wentworth Park, was taken out by Collision. He scored by just over seven lengths for owner-trainer Tony Lockett and ran a race record 29.73. This clipped a massive 47/100ths off the previous race record set by Bigbad Luther in 1998.
Only first reserve, Royal Riddle gained a start in the 2006 Newcastle Cup when Peglana Star was scratched, and made the most of the reprieve to score from Kibble Kruncha and Miss Grub.
Victorian sprinter Rapid Hiker broke the track record with a 29.80 run to take out the 1995 Topgun ahead of NSW champion Tenthill Doll and Wylie Boy. Among the unplaced division was Queensland champ Flying Amy (sixth).
NSW speedster Paua To Burn won the 2005 Sapphire Crown Classic (formerly the Sir Arthur Rylah Sapphire Classic) at Sandown by 10 lengths to become the first greyhound to win the race twice in succession.
Cash Express from Victoria downed South Australianâs Key Card and Token Ned to take out the 2007 Canning Show Cup over 715 metres at Cannington.
Tasmanian stayer Fallen Zorro took out the 2008 Hume City Cup over 725 metres at the Meadows, running a race record 42.54 for trainer Shane Whitney.
The Geoff Watt-trained Woolley Wilson snared the 1972 Vic Peters Memorial Classic in the rain at Harold Park, earning $7,000 for his owner Gary Wilson. His kennelmate Benny McGrath was fourth.
The first running of the Topgun took place in 1993, over 511 metres at Sandown. In a sensational race run on a wet track, local stars Worth Backing and Golden Currency deadheated, just half a length clear of Revealing. Star Title from NSW was fourth, ahead of Queenslander Toban Leigh, Worthy Reward (NSW), Horatio (NSW) and Dallas Duo.
Four of the nationâs best greyhounds were announced tonight as the starters in the Group 3 Shootout to be held at Sandown on Thursday 7th November 2013. The $50,000 to the winner event may not have the standard eight dog field, but it is certain to be just as exciting.
The first runner to be announced was the exhilarating Xylia Allen for Avalon trainer Jenny Hunt. The black bitch, formerly trained by Graeme Bate, is arguably the best bitch in Australia after her terrific wins in the Group 1 Sapphire Crown, the Group 1 Peter Mosman Classic and the Group 1 National Sprint Championship. The daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale has been racing at the top level for the majority of the career and has amassed 18 wins and 17 minor placings from 45 career starts. The recent Group 1 Topgun placegetter has won over $400,000 in prizemoney and, with her glistening record, was virtually guaranteed a spot in the race from the moment that she was nominated.
The second runner announced was WA champion Dyna Nalin. The Paul Stuart-trained powerhouse notched up his second Group 1 win over the weekend when taking out the Sky Racing Topgun from the awkward box eight. The Perth Cup hero is a model of consistency having won 26 races from 40 starts and should provide an exciting match for fellow backmarker, Xylia Allen, as we find out which is the strongest chaser of the iron pair.
Dual track record holder Punch One Out was the third competitor to gain a start in the Shootout. The Queensland bitch is an absolute freak as shown by her scintillating track records at both Wentworth Park (29.27s) and Richmond (29.90s) and will definitely take some wearing down if she lands on the bunny. After racing against the nationâs elite sprinters in numerous group and feature races, the daughter of Knocka Norris and Little Egyptian was finally rewarded with a deserved Group trophy for her efforts earlier this month when she took out the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park. With the right credentials to her name, Punch One Out was a fitting runner to line up in the race.
Banjo Boy may be the new kid on the block but he is undoubtedly transforming into the king of Sandown. The Vee Man Vane two year old is yet to crack through for a feature win at the top level, however some of his times would rival some of the greatest greyhounds we have seen grace the racetrack. Banjo Boy will go into the race with a hatrick of wins at his last three starts- two of which have been at Sandown- one of which was in a blistering 29.01s. With just 20 starts to his name, he has untapped potential and is a strong contender for the title.
