BETTER Than This (Knocka Norris x Father Of Mine Oct ’13) became just the ninth greyhound to win back to back edition’s of the Waterloo Cup when saluting in the prestigious event at Longwood on Sunday.
Trained by Ashlee Terry and her partner Andrew Paraskevas, Better Than This defeated Night Attack (Vee Man Vane x Knees Up Jun ’14) by three lengths at the finish, making it four wins from four coursing events this season.
First run in 1873, the Waterloo Cup is the major coursing event on the Victorian greyhound racing calendar, with the winning greyhound required to compete in six ‘match races’ over two days in a knock-out style competition.
It was a mighty effort from the rising four-year-old which was bred by Terry and Paraskevas and has raced exclusively on straight tracks throughout his career.
Away from coursing the white and black dog has had just 10 starts yielding seven wins and three seconds – a record which shows his obvious talent.
Paraskevas said it was an enormous thrill to take out the time honoured race.
“It is a privilege to win a race which is so steeped in history – especially two years in a row,” Paraskevas told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Better Than this thrives at coursing but unfortunately whilst he is very fast he just doesn’t go around bends. We have tried time and time again and I have got him really close but he just won’t chase properly.
“We have been blessed with the opportunity to let him show what he is capable of… without coursing he would have been in the GAP program at 14 months.”
It was purely an accident that Paraskevas stumbled upon his greyhound’s talents on the coursing track after he failed to chase whilst breaking in on two occasions as a pup.
“We bred the litter and there were eight of them. They were all reared at the same place and they went to the breakers at the same time – four of them broke in really well and four of them wouldn’t break in at all.
“He was one of the ones which wouldn’t break in and we were pretty much told to cut our losses and move them on.
“They ended up going to another breaker down the road and they said the same thing – when they came home we put the other three through the GAP program and I can’t explain why but I just took a liking to him.
“He was here for a couple of months and by coincidence we were trialling the others at Lang Lang and we decided to chuck him in the trailer and take him for a drive.
“We trial there a fair bit – I think the drag lure sparks them up – so I put him up the straight and he went the fastest of all of our dogs which was a shock because he had been in a yard and hadn’t done much and the others had been in work.”
— Greyhound Racing Vic (@GRV_News) August 27, 2017
One of the greyhounds Better Than This blew away at that first trial was his brother which would later go on to race as American Monster, the runner-up in the 2016 Group 2 Shepparton Cup and third placegetter in the 2016 Group 1 Hobart Thousand.
“He is every bit as good as American Monster, but he is a bit of a thinker,” Paraskevas quipped.
“But he is good at what he does.”
Paraskevas said he is unsure of what lies ahead for Better Than This, but with limited options ahead him given coursing season is coming to a close, the Cranbourne South trainer said it is probably time for him to find a couch to live out the rest of his days.
“I said that last year too, but he is four now so I doubt he will race again,” he said.
“We haven’t decided what we are going to do just yet, but no matter what happens we make sure he is looked after for the rest of his days.”