Since its inception in 1993, the invitation-only Topgun has been a controversial race.
The race has been widely criticised due to it’s nature of being the sole invitation only Group 1 race on the Group Racing calendar.
The race and its current administrators, the Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association (MGRA) who race out of The Meadows, has come in for much criticism mainly because of its “anonymous” expert panel that decide each years fields.
In many years gone by the “expert” panel has been found to contain many media and industry identities that also have obvious bias’ and bonds to certain states, certain trainers and several owners.
Oddly enough, frequently the “expert” panel is not comprised of form students or handicappers and graders, but tv presenters, race callers, state greyhound authority employees and local greyhound racing association public relations and marketing personnel.
The focus of which is obvious – curry the greatest favour with the “talking heads” in the hope that’ll lead to greater exposure. The emphasis has clearly been on pushing the highest profile greyhounds and the highest profile trainers in to the race, in the hope that translates to a high profile race.
Clearly this has, at times led to greyhounds being selected that quite frankly did not deserve to be there, were out of form and many cases, out of their depth.
More often than not, inner “clique” media hype has decided the topgun field, rather than form; too often a free meal and flight have influenced the field rather than racing ability and record.
In the past four years, Victorian trainers Jason Thompson and Darren McDonald have started runners in every race.
Darren McDonald has had a runner every year since 2004, although he had to scratch that year.
Jason Thompson, has had the most Topgun runners of any trainer; thirteen runners since 1997 including one reserve, and has on at least four occassions been given the opportunity to start more than one runner, with a record three runners starting in 2001.
Not a bad effort for a race which is a walk up start to a $125,000 first prize.
This year Thompson was again given the opportunity to start two runners but has had to scratch Knocka Norris who has been retired to stud due to a hock injury.
Thompson will start race favourite, El Galo, from box five. Darren McDonald will start rank outsider and questionable selection, All Caution, from box seven.
Topgun Full Honour Roll
- 1993 Golden Currency (Vic) & Worth Backing (Vic)
- 1994 New Fox (NSW)
- 1995 Rapid Hiker (Vic)
- 1996 Wylie Boy (Vic)
- 1997 Chicago Blue (Vic)
- 1998 Rapid Journey (NSW)
- 1999 Mint Magic (NSW)
- 2000 Placard (NSW)
- 2001 No Intent (Vic)
- 2002 Lindale Blue (WA)
- 2003 Bombastic Shiraz (Vic)
- 2004 Whisky Assassin (Vic)
- 2005 Black Enforcer (Qld)
- 2006 Jaimandy Coops (Vic)
- 2007 Meticulous (Vic)