DESPITE the incredible number of feature races run across the nation over the almost nine decades since racing began, very few have resulted in dead-heats for first. The 1984 final of the Richmond Derby is one of the handful which have seen the judge unable to separate two runners as the field crossed the line.
The Richmond All-Aged Derby, as it was then known, had already become a much sought-after trophy and the line-up of contenders for the 1984 series, which took place with four heats on 4 May and the final on 11 May, brought together some of the best young sprinters in the state looking for a place in the 537-metre final, run on grass.
The first heat saw Bindall’s Hope use box one to full advantage in downing Frisco Shade. Bindall’s Hope already oozed class, having been runner-up behind the great Winifred Bale in the 1983 final of the National Sprint Championship, run at Harold Park, and collected second prize money behind Mister Biggles in the 1983 Tweed Heads Galaxy.
The second heat saw somewhat of an upset when Chris McGee defeated Rusty Banner, with the more favoured pair of The Chasm and Star Prediction failing to advance.
The third heat featured the likes of Crathie Drive, Get Behind Me, Canadian Wave and Cassilis Kid. Get Behind Me had run a solid third behind Tangairn in the Australian Cup and from box three he showed his class, scoring from the talented Cassilis Kid.
The fourth and final heat fell to Creamy Koko, who upset the more fancied Mr Lithgow. The latter had finished second to the brilliant Turbo Top in the 1983 Lord Mayor’s Cup final at Wentworth Park and run fifth in the 1984 National Derby, behind Inch Time, a few weeks earlier.
The box draw for the final didn’t do many of the more popular chances any favours with Get Behind Me in box four, Mr Lithgow box five and Cassilis Kid box six.
In the end it was left to Bindall’s Hope (box eight) and Creamy Koko (box three) to fight out the finish, with the pair crossing the line locked together and the judge signaling a dead-heat. Cassilis Kid finished third.
Although unplaced, Get Behind Me would emerge as the real star of the field. He went on to win the 1984 Frank Kennedy Memorial at Richmond and then took out the 1985 Richmond Cannonball, Richmond Gold Cup, Lismore Cup, Queensland Cup (at Beenleigh) and Mount Isa Cup.
Cassilis Kid went on to contest the Lord Mayor’s Cup over 558 metres at the Gabba, running third behind Sell Out. He would later run third to Get Behind Me in the Frank Kennedy Memorial final at Richmond and make the final of the same race the following year. He was also an unplaced finalist in the 1984 Sprinter’s Christmas Gift final at Harold Park.