Boozeroo stamped herself as a greyhound of the future by taking out the $72,500 Group 1 Hawkins Media Laurels at Sandown Park tonight.
The scratching of Ashby Rose saw four-time Group finalist Nova Surf shorten into as little as $1.30 on TAB Sportsbet’s fixed odds, however Darren McDonald’s exciting youngster couldn’t match the early pace as Boozeroo ($5.30) exploded from box 1 to take the lead through the first turn.
Nova Surf ($1.60F) sat one length adrift entering the back straight and the pair cleared away from the field. However Boozeroo accelerated, increasing the margin to two lengths coming off the back and maintained that gap to win the time honoured Classic by 2.75 lengths in 29.74.
Mirella Bale ($36.80) stormed home for second with Nova Surf hanging on for third. You can watch the full replay below.
It was a memorable night for trainer Verity Cotton, with Boozeroo providing not only her first Group finalist, but her biggest thrill in greyhound racing.
Clearly overcome with excitement immediately following the win, Verity was struck for words but was empphatic that the win was a testament to the long hours and work, and of her partner, Malcolm Hirtzel’s dedication to the sport and his abilty with a greyhound.
Verity was at pains to thank owner Jeff Guy for the his faith in herslef and Malcolm in giving them Boozeroo to train and prepare for the Group 1 Laurels.
But it was owner Jeff Guy who will celebrate longest. The former South Australian reared the newly crowned Group 1 winner from three months of age.
A large group made the trip from Horsham to accompany the Exchange Hotel’s publican to Sandown Park and share in the success.
“It’s going to be one long night,” said an elated Guy after the race.
Boozeroo joins the exalted company of Australian Greyhound Racing Association Hall of Famers Winifred Bale, Sandi’s Me Mum and Paua To Burn, as well as multiple Group winners Miss Hot Gossip and Pure Burst as winners of the $50,000 to-the-winner event.
Boozeroo is now eligible for a $10,000 ‘Classic-double’ bonus should she win the Group 1 Solo Sapphire Crown at Sandown Park in November. She also wins a free service to 2005 Topgun winner Black Enforcer.
After the placed runners the field finished in the following order 4th Brislane ($10.80), 5th Nitrane ($16.10), 6th Mystical Soul ($9.00), 7th Bronte’s Chat ($53.50) and Infuriation ($19.40).
Boozeroo is black bitch by Big Daddy Cool ~ Explosive Flash and was whelped in May 2007. She is owned by Jeff Guy and trained by Verity Cotton.
Last nights 29.74 was her quickest at Sandown and takes her record to three wins, all at Sandown; and six placings from just the nine starts. The Laurels first prizemoney of $50,000 takes her total career earnings to $59,815.
The Laurels has found some outstanding winners over the years, not the least was 1965 champ Cheltenham Lass who later in her career was runner up and won a Melbourne Cup as well as runner up in an Australian Cup. Odious who went on to win an Australian Cup in 1976, Carrington Jade won a Melbourne Cup in 1976. Cavalier Queen won the Adelaide Cup in 1977. Paua To Burn won the 2005 Easter Egg and 2004/ 2005 Group 1 Sapphire Crown. Plus two other winners are Hall of Fame superstars Winifred Bale and Sandi’s Me Mum.
The Laurels Honour Roll
- 1989 Sandi’ Me Mum Gerry O’Keefe 8 511m 30.44
- 1990 Witchery R Miller 7 511m 30.81
- 1991 Barb’s Tune Alan Britton 8 511m 30.69
- 1992 To Perfection John Westerlo 8 511m 30.67
- 1993 Suzy Also D Mooney 2 511m 30.52
- 1994 Victorious Road Kay Taberner 7 511m 30.60
- 1995 Little Promise Robert Redenbach 4 511m 30.59
- 1996 Hanson Kelly Peter Dapiran 7 515m 30.47
- 1997 Moonambel Gem Graeme Bate 7 515m 30.26
- 1998 Chersam Honcho Garry Whelan 4 515m 30.22
- 1999 Labyrinth Stanley Ralph 1 515m 29.86
- 2000 Creative Whisky Troy Provost 7 515m 30.14
- 2001 Hail A Harley Graeme Bate 2 515m 29.98
- 2002 Katella Bale Graeme Bate 4 515m 30.17
- 2003 Dance Portrait Linda Britton 1 515m 30.21
- 2004 Paua to Burn Steven White 7 515m 29.58
- 2005 Maureen Shirly David Bartolo 3 515m 30.15
- 2006 Pure Burst Wayne Vassallo 3 515m 29.86
- 2007 Miss Hot Gossip Jason Thompson 1 515m 29.63
- 2008 Hybrid Theory Chris Darmanin 4 515m 30.00
- 2009 Boozeroo Verity Cotton 1 515m 29.74