The reserves for the field will be the Troy Iwanyk- prepared Crump (first reserve) and Jason Thompsonâs breathtaking youngster Phenomenal (second reserve)
The all-important box draw will be conducted this Thursday night.
People get really annoyed when their odds-on favourite gets rolled but it happens more often than you think.
We had a look at the main meetings at four big tracks over the last 8 weeks â involving 502 races â and found that half of all these hotpots crashed out. Of the 119 odds-on starters, 49% won but 51% lost. Since they paid an average of under $1.70 this means that a dollar on each would result in a loss of at least 20% of your stake money.
Here is how they stacked up (Albion Park figures covered its two main weekly meetings).
|Wentworth Park||150 races||39 odds-on favourites||20 winners||49% lost|
|The Meadows||96 races||23 odds-on favourites||8 winners||65% lost|
|Sandown Park||96 races||14 odds-on favourites||7 winners||50% lost|
|Albion Park||160 races||43 odds-on favourites||23 winners||47% lost|
Two reasons for the failures seem to dominate. First, many gamblers have a sheep-like attitude and follow the favourite on down in price, even when it is not worth it. Thatâs the âbetter than bank interestâ syndrome. In some cases they may be betting when the price is better but the late money often tends to depress the price and so they get a surprise when the dividend emerges.
Changes like that seldom occur at the gallops but it is routine in the small greyhound pools.
The other factor is that the price may be terrible for the dog in question. Punters are assessing the dog on what it might do, or what it has done in the past, without properly considering its current form or its position in the race.
One example is Renegade Chief, sent out at $1.70 at The Meadows last week from box 3.Â It has had some good wins in the past but it had failed to win in its most recent six starts and was looking as though it lacked a bit of zip. In the event, it came out moderately and finished moderately, running fourth in average time. That form justified nearer $5.00 than odds-on yet the big move was still on.
Another was the in-form Farmor Las Vegas at $1.80 at Sandown last week. From box 8 it had to jump well, which it did, but three other dogs jumped quicker to make life difficult as they rounded the corner. Thatâs always a potential danger for outside dogs. The early pace was fairly predictable so those odds did not represent good value, never mind whether it was the best dog in the race or not.
Then an either-or situation prevailed at Albion Park on October 17 when that very smart racer Honey Bouquet drew the 8 box in a six-dog field. Seeing it listed at $4.50 in NSW, I thought that was great value and took an interest. In the event it just failed to cross the field and finished 3rd. But I would have been very disappointed as it finished up at $1.90 in NSW ($2.80 in Queensland). Smallish pools always pose that danger but the difference is stark. The following week, from the same box in an almost identical field, it managed to cross and lead even though its first sectional was almost identical to the previous week. But punters were wary this time and it paid $4.70 in NSW and $3.30 in Queensland. In neither of those races was an odds-on price justified. From the inside, maybe, but not from the 8, where luck plays a bigger part.
Obviously, both circumstances and ignorance of all the facts play a part in these ups and downs. Too many punters these days trust their emotions rather than the hard data (which they probably do not look at).
In that vein, consider this comment in a report on high school students by Fairfax Media (23 Oct), âenrolments in standard two-unit mathematics have declined steeply over the past decade and a significant proportion of students do not study maths at allâ. Could that be where these punters are coming from?
Whatever the influences, poor value on the Win tote would no doubt be a factor in the rise in popularity of exotic bets in recent times.
Wait, Thereâs More
The education of punters is not helped by the way tipsheets and formguides rate the runnersâ chances.
It has now become a universal habit for them to list the chances of each runner by some mysterious device which churns out a set of numbers like 100, 98, 96, 94 etc. Apparently, this is meant to tell us who the best and worst are. But what do the numbers mean? How can we apply them in practice?Â Of course, we canât. They are meaningless.
