Forty years ago the Vic Peters Memorial Classic was taken out by a maiden greyhound for the only time in its long history. To that time the event -which began life in 1951 simply called the Harold Park Classic- had been won by a slew of greyhounds which had gone on to achieve various measures of greatness. These included Sharid, Montana Jet, Black Top, Rocket Mac, Sammie Sparrow, Milimsimbi, and Woolley Wilson. None of them had gone into the race as a maiden.
The 1973 final was run on a wet track, and as so often happens when the course is damp, be it grass or loam, the outside boxes came to the fore. Whether statistics really bare this out or not, the perception is often that greyhounds drawn wide on the course when it’s wet seem to gain an advantage.
Whatever the truth, a sleek fawn greyhound by the name of Kim’s Monaro happened to be drawn in box eight for the 1973 Vic Peters Memorial Classic final, run over 457 metres at Harold Park.
Owned and trained by the astute yet taciturn Bob Doak, Kim’s Monaro had clearly shown her mentor she possessed above-average ability, and so he had run her in the Vic Peters non-betting qualifying heats, despite her maiden status.
The daughter of The Smoother (one of the fastest sprinters of his time) out of Doaks’ grand producer Monaro Flash, Kim’s Monaro breezed through her heat and took her place for what was her first official race start in a semi-final of the Classic on 27 October. She was drawn reasonably well in box three but the race held the pre-post favourite for the Classic in Arctic Tiger.
Kim’s Monaro began mid-field and immediately ran into bother. Although she held her ground and was third coming onto the first turn, Arctic Tiger had already bolted. In the long run home Kim’s Monaro finished well to snare second position and a place in the prestigious final, but she was six lengths adrift of Arctic Tiger who ran 26.30, the best time of the night.
On that wet final night in 1973, with the benefit of one race start, Kim’s Monaro duly rewarded the faith Bob Doak had in her by beginning quite well from her wide draw and quickly racing to the lead, despite the presence of speedsters such as Quick Sweep and Arctic Tiger. She gave nothing else a chance and cruised home almost five lengths ahead of Irish Alley and Ben Capell. Her time of 26.31 was easily the best of the night.
The 21-month-old would go on to greater heights after the victory, qualifying for such races as the Christmas Gift (fell), National Futurity (fourth), Ladies Bracelet (third), Richmond New Year’s Gift (fourth), and winning the 1974 Australian Cup.