Why Wine Glass deserves to be remembered fondly

Wine Glass 1997

She was one of the best Queensland sprinters of her era, yet until Wine Glass (Head Honcho x Hello Pop) narrowly snared the 1997 Winter Cup (then called the Eukanuba Cup) at Albion Park, the Paddy Ryan-trained black bitch had not managed to pick up a major race, despite making five big finals over the previous six months.

Wine Glass was whelped in January 1995 and commenced her racing career at almost 20 months of age with a victory over 340 metres at Beenleigh on July 29, 1996.

Tipping the scales at around 29 kilos, the black bitch won up the straight at Capalaba, won over 390 metres at Toowoomba and scored over 431 metres at Ipswich in her next five outings before winning first-up at Albion Park on December 16, at what was her last start for the year.

After being unplaced and injured in a race at the Gold Coast on January 15, 1997, Wine Glass did not appear again for almost three months.

She resumed in April with a third at Ipswich and a fifth at Albion Park before bursting back into top form with two wins and second from her next three city starts.

Ryan considered her good enough to step up in class and contest the Peter Mosman Classic at Wentworth Park in late May. She easily qualified for the semi-finals on May 31 and despite drawing box five she jumped brilliantly and led all the way, holding off the fast-finishing William Wallace to score by a neck in a fair 30.70.

The final was a roughly run affair although Wine Glass (from box six) was prominent all the way, hitting the front in the back straight. She was unable to hold off the strong finish of William Wallace and had to be content with second place, just half a head in front of the unlucky Sally’s Title.

Back in Brisbane, Wine Glass rattled off two good victories at Albion Park before returning to NSW for a crack at the Winter Stake at Wentworth Park. She overcame box four to win her heat and after drawing box one in the final was sent out a short-priced favourite. Unfortunately, Wine Glass made a mess of the start and finished fifth behind Honcho Flash.

Second placings followed at Wentworth Park and Albion Park before Wine Glass struck back, rattling off three consecutive wins at Albion Park, including a heat and the final of National Sprint Championship Queensland Final, downing Lachlan Georgia by three lengths.

Wine Glass travelled to Angle Park for the National Sprint Championship final and acquitted herself well, coming home fourth behind West Australian star Prince Of Tigers.

Her next assignment was the Brisbane Cup, her first attempt at a Group One event on her home ground. Wine Glass won her heat from box one, defeating the smart Plumb Bob by just over two lengths in a fair 30.37. In the final, Wine Glass drew badly in box six against a class field and ran a solid race, beaten just two and a half lengths into fifth place behind Barrio Babe, Roanokee, Lansley Bale and Chicago Blue.

With an eye to the upcoming Melbourne Cup, Ryan took Wine Glass down to Sandown Park for three races during October. On October 9, she could finish only seventh over 515 metres but a week later bounced back in style, downing Lansley Bale by three-quarters of a length.

After another unplaced effort at Sandown, Wine Glass returned to Brisbane where she finished a half-head second to Lachlan Georgia at Albion Park.

Freshened up for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup, Wine Glass drew box three for her heat on November 20 and duly made her way through to the final, defeating Sanvero by two lengths in a moderate 30.05.

The final was filled with class and although drawn nicely in box two, Wine Glass went off at double-figure odds. The race was annexed by fellow Queenslander Roanokee, who narrowly downed Lansley Bale. Wine Glass was beaten six lengths into fifth place.

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Revenge for Wine Glass was sweet. Entered for the Winter Cup at Albion Park, she defeated the smart Nujooloo by a length and a half in her heat in a fair 30.41. She drew box eight for only the second time in her 35-career start for the December 11 final and was sent out at 9/2 ($5.50) in what was a star-studded line-up. In a close-fought race, Wine Glass held off her old rival Lachlan Georgia to win by half a length with Nujooloo just a long neck away third. Barrio Babe was fourth while Roanokee was sixth, just ahead of Chicago Blue.

It was a brilliant end to a consistent year for Wine Glass. She had raced 28 times during 1997 for 14 wins and six placings and so it was no surprise when she was short-listed with Roanokee and Smooth Rumble for the Queensland Greyhound of the Year award. Roanokee, with 23 wins and four placings from just 32 starts during the year, went on to be voted as the Greyhound of the Year.

Wine Glass resumed in a heat of the Australian Cup, held for the last time at Sandown, but was eliminated.

She then was taken to Angle Park where she qualified for the Adelaide Cup final, winning her heat by just over four lengths in a fast 29.65, the best of the night. In the Adelaide Cup final, run on January 22, Wine Glass was injured in finishing at the tail of the field behind the high-flying Rapid Journey.

Wine Glass resumed on March 16 with a strong win at Albion Park and was then brought to Wentworth Park with the Golden Easter Egg as her mission. In four starts at the Glebe track during March and April, Wine Glass was placed twice, making the Easter Egg semi-finals and the Egg Consolation.

After failing to make the final of the Anniversary Cup, run over the new distance of 515 metres at Angle Park, Wine Glass returned to Brisbane where she bounced back to her best, registering four wins and a second in five starts at Albion Park during May and early June.

On June 18, Wine Glass ventured north to Cairns for the heats of the Gold Cup, run over 544 metres. From box five, Wine Glass raced away to an easy seven and a half length win. In the final a week later she was installed an even money ($2.00) favourite from box three, but found Gypsy Rumble too good, being beaten three lengths into second place.

After winning her 14th race in just 23 starts at Albion Park, on July 9, Wine Glass was injured and out of action until the end of August. She resumed with a seventh placing, her worst finish to that time at Albion Park.

Sadly, contesting her next start, a heat of the Brisbane Cup on September 17, Wine Glass was again injured when tailing the field behind Rocking Rambo.

After the race, connections decided to retire her and keep her for the breeding barn.

Yet Wine Glass still had some racing left in her. In July 1999, some 10 months after her last start, Wine Glass contested and won a heat of the 498-metres Townsville Cup. Drawn nicely in box one for the July 29 final, Wine Glass was a 4/5 ($1.80) favourite but had to be content with second place, beaten just three-quarters of a length by Benikin.

Having more than redeemed her reputation, Wine Glass was finally retired. She had raced 56 times for 28 wins, 10 seconds and two thirds. She made the finals of seven Group races, coming up with just that one impressive win in the Winter Cup and a second in the Peter Mosman Classic.

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