Remember when: Red Mystique won the Sir John Dillon Memorial

Quidame 2006

ON September 18, 1997 the New South Wales stayer Red Mystique (Warren’s Flyer x Mystery Pearl Dec ’94) collected $16,000 as she cruised to a brilliant four and a half lengths victory over smart local half-milers Ringside Fire and Ballroom Dancer in the final of the Sir John Dillon Memorial Trophy at Sandown Park.

Red Mystique ran a race record 42.45 and became the first stayer from NSW to take out the prestigious event, which had first been held in 1978.

The victory also gave Red Mystique the distinction of having annexed major finals in three states, NSW, Queensland and Victoria and helped to make her a serious contender for Greyhound of the Year honours.

Red Mystique was owned by Peter Cole who won the greyhound in a raffle held by the Young Greyhound Club, with Cole spending just $10 on tickets.

Red Mystique was trained in the early part of her career by Fay Kosowski, Cole’s mother, and she began what would be a stellar career at the age of 18 months with a pair of victories over 508 metres at Dapto in June 1996.

After a second placing at Dapto, Red Mystique finished at the tail of the field in her first start at Wentworth Park, over 520 metres. It would be the only time she ever finished in that position throughout her long career.

A third in a heat of the Young Star Classic on July 27 at Wentworth Park was followed by a fourth at the same track before three more unplaced runs at Dapto and over 530 metres at Penrith.

New trainer Denis Mahoney recognised Red Mystique’s future was as a stayer and between November 15 and December 6 the red brindle bitch was tested in four starts over 620 metres at Richmond where she registered two wins and two third placings.

Red Mystique began 1997 inauspiciously with two unplaced runs, the first over 520 metres at Wentworth Park and the second over 620 metres at Richmond.

Then, on January 30, she struck top form, scoring over 600 metres at Dapto before rattling off four successive victories at her first four attempts over the 720 metres trip at Wentworth Park. Included in these wins were a heat and final of the Tedesco Formal Wear Trophy.

Red Mystique made it six on end when successful over 724 metres at Dapto in March but the sequence ended when she finished a solid second behind the classy Nowhere To Go at Wentworth Park.

Red Mystique was invited to contest the All Stars Invitation at Wentworth Park on April 5 and acquitted herself well, running a four lengths second behind Ebony Park Lass.

She broke back into the winner’s circle with victories at Wentworth Park and, contesting her first Group 1 race, a heat of the Sandown Cup on April 17, turning the tables on Ebony Park Lass.

In the Sandown Cup final, Red Mystique was unplaced for the first time in a distance event, coming home seventh behind the brilliant Tonight’s Wish, but beaten only four lengths in what was a blanket finish.

Red Mystique returned to NSW and contested four races at Wentworth Park and one over 737 metres at Bulli, a special event held on the same night as the Gold Plate. She won the first of her Wentworth Park starts but was then only fourth and second at the next two, the latter being a heat of the Group 3 Wentworth Park Gold Cup, going under by one length to Bonza Boy on May 17.

Four days later she finished third behind Nowhere To Go at Bulli and then, on May 24, she reversed the placings in the Wentworth Park Gold Cup final, finishing too strongly to defeat Bonza Boy and Tonight’s Wish with Ebony Park Lass fourth.

Taken north to Brisbane, Red Mystique contested the Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup over 710 metres where she romped away with her heat on June 5, scoring by eight lengths and then overcame box six to win the $20,000-to-the-winner final in a fast 42.06 from Petite Universe and Nowhere To Go. Tonight’s Wish was sixth.

Four more victories followed, two over 737 metres at Bulli and then twice more at Wentworth Park before the sequence of seven on end (the longest of her career) was halted when she finished only third behind Fi’s Comet at headquarters on August 9.

Given a short let-up, Red Mystique resumed at Bulli on September 3 to win by almost nine lengths in a new track record time of 43.32.

