Remember when: Miss Cruise won the Chairman’s Cup

Former star stayer Miss Cruise.

SHE was one of the most consistent greyhounds of the 1990s and came to national prominence when successful in annexing the 1994 Chairman’s Cup in easy fashion at only her fourth start over the 720m trip at Wentworth Park.

Miss Cruise, a blue brindle bitch by Ginger out of Spanish Dance, she was whelped in January 1992. Bred and trained throughout her career by Alan Pringle, Miss Cruise’s career almost never got off the ground.

She had her first start on September 30, 1993 in a maiden over 508m at Dapto. Sent out a 1/3 ($1.30) favourite, Miss Cruise began well but was soon in trouble and failed to complete the course. Found to be injured, Miss Cruise would not appear again on the track for three and a half months.

Pringle managed to get his charge right and on January 15, 1994 Miss Cruise showed her mettle, cruising to a 10 lengths victory over 507m at Young.

Four days later she was beaten into second place at Canberra, but then won over 506m at Lithgow.

Pringle brought Miss Cruise to Wentworth Park on February 12 for a 520m graded event. Slowly away, Miss Cruise finished well to run third and then, a week later, was second over the same trip, again missing the start.

Miss Cruise campaigned at Dapto during March, aiming at the Dapto Classic. She won her heat by eight lengths in a blistering 29.69 before running second behind future all-distance star Worthy Reward in her semi-final.

After running third in a consolation on Classic final night, Miss Cruise returned to Wentworth Park for the National Futurity series, coming from last early to win her heat on April 4. Outpaced in the final, Miss Cruise finished sixth behind Mystery Idle, beaten five lengths.

Given a two-month break, Miss Cruise resumed over 537m at Richmond on June 10 and came from last away to score by two lengths.

It was clear Miss Cruise was destined to be a stayer and on June 17 she took the first steps towards ‘half-mile’ racing with an eight-lengths win over 620m at Richmond in a fast 37.23. A week later Miss Cruise blitzed a field over the same trip, scoring by 15 lengths in a new track record time of 36.70.

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On July 11, Pringle brought Miss Cruise to Wentworth Park for her first test at 720m. Punters had no cause for concern as Miss Cruise raced away to win by four lengths in a fair 43.58.

A week later she backed up with another victory at the track, by three lengths over Oso Quick in a fast 43.16.
Set for the Chairman’s Cup, Miss Cruise won her way through to the final by again defeating Oso Quick, in 43.48, the best of the night.

Drawn box seven for the final, Miss Cruise notched her seventh successive win by once more downing Oso Quick, this time by four lengths in a speedy 43.17.

Pringle then put Miss Cruise away to prepare her for a tilt at the National Distance Championship series, the final that year to be run at Wentworth Park.

In her heat of the NSW National Distance Championship, run on September 17, Miss Cruise tasted defeat over the long trip for the first time, being run down in the shadows of the post by Rocket Command and going under by three-quarters of a length.

Nine days later, Miss Cruise made amends by coming from behind in the early stages to overwhelm Brinjola Lad and win by a length and a half in a strong 43.25.

The National Distance Championship final, run on October 3, was arguably one of the weakest for some time and despite drawing poorly in box five, Miss Cruise was sent out a short-priced 8/11 ($1.72) favourite. Punters who took the short odds had their hearts in their mouths for most of the trip as Miss Cruise missed the start and was well back until the home corner. In the straight she finally unleashed a strong finish to down South Australian Tilka Lass by just three-quarters of a length with West Australian stayer Nikemos third.

Five days after her victory, Miss Cruise contested a heat of the Sydney Cup but found Rocket Command once more too strong at the end, going down by a length.

In the Sydney Cup final, Miss Cruise never looked likely, but came from mid-field to finish a solid third, beaten just over three lengths behind South Australian star Raven Kelly and Rocket Command.

After running second over 608m at Bulli, Miss Cruise took on the Summer Cup series at Wentworth Park. In her heat on November 19, the blue brindle bitch again left her finishing run very late but managed to tip out Tilka Lass to win by half a head.

The Summer Cup final saw Miss Cruise again come out slowly and leave her finishing run too late as she again ran third going under by juts undertow lengths to Rob’s Rebel and Raven Kelly.

Pringle took Miss Cruise to Penrith for her last assignment for 1994, the Stayer’s Championship, run over 720m. Miss Cruise won her heat by almost five lengths and then snared the final, defeating Foxy Opera by almost two lengths on December 10.

Miss Cruise had a five-week break and resumed in a heat of the Group 1 Association Cup at Wentworth Park on January 14. Although a short-priced favourite, Miss Cruise was only steady in the run and went under by two lengths to Shining Gazelle.

The Association Cup final proved one of the closest on record. Miss Cruise came out last and was only sixth with a lap to go. By the home turn she was still just fifth but came home solidly in the run to the line to yet again finish third, beaten only a head by Rob’s Rebel and Mr Arkwright. Dave’s Cruiser was just a half-length away in fourth place.

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After running second to Dave’s Cruiser at Wentworth Park on February 11, Miss Cruise was given a short let-up and then won over 732 metres at Temora on March 10.

That was her lead-up race for the All Stars Invitation at Wentworth Park, where Miss Cruise clashed for the first time with Victorian champion Keon Star. From fourth early Miss Cruise finished strongly and defeated Keon Star by half a length. South Australian star Raven Kelly was last.

Miss Cruise then travelled to Brisbane for the heats of the Group 1 Albion Park Gold Cup, run over 710m. Miss Cruise appeared strange to the tricky Albion Park track but qualified for the final by running second behind Serious Moments.

In the Gold Cup final, Miss Cruise collected the $40,000 first prize money with a strong victory in 42.57.

Taken to Sandown, Miss Cruise failed to make the Sandown Cup final when only fourth behind Keon Star in her heat. It was her first, and only, unplaced run in a distance race.

Now in the twilight of her career, Miss Cruise came back to Wentworth Park and was beaten just over a length into third place behind Keon Star in her heat of the Wentworth Park Gold Cup.

In the final, run May 27, Miss Cruise again came from well back to once more be beaten just over a length by Keon Star, and Johnny Glenoban, and take third place.

On May 29, Miss Cruise ended her career when a four-lengths second to Dave’s Cruiser at Wentworth Park.

Miss Cruise raced just 39 times for 19 wins, nine seconds and eight thirds. In 18 starts over 720m at Wentworth Park, Miss Cruise notched eight wins, five seconds and five thirds. She made the finals of 10 major races, winning five and running third in four others.

In the breeding barn she became the dam of Group-class stayers Spanish Belle and Many Tricks.

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