The 2009 Group 1 Laurels is just a day away now, with the big final to be run and won tomorrow night. The classic final for the female youngsters race will see the winner walk away with $50,000 first prizemony, and despite some injury concerns, four time group race finalist Nova Surf is a hot favourite to win.
The Laurels was first held at Sandown Park in 1964 when Tara Princess took out the inaugural running. Prizemoney for the now Group 1 race has steadily increased from $3,000 back in 1970 to $10,000 in 1977, before dropping away for the best part of twenty years. In 1990 prizemeoney again returned to $10,000 and with the advent of the group racing calendar in Australia has taken leaps and bounds forward to its current level of $50,000 to the winner.
It is a very much sought after Group 1 event, especially by breeders as with the Laurels title comes significant value as a potential brood bitch. Many of the Laurels finalists have bred on to become house hold names after producing some of the superstars of the sport.
The Laurels has found some outstanding winners over the years, not the least was 1965 champ Cheltenham Lass who later in her career was runner up and won a Melbourne Cup as well as runner up in an Australian Cup. Odious who went on to win an Australian Cup in 1976, Carrington Jade won a Melbourne Cup in 1976. Cavalier Queen won the Adelaide Cup in 1977. Paua To Burn won the 2005 Easter Egg and 2004/ 2005 Group 1 Sapphire Crown. Plus two other winners are Hall of Fame superstars Winifred Bale and Sandi's Me Mum.
While it may be some time before any of us will race one good enough to start in a Laurels, there's nothing stopping us from doing the hard yards and studying the form in the hope of backing the 2009 Laurels winner. With that in mind, Australian Racing Greyhound have compiled all the important stats and facts for this years Laurels Final, with the detailed form on each runner below.
The Laurels Stats
Twenty one favourites have won the Laurels final. Of those winners only six have started odds on.
The shortest priced winner was Odious in 1975 at 2/5 ($1.40)
The longest priced winner was To Perfection in 1992 paying 20/1 ($21.00).
Graeme Bate has trained more Laurels winners than anyone else with three winners – 1997 Moonabel Gem, 2001 Hail A Harley, 2002 Katella Bale.
The leading owner is Jean Scurrah, who owned three Laurels winners in the late 1960's and early 70's – 1965 Cheltenham Lass, 1971 Lady of Rome, 1979 Jewel Of All.
The leading Laurels sire is Head Honcho with three winners – 1996 Hanson Kelly, 1998 Chersam Honcho, 1999 Labyrinth.
In the past 10 years only three winners haven't started favourite.
The best box to draw in a Laurels final is box seven (Nova Surf), having produced eight winners.
The worst box to draw is shared between boxes five and six (Nitrane, Mirella Bale), having won the race on only two occassions each.
2009 Group 1 Hawkins Media Laurels Final Detailed Form
Comment : Very impressive heat winner in 30.08 came from well back. Has draw well here and recorded 29.92 from this box certainly one of the chances. Will need to probably be in front at some stage or near to the speed lightly raced nice type. Bumped into Nova Surf last week she might find her hard to beat again.
Comment : Won her semi in fine style last week a solid performance in 29.95 certainly one of the chances if she begins well she is another lightly raced bitch with a heap of ability. Would have to improve to win but place chance not out of the question.
Comment : One of the more experienced with 25 starts to her credit chased home Mystical Soul in the semi after recorded a tidy heat win of 30.04. A good draw but she will have to improve to win place chance looks the best and should be taken in the multi betting.
Comment : Extremely versatile bitch, she has raced over the distance with success all in her 19 starts. Won her heat in 30.01 and was in the mix to win the semi when only went down by a half length. May have been a little disappointing last week will be running on. Place chance best.
Comment : Surprise winner last week at big odds after finishing third in her heat, has won on the track in 30.06 and has the G Bate polish, but seems to have her work cut out from the tough draw, place chance best.
Comment : Top class New South Wales sprinter, she has been breathtaking during the series so far 29.65 and a best of the night 29.74. Has already had plenty of big race experience having already made the Group 1 Futurity Final running third, and the Group 3 Maitland Gold Cup finishing second, and the Group 1 Maturity finishing second. Looked to come off the track the worse for wear last week but under expert guidance is sure to start fully fit. Perfectly drawn again looks the best of good things provided she is right.
Comment : Impressive heat winner in 30.03 and again in her semi she went well recording 30.06. In good hands and has a bright future, she will have to try and cross the favourite from box eight which will make her job much more difficult. Place looks best.