What The Champs Tell Us About Being First-Up On A City Track

As most punters are well aware, backing a greyhound having its first start in the city is probably a long-term losing proposition, unless the animal you happen to pick has something above the ordinary to recommend it.

I don’t have specific statistics for the Sydney and Melbourne city circuits for the percentage of first-uppers who win to those who fail. I would imagine a few professional punters might have this information to hand, but there’s nowhere I’m aware of that a figure is readily available.

So, turning instead to the past and looking at some of the acknowledged greats of the sport and how they fared when they first competed in a race at a city course in either Sydney or Melbourne might give an idea of how tough it is to win first-up on a city course, no matter how good the greyhound eventually turns out to be.

Before I go on, please note that this is a random look at the efforts of a variety of champions and top-class chasers down through the decades. It’s not a comprehensive listing by any means, but it does show that, as the saying goes, ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.

I’ve divided them into four categories:
1. those who won first-up at all the city tracks at which they competed;
2. those who won first-up on at least two city courses but not a third or fourth;
3. those who won at one venue but not any others; and
4. those who failed to succeed at their first attempts on any of the city circuits. All the names in each category are in alphabetical order.

In the first category we have the likes of Best Sun (won first-up at Harold Park and Wentworth Park), (Wentworth Park and Sandown), El Grand Senor (Sandown and the Meadows), (Wentworth Park and Sandown), Inch Time (Harold and Wentworth Park), (Sandown, Wentworth Park, and the Meadows), Miss High Lo (Harold and Wentworth Park), Oak Queen (Harold and Wentworth Park), Odious (Harold, Wentworth and Sandown Park), Roccabright (Harold and Wentworth Park), Satan’s Legend (Olympic, Sandown and Harold Park), See Yah (Harold and Wentworth Park) and Tempix (Olympic, Sandown and Harold Park).
In the second category we have such stars as Alpha Brava (won first-up at Wentworth Park, Harold Park, and ; failed at Sandown), Benjamin John (won at Wentworth, Sandown, and Olympic Park, third at Harold Park), Black Diro (won at Sandown and Harold Park, second at Olympic and Wentworth Park), Bold Trease (won at Olympic and Harold Park, second Sandown, fifth Wentworth Park), (won the Meadows and Wentworth Park, second at Sandown), China Trip (won Olympic and Sandown Park, second at Wentworth Park), Half Your Luck (Olympic and Wentworth Park, second at Sandown and Harold Park), Milimsimbi (Harold, Sandown, and Olympic Park, second Wentworth Park), Montana Jet (Sandown and the old North Melbourne course, second Harold Park, seventh Wentworth Park), Munich Boy (Sandown and Olympic Park; failed Harold and Wentworth Park), New Mariner (Olympic, Harold and Wentworth Park, second at Sandown), Plunder Road (Olympic and Harold Park, third at Sandown), Roman Copy (Harold and Wentworth Park; unplaced Sandown and Olympic Park), (Wentworth Park, North Melbourne and Sandown, fourth at Harold Park), Shapely Escort (Harold and Sandown Park; failed at Wentworth Park), Spreadeagled (Olympic and Wentworth Park, third at Sandown), Swanston Lass (Olympic and Sandown Park, second at Harold Park), Sylvan Prince (Olympic, Harold and Wentworth Park, fourth Sandown), (won Harold and Olympic Park, second Wentworth Park), and Zoom Top (won at Wentworth Park and Sandown, second Olympic Park, fourth at Harold Park).

In category three we have the likes of Black Aztec (won at Harold Park, second at Wentworth Park, third at Sandown), Bomber Gleeson (won Olympic Park, second Sandown and Wentworth Park), Bristol Sue (won Olympic Park, third at Wentworth Park, fifth at Harold Park), Busy’s Charm (won at Sandown, failed at Harold, Wentworth and Olympic Park), El Galo (won at The Meadows; unsuccessful Sandown and Wentworth Park), Faithful Hawk (won at Sandown, second Wentworth Park, failed the Meadows), General Jeff (won at Harold Park, second at Sandown and Wentworth Park), Hay Dinney (scored at Sandown, second at Olympic Park, failed Wentworth Park), Hua (won Sandown, second at both Olympic and Wentworth Park), Kim’s Monaro (won Olympic Park, second at Harold Park, fifth at Wentworth Park), Macareena (won Harold Park, beaten at Wentworth Park), Princess Kerry (won Olympic Park, failed at Sandown and Wentworth Park), (won Wentworth Park, sixth at Sandown), and (won Wentworth Park, second Harold Park, third Olympic Park, fourth Sandown).

Finally, those who never won first-up on a city track include Awesome Assassin (fourth at Sandown and third Wentworth Park), Busy’s Chief (third Harold and Olympic Park, fourth Wentworth Park), Chariot Charm (second at Harold Park, fifth Wentworth Park), Tenthill Doll (second at Sandown, third at Wentworth Park), and Top Simbi (second at Harold and Wentworth Park, third Sandown, fifth Olympic Park).

So, of the 52 greyhounds mentioned above, 33 (about 63 percent) won first-up on at least two or more city tracks, 14 scored on one and five –nearly 10 percent- failed on at least two circuits. Basically, if you want to back a greyhound first-up on a city track, ideally you want it to be a potential star, otherwise look elsewhere for your bet.

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