The Black Top is the flagship event held annually at The Gardens greyhound racing track in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, carrying group 2 status and a $40,000 winner’s cheque.
The series is run and won over two weeks, with greyhounds competing in heats, with winners and second place getters (depending on how many heats are held) progressing through to the final seven days later.
The most recent edition of the Black Top was taken out by Victorian star Pantera Nera, trained by Gavin Burke, defeating a quality field in 29.72.
Best bookmakers for betting on the Black Top
Being a main feature on the NSW provincial greyhound racing calendar, the Group 2 Black Top always attracts plenty of betting interest as the best of the best flock to the Steel City for a crack at the riches on offer.
Subsequently, all of our recommended online bookmakers offer fixed odds betting on the final once the heats and box draw have been conducted, giving punters the opportunity to shop around and snag the best prices available.
Many of our online bookies also offer fixed odds betting on the heats of the Black Top, with some, such as Bet365, also having all-in markets on the winner of the final prior to the qualifiers being held – perfect if you think you can spot some value prior to the series kicking off.
Some of our top rated bookies to bet with are as follows:
1. Sportsbet: Get up to $501 in bonus bets
2. Crownbet: Deposit $400 and receive $600 in additional free bets
3. William Hill: Greyhound punters receive a matched bonus up to $502
4. Bet365: Up to $200 of your initial deposit matched by 100%
History of the Black Top
The race is named after one of the best greyhounds to have ever graced the track, Black Top, who was whelped in February 1961. The son of Top Linen and Classy Jane was bred by Edna Hanson in the suburb of Birmingham Gardens, the town in which The Gardens greyhound track is now based, and was trained near Newcastle by Frank Holmes.
The black powerhouse raced in the early 60s, facing the starter on just 20 occasions from which he managed 17 wins and two second placings. His stakes earnings of 5,352 pounds saw him retire as the sport’s highest earner at the time and he entered the stud scene with a record 65 pounds’ stud fee.
Fittingly, when The Gardens opened its doors to racing, the NCA, who were in charge of running racing at the track at the time, named the club’s feature race after the immortal chaser which was inducted into the Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame in 2008.
The first edition of the race was taken out by Doreen Drynan’s Buddy Rich in 2005, with some of the best greyhounds from the area and across the country having won it since including group 1 stars One Tree Hill (2007) and Cindeen Shelby (2009).
The Black Top – recent years
2016: The latest edition of the Group 2 Black Top was taken out by Victorian star Pantera Nera for trainer Gavin Burke. The son of Milldean Panther and Go Jessie’s Girl was originally owned and trained in Newcastle before being sold interstate, returning to his former home track in fine style, defeating classy duo Maja Mahi Mahi and One Hill in 29.72.
2015: Uno Suzie continued her stellar run of form, claiming the 2015 Black Top for leading conditioner Anthony Azzopardi. Clocking a scintillating 29.46 over the 515m trip, the daughter of Cosmic Chief and Uno Witch was too good for a stellar field including Opus Forte, La Grand Logie and Smart Missile.
2014: Alby Kennewell scored the biggest victory of his training career when the consistent Rose Of Galo took out the 2014 feature. The black bitch gave a stunning exhibition on the bunny, scoring by three lengths over Push it in 29.52.
The Black Top – honour roll
2005: Buddy Rich
2007: One Tree Hill
2008: Lochinvar Prada
2009: Cindeen Shelby
2012: Bye Bye Bucks
2013: Billy Buzzard
2014: Rose Of Galo
2015: Uno Suzie
2016: Pantera Nera