This week will witness the 48th running of the Summer Cup. At one stage this was arguably the premier race for stayers in the nation, taking place, as it did, over the gruelling 800 yards (732 metres) of the Harold Park course. It used to be run over three tough rounds: a series of non-betting elimination heats, followed by four semi-finals, and then the final. A greyhound had to be tough to win it.
Nowadays, as distance racing has been gradually emasculated, the Summer Cup is important, but hardly the premier event it once was.
The first Summer Cup took place over the aforementioned 800 yards at Harold Park in 1965 and saw Victorian stayer West Opal successful from locals Top Cat and Werombi Girl.
The event was called the Summer Cup from 1965 until 1970. The 1971 version went under the name of the Sunday Telegraph Cup. From 1972 to 1982 it was just the Summer Cup again, then in 1983 it was the TAA-2KY Cup. From 1984-1986 it was back to the plain old Summer Cup and then in 1987, the first at Wentworth Park, it was the Black Tie Liqueur Cup. Since 1988 it has once more just been the Summer Cup. Confused? … just be thankful the greyhounds don’t have to read.
It has only been contested over two distances on two tracks. From it’s inception in 1965 till 1986 it was run over 800 yards (732 metres) on grass at Harold Park. Since 1987 it has been contested over 720 metres at Wentworth Park.
When Is The Race Run
Although now contested in December, it has also been run in mid and late November. The first November final took place in 1974, then again from 1980-1983 and 1985-2009.
Biggest Winning Margins
Two of the most outstanding stayers of all time have won the race by 10 lengths: Bunyip Bint, in 1969, and Travel Rev in 1970. Since being conducted at Wentworth Park, the biggest winning margin belongs to 2012 winner Bell Haven, who won by seven lengths.
Closest Winning Margins
There are probably more for this distance event than almost any other around Australia. Glen Abbey Doll (2006), Terimoto (1986) and Slender Eyra (1971) all scored by a nose. Ultra Desire (1995), Mandarin Girl (1976), Liberty Lover (1975) and Dotie Wilson (1974) were successful by just a neck.
Most Successful Trainer/s
Jason Mackay holds the record with three winners: Classy Customer (2004), Glen Abbey Doll (2006), and Zipping Lad (2011). Graeme Bate has won twice, with Amity Bale (2009) and Beware (2010).
Only Dual Winner
This is one of the few long-standing open events to have never had a dual winner. Only Dotie Wilson (winner in 1974, fifth in 1975) and Baretta Betty (winner in 2002, sixth in 2003) have attempted to defend their title. This year, Bell Haven will be attempting the feat.
Only Reserve To Win
None. The closest a reserve has come to taking the race was in 1984 when Matchless Mari was a well-beaten second to Shy Julie.
Werombi Girl (third in 1965 and third in 1966), Bunyip Bint (eighth in 1968, won in 1969), Dotie Wilson (won 1974, sixth 1975), Brigante Babe (third 1977, second 1978), Matchless Mari (sixth 1983, second 1984), Street Wise (fourth 1985, second 1986), The Penner (the only greyhound to have made two Summer Cup finals on two different tracks. He made the last final conducted at Harold Park in 1986, won by the Victorian Terimoto, and made the first final run at Wentworth Park in 1987, won by Sonic Wave, another Victorian, albeit then trained in NSW), Rob’s Rebel (fifth 1993, won 1994), Kibble Kruncha (second 2006, fifth 2007), Lyn’s Daisy (seventh 2007, sixth 2008), and Jarvis Bale (eighth 2009, third 2010).
Some Beaten Stars
There have also been some pretty good greyhounds who have made the final, but not won the race: Busy’s Charm (second 1968), Mustard Moss (second 1970), Roman Copy (scratched 1971), Lizrene (sixth, injured, 1972), Corcoran (third 1973), Miss High Lo (second 1974), Kirsty’s Charity (second 1988), Raven Kelly (second 1994), Keon Star (fifth 1996), Tonight’s Wish (third 1998), Irinka Barbie (eighth 2003), Miss Brook (third 2007), and Forty Twenty (second 2009).