Breaking Down The Numbers

I can only speak for myself, but I find the ever-changing list of Australian prizemoney records seen on this site to be really fascinating. It’s amazing how numbers can tell a story, or in a lot cases, be so misleading.

What it does do is read as a who’s who of our sport over the past 20 years, with just about every Melbourne Cup, Australian Cup, Topgun and Golden Easter Egg winner getting a mention. I found it a bit of a stroll down memory lane, with mumblings along the lines of ‘Oh remember him’ being heard many times as my eyes scanned down the table of names. But when the raw figures are broken down, without any other context and looked at in a bit more depth, some fascinating findings begin to emerge.

First of all, the three dogs at the top of the tree – High Earner, El Grand Senor and Radley Bale – all raced at a similar time and have all retired within the last two years. They all won between 33 and 37 races, however El Grand Senor had 59 fewer starts than Radley Bale and 26 less than High Earner.

Sitting in fourth place is the flying sandgroper, Miata. She sits $19,000 behind Radley Bale, having 61 fewer starts, and only $30,000 off El Grand Senor with 2 fewer starts to date. The Paul Stuart trained bitch has earned more cash than any other chaser currently racing, and her last start win in the Bold Trease makes her the most successful stayer, in financial terms, this country has ever seen.

Only those four sit above the previous record of Rapid Journey which stood for almost 13 years. His amazing 54 start career has certainly stood the test of time, however he is not alone as a dog from the 20th Century whose earnings still stack up by today’s standards. Tenthill Doll can be seen sitting at #21 on the table, with more than $380,000 in the bank, while Queensland’s darling dog, Flying Amy, is just behind her at #28.

The longest retired dog in the top 100 is Highly Blessed, who is counted at #41 despite being done and dusted for the past 21 years. Amazingly, regardless of the rises in prizemoney and sheer number of feature races, she has got a bigger purse than the likes of Go Wild Teddy, Whisky Assassin, Bobby Boucheau, Modern Assassin and Kilty Lad.

I guess the next bracket in terms in of time is that from the turn of the century to 2007. In other words, those racing and retired longer than 5 years ago. From that crop, it’s another Queenslander, Bogie Leigh who tops her class at #8 with $488,000. Paua to Burn follows at #15 and arguably the worlds fastest dog, and greatest ever sire, Brett Lee sits at #18. As I hinted at the top of the page, it can be astonishing how numbers paint a picture, and those that saw Brett Lee race will tell you he was not the third best chaser doing the rounds in those years, but well and truly the dominant sprinter of his time.

Another very interesting thing is when you look at who in the top 100 had the most wins. Not feature wins, but just which dogs won more races than any other on this list of champions, and that title goes to WA’s Sandi’s Me Mum (#50). Having won a staggering 62 races from 92 starts (over 66% strike rate) she stands alone as a winning machine with the last of those victories coming in 1991. Dashing Corsair’s tally of 57 wins is the lists’ highest of any greyhound racing this century, and he also has claim to having the most starts at 124, sitting up nicely at position 11.

At the other end of the scale are those who have made the list with the fewest starts. Those that took the least amount of tries to claim big cash fort their connections, and narrow Melbourne Cup winner Surgeon impresses with only 18 starts for his #94 standing. Of those up higher on the list, the aforementioned Brett Lee has fewer starts of anyone in the top 20.

Unlike Sandi’s Me Mum and Dashing Corsair who racked up huge numbers over long careers, Lord Ducal made it to # 76 courtesy of only 11 wins, including a memorable Melbourne Cup final. Zara Zulu has made the most of her opportunities so far, turning 13 wins into nearly a quarter million dollars and 63rd spot, while the $350,000 given to Got A Moment last Thursday has sailed her 14 wins into 20th spot in Aussie greyhound history.

Finally, the biggest surprise in terms of earnings tally and overall standing would be consecutive TAB wins record holding bitch, Miss Elly Mint, who despite winning 44 races – a number greater than the top six earners of all time – sits in 104th position with just under $200,000.

So as you can see, the prizemoney list can tell its’ own stories. It gives a great comparison between the feats of yesteryear and the cash-and-dash system of today. While High Earner may be king of the castle for now, there are others who can claim to be greatest in their own right. Others can also claim to be harshly done by on the same scale. Regardless, I still think it makes fascinating reading, and I’m sure in a few years time the list will look drastically different again.