There was an extraordinary example in the TOPGUN where the GRV formguide rated all dogs in the range 100 down to 95. Two were at 100 â Ernie Bung Arrow and Dyna Nailin â and three were at 99 â Peter Rocket, Punch One Out and Tomac Bale. Those numbers bear no relationship whatever to the real pricing so how can that help the punter?
Pricing is the other conundrum. That same formguide, as well as the TAB and online bookies, display a list of odds for each dog. In every case those odds amounted to a book of around 130%, which is way outside what the totes (114%) or genuine bookies in a competitive market would charge. Itâs a complete rip-off for unsuspecting punters. They are trading uncertainty for a price that will never allow them to make a profit. Winners will never really be winners.
You might say the commercial operators are entitled to do what they like â buyer beware. So be it. But there is no excuse for state racing authorities to do likewise. Their responsibility is to serve and protect the public, not to lead them down the garden path.
The end effect is to degrade the concept of value pricing and instead encourage gamblers into quickie bets, much as would happen with a poker machine.
In either of these cases, those official formguides should tell the reader what the figures mean, how they were derived, and what the built-in profit was. Or, better still, get rid of the 100, 99, 98 nonsense.
While the focus of the industry was on the Group 1 Topgun at The Meadows last night, the youngsters also brought their best for the heats of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic at Wentworth Park.
The first heat went to one of many interstate competitors entered in the series, as Gimme Fuel ($3.00 favourite) led from go to whoa from box four. The Kelly Bravo-prepared pup never looked in danger after he landed in front, accelerating away from the rest of the field to score by four and one quarter lengths in a scintillating BON 29.64s. The son of Dyna Lachlan has been racing well in Victoria where he had won six from nine prior to last night, with his Sydney performance one of his most impressive displays to date. Local chaser Belfast Johnny ran a great race from box five Â to finish second while Lorraine Royâs Pleiades ran a fantastic race to finish third albeit over eight lengths off the winner.
While the first heat went to the favourite, the second went to an outsider when Waylin Joy triumphed at a massive $40.90. As expected, the majority of the money came for the exceptional bitch Ritza Hattie, but she had a tough run from box five when Lachlan Bomber collided with her just after the start. Waylin Joy was a clear last going passed the post on the first occasion and had to do plenty of work to navigate his way into a handy position down the back. As the race leader, Another Call, got weary entering the home straight, Waylin Joy pushed his way to the front along the rails and kicked clear to win by three lengths in a handy 30.01s. Ritza Hattie was resilient after finding trouble but could only manage second place. Nelirian filled the placings for Norman Rilen.
Avondale Porche remains undefeated after her efforts in taking out the third heat. The Knocka Norris bitch was taking on the Canberra Cup winner, Zipping Willow, but proved too tough throughout the run when notching up her ninth career win in 29.83s. Beginning flawlessly from box three, the blue bitch led all the way and fought off a mid-race challenge from Zipping Willow down the back for young gun trainer Beau Hedley. Soviet Missile ran second at big odds ($41.10) for Toby Weekes, while Ritza Liam rounded up the trifecta in third. Zipping Willow faded slightly to finish fourth, just fewer than four lengths off the winner.
Jane Curruthers scored a win with a member of her talented Magic Sprite x Elizabeth Royal litter in the fourth heat. Royal Sprite began brilliantly from box one and never gave anything else a chance, carving out a slick 29.77s over the 520 metres. The black dog has now won nine from 21 with five minor placings. Jason Thompsonâs Whata Good Size never left the winner alone, stalking him for the entire trip. However when the leading pair entered the straight, Royal Sprite was just a shade to strong, extending his lead to score by two and a half lengths at the finish.
The fifth heat went to Tasmanian sprinter Buckle Up Wes who managed to overcome a wide box eight draw to score convincingly in 29.93s. The son of Collision was having his second start at the track after running a blistering 29.82s in September, but raced like a track specialist as he rounded up the field entering the back straight. The black dog then drew clear to win by four and three quarter lengths on the line. Trained by Ted Medhurst, Buckle Up Wes has developed a promising record now with 12 wins from 19 starts.
