Double Twist and Jagger Swagger were announced as the joint winners of the 2013 NSW Greyhound of the Year title in a ceremony held at Luna Park in the Harbour City on Friday evening on the 14th of March.
The result overturns almost half a century of award convention: that is, that there can only be one greyhound awarded the prestigious Greyhound of the Year title.
For this writer the change to that convention is actually welcome. The NSW Greyhound of the Year award was the first of its kind in Australia; indeed, for the first time, greyhound racing led the way on the gallops, with horse racing only introducing a Horse of the Year title after NSW. Inaugurated by the NCA in 1965, the first winner was the stayer Blue Autumn.
Then, in 1966, the judging panel quite correctly could not split the mighty stayer Rose Moss and the brilliant sprinter, Roman Earl. So, the 1966 Greyhound of the Year title was shared jointly.
For some strange reason, the idea of another joint winner was taken off the table and it was decided there would only ever be one winner per year. Now, in 2014, that convention has been overturned.
Back in the days when Sydney had two city courses (Wentworth Park and Harold Park), there was an unwritten rule that a greyhound needed to have won at Wentworth Park (run by the NCA, the club which had instituted the award in the first place) as well as Harold Park (run by the GBOTA, with whom there was an, at times, very unhealthy rivalry). In 1970 this unwritten rule saw the great stayer Travel Rev miss out to the very versatile Tara Flash.
Thankfully, that silly convention fell by the wayside in 1977 when Smooth Keith took the award, never having raced at Wentworth Park.
It’s just sad that the convention of not having dual winners between 1967 and 2012 has meant Woolley Wilson’s name does not appear on the winner’s board for 1973.
Woolley Wilson had been a deserved finalist in 1972, but lost to former Victorian, Ragsie.
In 1973 Woolley Wilson was again a finalist and the panel of eight jury members were deadlocked at four votes apiece for Woolley Wilson and Victorian stayer, He’s Some Boy. Instead of allowing the dead-heat, the panel was asked to deliberate further to come up with a single winner. He’s Some Boy emerged victorious.
In 1988, Kirsty’s Charity got the nod over See Yah in yet another extremely close contest.
Surprisingly, the press release for announcement of the 2013 NSW Greyhound of the Year made no mention of the dual 1966 victors.