INAUGURATED in 1972 as the successor to the New Year’s Handicap, the Roy Maidment Memorial was contested over the staying trip at Sandown Park until 2010. Since 2011 the event has been run over the 595 metres middle distance trip and downgraded from its Group 2 status to a special event (2011 and 2012) and now is a Listed Race.
The race has been contested by some of the greatest stayers to have raced in Australia, and the 1973 series saw the clash of two of the best the nation has seen in Lizrene and He’s Some Boy.
Lizrene was a mere slip of a greyhound, the brindle daughter of Prince Kua and Joanne Lu tipping the scales at 24.5 kilos. Whelped in April 1970, Lizrene had raced 41 times for 22 wins, eight seconds, and four thirds with victories in the 1972 Sandown Cup, Olympic Park Distance Championship, Anniversary Trophy (Olympic Park), NCA Charity Cup, and NCA Cup as well as being a runner-up in the Wentworth Park Gold Cup, beaten just half a head by the mighty Ragsie.
He’s Some Boy was a strapping fawn dog by Worthing out of Dixie Skip whose career had begun seven months prior to the Maidment heats. In his 15 starts since then he had scored eight wins with two seconds and two thirds. However, he had only been introduced to the staying ranks the previous October, winning by 12 lengths over 718 metres at Sandown.
He’s Some Boy had then won first-up over 732 metres at Harold Park before doing the same over 732 metres at Olympic Park, in the process running 43.81 to break Miram Miss’ four-year-old track record.
Owned and trained by Bob Smith, He’s Some Boy later ventured back to Sydney and won the 722 metres Sun Toy Fund Cup (best 8) at Wentworth Park, once again at his first look at the course. He is, to the best of this writer’s knowledge, the only stayer to have won first-up over the Sandown Park, Olympic Park, Harold Park and Wentworth Park distance trips.
So, when three heats of the Maidment Memorial were drawn for decision on 4 January, all eyes were focused on the first heat which would see the first clash of the two giants of Victorian distance racing.
Lizrene was well boxed in two while He’s Some Boy, a natural wide runner, was not badly served by being in box five. When the lids lifted for that heat, He’s Some Boy began perfectly and led easily while Lizrene settled into second position. The pair raced like this for the entire journey with He’s Some Boy holding off a determined Lizrene to score by just over a length in a fast 43.85. The classy Royarco (who had run third in the inaugural Maidment final) was five and a half lengths away third.
The second heat was won by the talented Vista Haydale (who had finished sixth in the inaugural Maidment final) defeating Lizrene’s litter brother and kennelmate Baron Power with Pale Sherry (fourth in the inaugural Maidment final) third.
The third and final heat saw Mesabi down Gumbirra with Bubble’s Luck, the winner of the inaugural Roy Maidment Memorial, only third. Bubble’s Luck was first reserve for the final but would not be required to try and defend her title.
The final on 11 January saw He’s Some Boy drawn in box two, with Lizrene alongside him in box three.
As with the heat, He’s Some Boy began brilliantly and led clearly from Lizrene into the first turn. At this point Vista Haydale raced into second position, relegating Lizrene to third. He’s Some Boy simply kept going and crossed the line four lengths ahead of Lizrene, which had come again to pass Vista Haydale and take second place by a neck.
He’s Some Boy went on to race with great success in New South Wales and would be crowned 1973 NSW Greyhound of the Year. Lizrene may have begun the year with two second placings, but she would win a host of races and take out the inaugural Victorian Greyhound of the Year award.