After receiving a great number of nominations all was looking well for a superb Derby and Oaks meeting. Whilst the weather during the week left a lot to be desired the weather gods smiled on coursing and the sun shone at its winter best. It was cold early on both mornings but the longer the days went the better the weather became for coursing.
31 girls and 33 boys kicked off Day 1 and kick off they did with some close courses. The girls started the day with the 136th running of the Oaks following by the boys in the Derby. By Sunday morning we were down to the Quarter Finals in both the Oaks & Derby and their respective consolation races. In the Oaks our final eight were Find Out Friday, Kraken Sal, Tracey Fozz, Laquita Lass, Senorita Crisis, Full Of Grace, Enchanted Bling and Shirdon Wee Nell. All of these pups showed their strength, stamina and speed during the day and by the afternoon tea break we had just two heading off to slips to contest the final.
Kraken Sal, a Fawn Bitch (Mogambo – Rose Patch) July 2012 owned and trained by Kevin Eyles at Murchison and Full Of Grace, also a Fawn Bitch (El Grand Senor – Catch Up Sunday) March 2012 who is owned by the Amstel Syndicate and trained by our NCA President Peter Craig at Langwarrin. Both of these girls coursed brilliantly across the weekend, but in the end a few months in age and a tad more experience may have been a contributing factor which saw Full Of Grace get the break in the final stages of the course and prove how strong she is. Congratulations to the Amstel/Craig team I am sure they will be smiling for a while about this win.
The quarter-finals of the Derby looked like this on Sunday morning Kraken Concord, Zulekha, Skin To Bone, Polished Steel and Forheza. Not to be outdone by the girls in the Oaks these guys showed also what they were made of and whilst they made the judge earn his dinner with a few very close courses, when we broke for afternoon tea we had Kraken Concord, a black dog and littermate of Kraken Sal, also owned and trained by Kevin Eyles, along with Polished Steel, also a black dog (Magic Sprite – Fifield Lass) March 2012 owned by Glenn Smith and trained at Wangaratta by Ashley Craven.
It was hard to say who was going to get the prize going into this final and the crowd was divided on who they thought would win. Once again Polish Steel got the edge over Kraken Concord in the middle part of the course and finished off the better, taking out the final of this year’s derby by a couple of lengths in the end. A great effort by all finalists and I am sure you are all very happy with your charges.
Next on the card was the Consolation Number 1’s which are for greyhounds beaten in the first round of the Derby & Oaks. Oaks Consolation Number 1 was won by In A Daze trained at Tooradin by Stuart Mills and she was too good today for a newcomer to coursing Pevensay, who is trained at Yarrawonga by John Shaw.
The Derby Consolation 1 was won by Swan To Steele who is trained at Golden Square by our broadcaster this weekend Noel Massina. Great job today both on the track and on the microphone Noel! Runner Up in this event was Intrepid Voyager, trained at Maffra by the CEO of the Sale & District Greyhound Racing Club, Des Dooley. Thanks to the Sale & District GRC who are our major sponsor for this Derby and Oaks meeting and have continued their generous support of this event for about the past five years.
Next was the Consolation Number 2’s and in the Oaks we saw Black And Pretty, trained at Wattle Glen by Pat Burley get the goods over Go Go Danni, who is part of David Dawson’s team from Crossover.
In the Derby Consolation Number 2 it was El Cee Dee getting to the winning post first for Glenn Campbell over Clive McLennan’s Dynamic Luke.
Then we moved onto the heats of our Twin Code Challenge. In this event we called for and got 32 All Aged greyhounds who firstly had to make it to the final in their heat, so yes they had to run three times in a day, and then head off to Shepparton on the 11th August, 2014 to contest a Grand Final over the 390 Metres.
Heat One saw a final between Gypsy Bling and Cette For Speed. Cette for Speed showed his speed and won his final in great fashion.
Heat two saw the David Dawson trained duo of Shifty Mifty and Dee Diamond in the final and Shifty got the shift alright over Dee Diamond in the final, showing her speed and endurance was still there at the ripe old age of 4 and a bit! I might add Shifty had a litter of pups not too long ago, so a great effort by her to win this final today.
Heat Three was won by Mal Davis’ Big Bad Tom and the runner-up was Ten Aces trained at Kyabram by Graeme Glass.
The final heat was won by another from the Glass team, this time Moonshine Crash, who showed off his talent to get the goods over Tiggerlong Moon who is trained at Chiltern by Ray Whybrow. Congratulations to all of the finalists and I look forward to seeing you at Shepparton for the Grand final next Monday. Just a reminder the two reserve runners for this event will be drawn by GRV and will be made up of the greyhounds defeated in the semi-finals of these heats. Two greyhounds will be randomly drawn to take part if required, so trainers don’t forget to check the fields to see if you were successful in gaining a reserve runner place in this event.
The second last of our supporting events on the card was the Bendigo GRC Maiden Dog and we saw Mr Genetic, trained by Craig Davis at Altona Green, prove to have that extra bit of fuel in his tank required to get to the post in first place over a well know circle specialist Nic Nat Nui, who has had some time off recently with a Stopper Bone problem. His owners decided to get Allan Meyer from Hoppers Crossing to see how he faired on the coursing grounds. Don’t worry Allan I don’t think he will be retaining this Maiden status on the coursing for too long!
Last but not least was the GRV Maiden Bitch Stake, which was won by another of Team Dawson’s girls Dublin Dee. Runner-up in this event was Albion, trained at Shepparton by Brian Knight.
On behalf of the NCA executive I would like to congratulate the Longwood Coursing Club on a fantastic meeting as always, also our slipper Peter Gavin who only started slipping at meetings this year and I am sure many of you trainers would agree is doing a sterling job, and finally to all of our sponsors. We really couldn’t do what we do without your continued valuable support so once again thank you.
Our next meeting is the GOTBA Cup meeting being conducted at Lang Lang on Sunday 17th August, 2014. Lang Lang is also the host club of this year’s big one, the 2014 Waterloo Cup, so this next meeting will be your last chance to have a look at Lang Lang before the Waterloo! I hope to see you there and in the meantime safe travels to you all and your greys!