25 Years Of Golden Easter Eggs

In some ways the Golden Easter Egg, which is now one of the premier blue-ribbon events on the racing calendar, is the indirect result of one of the most innovative and forward-thinking track managers ever seen in the sport: the late Bill Dwyer.

The then-Dapto secretary had stunned the greyhound world in the late 1980s when he announced the inauguration of a race which would see its winner receive a massive $100,000 for victory. The Dapto Classic proved a marketing hit and Dwyer’s innovation led the committee of the GBOTA to try and trump Dapto and come up with an event which would once more put the spotlight firmly back on Wentworth Park. After all, it was seen as embarrassing that a provincial club could conduct what would have been the richest race in NSW, and one of the richest in the country.

The resultant Golden Easter Egg, which will have its 25th running in 2014, proved to be one of the most progressive innovations of its time. It’s a tough three-week campaign that requires its eventual winner to possess speed and brilliance but also physical toughness and heart. It’s not a race won by speedy squibs or dour plodders.

Inaugural running

The first final took place in April 1990. Although the field might not have been as star-studded as organisers might have hoped, and the race itself turned into less than spectacular contest, the concept was a winner and the crowds came to see the action. The Christine Coleman-trained Ultra Sense bounced into the lead out of box five and held off the late charges of Queenslander Acacia Ablaze and Valley Mail to score by three-quarters of a length.

Names

Only ever known as the Golden Easter Egg.

Distances

Only ever been run over 520 metres at Wentworth Park, although the 1990, 1991 and 1992 versions were run on grass. Since 1993 it has been contested on the sand.

When Is The Race Run

As the name suggests, Easter. The first final took place on 14 April 1990 and it has been decided as early as 22nd March (2008) and as late as 23rd April (2011).

Biggest Winning Margins

Radley Bale won by eight lengths in 2011; Edie Beauchamp by six and a quarter lengths in 2006; Slater and Dana Beatrice by five and a half lengths in 2007 and 2009 respectively, and Highly Blessed by five lengths in 1991.

Closest Winning Margins

Ultra Sense (1990), Tenthill Doll (1996), Bahama Image (1997), and Paua To Burn (2005) all scored by three-quarters of a length.

Most Successful Trainer/s

Graeme Bate, with Malawi Law (1995) and Radley Bale (2011); and Darren McDonald, with Brett Lee (2001) and Cosmic Rumble (2010) are the only trainers to have scored more than once.

Only Dual Winner/s

None.

Only Reserve/s To Win

None.

Dual Finalists

Ultra Sense (Won 1990, sixth 1991), Star Title (second 1993; fifth 1994), Malawi Law (Won 1995, eighth 1996), Just Like Jack (seventh 1995, fourth 1996), Tenthill Doll (Won 1996, sixth 1997), Golden Milo (sixth 1998, seventh 1999), High Earner (eighth 2010, sixth 2011), and Hot Irish (seventh 2012, fifth 2013).

Some Beaten Stars

Acacia Ablaze (second 1990), Valley Mail (third 1990), Classy Spider (sixth 1990), Star Title (second 1993; fifth 1994), Bomber Gleeson (third 1993), Jurassic Vapour (sixth 1995), Kedo’s Millie (second 1997), World Title (third 1998), Awesome Assassin (fourth 1998), Star Of Mine (third 1999), Poetic Reward (fourth 1999), Flash Joan (fourth 2000), Junoseque (seventh 2000), Winsome Dollars (eighth 2001), Modern Assassin (fourth 2002), Monsters Inc (seventh 2004), Eiffella (second 2005), Sun Hero (fourth 2005), Pororoca (sixth 2006), Bralyn Maisie (fourth 2007), Miss Elly Mint (second 2009), El Galo (third 2009), He Knows Uno (second 2011), Kilty Lad (seventh 2011), Punch One Out (eighth 2013)

Tidbits

The race has already been won by some of the acknowledged greats of the last quarter century, including, Highly Blessed (1991), Tenthill Doll (1996), Rapid Journey (1998), Faithful Hawk (1999), Brett Lee (2001), and Bogie Leigh (2004).

The final has featured many greyhounds who have gone on to claim NSW Greyhound of the Year honours, from Classy Spider (sixth in 1990), Jessica Casey (Won 1992), Tenthill Doll (Won 1996), Rapid Journey (Won 1998), Faithful Hawk (Won 1999; also named Queensland Greyhound of the Year), and Slater (Won 2007), while 2001 winner Brett Lee and 2002 winner Carlisle Jack were named Victorian Greyhound of the Year and 2004 winner Bogie Leigh was named Qld Greyhound of the Year.

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