Young Victorian trainer and former GRV Steward, Mark Giddings, had the biggest win of his short career last night when his bargain buy stayer Lioness Lulu roared to victory in the Group 1 Association Cup at Wentworth Park.
Giddings, who has only been training greyhounds since 2013, was contesting just his second group race final ever, after Lioness Lulu made The Superstayers final at The Meadows three weeks ago, finishing third to high quality stayer Star Recall.
The win is all the more remarkable as Giddings bought Lioness Lulu for just $2,000 after the greyhound’s early career had seen her passed through four trainers hands, for just the one win and four placings from 12 starts. Even under Gidding’s guidance, Lioness Lulu saw the starter another nine times before securing her second win. That appeared a tipping point in Lulu’s career and while not winning, the diminutive daughter of Big Daddy Cool and Jackie’s Capri began to consistently finish in and around the placings.
Switched up to middle distance and staying races, Lioness Lulu’s consistency saw her qualify for her first group race, the Group 1 Superstayers at The Meadows; where she finished third in the final to WA superstar Star Recall, earning connections $15,000 in prize money and giving Gidding’s the confidence to travel and contest the Group 1 Association Cup in Sydney.
Lioness Lulu put the writing on the wall in last week’s Association Cup heats with a 42.09 upset win over well performed stayer Whittaker at the roughie odds of $24. Although an upset the winning time was highly competitive with Victorian stayers clean sweeping the heats when Come On Fantasy ran 41.92 and Dublin Bull ran 42.26.
Beginning well from box eight in last night’s final, Lioness Lulu was able to easily take control of the $75,000 to the winner final, crossing and leading Whittaker (box six) and Serena Nimbus (box seven). While the rest of the field tried in vain to eat in to the lead, Gidding’s star put them to the sword winning by an ever increasing margin with daylight second.
The win takes Lioness Lulu’s record to six wins and 24 placings from 58 starts with an $113,225 in earnings. Not bad for a $2,000 bargain buy.