Superstar stayer Chinatown Lad demolished his Albion Park Gold Cup heat rivals on Thursday night running 42.06 on a rain affected track.
The son of Lilli Pilli Lad-Chinatown Babe scored by 16 and three-quarter lengths over Misty Bear with a half length to Fast Dream in third.
The merit of his performance was in the fact he ran such fast time on a track that stewards had downgraded to slow just before the race.
First heat winner Xanadu‟s Image ran 42.60 while Chinatown Lad‟s litter sister Fallen Zorro ran 42.44 in her heat win.
Gavin Whitney, father of the dog‟s trainer Shane and breeder of the litter, said he was surprised by the ease of the victory by Chinatown Lad.
The victory was Chinatown Lad‟s 15th in 27 race starts.
“We are staying with Paul Felgate and will be here all week before the final,” said Gavin.
The Whitneys have 30 dogs on their eight acre property at Brighton just north of Hobart and 16 of those are in training.
Gavin Whitney bred Chinatown Lad from unraced bitch Chinatown Babe.
“She was going to be a champ and trialled sensationally at Cranbourne and Warragul when she was 16 months old, but she broke a foot and had to be retired without a race start,” said Gavin.
“I brought her home and bred with her.”
The Whitneys won a Tweed Galaxy with Lillipilli Power who is by the same sire as Chinatown Lad and out of his granddam.
Chinatown Lad is raced by Katrina Gregory who was sold the dog for $500 as a pup.
“We expect Katrina to come up next week for the final,” said Gavin.
Gavin said Gregory had refused a $300,000 offer for Chinatown Lad after he broke the Cannington track record in April.
The Whitneys have been to Albion Park before.
They brought Atomic Jet here two years ago but he failed in the heats of the Gold Cup.
Gavin said he had a litter of pups by Elite State from Chinatown Babe that have just been broken in with great reports.
“Her next litter with be by Brett Lee,” said Gavin. “I‟ve got a couple of straws to him and one will go on her.”
Gavin Whitney has been in greyhound racing since he was 14. He is now 61.
“And Shane didn‟t have any chance. He‟s been in dogs all his life,” said Gavin.
Fallen Zorro was down a half kilo in weight when she won her heat of the Albion Park Gold Cup on Thursday night.
And Gavin Whitney, whose son Shane trains the Lilli Pilli Lad-Chinatown Babe bitch, says there is plenty of improvement in her.
Fallen Zorro scored by two lengths in 42.44 beating local hope Nicely Done with a length and a quarter to Victorian Just Friends flashing home for third.
It was her 10th win in 24 starts.
The bitch is raced by Terry Hassler and Colin Gerrity both of who have done work around the Whitney property at Brighton in Tasmania and were given the bitch for doing that work.
The Whitneys say there is little between Chinatown Lad and his litter sister Fallen Zorro actually broke in better as pups.
“But he is better of the two now,” said Gavin. “But whenever we take them to Hobart to trial, there is only a half length between them.
“He‟s met her a couple of times and beaten her each time, in the Galaxy in Perth and the Sandown Cup.”
Gavin says there is plenty of improvement in Fallen Zorro.
“The rain didn‟t suit her,” he said. “She didn‟t even want to come out of the kennels tonight, but she was right when she got onto the track.
“I was a little concerned she was down a half kilo in weight. She‟ll be at her best for the final.”
Winter Chase winner Nicely Done was a good effort in the wet, leading to the shadows of the post before being run down by Fallen Zorro.
Leith McHugh was the first to say “I told you so” when Xanadu‟s Image sprang a surprise when leading throughout to win her heat of the Albion Park Gold Cup (710m) on Thursday night.
McHugh never lost confidence in the daughter of Bombastic Shiraz-Berella Xanadu and she repaid that by scoring in 42.60 on the wet track.
She won by three and a half lengths over fast finishing Kulu Spirit with Victorian Bye Bye Bones in third.
Xanadu‟s Image was having her fifth start over 710m and it was her first victory.
“The „good judges‟ said she was no hope,” said McHugh. “But I knew she had her right box and if she could lead she would be right in it.”
That‟s exactly what the bitch did.
“She had a fall here about six or so runs back over 520m and really lost her confidence,” said McHugh. “That‟s why I stepped her up to 710m to give her some confidence. She was knocked down here last week and I thought she should have won that instead of running second to Gina Rosa.
“Each week she has been getting better and better and her confidence has been improving.”
Xanadu‟s Image took her record to eight wins from 31 starts and it was her fourth win at Albion Park. Last year she won the Ipswich Futurity over 520m.
“She‟s been a heartache for us but she is a very, very good bitch,” said McHugh.
Xanadu‟s Image is McHugh‟s first Group 1 finalist.
He is adamant his bitch must draw an inside box to show her best.
“That‟s what happened tonight,” he said. “She came out running and from the inside draw she could lead.”
Xanadu‟s Image is a magnificent looking bitch who was bred by Laureene Renner and is raced by her daughter Charmaine Samuelsen.
“Won‟t she make a great broodbitch,” said McHugh of Xanadu‟s Image.
The Gold Cup was first run at Gabba in 1974 and was known as the Gabba Gold Cup until 1980 when sponsored by SGIO for a year and by Woolworths of another year.
It went back to the Gabba Gold Cup until 1988 when the race became the FAI Gold Cup for four years. It changed to the Albion Park Gold Cup when racing transferred there in 1993 and has been sponsored by current sponsor VIP Petfoods since 2002.
It has been won by some champion stayers over the year’s Dotie Wilson the only dog to win it twice in 75 and 76. Mandarin Girl 77, Picture This 82, National Star 85, Trojan Tears 94, Miss Cruise 95, Boronia Blossom 96, Totally Ablaze 98, Questions 99, Total Denial 2002, 2006 Miss Brook and last year’s winner Miss Grub.
Below the full Gold Cup Honour Roll :
- 1974 Captain Winter 42.12
- 1975 Dotie Wilson 41.83
- 1976 Dotie Wilson 42.08
- 1977 Mandarin Girl 41.70
- 1978 Dusty Ginny 41.75
- 1979 Mockacindy 41.46
- 1980 Gini’s Choice 41.90
- 1981 Final Dream 41.83
- 1982 Picture This 41.88
- 1983 High Monakii 41.75
- 1984 Shy Deena 41.62
- 1985 National Star 41.61
- 1986 Clover Park 41.40
- 1987 Shy Nimbus 41.74
- 1988 Gary’s Hope 41.49
- 1989 Mary Casey 41.51
- 1990 Rocket To Tubrid 41.68
- 1991 Cobbalena 41.71
- 1992 Elusive Odie 41.37
- Gold Cup Is Moved To Albion Park 1993 Pilgrim’s Star 41.88
- 1994 Trojan Tears 42.53
- 1995 Miss Cruise (NSW) 42.57
- 1996 Boronia Blossom 42.25
- 1997 Red Mystique 42.06
- 1998 Totally Ablaze 41.96
- 1999 Questions 42.10
- 2000 Amazing Dancer 42.11
- 2001 Hotshow Vintage 42.15
- 2002 Total Denial 42.41
- 2003 Dooley’s Mist 42.28
- 2004 Toss O’Reilly 41.76
- 2005 Last Quoted 41.74
- 2006 Miss Brook 41.86
- 2007 Miss Grub 41.77