West Aussie seeking to snare a place in Sydney Cup folklore

THE Sydney Cup is a race that has been ‘on the books’ at Wentworth Park since 1963 and boasts winners from Tasmania, South Australia, Queensland, Victoria and even the United States (Lucy Wires in 2013), but this Saturday night sees Western Australia in with a big chance of snaring the thick end of the prize money when Olivia Benson steps out for trainer Darren Rowe.

The first West Australian stayer to make the 720-metre Sydney Cup final was Laddie’s A Star back in 1992, the last time the event was conducted on the grass surface. He finished unplaced behind local star Sailing Waverly.

To the best of my knowledge, Olivia Benson is only the second ‘half-miler’ from WA to make the Sydney Cup final, although admittedly there haven’t been many from over West who have attempted the race anyway.

Olivia Benson is fairly new to the long distance caper, having raced just three times beyond 700 metres for one second (in her Sydney Cup heat) and two thirds, so she is probably getting stronger each time and is certainly well in the final.

Chairman’s Cup winner Whittaker will be attempting to emulate the feat of Amity Bale, who is the only greyhound to have won the Chairman’s Cup-Sydney Cup double, achieving the feat in 2009. Whittaker is currently the $3.40 equal favourite with Sportsbet alongside Miss Foxy Lee to take out the great race, which appears to be good value for the 21-time winner.

National Distance Championship winner, Victorian stayer Ring The Bell will be attempting the match the feats of fellow Victorian Sweet It Is and former Queenslander Kobble Creek who took out the National Distance Championship and then scored in the Sydney Cup in 2014 and 1999 respectively.

The Sydney Cup is possibly the only major race on the Australian calendar which has always been contested at the same time every year, the final being held in October.

Between 1996 and 2010 it was awarded Group 2 status but since 2011 it has been downgraded to Group 3 level, which is disappointing considering its rich history.

The race has been won by some of the greatest stayers ever to compete in this country. Rose Moss snared it in 1966; the great Zoom Top defeated Victorian star Miram Miss by four lengths in 1968; the late Geoff Watt trained Top Saba to victory in 1971; Miss High Lo became the only stayer to ever win the race twice when she scored in 1973 and 1974; National Lass won in 1985; Kirsty’s Charity in 1988; Trojan Tears defeated South Australian star Raven Kelly in 1993, but the latter returned in 1994 to record a great win for her state; Kobble Creek scored in 1999 while Sweet It Is annexed the 2014 renewal.

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Notably, there have been eight NSW Greyhound of the Year titlists who have won the Sydney Cup in the same year they have annexed the award: Rose Moss (1966, jointly with Roman Earl), Zoom Top (1968), Miss High Lo (1974), National Lass (1985), Sonic Wave (1987), Kirsty’s Charity (1988), Trojan Tears (1993), and Pearl Larricki (2001).

As well, Royal Riddle, who won the Sydney Cup in 2005, won the 2006 Greyhound of the Year title and Miagi, who won the cup in 2007, was awarded the 2008 Greyhound of the Year sash.

This year’s decider will be held at Wentworth Park on Saturday October 8, with the winner set to collect a lucrative $25,000 winner’s purse.

Group 3 Sydney Cup – honour roll

1963 Wally’s Best
1964 Pinkstone
1965 Barry’s Pixie
1966 Rose Moss
1967 Only Ten
1968 Zoom Top
1969 Our Vent
1970 Miss Limit
1971 Top Saba
1972 Jan’s Issue
1973 Miss High Lo
1974 Miss High Lo
1975 This Guy Moss
1976 Glahda
1977 Bozo Belmont (V)
1978 Brigante Babe
1979 Debraja Flash (V)
1980 Henry’s Girl
1981 Supreme Hiwai
1982 Pleasure O’Hope
1983 Olympic Rose
1984 Linen’s Best
1985 National Lass
1986 Beautiful Dream
1987 Sonic Wave (V)
1988 Kirsty’s Charity
1989 Rules (V)
1990 Rocket To Tubrid
1991 Vindicate
1992 Sailing Waverly
1993 Trojan Tears (Q)
1994 Raven Kelly (SA)
1995 Fire Lad (V)
1996 Bonza Boy
1997 Ringside Fire (V)
1998 Gallant Seagull
1999 Kobble Creek (Q)
2000 Valley Cowgirl (V)
2001 Pearl Larricki
2002 Westend Prince (V)
2003 Distinctive (Q)
2004 Resigned
2005 Royal Riddle
2006 Quidame (Q)
2007 Miagi
2008 Others Quoted
2009 Amity Bale
2010 Nana Cook
2011 Key To Eden
2012 Bell Haven (T)
2013 Lucy Wires (USA)
2014 Sweet It Is
2015 Ada Mary