I have to admit to being somewhat surprised by the reaction to my article ‘Buckle Up Wes becomes the best ever from Tasmania.’ Following his first-up from an injury-enforced spell victory in the Topgun, I made the suggestion that Buckle Up Wes could now arguably be called the best sprinter to have ever come out of Tasmania.
One reader commented, ‘very poorly written article’, and I have to put my hands up and say ‘fair enough’, because clearly a number of readers missed the point I was trying to make in the body of the text.
That point was simply that on his performances to date, Buckle Up Wes is surely entitled to be acknowledged as the best sprinting greyhound to have ever campaigned against the best in the country on their own doorstep, that is, on the mainland.
Among some of the greyhounds mentioned in the numerous comments at the end of my original piece were the likes of Sheila’s Teresa, Lillipilli Power, Topline Doovee, Awesome Cole, Cheetah Zorro, and True Vintage.
In my original article I wasn’t making a list of all the Tasmanians down though the decades who have crossed Bass Strait and plundered a major race or two. There are, indeed, plenty like that. I merely highlighted a number who really did register a series of major victories or topline performances which set them apart from many others. Equally, both Sheila’s Teresa and Cheetah Zorro are best known as stayers, so, like Chinatown Lad, Fallen Zorro, Bell Haven and Oak Queen, they weren’t under consideration.
Those who read the original article and with longer memories than many others might have noticed I didn’t mention Busy Vintage (who won the 1984 National Sprint Championship at Harold Park and was plagued by injury throughout his career), or Crotty Kid (who raced with success at Harold Park, winning the last Winter Stake run at that course, in 1987, in race record time and was third in the Melbourne Cup), or Highland Summer, Mona’s Beauty, Arkaroola (who won eight of 12 starts at Wentworth Park and was second in the 1975 Australian Cup), Shantung Tiger, Ralph The Mouth, Big Moose, Fergalicious, Rewind and, well, you get the picture. None of the aforementioned boast the same set of race performances as Buckle Up Wes.
As for True Vintage, she was a mighty sprinter, in Tasmania. Her record on the mainland doesn’t come anywhere near that of Buckle Up Wes, or even the others I mentioned in the original article, such as Ebony Minda or Iceni Princess, to name just two.
True Vintage raced 66 times for 40 wins, 13 seconds and two thirds. She once put together a sequence of 15 successive victories between January and May 1988 and had previously strung together 12 in a row before that. Her best performances on the mainland, however, were restricted to a track record 22.90 over 400 metres at Maitland in February 1987, a win over 424 metres at Sale and two victories over 511 metres at Olympic Park.
Her other interstate races include a second over 400 metres at Wangaratta, third over 424 metres at Sale, a fifth over 424 metes at Warragul, and two sixth’s at Olympic Park. True Vintage is arguably the best sprinter to have ever raced inside Tasmania.
To use a cricket analogy, scoring a series of centuries in grade cricket is hardly to be compared with making a ‘ton’ on the international circuit. For a Tasmanian to be taken seriously as a genuine top-flight performer, he or she needs to cement their credentials in the toughest marketplace in the nation, and that is in Melbourne and Sydney.
The fact remains that Buckle Up Wes is the only genuine Tasmanian sprinter to have made five Group 1 races, scoring two wins, one second, one third, and one fourth.
No other Tasmanian has ever come near to equalling this feat as a sprinter.