The sixth and final heat went to yet another outsider when Lachâs Wish saluted at $22.30. The race was led by lid-pinger Bella Senora as the field charged out of the straight, but she quickly tired and faded back to finish an eventual fourth. Taking up the lead was the regally bred Frosty Vintage from box eight, however he was no match for Lachâs Wish on the line who charged home along the inside to bring up her fifth career win. Â The blue bitch, whichthe scales at just 26 kilograms, stopped the clock in a speedy 30.01 and will move on to next weekâs semi-finals looking a good chance at odds. Frosty Vintage was a little bit disappointing as the $3.90 second elect, but he will get a chance to redeem himself this Saturday.
The box draw for the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic semi-finals will be released this Tuesday along with the draw for the remainder of the meeting.
While the majority of attention at The Meadows on Saturday night was firmly placed towards Topgun, there were six heats held of what is usually a very entertaining and quite unique series â The Group 1 Hume Cup.
With the Sale Cup being regarded as the âMiddle-distance Championship of Australiaâ, the Hume Cup is actually the only time we get to see top level racing conducted around a two-turn middle distance metropolitan track, and the 2013 version is another not likely to disappoint. Â Â
Things started out with an even affair, as three runners vied for favouritism in the opening heat. Just As Fancy would eventuate as the puntersâ elect from box one, with Destini Fireball and Infinite Wish also receiving plenty of support. It was Lektra Grey for the Lenehan-Dailly combination that would steal the show however, going back-to-back after a big-margin win over the longer trip at Sandown last week.
Paying $8.30 on the local TAB, Lektra Grey overcame a tardy start to find itself second with a lap to go. Just As Fancy was showing the way, after Supersonic Hawk and New Tibur had jumped well but continued to get in each otherâsâ way. Lektra Grey soon slipped into overdrive as the favourite started tiring, and came away for a commanding victory in 34.41.
Destini Fireball ran on nicely into second spot, while Paris Sparks added value to the trifecta in third.
Heat two was expected to be match-race between the two widest runners, Bookkeeper and Proven Impala, however it turned out to be more of a one-act affair. Bookkeeper for the Glenn Dainton kennel flew out of the pink alley, and gave nothing else a chance in an impressive lead-all-the-way performance. While the multiple Group-race winner, Proven Impala was second for the duration of the event, it was powerless to stop Bookkeeper, who ended up six lengths in front in a slashing 34.05.
It gives the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Smashing Amy his first crack at a Group 1 event.
Temlee Winner, Cintiarna, dominated the betting for the third heat and drawn the red rug it seemed a formality that she would bring up her second win in a row. But sealing her own fate in the opening stages, Cintiarna wanted to run up the track, crashing into Blue Giant and sending him tumbling to the ground.
This carnage allowed 20/1 outsider, Easton Bale, to set up a handy lead with a lap to go. Once the field had settled, Evieâs Entity would soon emerge out of the pack and throw down the gauntlet to Easton Bale, with the pair drawing level turning for home.
In a titanic struggle, Easton Bale and Evieâs Entity went stride for stride throughout the home straight, with Easton Bale getting the nod on the post, giving Andrea her second winner for the series in 34.66. Major League was very noticeable in the ground it made up on the leading duo, finishing just over a length from the winner in third place.
There was to be no boilover result in heat four, with Alpe Dâhuez taking it out at odds of around $4.10. Displaying the powerful finish that has seen him win 16 races previously, the Kelly Bravo-trained dog flashed along the rails to narrowly beat Especially and Magpie Bob in 34.60.
Especially was the lamplighter for most of the event with Magpie Bob close in pursuit. While the chasing brigade always looked to be winding up, they seemed to take an eternity to make up the ground, with Alpe Dâhuez only gaining the lead in the final bound.
Named after a French ski resort, the son of Bombastic Shiraz and Joop Muse has now won over both longer trips at The Meadows.
