On Thursday night 30 June, El Grand Senor returned for the first time to a city track since his comeback from an early retirement. The black superstar was unbeaten in six starts since his return, including a tremendous Traralgon Cup (Group 2) success, scoring by just over five lengths against a strong field.
Although the speed machine led for most of the journey at Sandown, he was run down in the shadows of the post by Golden Easter Egg victor Radley Bale. In statistical terms, El Grand Senor doesn’t like box three, the alley he exited in that Free For All. In four previous starts when sporting the white rug, El Grand Senor had won just twice, running third in one and fifth in the other, the furthest back he has ever finished in 40 career outings and 33 wins.
Despite his Sandown defeat, El Grand Senor can lay claim to a unique Australian record that no other greyhound -to the best of this writer’s knowledge- has managed to achieve since the advent of racing in 1927. He is the only greyhound to have ever put together three sequences of seven or more consecutive victories during a career.
Prior to his Sandown Park second to Radley Bale, El Grand Senor had strung together nine successive victories in a sequence that began on 9 January 2011. Prior to that run of nine on end, he had been beaten into third place at Ballarat (out of box three) by Greta Bale on 8 December 2010. That defeat also ended a sequence of nine consecutive victories.
Between 14 March and 6 May 2010, El Grand Senor won seven consecutive races and so, with two further sequences, both of nine in a row, El Grand Senor has done what no other greyhound has ever managed in more than 83 years of racing in Australia.
To be fair, there is one other greyhound which has managed three winning sequences of seven or more wins in a row during a career. That greyhound was Mackay champion Minnie Flyer, who, between 1994 and 1996, strung together sequences of eight, nine, and seven consecutive wins.
By any measure, while that effort is commendable, it doesn’t truly compare with El Grand Senor’s three sequences (26 wins compared to 24) which were all scored on TAB or city tracks compared to Minnie Flyer’s efforts on a non-TAB circuit.
To the best of my knowledge, Tropical One (with the Australian record of 24 wins on end and another sequence of nine in a row), True Vintage (15 and 13 wins in succession), Flying Amy (14 and nine on end), National Lass (14 and nine consecutive), and Wild Country (13 and then 12 on end before being retired), are the only other greyhounds to have put together at least two sequences of nine or more wins in a row during their career.
For this writer, while El Grand Senor is a true speed machine and a genuinely magnificent greyhound, I can’t help but feel he will not be able to command the tag of ‘great’ until he races with success interstate, preferably at Wentworth Park in a Group event. The speed champions of the recent past, Flying Amy, Tenthill Doll, Brett Lee, and El Galo all achieved fame outside their home state and perhaps this is what breeders may be wanting to see with El Grand Senor.