Most people by now would be aware that Maurie Strickland’s wonderful chaser, Rewind, has run his last race. Bringing to a close a career that would be the envy of many, his staggering record of 61 wins from 100 starts highlights his consistency over many years, despite the travel and injuries that go hand-in-hand with competing at the top level.
A winner across three different states and twice runner-up in the Group 1 Hobart Thousand he will be remembered as one of the all-time stars to have come out of our most southern state – or will he?
The sands of time have an intriguing way of clouding our memories and in such a fast moving sport the present seems to always look more appealing than the achievements of the past.
I’m not referring to distant memories either, as a lot of the time great chasers can be retired for barely a year before another quick riser takes over the spotlight. This is especially the case for a dog like Rewind who was a week-in, week-out victor, rather than earning his reputation via one or two high profile feature wins. In fact, his $200,000 career purse was collected without a single win above Group 3 level.
Tasmania is renowned for producing dogs that dominate the ranks at home, and it doesn’t seem fair that such chasers get lost in the revolving door that lingers for retired greyhounds everywhere.
The career of Rewind actually highlights exactly the depth of talent that has been produced in the past couple of years, considering many of those have given the black and white flyer a beating along the way.
Damek is the obvious name that comes to mind, but I’m not sure those outside of the Apple Isle fraternity will appreciate just how good this fellow was.
He won 45 races from 61 career starts giving him a strike rate of 74%. His fastest times won’t be matched for a long time (25.24 Devonport for example) and his winning margins at the highest grade had to be seen to be believed. But the scariest thing is that Damek last raced in January 2012 and his feats have never gained much attention anywhere else since.
Similarly, Big Moose was a champion of 50 wins from 87 starts and a four time Group finalist across three states that retired in 2009. Yet the response to his stud career has been seemingly non-existent, and one can’t help wonder if things would be different had he been domiciled in a different location.
Now I understand that two or three dogs don’t constitute a ‘golden era’, but perhaps that perception changes when considering the following names were all racing during the same three-year span as Rewind; Eagle Eye (42 wins 59 placings), Sultan’s Swing (35 wins), Bergermeister (21 wins, track record holder) Rob Pines (Group 3 Winner), Decembrist (Group 2 Winner), Luke’s A Missile (track record holder), Clyde’s Angel (16 wins incl 29.50 Sandown), Stylish Monty (30 wins, 59 placings), St Pierre (Group 1 Australian Cup winner), Thirteen Black (27 wins), Fisherman (Group 2 Winner), New Recruit (24 wins), Sitka (three state winner, 3rd NDC), Sandhog (four-state winner), Akka Boy (Group 2 Winner), Damascus Road and Accounts.
All those before the current littermate duo of Bell Haven and Jethro have been added to the equation.
The lynchpin for the Tasweigians is that many of the above have been bred locally, without relying on interstate high-price puppy purchases to harbour success.
The three years since Rewind first graced the track have been quite simply been an excellent time for the Apple Isle, and despite the void that his absence will leave, Rewinds’ retirement doesn’t necessarily mean the Tassie harvest is over just yet.
Hellyeah Bolt, Buckle Up Wes and She’s All Class have all shown that they are capable enough with interstate wins flowing already. These are the new kids on the block that will carry on the torch and the legacy of those names mentioned above, and one can only hope they get the respect fitting for state that punches well above its population weight class.