After all of the Topgun excitement had wound up, it was back on with heat five of the Hume Cup. Defending champion Jethro was drawn five for Kel Greenough, with Darwin Cup winner Take It All where it likes to be, near the rails, in box two.
But punters would be left scratching their heads once again, as Born Ali for Robert Britton would come away as victor, ahead of Hala Belle and Lukey Deez in a time of 34.37. It was a race where nothing made ground from the back, and Born Ali capitalised on a speedy getaway to simply run the others off their legs.
Jethro put in what was clearly the worst run since his comeback, finishing a clear last, while Take It All was in fourth position for entirety of the 600-metre journey.
Veteren trainer, Steven Collins had to wait until the final event to ensure one of his brigade progressed onto next week, as Dyna Willow won in 34.67. Settling second behind Our Pale Ale in the early stages, Dyna Willow proved too classy as the race went on, winning with a couple of lengths to spare.
Without a doubt though, the run of the race and possibly the entire meeting was that of Surf Mail. Starting from box four, the former Queenslander copped a severe check just after boxrise and was a clear last around the first bend. Making up close to ten lengths by the time the field reached the home turn, Surf Mail looked the winner before checking off two sets off heels at the crucial moment. Despite losing all momentum for a second time, he still picked himself up to run second behind Dyna Willow, putting the writing on the wall for a strong performance in the very near future.
The Group 1 $75,000-to-the-winner Hume Cup final will be run on the traditional pre-Melbourne Cup Silver Bullet meeting Monday 4th November.
G1 Hume Cup box draw
- Box 1- Â Â Â Alpe D’huez
- Box 2- Â Â Â Easton Bale
- Box 2- Â Â Â Proven Impala
- Box 4- Â Â Â Lektra Grey
- Box 5- Â Â Â Dyna Willow
- Box 6- Â Â Â Bookkeeper
- Box 7- Â Â Â Hala Belle
- Box 8- Â Â Â Born Ali
With Australia’s eight best sprinters engaged, nobody knew which way to look going into the Group 1 Topgun tonight (Saturday) at The Meadows. In the end it was the Paul Stuart-trained Dyna Nalin that claimed the $150,000 first prize and top honours for his home state, WA.
The favourite for the prestigious invite-only event was the freakish Punch One Out ($2.80) who looked ideally drawn in box two, however it was an open field with only one runnerÂ starting at double figure odds- Glen Gallon ($23.40)
When the lids flew open, six of the eight competitors charged towards the first turn in unison. The only two missing from the line were Punch One Out and theÂ South Australian sensation Ernie Bung Arrow.Â
With 24 powerful paws all vying for the top spot, things got a little tight. Dyna Nalin (box eight), who began surprisingly well, loomed ominously on the outside of the field before crossing Glen Gallon (number six) on the first turn. In doing so, Xylia Allen (number five), Spud Regis (number four) and Tomac Bale (number three) were all inconvenienced as the big black dog Â set out after Peter Rocket (number one) who managed to avoid interference and punch up along the rails and sprint away.
Down the back it was a race in two, although Dyna Nalin was still giving Peter Rocket a three length head start. As they approached the home turn, the pink rugged runner managed to level up with the Victorian and edge his way through to assume the lead along the inside. Once he straightened up, Dyna Nalin put the paw to the floor and sprinted away to score by 3.19 lengths in a slick 29.89s.
Peter Rocket battled on well to finish second ahead of the fast finishing Xylia Allen who pipped Tomac Bale on the line for a top three position.Â Champion sprinter Glen Gallon was very unlucky but lost no admirers when finishing fifth.Â
Dyna Nalin is now a dual group 1 winner after he took out the Group 1 Perth Cup in February this year. Â The 34 kilogram powerhouse has now won 26 races with eight minor placings from 40 career starts, while he is the first WA-trained chaser to take out the Topgun since the mighty Lindale Blue who triumphed in 2002.
