Leslie and Carol Hudson have shared their love of racing for just a year short of their 51 years of marriage. The Budgewoi couple exhibit a great deal of kindness and patience with their team of talented chasers and certainly make up for the quantity of dogs they have at any given time with the quality which they seem to consistently prepare for the racetrack. With all their years of dedication and hard work, the Hudson’s may have unearthed their most prized gem yet, in a stunning black dog by the name of Black Magic Opal.
Black Magic Opal or ‘Max’ as he is known around the Hudson’s Central Coast property, will line up this week with a terrific chance of taking out the Maitland Gold Cup. The group two feature is the highlight of the Maitland GBOTA’s race calendar, with the series attracting some of Australia’s top sprinters and one turn specialists.
The black chaser by this year’s hottest sire, Magic Sprite claimed his heat victory in emphatic style last Thursday afternoon when after a moderate getaway, he showed an enormous turn of foot quickly dashing past top class bitches El Brooklyn – winner of the Group Two Healesville Cup and the listed Ultra Sense final at Wentworth Park, and Dave Irwin’s sensational short course specialist Scissor Queen who recently took out the $4000 to the winner Gold Collar series at Maitland.
After reaching the front of the high quality field, the thrilling dog showed why he is one of the most exciting pups the Hunter and Central Coast areas have unveiled in recent years, stretching out across the rain affected track surface to win by an ultra-impressive two and a quarter lengths on the line.
Chasing him home in second was the Jason Thompson trained El Brooklyn with the speedy John’s Son running another handy race, storming home to grab third three and a quarter lengths behind the runner up. The time recorded by Black Magic Opal was a blistering 25.16 seconds, and whilst this time was two tenths slower than the fastest of the day, it was a very determined win and super slick given the weather conditions during his heat.
Thursday’s heat victory was Black Magic Opal’s eleventh win from a mere fourteen starts with his only remaining starts resulting in three handy thirds. The sprinter has developed quite an affiliation with the showground circuit were he has the unblemished records of six starts for six wins, with a personal best of a low flying 25.01 seconds for the 450 metre trip.
Whilst his liking for the Maitland Track is apparent, Black Magic Opal has made his talent obvious since the start of his career, when at just the tender age of sixteen months, he placed second in the Maiden Consolation final at Coonamble behind the Tom Pullman trained Silent Battle. After the carnival the powerful chaser debuted at Maitland where he won at his first attempt over the 400 metres. Since then Black Magic Opal has also recorded a handful of fast wins at Unibet Gardens including a scorching 22.47 seconds for the 400 metre journey.
Black Magic Opal has certainly been an exciting experience for the Hudson’s who bred the litter from their smart race bitch turned prolific producer Awesome Opal. Awesome Opal has thrown some fantastic racers from just three litters including the likes of Opal Cove, Fiery Opal, Awesome Knocka, Opal Dream and Genuine Opal amongst others with the latter funnily enough racing against her mother and defeating her at the Gardens. Awesome Opal is currently in pup to last year’s Maitland Cup winner Oak’s Road, with the pups sure to be highly sought after.
The Hudson’s also reared, and now race Black Magic Opal and two of his other littermates, Glamorous Opal and Aussie Opal – who have also shown promise since hitting the track. Aussie Opal is a winner of two races from fourteen starts with a further eight placing’s to his name whilst Glamorous Opal has strung together the notable record of four victories from fifteen starts. Whilst they both have talent, they have undoubtedly been overshadowed by their brother who has been the centre of attention at the Maitland circuit over recent weeks.
Leslie and Carol who “consider their dogs as part of the family”, only have a small team in work at their residential property enabling them to provide their greyhounds with a life of luxury on the water where they experience daily walks around the area in addition to galloping along the beach and going for a swim in Lake Munmorah with the Hudson’s behind their boat. This upbringing has certainly worked wonders for their chasers and could very well provide the correct formula for preparing a group race winning greyhound after Thursday night if Black Magic Opal is able to salute in the final.
Black Magic Opal has drawn box seven for the decider which should suit him well with a steady beginner on his outside, giving him time to muster speed before the run into the first turn. There will be plenty of early dash within the race along the rails looking to bring him undone, however on a track such as Maitland where all dogs seem to cross quickly to the rail down the back straight, it may prove to be an advantage being boxed out wide.
With the spotlight shining on Maitland this Thursday, all eyes will be on the 450 metre boxes when the lids fly open for the running of the $40,000 Maitland Gold Cup which will award the lucrative winners cheque as well as the glory of group racing to one talented racer and some happy connections.
Keep your eyes peeled later this week for a preview of the exciting feature races that will be held on the night.