October 2009 was a fantastic month for the breeding industry, with three dynamic staying divas all whelped within a 21 day time frame. The most notable of the trio was the mighty Miata, Australia’s first greyhound to claim consecutive AGRA Greyhound of the Year titles. The second was her most rivalled competitor, Irma Bale, the first greyhound to claim back to back group one Sandown Cups since the legendary Bold Trease, who claimed the nation’s most prestigious staying event over four years from 1986-1989.
The third staying sensation born in October 2009 is the dual group winner, Proven Impala, who has never received the accolades of her superstar counterparts. However, while her famous foes have retired, the bonny bitch is still racing extremely well and managed to make it one step closer to another taste of group glory last night, when saluting in her heat of the group 3 Chairmans Cup at Wentworth Park.
Trained at Maryborough (Victoria) by Joe Borg, Proven Impala bounced straight to the front at box rise and never looked in danger, stretching out beautifully to score a dominant eight and three quarter length victory in a scintillating 42.03 seconds.
Running a solid second was Maddison Dee for Michael Chilcott, with Mark Swift’s Smart Valentino completing the trifecta.
It was the first victory at headquarters for the daughter of Velocette and Thanks Blue after an impressive run last week where she missed the start but chased hard to finish three and a half lengths second behind Cawbourne Looney.
Borg suggested that some differences in track functions attributed to her uncharacteristic tardiness last week. Drawn awkwardly in box five, a look at the track conditions certainly helped with her performance last night.
“You always worry about where they are drawn and what is drawn beside them but you’ve still got to be able to get the job done on the night”, Borg explained.
“To her credit, coming here last week was a big bonus. The experience she gained from last week helped, she missed the kick then but she got it right tonight and hopefully she can carry that through to the final”.
“She normally always pings out but the lure run up is possibly a little bit different here, the boxes are a bit lower and the lure sound is different. All these things played into it last week”.
Her time was over half a second quicker than heat one (42.55 seconds) however, it was no surprise to Borg to see the group 1 Rookie Rebel and group 2 McKenna Memorial winner go within quarter of a second of Miata’s 41.81 track record. Borg was full of praise for his 29 kilogram speed machine that has been ultra-competitive at the top level for much of her 76 start career.
“She can probably go a little bit quicker. What amazes me about the dog as a trainer is that she has been racing for two and a half years. She has had a couple of short spells but to be racing at this level for that long shows you what a tremendous greyhound she is”.
“She probably doesn’t get all the accolades she deserves. She is such a tough greyhound and she races so hard. We are just really thrilled to have a greyhound like her”.
Proven Impala will move out into box eight for next week’s decider, on the outside of group 1 National Distance Champion, Smart Valentino. Whilst it is not ideal, it is not an impossible draw to overcome, as Borg describes.
“There is no pace on her inside. The 6 and 7 (Lucy Wires and Smart Valentino) haven’t got too much pace so hopefully she’ll get a clear run to the first turn”.
“I honestly think the three is the danger, Maddison Dee. Her run behind her (Proven Impala) tonight was a nice little run. She is drawn very well and will benefit from the run here today”.
Proven Impala now boasts the dominant record of 30 wins and 19 minor placings from 76 racetrack appearances. Whilst she may turn four next month, the black speedster is still racing in superb style and should be seen on the track for a few more months, before retirement and motherhood beckon.
“I want her swansong to be the Sale Cup which is in December. She is still racing as good as what she was at two years old and she almost broke the track record at Horsham recently so how can you retire her?”
“She still wants to race. People say that you’re racing the guts out of her and they can say what they want, she wants to race and that’s the difference. She’ll tell me when she has had enough, it’s not our decision it’s hers. One day if she doesn’t want to get out of bed I will ring the owners and say that’s it”.
“It will come eventually but at the moment the plan is to race until December unless something unforseen happens before then”.
While Victoria took out the second heat, it was the locals that triumphed in the first with Julie Fletcher’s Little Grey running her opposition off their feet from box three. Beginning flawlessly, the daughter of Bit Chili made every post a winner as she skipped away to notch up a three length victory in a handy 42.55 seconds. Out of top producer Meredith Grey, Little Grey is putting together a fantastic record, now sitting on 11 wins and nine minor placings from 29 career starts.
Diamond Lucy ran a great race in second for Ron Bell and will progress through to next week’s final, with Victorian stayer Lucy Wires filling the placings for Rob Britton. The race favourite, Bell Haven, found trouble but was still disappointing when finishing sixth, almost 13 lengths off the winner.
2013 GROUP 3 CHAIRMANS CUP FINAL BOX DRAW
Box One: Little Grey Julie Fletcher
Box Two: My Asuncion Adele Powell
Box Three: Maddison Dee Michael Chilcott
Box Four: Cawbourne Looney Jodie Lord
Box Five: Diamond Lucy Ron Bell
Box Six: Lucy Wires Rob Britton
Box Seven: Smart Valentino Mark Swift
Box Eight: Proven Impala Joe Borg
First Res: Hotwire Graeme Barnett
Second Res: Number Krunch Darren Sultana