While tonightâs Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun is the definite highlight of an exciting night of racing nationwide, six sensational heats of the Group 1 Vic Peters Classic will also be staged at Wentworth Park. Â Open to greyhound whelped after April 1st 2011, the final will offer a whopping $75,000 to connections in two weeksâ time.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat One- 8:10pm
There are multiple chances in this race with the money likely to be coming for numbers four, five, seven and eight.
Number four, Gimme Fuel (currently $2.30 fixed price with Sportsbet), is trained in Victoria by Kelly Bravo. The son of Dyna Lachlan has only had nine starts but has clocked some sizzling times down south including a slick 27.90s over the â500â at Bendigo three starts ago. With some average beginners on his inside, he should get every chance to bounce straight on the bunny and bound away.
Number five, Belfast Johnny (currently $3.20 fixed price with Sportsbet), has been ultra-impressive in his eight race starts- clocking a near track record 24.97s at Maitland three starts ago.Â After that performance he debuted at headquarters with a fast 30.05s performance followed by a luckless fourth here at his last attempt. He isnât electrifying out of the boxes but has great speed when he hits the ground. If Gimme Fuel can begin on his inside, he might get a nice cart across into the race.
Number seven, Cut Me Off (currently $4.00 fixed price with Sportsbet), is from the consistent Lagogiane kennel but is the most inexperienced runner in the field- only having had four starts prior to tonight. While he is no doubt talented, as shown by his promising times at Maitland (25.25s) and Wentworth Park (30.10s), he is also a slow beginner and will have to jump a lot better to be able to find the fence from box seven.
Number eight, Bit Betta (currently $8.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) probably has the most early pace and he is more than capable of finding the front, despite being drawn in the pink. He is yet to race over the â500â but if he can find the front and skip away, he is a chance.Â Last start he won by 13.25 lengths at Richmond where he recorded aÂ flying 22.41s- he may be worth a sneaky bet at odds.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Two- 8:28pm
The favourite in the second heat will undoubtedly be the exciting Ritza Hattie (currently $2.30 fixed price with Sportsbet). The Mark Gatt- trained bitch was a brilliant winner at Nowra last start where she clocked a new track record 29.53s, however she is awkwardly drawn in the five. While she is freakishly fast it is a much tougher assignment tonight.
Paired with the bad draw, Ritza Hattie also has the talented Lachlan Bomber (currently $4.80 fixed price with Sportsbet) drawn directly on her inside. The Sharron Webster-trained dog is a head case for the outside which may bring everything undone for the super bitch drawn to his right.
Mike Marlow (currently $5.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) is enjoying a great run of form at present, but he too may it difficult from box seven.Â He is more than capable of jumping straight to the front, but he will need to do just that to avoid the imminent danger likely to affect the two runners on his inside.Â Big chance if he can do so, although he does get a bit weary near the line.
Victorian Nelirian (currently $5.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) is ideally drawn in the one to avoid trouble and scoot away, as is lid pinger Another Call (currently $7.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) in box three, however he struggles near the line and will need them to jam up behind him.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Three- 9:10pm
Zipping Willow (currently $3.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) received an invitation to tonightâs Group 1 Topgun but didnât quite make the final eight. The Group 3 winner will be looking to show everyone why she should have been selected when she jumps from box eight. Although it is a tricky box, she is an excellent beginner with a best time of 29.59s at the track. If she steps cleanly they will have a tough time running her down.
Avondale Porche (currently $2.80 fixed price with Sportsbet) is undefeated from eight starts but will face her acid test here tonight. The Knocka Norris bitch is boxed terrifically in the three and is a sensational beginner. Punters will be hoping she can bounce to the front and that Zipping Willow is unable to cross from out wide. If she is leading out of the first turn, she will win.
