Veteran greyhound racing participants Robert Grubb (82) and Mark Sutcliffe (81) combined to provide one of the biggest upsets in recent times when track specialist Fisherman led throughout to take out Monday nights $57,000 Country Club 2011 Launceston Cup.
Drawn in the white box, the son of Where’s Pedro flew the lids to establish a clear lead and in doing so was able to avoid early scrimmages, before scoring an emphatic victory as a despised $25 outsider.
In winning Northern Tasmania’s most prestigious greyhound racing event, Fisherman enhanced his Tote Racing Centre record to 15 wins from 30 starts at the venue and increased his lifetime earnings to in excess of $83,000.
Launceston owner-trainer Robert Grubb races Fisherman, but entrusted the training of the chaser to his mate Mark Sutcliffe, who assisted by his wife Shirley, prepares a small team at Acton Park overlooking the Hobart airport.
“Robert bred a litter by Where’s Pedro from the Stylish Teddy bitch Stylish Dotty in halves with Tony Dawson and allowed me to train Fisherman and his litter brother Stylish Bernie,” Mark Sutcliffe explained.
“I am so glad that he did because Stylish Bernie has won me ten races as well and all nine members of the litter, which includes the standouts Where’s Ned and Stylish Monty, have won races.”
Mark Sutcliffe has been training greyhounds for forty years and Monday night’s Launceston Cup victory is his best result to date by far and Fisherman’s victory compensated Robert Grubb for last year, when his greyhound Pedro Pronto was runner-up to the Victorian chaser Gardam Prince.
Sutcliffe rates Fisherman the best chaser that he has handled, but also has a soft spot for Rudy Jawdash, which won him and his wife 23 races a couple of decades ago.
“Shirley used to watch the TV show “Rich Man Poor Man” and Rudy Jawdash was her favourite character, so we named a pup that we had bred after him,” he explained.
“He won us a host of races, provided us with a great deal of enjoyment and was not far behind Fisherman ability wise.”
By his own admission an “old-fashioned trainer”, Sutcliffe walks his greyhounds around the country roads at Acton rather than exercise them on walking machines or in runs and is generous with his applications of tender, loving care.
“Shirley and I work as a team, I would be lost without her and when we make the long trip to the Tote Racing Centre in Launceston she does most of the driving,” he declared.
Meanwhile another veteran of the sport in Tasmania, Bracknell’s Maurie Strickland, was also seen in the winners circle this week.
The astute trainer produced the exciting youngster Rewind at the Devonport Raceway on Tuesday afternoon and he did not let his supporters down by blitzing his opposition in the Seba Sheetmetal Invitation.
By Collide from the Elite State bitch Ricky’s Angel, Rewind has now won eight of ten lifetime starts while taking stakes of in excess of $10,000 and is clearly one of Tasmania’s better prospects.
On Tuesday afternoon he recorded a sizzling 25.39 in defeating Stylish Monty and kennel mate Whispering Blaze at odds of $1.90.
Best known as the trainer of former champion hurdler Golden Unicorn, Strickland is known to be very excited about his latest kennel acquisition.