The Winter Carnival Cup is one of the longest-running major races on the Queensland calendar. It’s also the perfect race to be contested by good greyhounds from the southern states, giving their trainers the opportunity to bask in warmer weather for a couple of weeks during the depths of winter. No doubt the greyhounds appreciate it as well.
The event was first run as the Castlemaine XXXX Trophy in 1978, over 558 metres at the Gabba. It was taken out by Brigadier North in a slow 33.00 seconds.
As with so many races run prior to the mid-1980s, detailed information is not easily available, so the above is all I know.
It’s been called more names than an unpopular politician. As noted, the first event was called the Castlemaine XXXX Trophy, and it remained as that until 1986. In 1987 it was renamed the Christmas Trophy. In 1988 it reverted to the XXXX Trophy, until 1992. In 1993 it was called the Christmas Stocking. Between 1994 and 1997 it was the Eukanuba Cup and for 1998 and 1999 it was the Nutrience Cup. Since 2000 it has been either the Winter Cup or Winter Carnival Cup.
Two only. From 1978 to 1992 it was run over 558 metres on grass at the Gabba. Since 1993 it has been run on the sand over 520 metres at Albion Park.
When Is The Race Run
It was run in January until 1986, with victory going to Sharyn’s Vogue. Then, a second final was held in December 1986, won by Fifi She’s Not. December remained the race date from then until 1999. Since 2000 it has been concluded at the very end of June or into July.
Biggest Winning Margins
Highly Blessed scored by 10 lengths in 1990, Shady Macbeth by six and a quarter lengths in 1998, Hade’s Rocket by five and a quarter lengths in 2005, and Flying Amy by five lengths in 1995.
Closest Winning Margins
Amber Flash won by a nose in 1985, Mint Mojo by half a head in 2001, Toban Leah by a short head in 1994, and Soldier On by a head in 1991.
Most Successful Trainer/s
Tony Brett with three (2011 Iso Octane, 2012 & 2013 Glen Gallon) and Tina Womann with three (2004 Trewly Special, 2007 Big Swell, 2009 Trew Millions), and Reg Kay with two (2003 Elite State & 2008 Made To Size).
Only Dual Winner/s
Glen Gallon is the only one, with victories in 2012 and 2013, both by four and a quarter lengths.
Only Reserve/s To Win
The only one I’m aware of is Dancing Gamble, in 1987.
Pure Brandy (second 1983, unplaced 1984), Alert Rose (third 1985, unplaced [Jan] 1986), Fifi She’s Not (third [Jan] 1986, Won [Dec] 1986), Dancing Gamble (Won 1987, second 1988), Little Floss (unplaced 1989 & 1990), No It’s Not (second 1990, fourth 1991), Luna Park (fourth 1990, second 1991), Gyprock Bob (unplaced 1992 & 1993), National Leader (Won 1993, unplaced 1994), Toban Leah (second 1993, Won 1994), Jurassic Vapour (second 1995, third 1996), Nujooloo (third 1997 & 1998), Winged Runner (Won 1999, second 2000), Trewly Special (Won 2004, fifth 2005), Glen Gallon (Won 2012 & 2013), and Bellagio Lad (unplaced 2012 & 2013).
Some Beaten Stars
Status Supreme (second 1982), Coin Spot Pride (third 1983), Turbo Top (third 1984), Rustic Venture (second 1985), Fifi She’s Not (third 1986), Whip Tip (second 1987), Dancing Gamble (second 1988), See Yah (third 1988), Railway Road (third 1994), Jurassic Vapour (second 1995, third 1996), Tenthill Doll (third 1995), Nujooloo (third 1997 & 1998), Roanokee (sixth 1997), Chicago Blue (seventh 1997), Toolibuk (second 1999), Questions (fourth 1999), Winged Runner (second 2000), Floodfawn (second 2001), Modern Assassin (second 2002), Bogie Leigh (second 2004), Surf Lorian (fourth 2004), Paua To Burn (second 2005), Pure Octane (third 2005), Miss Hot Gossip (second 2007), Slater (sixth 2007), Queen Lauryn (third 2008), Cindeen Shelby (fourth 2009), High Earner (seventh 2009), He Knows Uno (second 2011), and Xylia Allen (third 2013)
Gyprock Bob achieved a rare feat in Australian racing by making the final of the same race two years running on different tracks. He was unplaced in the last Cup held at the Gabba in 1992, and made the final and was again in unplaced in the first Cup run at Albion Park in 1993.
It was run twice in 1986, in January and December, in order to change the timing of the ace from January to December, but to avoid an almost two-year gap. There was no event held in 2010.
The great Flying Amy was first to set the race record below 30 seconds, running 29.99 in 1995. That time held for eight years until bettered by Elite State in 2003 with 29.97. Hade’s Rocket ran 29.90 in 2005 but Glen Gallon broke that record with 29.86 in 2012 and went even better in 2013 to set the new mark at 29.80.