Fabregal’s amazing unplaced run comes to a narrow end

SOUTH Australian greyhound Fabregal (Fabregas x Allinga Aye Jay) exited box six at what was her second race in four days over 515m at Sandown Park on Thursday night, but could only finish fourth behind Lithgow Panther after finding bother at the first turn. That was the black bitch’s first unplaced run in 35 career starts.

When she raced at Sandown for the first time just four days earlier she scored a narrow all-the-way win to register her 23rd victory, and added to her seven seconds and four thirds, meaning Fabregal had contested 34 successive races and had never finished unplaced.

Although records are, as I’ve mentioned more than once, difficult to come by, I think this may well be a record for a South Australian greyhound. Back in late 1998 and early 1999, Pinot Noir won or was placed at each of its first 20 race starts, but this is the best I’m aware of by a South Australian racer prior to Fabregal.

Casting the consistency net a little wider, the former Queensland star Toolibuk almost certainly has the best record ever by an Australian chaser. Toolibuk won or was placed at his first 40 race starts, also in 1998 and 1999.

Behind him, fellow Queenslander Tropical One collected 37 successive wins and placings between 2003 and 2004, but these were all at non-TAB tracks. That rates as the second-best performance of which I’m aware.

In third place is the great Fernando Bale who went for 35 consecutive races last year without being unplaced.

So Fabregal now rates fourth, at least on my list, and second-best overall in terms of greyhounds running first, second or third before being unplaced for the first time in their career.

Former NSW distance star Texas Gold notched 33 wins and placings between 2005 and 2006 while NSW sprinter Holstein Boy recorded 32 successive wins and placings from his first 32 starts back in 1986.

Little Ragsie, a Queensland-based chaser, also notched 32 consecutive wins and placings from its first 32 outings back in 1975 and 1976, although this is unconfirmed.

Fabregal will not reach the heights of a Fernando Bale, but she has already earned a position to be at least mentioned in the same breath when talk turns to long stretches of sheer racing consistency.

She also provides us with a good example of just how much many greyhounds do indeed love to run.