On Saturday 15 January the GBOTA will conduct the 47th running of the first of its four major staying races for the year, namely, the Association Cup. Following the heats held on 8 January, the National Distance Champion and star Queensland stayer Dashing Corsair looks the obvious favourite.
The brilliant stayer set the time standard with a slashing 42.07 heat win from Seek And Destroy, while Slick Lee and Beware fought out a tough run-off with the former scoring by a nose.
This will be the 19th occasion the Association Cup has been run over 720 metres on the loam surface at Wentworth Park. Dashing Corsair becomes only the fourth greyhound to make two consecutive finals during that time.
Last year Dashing Corsair was fifth to the flying Mantra Lad and so, by making it into the 2011 final, she joins just three others who have made it into consecutive finals of the Group 1 event on the loam at Wentworth Park.
Those three were: Rob’s Rebel (third in 1994; Won in 1995), the Victorian stayer Northern Legend (eighth in 1996; Won in 1997), and all-distance star Let’s Be Frank (fourth in 1996; third in 1997) as the dual finalists on the loam surface. Endless Pit, who finished fourth in the 2004 Association Cup, missed out in 2005 but came back to win the 2006 running.
In the history of the race, which was inaugurated in 1965 and for the next 23 years contested over 732 metres on the grass track at Harold Park, only seven greyhounds made two successive finals. They were Rose Moss (Won in 1966; second in 1967), Zoom Top (Won in 1968 and 1969), Tara Flash (second in 1970, third in 1971), Come On Rhonda (eighth in 1970; fourth in 1971), Woolley Wong (Won in 1976; seventh in 1977), Kawati Boy (second in 1977 and 1978), and Little Vogue (fifth in 1978; Won in 1979).
Kawati Boy is arguably the unluckiest not to have won the race. He was beaten three-quarters of a length by Victorian Te Ropa Lee in 1977 and just half a head by the outsider Cyclone Corsica in 1978.
Of the five Association Cup’s held on the grass of the new Wentworth Park circuit between 1988 and 1992, Kirsty’s Charity was the only dual finalist, being a certainty beaten into second place in 1988 (to Whip Tip) and second again in 1990 (to Valley Mail). She was also first reserve for the 1989 final.
To round up, in the 46 completed Association Cup’s, 11 stayers have made two successive finals. Of these six have managed to win at least one. Zoom Top remains the only dual winner, while Little Vogue, Rob’s Rebel, and Northern Legend are the three who have been successful at their second attempt. If Dashing Corsair can take out the $50,000-to-the-winner race this year she will become the third on loam and only the fourth greyhound overall to achieve what is clearly a rare feat.