Number four, Dingâs Chance (currently $6.00 fixed price with Sportsbet), is another promising type having won 14 of his 28 starts. The son of Mogambo won in 30.10s at his track debut last week and will represent a genuine winning chance at generous odds from the blue.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Four- 9:27pm
Pantone Green (currently $7.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) ran a blistering 5.33s first section here last week and if he can repeat that tonight there is not much that will lead him despite being drawn poorly in the green. Whether the son of Magic Sprite can hold on to the top spot against a high class field is another question, but he is capable of putting on a cheeky display out in front.
The class runner of the field is Jason Thompsonâs Whata Good Size (currently $2.20 fixed price with Sportsbet), however he will have to get out of box five quick to avoid being chopped off by Pantone Green. On the bunny he is capable of running some sizzling sectionals and as a proven performer in this type of grade, he is hard to go passed.
Rails runner Royal Sprite (currently $2.40 fixed price with Sportsbet) could be absolutely anything however he needs the breaks to go his way as he is usually a very poor beginner. From box one he should get the opportunity to push up along the inside and go out after the leader but, depending who is out in front, he might find it difficult to reel the frontrunner in if it is carving some slick time. Nevertheless, if he can begin with them, he is more than capable of landing the cash having rocketed around the Glebe circuit in a hot 29.67s.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Five- 9:47pm
Kelly Bravo has another member of the Dyna Lachlan x Runway Model litter engaged in the fifth qualifier, with Siennaâs Dream (currently $4.60 fixed price with Sportsbet) exiting box four. The fawn bitch has only had six starts but has won four of those down in Victoria around Horsham (23.33s) and Geelong (25.86s). She has plenty of early pace so she should be up with the leaders in the early stages, but the two turns are completely different to the one turn tracks that she has been racing on. One would have to hope and trust that she has some two-turn experience before putting the money on at slim odds.
Tasmanian chaser Buckle Up Wes (currently $2.40 fixed price with Sportsbet) has to contend with box eight, however he does have the advantage of a run on the track. The black speedster showed great early toe at the track three starts back when zipping around in 29.82s. A repeat performance of that will make him the one to beat.
Another interstate raider, Living Proof (currently $3.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) looks a great chance in this race. The Collide dog will be aiming for four wins on the trot when he jumps from box three after recent wins at Sandown (29.76s), Warragul (26.07s), and the Meadows (30.04s). He isnât overly quick out of the boxes but does have good pace when he hits the ground- he will only need to avoid interference in the first few strides to be able to balance up and be very competitive.
The best of the local hopes would appear to be box five starter King Cobber (currently $5.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) for Frank Hurst. The Swift Fancy youngster has won three from eight including 30.37s over the track and distance, but he lacks genuine zip and will need luck in this classy event from the poor draw.
Group 1 Vic Peters Classic Heat Six- 10:12pm
Queenslander Placid Planet (currently $2.60 fixed price with Sportsbet) looks to have plenty of talent with five wins and six minors to his name after 12 starts up north. Trained by in form mentor Troy Sharpe, Placid Planet will be aiming to make it a hatrick of wins after two good wins at Albion Park- his most recent in a sub 30 time. Box four is not ideal, but there does not appear to be any blistering speed underneath him.
Frosty Vintage (currently $4.00 fixed price with Sportsbet) has recorded a good 30.66s at Richmond recently which is fast enough to be right in this if he can transfer that form to headquarters. The regally bred pup is a little bit hit and miss- if he brings his A-game he is more than capable of winning but he will have to be on his best behaviour, especially from box eight
Being Good (currently $4.50 fixed price with Sportsbet) has put the times on the board at Gosford (29.89s) and Richmond (30.63) but she is a slow beginner and may find it hard from the seven.
Other than that it is a pretty even race. The surprise runner may be Bella Senora (currently $9.00 fixed price with Sportsbet). The Adam Wade-trained bitch has been racing well at Maitland against some seasoned and well-performed campaigners. She is not a very tough bitch but she has good speed and if she finds the front she may prove a challenge for some of these inexperienced youngsters to run down.