From the time of its inception, the Albion Park Gold Cup (originally the Gabba Gold Cup) has been a tough race. This is particularly so at the Albion Park track, where the 710 metres trip is considered one of the hardest in the country.
Over the years the race has been annexed by some of the champions of the ‘half mile’, and there have been quite a number of others who have failed to lift the trophy, Miata probably being the most notable of them all to fall into the latter category.
Night greyhound racing began in Queensland at the Gabba circuit in 1972, with races conducted on grass. In 1974 the Gabba Gold Cup, to be run over 704 metres, was introduced. That first cup final took place on 21 March with NSW stayer Captain Winter using box one to perfection as he raced away to score by five and a half lengths, defeating the two Queensland star stayers Refidex and Zepplin King. Captain Winter earned $5,000 for his connections.
Only two distances have been used. From 1974 to 1992 it was run over 704 metres on grass at the Gabba. From 1993 until the present it has been held over 710 metres on the sand at Albion Park.
When Is The Race Run
March and April were the months the event was conducted between 1974 and 1995, although the 1975 edition took place in May. Since 1996 the Cup final has been run in June.
The 1975 NSW Greyhound of the Year Dotie Wilson is the only greyhound to have won twice, scoring in 1975 from box two and again in 1976, also from box two. Dotie Wilson had a love affair with the Gabba circuit, racing there eight times for eight wins and collecting $20,345 in prize money from the venue. She was retired after winning that second cup.
Only Reserves to Win
None I’m aware of. The closest is Starry Eyes who went down by half a length to NSW stayer Rocket To Tubrid in 1990.
Biggest Winning Margins
Elusive Odie won the 1992 version by nine lengths, which was also the last conducted at the Gabba. Captain Winter’s five and a half length win in the inaugural event remains as the second widest winning margin with Mary Casey’s five lengths in 1989. As if to emphasise how tough the race has been at Albion Park, the biggest winning margin at this course has been the three and three-quarter lengths victory by Miss Brook (2006), followed by Boronia Blossom’s three and a half lengths in 1996 and Gary’s Hope (1988) and Trojan Tears (1994) by three and a quarter lengths.
Closest Winning Margins
If winning margins are rarely decisive, it stands to reason there will be quite a few close results. The closest finish has been the nose margin by Hotshow Vintage in 2001 while Total Denial (2002) won by half head, Picture This (1982) and High Monakii (1983) by a head and Totally Ablaze (1998) just a neck. Rocket To Tubrid (1990) and Queen Lauryn (2009) both scored by half a length.
Most Successful Trainers
Peter Giles with Amazing Dancer (2000) and Toss O’Reilly (2004) and Jim Canning with Dotie Wilson (1975 & 1976) are the only trainers with a double.
Dotie Wilson (Won 1975 & 1976), Bianca Lee (third 1981, second 1982), Quick Pulse (unplaced 1982 & 1983), Chantilly Miss (third 1989, unplaced 1990), Trojan Tears (second 1993, Won 1994), Salute The Stars (second 1994, unplaced 1995), Tonight’s Wish (unplaced 1997, third 1998), Questions (Won 1999, unplaced 2000), Bring The Bacon (unplaced 1999, third 2000), Miss Grub (third 2006, Won 2007), Miss Brook (Won 2006, second 2007), Chinatown Lad (Won 2008, unplaced 2009), Blue Lorian (third 2010, unplaced 2011)
Some Beaten Stars
Refidex (second 1974), Zepplin King (third 1974), Busy’s Chief (second 1975), Woolley Wong (fourth 1976), Kabisa Gem (sixth 1976), Bolta’s Gift (fourth 1977), Little Vogue (third 1979), Status Supreme (sixth 1982), Kirsty’s First (second 1986), Kirsty’s Charity (third 1988), Whip Tip (fourth 1988), Wary Suspect (fourth 1989), Modern Express (third 1992), Equability (sixth 1992), Raven Kelly (fifth 1994), Rob’s Rebel (seventh 1994), Dave’s Cruiser (fourth 1995), Nowhere To Go (third 1997), Nujooloo (second 1998), Ringside Fire (fifth 1998), Kobble Creek (second 1999), Smart Attitude (third 1999), Dalalla (fifth 1999), Osti’s Joker (second 2000), Pearl Larricki (fourth 2001), Bentley Babe (fifth 2001), Boomeroo (second 2002), Arvo’s Junior (fourth 2003), Irinka Barbie (second 2004), Springvale Jinx (sixth 2004), Texas Gold (second 2005), Rocky (third 2005), Best Quoted (fourth 2005), Malfoy (fifth 2005), Classy Customer (seventh 2005), Sargent Major (fourth 2006), Flashing Floods (fourth 2007), Fallen Zorro (second 2008), Mantra Lad (second 2009), Forty Twenty (fourth 2009), Dashing Corsair (second 2010), Jarvis Bale (fourth 2010), Miata (fifth 2012), Shimaguni (seventh 2012), Bell Haven (second 2013),Irma Bale (fifth 2013), Proven Impala (sixth 2013).
Although the race has been dominated by Victorian and NSW greyhounds it’s notable that the first greyhound to win the prestigious Sandown Cup and then go on to annex the Albion Park Gold Cup in the same year was the great Queensland stayer Boronia Blossom. She took out the 1996 Sandown Cup by half a head and then scored by three and a half lengths in her home distance cup seven weeks later.
Another dual winner in the same year is champion Tasmanian stayer Chinatown Lad who scored the double in 2008, in both races defeating littermate and kennelmate Fallen Zorro.
Bobby Boucheau took out the 2011 Sandown Cup and just three weeks later added the Albion Park Gold Cup to the mantelpiece.
NSW stayer Red Mystique won the 1997 Albion Park Gold Cup after finishing seventh in the Sandown Cup, but a year later took out the Sandown Cup.
Totally Ablaze was beaten half a length by Red Mystique in that 1998 Sandown Cup and then won the Albion Park Gold Cup by half a length.
Smart Attitude from NSW won the 1999 Sandown Cup and then finished third behind the smart Questions and Kobble Creek in Brisbane six weeks later.
Other Sandown Cup winners to have gone on to make the Brisbane final in the same year include Osti’s Joker (second to Amazing Dancer in 2000), Bentley Babe (fifth to Hotshow Vintage in 2001), Jennev (fifth to Total Denial in 2002), Arvo’s Junior (fourth to Dooley’s Mist in 2003), Best Quoted (fourth to Last Quoted in 2005), Sargent Major (fourth to Miss Brook in 2006), Mantra Lad (second to Queen Lauryn in 2009) and Irma Bale (fifth to Destini Fireball in 2013).