Buckle Up Wes Becomes The Best Ever From Tasmania

When it comes to Tasmanian chasers, the victory of Buckle Up Wes in the Topgun, combined with his success earlier this year in the Australian Cup, arguably makes a case for him to be called the best sprinter to have ever come out of the Apple Isle.

Tasmania was once the place where the best greyhounds in the country would make the trek across Bass Strait to compete in races like the Hobart Thousand and Launceston Cup. Those days are long gone, but from the start of greyhound racing behind the mechanical lure in 1927 until the late 1960s, Tasmania produced some good quality chasers who more than held their own against, usually, invaders from New South Wales. Some Tasmanian greyhounds even crossed over to the mainland and performed at the highest level.

Buckle Up Wes now has mainland victories in the Australian Cup and Topgun, a second in the Winter Carnival Cup in Brisbane, third in the Paws of Thunder, and fourth in the Golden Easter Egg. That’s a pretty strong lineup of major races. Overall he has raced 49 times for 30 wins, seven seconds and five thirds, with a remarkable record of 10 wins and six placings when drawn in boxes four or five.

He is undefeated in three starts at the Meadows. At Wentworth Park he has raced seven times for three wins, one second, two thirds and one fourth. In Brisbane, he has raced twice for one win and one second. The only blot on the Wes landscape are his two seventh placings at Sandown.

With $551,485 in prize money, which makes him the 11th greyhound to pass the half million dollar mark and puts him currently into eighth position overall, he has easily surpassed any other Apple Isle chaser. His closest Tasmanian rival in the money pit is St Pierre, the 2011 Australian Cup winner, with $242,050, although I would argue that St Pierre was really a NSW greyhound considering his first Tasmanian start did not occur until his 34th race, and overall his career was 68 starts (for 23 wins). The first ‘real’ Tasmanian on the prize money lists is Fallen Zorro, with $229,375, ahead of his kennelmate Chinatown Lad, who collected $222,730 in stakes. And both of those stars were stayers, not sprinters.

Of course, prize money records are pretty meaningless these days when so many races are worth silly amounts of money to the winner, the Topgun included.

So, how does Buckle Up Wes compare to the great Tasmanian sprinters of the past? And who are they anyway? A serious look at those who have crossed Bass Strait and made a name for themselves on the sprint circuit reveals a pretty short list.

One of the first to come over and do well was Ebony Minda. She had won her first seven starts, including the 1958 Launceston Cup in race record time, and came over to take the 1958 NSW St Leger (now the Paws of Thunder). She then went to Victoria and scored three wins at North Melbourne and Sandown.

Iceni Princess, who won her first start at Devonport and then almost immediately was transferred to the mainland, went on to set a 520-metre track record at Wentworth Park, won the 1992 Winter Carnival Cup at the Gabba and Schweppes Cup at Olympic Park, defeated NSW champion Warren’s Flyer and Classy Kyarran in a match race at Angle Park, was second in the Brisbane Cup, fourth in the1992 National Sprint Championship after setting a track record at Hobart in winning the Tasmanian division of the championship, fifth in the Golden Easter Egg, and fifth in the Melbourne Cup. She was easily the most prolific Tasmanian performer on the mainland in sprints before Buckle Up Wes.

Elle’s Commando raced just 20 times for 15 wins, including victories in eight of 11 starts at Wentworth Park. After coming from Tasmania he won the 1997 Paws of Thunder (in race record time), and Christmas Gift.

Then, in 1998, the smart Jamella Prince left Tasmania after winning his first eight starts on end, including the 1998 Hobart Maiden Thousand, and went on to take the South Australian Derby at Angle Park and the 1999 Silver Chief Classic at Sandown. He only raced 33 times, for 22 wins and in just 10 interstate races scored six wins and three seconds, the only time he was unplaced being when he fell.

