2013 will see the 77th running of the Hobart Thousand, arguably Australia’s longest-running feature event. I say ‘arguably’ because while the Hobart Thousand, which started simply as the Hobart Cup in 1935, has been almost continuous (only missing two years because of the Second World War), the Melbourne Cup is older, beginning in 1934. In reality though, the Melbourne Cup, as we know it today, did not have its modern-day style until the late 1950s.
No matter, the Hobart Thousand was for a very long time a race that attracted the best greyhounds in the country, not least because it was the richest event from 1947 to 1950, being worth £1,000 to the winner, hence the name. It was equal richest from 1951 to 1956, alongside the Harold Park Classic (now known as the Vic Peters Memorial Classic), and again in 1958 and 1959.
Although it was supplanted as the richest race in the country by the Australian Cup, it remained one of the most valuable events through the 1960s and into the early part of the 1970s.
The Hobart Cup was first run in 1935 and won by Elwick Boy, who earned £20 for his connections. The heats for the race were run earlier the same day with first and second through to the final.
The first time the race was known as the Hobart Thousand was in 1939 when Mr Whackles took home £500, with the total prize money for the race being £1,000.
As mentioned above, the race was first called the Hobart Cup (1935-1938) and became the Hobart Thousand in 1939. Although it had a brief reversion to the Hobart Cup name during the Second World War, and was not contested in 1944 and 1945, it has been known as the Hobart Thousand ever since.
It started over 410 yards (375 metres) from 1935 to 1941. Then it became a 525 yards (480 metres) race from 1942-1943 and 1946-1948. The event was run over 540 yards (494 metres) from 1949 to 1972. The distance was extended to 500 metres from 1973 to 1980, back to 497 metres between 1981 and 1985, and down further to 457 metres from 1986 to 2005. Since the move to Tattersall’s Park, the Hobart Thousand has been contested over the 461-metres distance.
When Is The Race Run
The first running took place on 2 February 1935. Until 1985 the final was either run in very late January or February. It had a brief flirtation with being run in March, but since 1990 the final has always taken place in December.
Biggest Winning Margins
Ralph The Mouth scored by a whopping nine and three-quarter lengths in 2005. The next best was back in 1958 when Rookie Rebel (see below) avenged his defeat the previous year and whipped his rivals by eight lengths.
Closest Winning Margins
This was in the 1957 when Rising Ace defeated the champion Rookie Rebel by a nose, in a field of 10.
The 1950 winner Neat Brandy scored by a short head, while the 1954 and 1959 victors, Pasha Chief and Peter’s Treasure, managed to prevail by just a half-head each.
Most Successful Trainer/s
Graeme Bate has led in four winners: Bomber Gleeson (1992), Extra’s Boy (1993), Mirren Bale (1998) and Latest Lad (1999). Next best is Hilda Williamson who scored with three in a row: Ophir Doll (1961 & 1962) and Ophir Gold (1963). Four other trainers have won the race twice, the most recent being John Galea with Nobody Knew (2003) and Train A Journey (2007).
Only Dual Winner/s
Just one: Ophir Doll in 1961 and 1962. She also made the 1963 final, but could only run fourth behind kennelmate Ophir Gold.
Only Reserve/s To Win
None. The closest was the third placing of Pure Oz in 2004.
Jack Ayr (second 1939 & 1940), Rookie Rebel (second 1957, won 1958), Peter’s Treasure (won 1959, third 1960), Ophir Doll (won 1961, 1962, fourth 1963), Starlight Rebel (second 1993, third 1994), Jellico Lad (fourth in 1994 and 1995), Shantung Tiger (second 1996, won 1997), Top Shiraz (fifth 1999, won 2000), Family First (third 2001, fifth 2002), Pure Oz (fourth 2003, third 2004), Train A Journey (third 2006, won 2007) and Rewind (second in 2011 and 2012).
Some Beaten Stars
Plenty of champions and topliners have made the final, but not managed to snare the race. Tumble Bug (1947), Sharid (1951), Zoom Top (1969), Mona’s Beauty (1974), Sheila’s Teresa and Chariot Supreme (1984), Busy Vintage (1985), Fine Horizon (1999), Brett Lee (2000), Modern Assassin (2002), Big Daddy Cool (2003), Where’s Pedro (2004), Pororoca (2005), Kilty Lad and Damek (2010), and Rewind (2011 & 2012).
The 1952 winner Baron Dhu was undefeated in six starts to that point, having also won the Hobart Maiden Thousand. The 1959 final field was the first to contain all local-trained runners. The 1966 winner, Ipswich Low, is the only English-bred greyhound to have won a major race in Australia.
The 1975 final, won by Snowsun, was the last time all finalists were led to the boxes by officially appointed uniformed attendants. The honour of leading in the most Hobart Thousand winners went to an attendant named Don Bomford, with six successes.