THE two leading chances as far as the market is concerned for the final of the 2015 Wentworth Park Gold Cup are current topflight stayers Space Star and Sweet It Is. Both greyhounds will create a little bit of history if either should go on to take out the prestigious final.
For Space Star the task is to become the eight stayer to take out both the Association Cup and Wentworth Park Gold Cup’s in the same year. If Space Star manages to achieve this feat, he will join the great Zoom Top (1968 & 1969), Heather Rev (1970), Ragsie (1972), Equability (1992), Groovy Dancer (1996), Irinka Barbie (2004) and Miagi (2008) in taking out both events.
Of those seven previous dual winners, the only males were Ragsie and Miagi. As well, only Equability, Groovy Dancer, Irinka Barbie and Miagi have achieved the feat since both races were held at Wentworth Park, following the closure of Harold Park in 1987.
So, in the almost three decades since Sydney was reduced to one city circuit, only a single male stayer has managed to annex the first two major staying events in the same calendar year.
What’s more, that second victory by Miagi, in the Wentworth Park Gold Cup, was not achieved via the usual heats and final series. A prelude was held the week before, to determine the eight greyhounds who should contest the 2008 running.
Since the conversion of the track surface to loam 22 years ago, just Groovy Dancer, Irinka Barbie and Miagi have managed the double. So, for Space Star, the task is hardly an easy one, but history has shown it can be done.
The reverse, that is, winning the Wentworth Park Gold Cup in one year and returning to take out the Association Cup the following year has been achieved just once. That was by Rob’s Rebel, who won the Gold Cup in 1994 and returned in 1995 to snare the Association Cup.
Of course, this Gold Cup final is to be held on a truly special day, the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. Since the 50th anniversary, in 1965, fell on a Sunday, when no racing used to take place, this Wentworth Park Gold Cup will take on special significance, becoming the only major final to be run in any state capital city on this day.