Background To The AWM Distance Title

In some ways the AWM Distance Title is one of the ‘unsung’ long-standing major distance races on the Australian calendar. Of course, if Xylia Allen manages to win the 2014 final and extend her winning streak to nine on end (easily the longest of her grand career) and snare the Australian prize money record, then the AWM may well take on a much greater significance in the future.

Inaugural Running

The event began life as the Olympic Park Distance Championship and was first run over the testing 800 yards (732 metres) trip at Olympic Park in 1967. The winner was Magic Zephyr who scored in a fair 44 12/16. I have no other details about that first event.

Distances

As mentioned above, the race was run over 800 yards at Olympic Park between 1967 and 1995. It was then contested at Sandown Park in 1996 and 1997, over 715 metres. Since 1999 it has been run over 725 metres at The Meadows.

Names

From 1967 to 1977, 1979 to 1985, and 1988 to 1991 it was known as the Olympic Park Distance Championship. In 1978 it was called the Victorian Distance Title. In 1986 it was known as the Toyota Trophy, then in 1987 as the Toyota Cup. In 1992 and 1993 it was the Diamond Distance Title, then in 1994 and 1995 it became the ANZ Distance Title. Thankfully, since 1996 it has simply been called the AWM Distance Title.

When is the Race Run

I have no knowledge of the dates of the first two runnings in 1967 and 1968, although I suspect that it was May. From 1969 to 1978 the final was run in May. In 1979 it was held in November. No event took place between 1980 and 1983. In 1984 and 1985 the final was run in November. In 1986 it reverted to February (or late January) until 1992. Between 1993 and 1995 it was run in April. In 1996 it was November, 1997 July, no race in 1998, 1999 it was August, and 2000 November. Since 2001 the race has been held in either July or August, much, no doubt to the delight of owners and trainers who can now plan when they need to target the race.

Biggest Winning Margins

The great Lizrene scored by nine and a half lengths in 1972, Modern Express by nine lengths and a quarter lengths in 1992, Amity Bale by seven and a quarter lengths in 2009, and Zoom Top (1969), Julep (1989) and Johnny Glenoban (1995) all won by six lengths.

Closest Winning Margins

Mid City Mandy, in 2006, and Sky Hazzard, in 2007, won by a neck. La Sierra (1975), Westend Prince (2002) and Zarbo (2005) all won by half a length.

Most Successful Trainer/s

Peter Giles has won two, with Long Shadow (1999) and Westend Prince (2002) and Don Hazzard won with Sky Hazzard in 2007 and 2008.

Only Dual Winners

Sky Hazzard is the only one, scoring in 2007 and 2008.

Only Reserves to Win

None.

Dual Finalists

Phantoma (second 1969, unplaced 1970, unplaced 1971), Dimpled Dianne (unplaced 1973 & 1974), Benjamin Court (unplaced 1975 & 1976), Chevron Lass (Won 1976, unplaced 1977), Sheila’s Teresa (Won 1984, dead-heat second 1985), Bold Trease (second 1987, fifth 1988), Why Complain (second 2002, eighth 2003), Arvo’s Junior (Won 2003, eighth 2004), Sargent Major (eighth 2006, seventh 2007), Sky Hazzard (Won 2007 & 2008), Jarvis Bale (eighth 2009, third 2010).

Beaten Stars

Wonoka (unplaced 1970), Roman Copy (fifth 1971), Saki Dasher (unplaced 1971), He’s Some Boy (second 1973), Titus (third 1976), Mandarin Girl (third 1977), Ibrox (fifth 1977), Bold Trease (second 1987, fifth 1988), High Intensity (third 1988), Raven Kelly (fourth 1994), Northern Legend (second 1996), Keon Star (third 1996), Boronia Blossom (fifth 1996), Bentley Babe (second 2000), Osti’s Joker (fourth 2000), Tip Top Tears (sixth 2001), Total Denial (third 2002), Malfoy (second 2005), Best Quoted (third 2005), Miss Brook (third 2006), Miss Grub (third 2007), Flashing Floods (sixth 2007), Fallen Zorro (second 2008), Chinatown Lad (third 2008), Mantra Lad (fifth 2008), Nellie Noodles (seventh 2010), Irma Bale (third 2012), Proven Impala (second 2013), Bell Haven (eighth 2013).

Additional Notes

Phantoma is one of very few greyhounds to have been a finalist in the same event three years running.

When Golden Ambition won the 1987 final by two lengths from Bold Trease, the time of 43.42 was the second-fastest over 732 metres at Olympic Park to that point, behind Pharaoh’s Mask’s 43.09.

The 1988 final saw the first five across the line finish within 1.7 lengths of each other.

When Destini Fireball won in 2013 he took his earnings to $488,010. AWM director

Terry Davis generously added $12,000 to the $40,000 first prize money to push Destini Fireball’s career earnings past the half million dollar mark.

Past Winners

1967 Magic Zephyr
1968 Carbon Lass
1969 Zoom Top
1970 Trev’s Button
1971 Paul’s Thunder
1972 Lizrene
1973 Thurmiss
1974 Alveray
1975 La Sierra
1976 Chevron Lass
1977 Oakwood Moss
1978 Lindsay’s Pick
1979 Mixed Blessings
1980 not held
1981 not held
1982 not held
1983 not held
1984 Sheila’s Teresa
1985 Suzanne Gwenda
1986 Linton’s Ace
1987 Golden Ambition
1988 Strolling Benja
1989 Julep
1990 Malmar Magic
1991 Witchery
1992 Modern Express
1993 Brijon Belle
1994 Athjoy
1995 Johnny Glenoban
1996 Happy Reuben
1997 Ringside Fire
1998 no race held
1999 Long Shadow
2000 Jedi Lightsabre
2001 Hotshow Vintage
2002 Westend Prince
2003 Arvo’s Junior
2004 Classy Customer
2005 Zarbo
2006 Mid City Mandy
2007 Sky Hazzard
2008 Sky Hazzard
2009 Amity Bale
2010 Blue Lorian
2011 Shimaguni
2012 He Knows Uno
2013 Destini Fireball