Remember when: The 1969 Sydney Cup produced a major upset
WHEN greyhound racing in the harbour city was conducted on two tracks, Harold Park and Wentworth Park, the Sydney Cup, inaugurated in 1963, was the second of the two major distance races to be held on the smaller Glebe circuit.
The other was the Wentworth Park Gold Cup. At Harold Park the two major distance events were the Association Cup and the Summer Cup.
In the history of greyhound racing only one greyhound has ever managed to take out all four major distance cups in one year and that was the great Zoom Top, in 1968.
The following year her owner-trainer Hec and Leah Watt she set about trying to repeat that feat. Zoom Top had already taken out her second Wentworth Park Gold Cup and the Association Cup (to make it six cups in a row in Sydney) when she lined up for the heats of the 1969 Sydney Cup over 790 yards (722 metres) on October 11.
Zoom Top had shown she was at the top of her form at her previous start when, starting at the prohibitive odds of 1/12 (the shortest price of her career), the ‘Fawn Flash' obliterated the 658-metre Taree track record, winning by 12 lengths in 40.3. The time ripped a massive 9/10ths (the equivalent of 13.5 lengths) off the previous mark.
Zoom Top drew box five for her Sydney Cup heat but began like a bullet and by the first corner led the field by four lengths. From there the heat turned into a procession as Zoom Top streaked to the line 12 lengths clear of Ebony Scott with Our Vent five lengths away third.
Zoom Top's winning time of 42.9 clipped 3/10ths off her own track record, set when taking out the 1968 Sydney Cup final.
Another mighty stayer, in the shape of Zoom Top's litter sister and kennelmate Busy's Charm, won the second heat. The Hec Watt-trained second stringer scored in 43.40, thus giving Zoom Top, based on heat times, a massive seven and a half lengths time advantage over her litter sister.
In the final on October 18, Zoom Top was naturally sent out a very short-priced favourite from box seven.
At box rise she came out only fairly and as the field swept out of the first turn, Brilliant Candy (box three) led Busy's Charm (box four) with Jim's Venture (box one) and Zoom Top moving up out wide to dispute third position.
As the field came out of the first corner that's when disaster struck. Zoom Top was badly interfered with when her sister Busy's Charm and Ebony Scott (box five) appeared to become entangled and both fell. The collision cost Zoom Top momentum and many lengths as Brilliant Candy and Jim's Venture surged clear and Our Vent (box two) gained a glorious run through on the fence to be third.
Zoom Top looked like getting into stride again when Greggary Boy (box six) ran out at he next bend and bumped her, knocking her back to sixth place.
A noted strong finisher, Our Vent finished hard along the fence to overwhelm Brilliant Candy and win by a neck with Jim's Venture three lengths away third in a slow 43.6. For Our Vent it was her sixth win (with three thirds) in 11 starts at Wentworth Park.
Zoom Top came home strongly to finish just four and half lengths away in fourth position, the first time in 15 distance starts at Wentworth Park she had finished unplaced.
A week later Zoom Top ran a fast 43.30 over 732m at Harold Park but later was injured and could not defend her Summer Cup title.
There is no doubt had she managed to avoid trouble in the Sydney Cup, Zoom Top would have gone on to score a convincing victory. As it was, her record of six consecutive distance cup's victories is unlikely to ever be approached, let alone equalled.