This week’s final of the Association Cup will mark the 50th running of the Association Cup, the second-oldest of the four major Sydney distance cups. It will also be only the second time in that long history that two track record holders at the same course will face off in the final.
The GBOTA introduced the Association and Summer Cup’s at Harold Park in the same year, 1965, two years after the NCA had inaugurated the Sydney Cup. In 1966 the NCA reconstituted the Wentworth Park Gold Cup as a distance event and so Sydney’s two tracks boasted four major staying annual events.
Xylia Allen, the new 720-metre track record holder, and Dyna Willow, the former track record holder join the 2006 finalists Texas Gold and Royal Riddle, who jointly held the 720-metre record at the course from September 2005 until October 2007, as the only dual track record holders to race in an Association Cup final at the same time. As an aside, neither won the 2006 final, that honour going to Victorian stayer Endless Pit.
The event was first run on 5 June 1965 and taken out by Blue Autumn, who defeated the Victorian stayer Rare Grand by a head and earned the equivalent of $2,000.
It was the Association Cup from 1965 to 1981 and then was sponsored and renamed the Fury Ford Cup from 1982 to 1984. Although it remains sponsored, it has been the Association Cup ever since.
From 1965 to 1987 it was run on grass over 732 metres at Harold Park. From 1988 to 1992 it was run on grass at Wentworth Park over 720 metres. Since 1993 it has been run on the sand over 720 metres at Wentworth Park.
When Is The Race Run
The final was run in early June from 1965 to 1974; May from 1975 to 1977, and then alternating between the end of May and the beginning of June from 1978 to 1990. From 1991 to 2011 the final was held in January (apart from the 1992 version which took place on 1 February). In 2012 the final was run in April and last year it was run on 30 March.
Biggest Winning Margins
Equability (1992) scored by eight lengths, while Dotie Wilson (1975), Woolley Wong (1976), and Clover Park (1986) all won by seven lengths.
Closest Winning Margins
In keeping with the very competitive nature of this race there have been some extremely close finishes: Rob’s Rebel (1995) and Many Tricks (2000) both got the nod by just a nose; Cyclone Corsica (1978) won by half a head; Blue Autumn (1965) and Heather Rev (1970) prevailed by a head; Call Me Casey (1993) and Big Sam Banner (2003) got the decision by a neck.
Only Dual Winner/s
Only the great Zoom Top (1968 & 1969) has managed to complete the double.
Only Reserve/s To Win
None. The closest have been Brindle Felony (1980) and Last Quoted (2005) who both ran second after getting a start as first reserve.
Rose Moss (Won 1966, second 1967), Zoom Top (Won 1968, Won 1969), Tara Flash (second 1970, third 1971), Woolley Wong (Won 1976, unplaced 1977), Kawati Boy (second 1977, second 1978), Michele Cherie (fourth 1977, third 1978, unplaced 1979), Little Vogue (unplaced 1978, Won 1979), Gini’s Choice (second 1979, Won 1980), Shamrock Jewel (unplaced 1981, third 1982), Quick Pulse (second 1982, Won 1983), Ten Guitars (unplaced 1982 & 1983), Coin Spot Pride (unplaced 1983, second 1984), Lease Of Life (Won 1984, unplaced 1985), Kirsty’s Charity (second 1988, second 1990), Equability (Won 1992, third 1993), Rob’s Rebel (third 1994, Won 1995), Mr Arkwright (fourth 1994, second 1995), Northern Legend (eighth 1996, Won 1997), Let’s Be Frank (fourth 1996, third 1997), Smart Attitude (second 1999, sixth 2000), Many Tricks (Won 2000, fourth 2001), Endless Pit (fourth 2004, Won 2006), What’s New (eighth 2004, fourth 2005), Dashing Corsair (fifth 2010, second 2011), Hotwire (fifth 2012, seventh 2013).
Some Beaten Stars
Goldent (fifth 1965), Pearl Moss (third 1967), Lord Baden (fourth 1968), Busy’s Charm (second 1969), Mustard Moss (second 1971), He’s Some Boy (sixth, injured, 1973), Miss High Lo (eighth 1974), Busy’s Chief (fifth 1975), Tachycardia (second 1985), Toni’s Comic (second 1987), Trojan Tears (sixth 1994), Miss Cruise (third 1995), Tonight’s Wish (second 1997), Paradise Street (fourth 1999), Poetic Reward (second 2000), Texas Gold (second 2006), Miss Brook (fourth 2008), Fallen Zorro (eighth 2009), Bell Haven (second 2013)
Blue Autumn (1965), Rose Moss (1966), Zoom Top (1968 & 1969), Ragsie (1972), Dotie Wilson (1975), Irinka Barbie (2004), Miagi (2008) have all gone on to win the NSW Greyhound of the Year title in the same year they annexed the Association Cup.
Michele Cherie, the iron stayer, is the only greyhound to have ever made three consecutive finals, a feat second-only to Bold Trease’s four successive Sandown Cup victories.
Kirsty’s Charity made two finals, three years apart, running second in both, while Endless Pit achieved the same feat, but won the second attempt.
Equability won the last final run on grass and made the first final run on loam.