Background to the Sapphire Crown Classic

THE Sapphire Crown Classic now ranks as one of the most important events for female greyhounds on the Sandown annual calendar, with this year being the 41st running of the race.

The original name of the event was the Sir Arthur Rylah Sapphire Classic and its initial running took place on 7 February 1974 when South Australian star Bristol Sue overcame box six to defeat Diablo and Lady Anthia over the-then 513-metres distance at Sandown, running a slow 31.11 on a rain-affected track.

When is the race held?

The event was run in late January or early February from 1974 to 1989. It was then conducted in April or May from 1990 until 2001. In 2002 it was held in November and was the main precursor to the Melbourne Cup until 2009. No race was held in 2010. The 2011 final took place in June, but since then the final has been conducted in May.

Dual Winners

There has only been one, and that was NSW star Paua To Burn, which scored brilliant victories in 2004 and 2005.

Reserves to Win

The only reserve I’m aware of is the 1986 winner Sydney Dingaan. A brilliant sprinter, she gained a run from box eight and scored at what was the last Classic run over the 513-metres trip.

Biggest Winning Margins

I don’t have all the margins for all the events, but of those I do easily the biggest is that of Paua To Burn in 2005 in scoring by ten-and-a-quarter-lengths. Bogie Leigh won by seven-and-a-half-lengths in 2003. Rocky Pyramid won by six-and-a-half-lengths in 1983, as did Ravello in 1990 and Dutchy’s Angel in 2000.

Closest Winning Margins

Of the margins I do have, Time Framer scored by a neck in 1998 while Hogan won in 1988 by just half-a-length.

Beaten Stars

Andromeda (unplaced 1974), Golden Spur (third 1976), Belabour Prince (second 1978), Dusty Progress (sixth 1978), Marajax (unplaced 1979), Vibrant King (unplaced 1979), Big Pinch (unplaced 1979), Legatee (third 1983), Wynlee Raider (unplaced 1985), Glenavon Raider (unplaced 1986), Barbariot (second 1988), Highly Blessed (eighth 1990), Worth Backing (sixth 1992), Mr Giles (fourth 1993), Bonjase (third 1994), Bahama Image (second 1995), Young Darren (second 1996), Fibba (fourth 1998), Runaway Jury (seventh 1998), Great Wish (third 1999), Jack Junior (fifth 1999), Hotshow Ben (second 2000), Carlisle Jack (sixth 2001), Leprechaun Pace (second 2006), One Tree Hill (second 2007), Tasman Queen (third 2007), Miss Hot Gossip (fourth 2007), Flash Of Light (second 2009), Queen Lauryn (fourth 2009)

Dual Finalists

Paua To Burn (Won 2004 & 2005), Finlandia (seventh 2007, fifth 2008), Queen Lauryn (Won 2008, fourth 2009), El Brooklyn (eighth 2012, third 2013)

Notes

The Classic has ranked as a Group event since the start of Group-class racing in 1995. It was a Group 3 in 1995 and 1996 and then was raised to Group 2 level from 1997 to 1999. It has been at the exalted Group 1 ranking since 2000.

Past Winners

1974 Bristol Sue (SA)
1975 Dynamic Dean
1976 Tawny Brad
1977 Overflow Love
1978 Rubin Caine
1979 Monica’s Mist
1980 Worthy Weston
1981 Shamrock Flight
1982 Wynlee Spirit
1983 Rocky Pyramid
1984 Currency Lass
1985 Rembrandt
1986 Sydney Dingaan
1987 Rothwell
1988 Hogan
1989 Super Gun
1990 Ravello
1991 Heza Mullrook
1992 Dashing Eagle
1993 Magnacarter
1994 Stylish Raider
1995 Ben’s Surprise
1996 Sarah’s Deano
1997 Token Prince (NSW)
1998 Time Framer
1999 Ashlee Jeanine
2000 Dutchy’s Angel
2001 Let It Be
2002 Bye For Now
2003 Bogie Leigh (Q)
2004 Paua To Burn (NSW)
2005 Paua To Burn (NSW)
2006 Betty’s Angel
2007 Que Sera Sera
2008 Queen Lauryn (Q)
2009 Cindeen Shelby
2010 no race held
2011 Amakler Girl
2012 Peggy May
2013 Xylia Allen
2014 Oakvale Destiny