When Queensland’s favourite son Dashing Corsair held off the strong run of Victorian Lady Arko to snare the final of the 2011 National Distance Championship at Albion Park on 25 August, the fairytale ending that even Hollywood would be embarrassed to write was writ large in real time and not in a dream.
As if proof was ever needed that good greyhounds draw good crowds, Albion Park played host to its biggest throng for some time. A note to administrators everywhere. Many, of course, had come to watch a grand performer go out on the racetrack of dreams for a final hurrah. Just how many thought the grand fawn superstar of Albion Park racing could actually create an incredibly unique place in Australian greyhound history is moot.
Yet that is exactly what the 710-metres track record holder did do, at his 124th and last race start. As Dashing Corsair passed the post to record his 57th victory the April 2007 fawn dog became not only the first greyhound to reach national championship finals, but the first to win one of each version, the National Sprint Championship (2009) and now the National Distance Championship.
Only one other greyhound to my knowledge has ever made a national sprint and distance championship final and that was NSW all-distance dog Just Like Jack who ran sixth in the 1995 National Distance Championship and fourth in the 1996 National Sprint Championship.
Five previous greyhounds have, to the best of my knowledge, competed in two National Distance Championships. They were Supreme Carmen (WA) who ran second in 1984 and 1985; Queensland champion Boronia Blossom who won in 1995 and 1996; Paradise Street (WA) who won in 1998 and was second in 1999; Miss Brooke (Q), fourth in 2006 and second in 2007; and Fallen Zorro (T), third in 2008 and seventh in 2009.
Queensland has now won seven of the 43 National Distance Championships, equalling NSW, but they did not start having representation until 1973, four years after the inaugural event was held at Wentworth Park. Dashing Corsair is the first Queenslander to take the race since Kobble Creek in 1999.
Dashing Corsair bows out of racing with a record 38 victories at Albion Park: 16 over 520 metres (from 42 starts), seven over 600 metres (from nine outings), and 15 over 710 metres from just 18 attempts, with two seconds. In fact, from 600 to 710 metres Dashing Corsair boasts the incredible figures of 27 starts for 22 wins, four seconds and one fifth.
His 57 victories places him equal second on the list of Queensland greyhounds. Only Australian record win holder Saltwater Pete (74) is ahead of him and Dashing Corsair shares the stage with Sophocles, the Mount Isa star who once held the record for the most number of wins on end (21), set in 1987.
More impressively, Dashing Corsair won 45 city-class races, a record which puts him in second place overall in Australian history behind the great Victorian bitch Lizrene, who won 46. The next best is the mighty Zoom Top, with 38 city-class wins, albeit she would probably have won many more ‘in town’ except her owner-trainer Hec Watt would always be prepared to travel around the country to race his fabulous greyhound for fans who couldn’t get to the city.
Dashing Corsair, son of former top stayer Malfoy, goes to stud with $455,000 in prize money. His career and achievements are a great credit to his joint trainers Desley and Dwyer Lennon who have achieved a series of milestones that are not likely to be equalled, let alone surpassed, for a long time to come.