Mahoney then brought her south to Sandown where she annexed the Sir John Dillon Memorial Trophy before winning his heat of the Group 2 Sydney Cup by just over four lengths from Queensland star Shape Shifter.

In the Sydney Cup final, Red Mystique stormed home from near the tail of the field to finish a length and a half second behind Victorian stayer Ringside Fire.

Back at Albion Park on October 23, Red Mystique disappointed supporters when beaten into third place by Dumaran in a heat of the Spring Cup, but it appears as though injury was the cause as she did not race again for just over three months.

During 1997, Red Mystique had contested 31 races, notching 20 wins, four seconds and three thirds. Those efforts made her one of three finalists for the 1997 NSW Greyhound of the Year title, along with eventual winner Bobniak, and former Tasmanian sprinter Elle’s Commando.

Red Mystique resumed racing on February 6, 1998 with a second over 620 metres at Richmond before winning there three weeks later.

A seventh behind Ringside Fire at Sandown was followed by a third to the up-and-coming Savanah City at Wentworth Park and then, on March 30, Red Mystique again found Ringside Fire too good at Sandown, this time running a good second in the Listed Gleeson and Tonta Stake (now the Super Stayers).

After a second behind Savanah City over 608 metres at Bulli, Red Mystique contested the All Stars Invitation at Wentworth Park but in a close race was beaten three and a half lengths into fifth place behind Totally Ablaze, Savanah City, Cape Drina and Paradise Street.

Despite this string of defeats, Red Mystique was back to full fitness and went to Sandown for a second tilt at the Sandown Cup. In her heat she drew well in box one and edged out Tonight’s Wish by a head while in the $50,000-to-the-winner final on April 30 she exited box three and took some revenge, downing Totally Ablaze by half a length with Tonight’s Wish third, Savanah City fourth and Ringside Fire fifth.

Red Mystique returned to Wentworth Park on May 9 and led almost all the way to set a new track record of 42.47, but then missed making the final of the Wentworth Park Gold Cup when only fifth behind Tonight’s Wish in her heat on May 16.

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Although unplaced again at Wentworth Park at her next start, this time behind Totally Ablaze, Red Mystique travelled to Sandown for the Group 3 John McKenna Memorial and qualified for the final with a head second behind Ringside Fire. In the final she had to be content with fifth behind Totally Ablaze.

At her next four starts Red Mystique ran third and second behind John Beam and Dalalla in a heat and final feature event at Bulli and then won and finished second in top grade races at Wentworth Park.

Then, on August 1, Red Mystique and fellow topliner John Beam contested a four-starter Free For All over 700 metres at Goulburn. Both looked lengths above the other pair of Manikata and Firestick Fella. In what was an extremely controversial race, Red Mystique finished 16 lengths last behind Firestick Fella while John Beam was 15 lengths away in third position.

Notably, Red Mystique had opened as 4/5 ($1.80) favourite with John Beam opening at evens ($2.00). Firestick Fella was backed in from 5/2 ($3.50) to start at evens. Neither Red Mystique nor John Beam were found to be injured.

Red Mystique bounced back with a win at Wentworth Park on August 26 and returned to Sandown to defend her Sir John Dillon Memorial Trophy title, but was bundled out when only fourth behind John Beam (who went on to take the final).

After a three-week break, Red Mystique won a heat of the Sydney Cup from Tonight’s Wish but was knocked out of contention in the final when Miss Pinup and Tonight’s Wish collided with her with a lap to go. Gallant Seagull went on to win while Red Mystique finished fifth.

Red Mystique ended her career on a high note, winning a heat of the Spring Cup over 720 metres at Nowra and then scoring by just over seven lengths in the October 26 final in a new track record time of 42.53.

Red Mystique finished with 33 wins, 11 seconds and eight thirds from her 69 career starts, earning close to $200,000 in prize money. She won 14 of her 26 distance starts at Wentworth Park and five of 10 outings at Sandown Park.

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