The Jason Thompson trained speed machine, El Galo was declared the 2008 Sky Channel Australian Greyhound Of The Year at a magnificent gala function in Sydney's Sheraton on the Park last Friday evening.
El Galo started 34 times during 2008 for 23 wins, six seconds and two thirds. The explosive blue son of Where's Pedro enjoyed spectacular success at Group level. He won the Group 1 Brisbane Cup, Group 2 Bendigo Cup, Warrnambool Cup, Gold Coast Cup and Bulli Gold Cup and was placed in the Australian Cup, Paws of Thunder and Wangaratta Cup.
Owner, Seona Hood, enthralled the large crowd with a heart felt acceptance speech, confirming in the process that the end of El Galo's racing career may be near. El Galo has qualified for Saturday night's $150,000 to the winner Nice Products Golden Easter Egg Final at Wentworth Park. He will start favourite and victory will almost certainly close the door on what has been a truly brilliant career.
Reg Kay was named as the Australian Trainer of the Year for 2008. Kay maintained a small kennel throughout the year by enjoyed Group success with four greyhounds, Knocka Norris (Group 1 Rapidvite National Sprint Championship), Made to Size (Group 1 Garrards Winter Cup), Size Can Matter (Group 1 Sky Channel Perth Cup and Group 2 Brandons Electrical Derby) and Elite Oriental ( Group 1 Schweppes National Futurity).
The long retired by still highly influential Token Prince and the emerging superstar Bombastic Shiraz tied as the leading Australian Stud Dogs for 2008. Chinatown Babe, the dam of Chinatown Lad and Fallen Zorro was named as the nation's leading brood bitch.
The AGRA Run of the Year also went to Chinatown Lad in recognition of his track record run over 720m at Wentworth Park on August 30, 2008. He led throughout and posted a sensational 41.93, becoming the first greyhound in history to break 42 seconds at the famous Glebe circuit.
Friday night's function also included AGRA Hall of Fame inductions. For the first time the awards were presented in expanded form with a number of new categories. The inaugural inductees were warmly received by all in attendance and have set the benchmark for future induction criteria.
AGRA Executive Officer, Brenton Scott, said this week that AGRA had been delighted at the outstanding feedback received regarding the function.
“A National point of recognition has been missing but the gap was filled on Friday night.
“The Australian Greyhound Of The Year and AGRA Hall of Fame are now entrenched as the Nation's most important Award night”, said Mr Scott.
The NSW GBOTA hosted the 2008 Awards, Greyhounds WA will host the 2009 Awards in Perth.
AGRA Australian Greyhound Of The Year 2008 Award Winners
- 2008 Sky Channel Australian Greyhound Of The Year – El Galo
- 2008 Australian Trainer of the Year – Reg Kay
- 2008 Stud Dog of the Year – Joint Winners : Bombastic Shiraz and Token Prince
- 2008 Australian Brood Bitch of the Year – Chinatown Babe
- AGRA Run of the Year – Chinatown Lad
2008 AGRA Hall of Fame Inductees
- Male Greyhound Based on Breeding Performance – Temlee
- Female Greyhound Based on Breeding Performance – Osti Too