Dashing Corsair retired at Albion Park on Thursday night. He went out a champion. No one was ever in doubt of that status for the home-grown Queenslander but on the National stage he proved it once again. And how he proved it.
Dashing Corsair ($6.60) (Malfoy-Rose Flamenco), written off by just about everyone, showed he has a heart “as big as Phar Lap” as his trainer Dwyer Lennon said, by leading virtually throughout to win the Group 1 National Distance (710m) in 41.93. He defied everything the nation could throw at him and held off Lady Arko’s ($4.00) flashing finish to win by a neck with two lengths to a gallant Kalden Mayhem ($19.90) in third.
His record of 125 starts for 57 wins is a staggering testament to his greatness. The fact he is the only dog to win both the National Sprint and Distance, and the only dog to ever make three National finals, proved just what every Queenslander knew.
There was not a dry eye at Albion Park on Thursday night when Dashing Corsair defied challenge after challenge and then kicked clear at the home turn to the cheers of everyone at the track and all watching him on TV.
To think Dashing Corsair had to be carried off Albion Park last week when a battling and injured second to Abby Shiraz in the state final and then bounced back to win the Group 1 final is staggering.
Pat Dennis, the quiet Wynnum man who spends a lifetime pulling, prodding and fixing worn and battered greyhound bodies, worked his magic again for the umpteenth time to get Dashing Corsair to the track.
“Pat checked him over on Friday and he was sore in the stomach, sore in the hip support and sore in his Achilles tendon,” said Dwyer. “We worked on him, but he really got himself right. Pat checked him over again on Monday and said he was right to run.
“I never question Pat because for 35 months he has kept this dog on the racetrack, but at the back of my mind I was still a little worried.”
He should not have been.
Champion Victorian trainer Darren McDonald was high in praise of Dwyer and his wife Desley and their ability to get the dog to the track. “All credit to them to get him back,” said Darren. It was a performance for all greyhound racing
No one at Albion Park was in any doubt they had witnessed an incredible performance.
“He doesn’t need to do any more,” said Dwyer. “The Super Stayers win a few weeks ago was a highlight for me, but this is something else.
Desley Lennon didn’t say much after her beloved Dashing Corsair’s victory. The smile on her face said enough.
But the most satisfaction will be with Paddy Fitch who never gets to see her champion race. Paddy bred the dog and owns him. She will be sitting at her Churchable home with a great deal of satisfaction.
Dashing Corsair is a Red Fawn dog whelped April 2007 by Malfoy from Rose Flamenco (Souther Champ x Rose Regal). He raced by Paddy Fitch and trained by Dwyer & Desley Lennon at Churchable in Queensland. He has now won 57 races and been placed on 32 occasions from his 125 starts. The National Distance Title first prize of $75,000 brings his overall prizemoney to $463,045.
The field in finishing order after the placings with starting price, Bobby Boucheau $5.60, Pickle Mickle $18.20, Abby Shiraz $31.10, Zipping Lad $2.30 and Ming Dynasty $32.70.
Two days ago Metz Magic wasn’t even in the field for the Group 1 National Sprint (520m) at Albion Park.
On Thursday night the veteran of just seven race starts, and still a fifth grader, Metz Magic (Bombastic Shiraz-Witheren’s Girl) landed the National final in 30.04 for owner Bill Crooks and trainer Ron Ball.
It is a partnership that has already tasted Group 1 success with Mr Metz two years ago in the Brisbane Cup.
Metz Magic ($10) scored by a length and a half over the fast finishing Cold Fusion ($2.80) with a length to early leader Allen Hertz ($5.60) in third.
It was his fifth win in just eight starts.
Metz Magic got a start in the final only after two scratchings. Originally he had come up with box one but an hour later that was changed to box five when a RQL mistake had been rectified. It was an omen.
Mr Metz had won the Brisbane Cup from box five. Ron Ball’s other National Sprint winner, champion Flying Amy, also drew box five when she won.
Bill Crooks names his dogs “Metz” after the Metz Café in Canungra owned and run by his wife Diane.
But Bill heaped praise on his 84-year-old father Jim after the victory. “Dad does so much of the work at home with the pups,” said Bill. “He is upstairs in the dining room crying. He’s very emotional.”
Ball is planning to step Metz Magic up in distance in the not too distant future.
“He’s got no early speed,” said Crooks. “Ron said he won’t mess about much with him. He will step up in distance soon.”
“Awesome” was how Ron Ball described his second National Sprint victory. Big race trainers step up with big race successes and that’s what Ball did with Metz Magic easily the least experienced runner in the final.
Crooks described Metz Magic as “delicate”. “He’s a bit of a shy dog and Ron has had to handle him patiently,” said Bill. “He didn’t break in that well but when they got to Ron Ball’s kennel, he improves them a second.”
And turns them into a Group 1 National Sprint winner.
Metz Magic’s victory follows the success in the National Sprint two years ago by Queenslander Dashing Corsair.
Metz Magic is a Black dog whelped May 2009 by Bombastic Shiraz from Witheren’s Girl (Placard x Berella Shantal). He is raced by William Crooks and trained by Ron Ball at Prenzlau in Queensland. He has now raced on eight occasions for five wins and one placings and the $75,000 first prize for the National Final of the Sprint Championship took his overall stake earnings to $82,877.
The field in finishing order after the placings with starting price, Point Two Over $28.10, Maybe Elite $14.50, Glen Gallon $3.30, Bogie King $8.50 and Hellyeah Jacko $49.20.
In 12 months time, the National Championships will head south to Hobart for the first time since 1987. The National sprint will be contested on a horse shoe shape and distance track for the first time since West Australian Fremantle Echo won the sprint over 457 at the Hobart Showgrounds in that year, Tassie’s only every winner Busy’s Vintage won the final at Harold Park in 1984 on a Horse Shoe.The distance final with be held for the first time since 1983 when won by Victorian Ten Guitars in 1983.