This Saturday the Lithgow Greyhound Racing Club will host the 2008 final of the Quickstitch Cup for low graders over 414 metres. The annual feature event, for battling country owners and trainers whose novice hounds have never won a trophy race, is sponsored by St George Marketing and Public Relations, a southern Sydney media consultancy run by former award-winning journalist Reagan Murphy.
Murphy's late grandparents George and Noeline Costandis owned and trained the amazing give-away greyhound Quickstitch who 25 years ago came out of retirement to break the Lithgow 706m track record at five years and two months of age.
“Old George and Noeline loved all of their 55 adopted greyhounds and somehow got a few of them racing again and one of these was Quickstitch, who was injury-prone (racing with a dislocated toe which had to be amputated) but won 17 races at four and five years old in Invitation class at Harold Park,” Mr Murphy said this week.
“He was a freak according to Jimmy and Christine Coleman who were not just Australia's top greyhound trainers back then … they were our neighbours at Reynolds Road, Londonderry (before moving to Schofields),” he said.
“One night at Gosford, Quickstitch unofficially broke Zoom Top's 686m track record which stood for 15 years … private clockers hotly disputed the electric timing mechanism that night, claiming it malfunctioned.”
The last time a five year old dog set a new track record was in 1956 (Macareena).
Mr Murphy hopes the Quickstitch Cup series (comprising four heats on October 11 with the final this Saturday) gives enough heart and inspiration to some battling owners and trainers on the country circuit to persevere with their slower dogs as some take more time than others to mature and may become ‘late bloomers' like Quickstitch (and the mighty Macareena in the 1950s).
“The Quickstitch Cup will be won this Saturday by a fifth grade dog who hasn't won a trophy race for at least six months,” he said.
“It gives all the slower dogs a real chance to discover what's it like up the pointy end of the field instead of copping all the mud near the tail.”