This Week In Racing History

FEBRUARY

19th

Star big-track sprinter El Gazelle won a Free For All over 457 metres at Cessnock in 1973, recording his eighth successive victory. The race turned into an unofficial match race when the field was reduced to just two runners, the other being Toouli, winner of the 1972 Vic Peter’s Memorial Classic (now the Peter Mosman Memorial) at Harold Park and a finalist in the 1972 Australian Cup. El Gazelle scored by two lengths in a fast 26.4.

High Earner set a new prize money record in taking out the 2011 The Temlee for trainer Kel Greenough. The $50,000 first prize money took High Earner’s stakes to a whopping $553,795, surpassing the 12-year-old record set by superstar Rapid Journey in 1998.

20th

Askalon won the 1943 Hobart Thousand, his fifth successive victory at Hobart. Askalon went on to win eight in a row at the track, a record that was not broken until 1973.

After a break of three years, hurdle racing recommenced at Harold Park, in 1954.

Champion Queensland stayer Kirsty’s First won her heat of the 1986 Queensland National Distance Championship by a massive 24 lengths over 704 metres at the Gabba. On the same night, Bold Trease won the Victorian National Distance Championship State Final by a neck from Club Stroller over 718 metres at Sandown.

21st

Dave Alexander, proprietor of the Greyhound Recorder, and a former Mayor of Mascot died at the age of 63 in 1950. In honour of his tireless services to greyhound racing and his great support of the so-called ‘battler’, the GBOTA inaugurated a feature race, the Dave Alexander Memorial.

NSW stayer Irinka Barbie won the 2004 The Zoom Top, Shamira Bale won The Rookie Rebel, and Hotline Hero The Temlee at the Meadows for trainers John Finn, Tom Dailly, and Kel Greenough respectively.

22nd

The NCA commenced a new policy aimed at ‘eliminating poor-class performers from races at Wentworth Park’ in 1949. Only greyhounds with recent winning or placed performances would be drawn and ‘greyhounds, other than first-class performers, that have no winning performances within three months from the date of nomination will not be eligible to be drawn until they have either a win or a placing on outside tracks.’ The NCA also decided to revive hurdle racing.

23rd

The 1970 Australian Cup was taken out by NSW speedster The Smoother, downing Phantom’s Heir by three and a half lengths with fellow NSW sprinter O’Mara three lengths away third. The race was only The Smoother’s 13th start and took his record to eight wins, four seconds, and one third. The Smoother exited box one for the final and stated a sequence of six successive Australian Cup’s won by greyhounds from box one.

24th

Farrago resumed from a three and a half month spell to take out the NCA Stake over 580 yards (530 metres) at Wentworth Park in 1951, defeating former top-class stayer Ada Yin by five lengths in 31.6, a new track record. This clipped 1/10th from the previous mark held by Dream’s Image, who finished fifth and last to Farrago.

The brilliant Benjamin John snared the 1969 Australian Cup by six lengths from Tudor Valiant for leading trainer Stan Cleverley. Benjamin John ran 30.3/16, just 2/16ths outside Fawn Nulla’s track record for 560 yards (512 metres) at Olympic Park, set two years earlier.

25th

In what was later described as one of the greatest races ever seen at the course, Robert Kent defeated Valiant Garde by a head over 800 yards (732 metres) on what was then a loam track at Harold Park in 1939. Robert Kent set a new track record of 44.5.

He led 10 lengths down the back straight, by Valiant Garde took off after him, caught him,  but ‘shouldered’ Robert Kent all the way down the straight and was later suspended for failing to chase. The pair had raced as one dog from the home turn.

Kim’s Monaro, owned and trained by NSW mentor Bob Doak, won the 1974 Australian Cup, from box one. The smart bitch downed local star Roo Power by two lengths. The race was worth $20,000 to the winner, up from $12,500 in 1973.

Jeanie’s Queen downed fellow Victorian Floodfawn by seven lengths to win the 2006 Launceston Cup, running 30.36 to set a new track record. My Boy Speedy finished sixth, but came out in 2007 to win the event against a much weaker field.

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