With her victory in the final of Victorian section of the National Distance Championship complete, champion all-distance bitch Xylia Allen will now take on the best of the rest of Australia and, in doing so, will be looking to emulate the feat of the late Dashing Corsair.
The Queensland star, who recently had to be put down, won the 2009 National Sprint Championship and then made the final of the 2010 National Distance Championship, running fourth behind Blue Lorian. A year later, Dashing Corsair not only became one of a small group of greyhounds to make back-to-back National Championship finals, he managed to annex this event, on his home track at Albion Park.
Xylia Allen, having won the 2013 National Sprint Championship, will now be attempting to become only the second greyhound to achieve this unique double and add yet another trophy to the cabinet of the Wheeler dynasty.
She is also only the third greyhound in the long history of the Nationals to make both the sprint and distance finals. Apart from Dashing Corsair, the New South Wales all-distance star Just Like Jack also achieved the feat, but the other way around. Just Like Jack was a finalist in the 1995 National Distance Championship, finishing sixth behind Boronia Blossom. He then made the final of the 1996 National Sprint Championship, running fourth behind Shayne’s Champ.
Of course, should Xylia Allen win the national final she will also become Australia’s greatest prize money earner, eclipsing Miata, the 2012 National Distance Championship victor. As it is, she has become only the second greyhound to pass $700,000 in prize money in Australia.
There is also a precedent for this happening. Back in 1983, New South Wales champion sprinter Winifred Bale was contesting her second successive National Sprint Championship final. That in itself was a rarity. Out of the previous 19 runnings, only five greyhounds had been dual finalists.
Owned and trained by the late Allen Wheeler, in honour of whom so many current Wheeler-bred greyhounds are named, Winifred Bale had run seventh behind Madonna Lee at the Gabba in the 1982 final, but was at her home course of Harold Park for the 1983 final. From box seven she gave nothing else a chance to cruise home four lengths clear of the field and collect $24,000 for the win.
That sum took her total career earnings to $94,000 which eclipsed the previous mark of $93,165 held by Victorian sprinter Tangaloa.
So, if Xylia Allen can win, then for the second time in the history of the highest stakes winners in the country, a greyhound closely connected to the Wheeler family will have achieved the feat in national championship final.