Brisbane Cup 1979 – Acclaim Star stars at the GABBA

On the eve of the 2016 G1 , Australian Racing Greyhound takes a look back to 1979 when the race was won by arguably one if its finest champions, .

The Bill Fletcher trained $1.25 favourite was coming off a nine length heat win the week prior, and added the $20,000 Brisbane Cup to his recent Arnott-Spillers Champion of Champions Sprint title won in Perth.

Our own Duncan Stearn has penned an excellent review of Acclaim Star’s race career throughout late 1978 and 1979 which saw the son of Arctic Tiger and Clonmannon Ivy hailed the “Greyhound of the Decade”.

But there is nothing like reliving the atmosphere of the moment, so we have republished Gary Smart’s article in the National Greyhound News from November 1979 retelling Acclaim Star’s Brisbane Cup win.

Acclaim Star Again – This Time Gabba

Arnott-Spiller’s Champion of Sprint Champions Acclaim Star took out his second major sprint final in less than a month when he effortlessly won the $20,000 Brisbane Cup at the last month.

Acclaim star, which had previously won the Arnott-Spillers Champion of Champion final in Perth on September 15, defeated the gallant local bitch Lady Gambit by 1 3/4 lengths with trained Dark and Gloomy 4 lengths away third.

Acclaim Star, which is trained by Bill Fletcher in Sydney, won strong support from punters after a 9 length heat win the previous week, and started a solid favourite at even money.

In winning, Acclaim Star maintained an unbeaten record from box eight.

From the outside draw, Acclaim Star was brilliantly away, and although challenged early for the lead by Lady Gambit, sustained a lightning burst to hit the front at the first turn.

From then on, the result, was never in doubt as the Sydney champion blitzed the opposition with sheer pace. Acclaim Star clocked 32.94 for the 558 m journey, .55 sec outside Iron Hawke’s cup record.

Lady Gambit was courageous in defeat. It was only her second run since late August, and her preparation leading up to the Cup was interrupted by a bout of kennel cough. At her first run from the spell, she was second in her cup heat to Victorian Monica’s Mist, who ran the fastest time of the series with 32.69.

Monica’s Mist undoubtedly was the major disappointment of the final. She was best backed to beat Acclaim Star at 7/2, but could only manage seventh placing. But she did have some excuses. She had drawn at box five, and suffered a severe check at the first turn which knocked her out of contention.

Dark and Gloomy, one of the Gabba’s most improved performers, turned in a top effort to fill the minor placings at the good odds of 16/1. Prolific GABBA winner Miss Perlita, which recorded a gutsy heat win the week before, was beaten for early pace in the final and plodded into fourth place.

The cup series was marred to some by wet conditions. Heavy rain fell on the two days leading up to the opening programme and, as a result, the heats were run in very heavy conditions.

1979 Brisbane Cup placegetters
Presentation scene for Acclaim Star’s $20,000 1979 Brisbane Cup win at the Gabba. (L to R) Gabba President Jack Houston, MLA; Alan Beeston., owner-trainer of runner-up Lady Gambit; Queensland Deputy Premier Dr Llew Edwards; Bill Fletcher with the winner, Don Simpson, Dark And Gloomy’s trainer’s son.

A casualty of the wet track was speedy Sydneysider, Waverley’s Desire, which drew the inside box in its heat and showed none of its early dash. Floundering in the heavy going, Waverley’s Desire managed third in a tight photo for the minor placings, winning a reserve spot in the final, but failing to get a run.


  1. 1. Acclaim Star (8) 5-4 fav
  2. 2. Lady Gambit (1) 9-2
  3. 3. Dark and Gloomy (3) 16-1
  4. 4. Miss Perlita (2) 10-1
  5. 5. Smart Mission (6) 9-1
  6. 6. Gallant Anne (4) 8-1
  7. 7. Monica’s Mist (5) 7-2
  8. 8. Fawn Tivulla (7) 40-1
  • Margins 1 3/4 lengths x 4 lengths. Time 32. 73.
  • Race description: Acclaim Star was quickly away and joined Lady Gambit in the lead on the first turn before charging away to a winning lead. He was never in danger afterwards. Lady Gambit fought on gamely for second while Dark and Gloomy battled on for a sound third.

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5 years ago

and what a dog and what a trainer. the FLETCHERS were synonomous with high-class animals in that era.

I see a teriffic bitch from that final also in MONCICAS MIST….sure the bitch was trained by JOHN HELLINGHAM?

man could she scoot out of a OLYMPIC PARK champ and from another great era of speedsters at the time.not her night that night though.