Another lap of the greyhound calendar is almost complete, which means it is time for those lucky few to become Greyhound of the Year.
After a total of 112 Group races and countless other listed and classic events, there are definitely some standout performers who have surely earnt the right to named their respective state’s best racer.
What better place to start than with the overwhelming favourite for the Victorian (and most likely Australian) GOTY award – the magnificent El Grand Senor.
The big black sprinter burst onto the scene by cruising through a 3-week VBIS maiden series at Horsham back in March and has never looked back since. On his way to no less than $407,000 in prize money in just over 10 months, Carolyn Jones has led this son of Where’s Pedro and Elgrando Gold to seven feature event wins and numerous track and sectional records. His trio of Group 1’s for the year were the Hudson Pacific Maturity , the Sky Racing Topgun and most memorably the $175,000 Solo Melbourne Cup final.
Victoria also saw the emergence of two very exciting staying prospects in Nellie Noodles and So Seductive. Showcasing once of the most punishing bursts of strength, Nellie Noodles thrilled viewers nationwide through the months of May and June, culminating in victory in the Gold Cup at Albion Park. So Seductive took over the Victorian staying mantle in the latter half of the year, breaking city track records and hammering quality fields through the Sir John Dillon Memorial and Bold Trease Carnival Cup series.
Old-timer Jarvis Bale has another remarkable year in the staying events, making the finals of an amazing 12 Group events.
In a very strong year for Victoria,2010 saw the emergence of excellent sprinters Cosmic Chief, Enry Walt and Octane Show who took the last (and almost the last two) Group 1’s for the year – and snared Hobart’s track record while doing so. Cosmic Rumble snared the $250,000 Golden Easter Egg final before heading to stud, while Dyna Lachlan started the year with a win in the Adelaide Cup.
Moving north to NSW, where September was dominated by National Sprint and Distance Champions Smooth Fancy and Blue Lorian. Both greyhounds had an incredible run both at home and interstate, before Smooth Fancy was eventually retired.
Although Queensland based, Elite Blue Size racked up win after win at Wentworth Park and the Gardens and must be considered one the most consistent chasers doing the rounds. Winner of the National Derby and Maitland Gold Cup, Reg Kay has another track star ready to make 2011 a very successful year.
If Elite Blue Size isn’t able to win NSW, then he may have trouble winning Queensland’s GOTY award as Dashing Corsair had another fantastic year. After winning the 2009 National Sprint championship, the big fawn chaser found a new home on the staying circuit in 2010. Dashing Corsair won 17 races for the year, made 9 finals, and broke Albion Park’s 710m record.
High Earner was arguably the highlight for the Queensland sprinting stocks, after making the Adelaide Cup, Australian Cup and Golden Easter Egg finals and taking out the rich Group 1Perth Cup in March. Mr Metz had an up and down year but landed the Townsville Cup and Dapto Megastars final while managing to make a presence in the Adelaide and Gold Coast Cups. Other notable performers for the sunshine state were Terrific Style, Gnarley Boy and Blazing Chaos.
South Australia had one of its best years for a while in terms of depth, particularly in the sprinting game. Boozeroo for Ossie Chegia set the Angle Park track ablaze several times, winning 12 races at the Cardigan St venue. Unfortunately for Boozeroo, he failed to fire in the big events, but eventually took the Group 3 Gawler Gold Cup in November.
Young dogs were the real stars for the crow eaters, with Stack ‘em Flat, Where’s Pancho, Where’s Cisco, Tomic, Random Test, Point Two Over and Handsome Shiraz all rising to prominence in 2010.
As good as the sprinters were, it was clear that stayer Satanic Cash was the stand out performer on the national stage. Still probably the best dog in the land not to win a Group final, Bob Isaacson enjoyed 18 wins from Satanic Cash this year and has prize money now exceeding $125,000. His record of 17 start sfor 14 wins over Angle Park 731m layout is a showcase of his dominance.
Across the Nullarbor to Perth and a front running white dog by the name of Pedrosa made Cannington his own in 2010 . Handing in 16 wins there, including a string of nine in a row, Paul Stuart’s chaser killed them in the State Sprint heats as well as the Anniversary Cup and W.A Derby finals. His performances interstate were a little below par however, with a fourth in the National Sprint final and dramatically going down on his nose in a Paws of Thunder heat.
Rock Pool and Kalden Athena were probably the best of the Sandgropers behind Pedrosa, with the former winning the W.A Oaks and the latter putting the S.A Oaks trophy on the mantle for Dan Biddle. Uno Kendra had a nice year too with 15 wins including the Group 2 All Stars Sprint.
Last but not least, we look at Tassie. They say the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but I’d like to add Damek as Tasmanian Greyhound of the year for 2010 to that list. The numbers tell the story here – 29 starts, 24 wins, 2 seconds with a highly publicised 13 in a row at Hobart. He set track records at Launceston and Hobart before breaking them both again.
The only down side to Peter Phillps’ brindle flyer is that he may get big moment jitters. He was beaten a nose in the State Final of the Nationals and finished last in the recent Hobart Thousand Final. He also travelled twice to Melbourne throughout the year and failed to flatter on both occasions. In saying that, the upcoming Launceston and Devonport Cups will most likely end those jitters, and Group victory can’t be far away for trainer Eileen Thomas.
While Damek was the leading sprinter, Tassie’s best stayer by some margin was most definitely the Mick Louth owned Sitka. She contested feature events in W.A, Tasmania and Melbourne with the highlight being a very game third behind Blue Lorian in the National Distance Final at Angle Park.
Sitka finished second in the last Group event of the year, the Sale Cup over Sale’s 650m. Queensland’s Dashing Corsair could only manage a last place in the same race, while the aforementioned Nellie Noodles was first reserve.
Then once again we begin a new year, with a new batch of prize money to be won in 2011. But for now, congratulations too all those greyhounds thrilled and entertained and made greyhound racing successful for another year.