A couple of others who made a name for themselves on the mainland include Northop Tuesday, who took out the 1974 Queensland Cup and also ran second in the 1974 Tweed Heads Galaxy, third in the 1975 Tweed Heads Galaxy, and was seventh in the 1973 Melbourne Cup and Arkaroola, who was second in the 1975 Australian Cup, reached top grade in Sydney and won seven of 12 starts at Wentworth Park. His trainer in NSW, Les Harper said he was, “the most honest and determined chaser I’ve ever handled, he would chase through a brick wall if he had to.”

Buckle Up Wes’ trainer Ted Medhurst is no stranger to top chasers and is astute enough to only take the best of his charges interstate. To agree to produce his star first-up from a lengthy break in a race like the Topgun speaks volumes for his rating of Buckle Up Wes, a rating that must surely have all Australia nodding in agreement.

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Peter O
Peter O
6 years ago

I’ve got to add some to your list, Dunc. Lillipilli Power won the galaxy, Topline Doovee took out the W.A Oaks, Awesome Cole won the Canberra Cup, of course Cheetah Zorro won some big ones recently too. Tassie contributes far more than what most people realise.

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

Go WES

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

heard of TRUE VINTAGE

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

No. Bit before my time les. What group 1 races she win in Vic?

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

very poorly written article

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

i suggest you look up hgrc website hall of fame..

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

thats not just be all and end all of being a champion…. i suggest you read the article too

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

im not knocking wes… but this article doesnt even mention her. she won everything in tassie heap of track records 15 in a row every cup you can imagine fast times on mainland… 2nd in sprint nationals… thats my point !!

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

i dont need to read it im on selection committee…

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

I’ll take your advice les

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

Exactly

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

wes is a champ !

Evan Kounavelis
Evan Kounavelis
6 years ago

Did bate train him?

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

Now you’ve just opened another can of worms lol

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

One thing for sure. NSW Rules breeding. Fact

Darris Fahey
Darris Fahey
6 years ago

Very true,Wheeler has a monopoly in it

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

And anybody who’s fed up with GRNSW. Me included

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

I’d love to keep my good dogs in nsw. But unfortunately there’s no incentive.

Darris Fahey
Darris Fahey
6 years ago

Chris into near worth sending more to tassie aswell,prize money week to week is better,all bar Wenty park meetings Fri Sat

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

very good work pity she wasnt worthy of a mention in the article not to mention shiela s teresa…

Peter O
Peter O
6 years ago

I’ve got to add some to your list, Dunc. Lillipilli Power won the galaxy, Topline Doovee took out the W.A Oaks, Awesome Cole won the Canberra Cup, of course Cheetah Zorro won some big ones recently too. Tassie contributes far more than what most people realise.

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

Go WES

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

heard of TRUE VINTAGE

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

No. Bit before my time les. What group 1 races she win in Vic?

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

very poorly written article

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

i suggest you look up hgrc website hall of fame..

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

thats not just be all and end all of being a champion…. i suggest you read the article too

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

im not knocking wes… but this article doesnt even mention her. she won everything in tassie heap of track records 15 in a row every cup you can imagine fast times on mainland… 2nd in sprint nationals… thats my point !!

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

i dont need to read it im on selection committee…

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

I’ll take your advice les

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

Exactly

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

wes is a champ !

Evan Kounavelis
Evan Kounavelis
6 years ago

Did bate train him?

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

Now you’ve just opened another can of worms lol

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

One thing for sure. NSW Rules breeding. Fact

Darris Fahey
Darris Fahey
6 years ago

Very true,Wheeler has a monopoly in it

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

And anybody who’s fed up with GRNSW. Me included

Chris Nutt
Chris Nutt
6 years ago

I’d love to keep my good dogs in nsw. But unfortunately there’s no incentive.

Darris Fahey
Darris Fahey
6 years ago

Chris into near worth sending more to tassie aswell,prize money week to week is better,all bar Wenty park meetings Fri Sat

Greyhound Racing
Greyhound Racing
6 years ago

Was for other people to read Les . You commented to readers that you suggested looking up the article, so I helped them by linking to the article … Our apologies for providing our readers with a link to the exact page you told them to read

Les Keefe
Les Keefe
6 years ago

very good work pity she wasnt worthy of a mention in the article not to mention shiela s teresa…