Background To The Sir John Dillon Memorial

The 2014 final of the Sir John Dillon Memorial, to be run at Sandown Park, will only be the third time in what will be its 37th running that the race has been run over the middle distance of 595 metres. It will also be the first time the final has been held in December. Better known as a distance event, it actually started its life over the sprint trip at Sandown Park and is one of the few major races in Australian history to have featured two greyhounds who have made the final three times.

Inaugural running

The first Sir John Dillon Memorial was run on 24 August 1978 over 513 metres at Sandown Park and fell to Darville’s Flyer who overcame box five to defeat Nelson’s Mate and Tangaloa, running the trip in 30.24.

Distances

From its inception in 1978 until 1980 it was run over 513 metres. Between 1981 and 1985 it was converted into a distance race, run over 718 metres. From 1986 until 1995 it was conducted over 716 metres. Between 1996 and 2011 it was held over 715 metres. Since 2012 it has reverted to the shorter 595 metres middle distance.

When Is The Race Run

Although the first final was conducted in August, the race was then run in September from 1979 to 1986. Between 1987 and 1991 it was again run in August. July was the final date from 1992 to 1996, and then in 1997 it was back to September, until 2005. From 2006 to 2011 the final was run in October, while the two previous events over the 595 metres trip in 2012 and 2013 were in November.

Dual Winners

This is one of those rare open-class events which has yet to witness a dual winner.

Reserve Winners

None I’m aware of.

Biggest Winning Margins

Of the finals for which I have full details, Texas Gold holds the record with a nine and a half lengths win in 2005, followed by Miss Brook (2006) by eight lengths and Modern Express (1991) seven and a half lengths.

Closest Winning Margins

Again, of those finals for which I have full information, the closest is the 2008 event which Tasmanian stayer Fallen Zorro won by a nose. Arvo’s Junior (2003) and Dashing Man (2013) won by half a head while Pharaoh’s Mask (1986), Rich Return (1993) and Hypa Din (1994) took the race by a head.

Most Successful Trainer/s

I don’t know all the winning trainers over the years, but no one has dominated down through the years. George Arvanitis won the race in successive years with Arvo’s Junior (2003) and Arvo’s Athena (2004).

Dual Finalists

Nelson’s Mate (second 1978, unplaced 1979), Lone Voice (Won 1981, unplaced 1982 & 1983), Bold Trease (second 1986, Won 1987, fifth 1989), Blazing Bub (Won 1988, fourth 1989), Carmella’s Charm (eighth 1998, third 1989), Dorak (second 1989, fourth 1990), Village Stomper (second 1991, fourth 1992), Hanson Blaze (Won 1992, third 1993), Hypa Din (Won 1994, sixth 1995), Malawi Fawn (eighth 1995, third 1996), Nowhere To Go (seventh 1997, fifth 1998), Rocky (third 2005 & 2006), Mid City Mandy (sixth 2005, second 2006), Springvale Jinx (fourth 2005, sixth 2006), and Miss Brook (Won 2006, fourth 2007).

Some Beaten Stars

Tangaloa (third 1978), Mile Post (unplaced 1978), Striding Ahead (unplaced 1980), Leader’s Jester (unplaced 1980), Bianca Lee (second 1981), Flat Flyer (second 1982), Quick Pulse (dead-heat second 1983), National Star (third 1985), High Intensity (fifth 1988), Saltwater Sid (fourth 1993), Keon Star (fourth 1995), Ringside Fire (second 1997), Paradise Street (fourth 1998), Questions (eighth 2000), Tip Top Tears (second 2001), Flashing Floods (third 2007), Jarvis Bale (third 2009), Bobby Boucheau (second 2011), He Knows Uno (third 2012).

Titbits

As mentioned at the outset, this race has the rare distinction of having had two greyhounds make the final on three occasions each. The first was Lone Voice, who took out the inaugural running over the staying distance, in 1981. Lone Voice then made the 1982 and 1983 finals but was unplaced in both.

The great Bold Trease, perhaps no surprisingly, made three finals, in 1986, 1987 and 1989. He was beaten a head in 1986 by the mighty Pharaoh’s Mask, took out the 1987 version and was fifth in 1989.

The race is also quite unique in that it has seen two dead-heats in the placings. The first was in 1983 when Linton’s First and Quick Pulse dead-heated for second behind Madam Cecie, while the second occasion saw Valley Cowgirl and Heady Freddie share the second and third prize money after being beaten just a neck by Osti’s Joker in 2000.

Sir John Dillon Memorial Honour Roll

1978 Darville’s Flyer

1979 Traduce

1980 Blue Brew

1981 Lone Voice

1982 Supplier

1983 Madam Cecie

1984 Sheila’s Teresa

1985 Caddie’s Champ

1986 Pharaoh’s Mask

1987 Bold Trease

1988 Blazing Bub

1989 Rules

1990 La Dancer

1991 Modern Express

1992 Hanson Blaze

1993 Rich Return

1994 Hypa Din

1995 Joint Mission1

1996 Shirlabella

1997 Red Mystique

1998 John Beam

1999 Paparazzi

2000 Osti’s Joker

2001 Bentley Babe

2002 Westend Prince

2003 Arvo’s Junior

2004 Arvo’s Athena

2005 Texas Gold

2006 Miss Brook

2007 Kulu Magic

2008 Fallen Zorro

2009 Amity Bale

2010 So Seductive

2011 Bling It On

2012 Shelly Shelby

2013 Dashing Man