Last Thursday night saw the final of the Group 2 Brandon’s Electrical Queensland Derby at Albion Park where eight runners faced the starter in the hope of collecting the trophy and the $40,000 dollar to the winner first prize. The five heat winners and 3 fastest seconds qualified for the rich final and with a mixture of local and interstate challengers, all eyes were fixed to the track at box rise.
Starting all the rage was the interstate raider Hello Good Bye for Victorian master Kel Greenough from box 1. After an impressive heat win last week in 29.84, punters had him the favourite narrowly over fellow visitor and derby dog Jagger Swagger for Mark Azzopardi. Jagger Swagger wasn’t as well drawn and would have to start the final from box 7 after last weeks BON 29.82. Others in the market were the second Azzopardi runner Transcend Time (Box 2), Top Story for local trainer Sandra Hunt (box 5) and Veyron Bale for Victorian maestro Andrea Dailly (box 6).
As the bunny passed the boxes and the lids opened industry blue blood and the second of Azzopardi’s finalists Transcend Time (Bombastic Shiraz – Elite Oriental) exploded from the boxes to lead clearly over Hello Good Bye (Bombastic Shiraz – Hello Siena) and Flying Tee (Collision – Emma Tee). Spearing through a flying 5.56 first section Transcend Time supporters would hope that he would be strong enough to hold out the favourite who was well positioned to strike.
Down the back straight and the lamp lighter was still Transcend Time but Hello Good Bye was stalking, well positioned and looking for a run. Rounding the final turn Transcend Time drifted off the rails slightly, with Hello Good Bye using all of his big experience to push through inside him and run away for an impressive victory, stopping the clock at an impressive 30.01. Transcend Time stuck on well for second three-quarters of a length away, with young local chaser Flying Tee a further length back in a very impressive third at just his tenth race start.
The Kel Greenough trained chaser has already made multiple feature race finals in 2013, being a Group 1 finalist in the Australian Cup (Spud Regis) and Perth Cup (Dyna Nalin) where he ran unplaced in both. The win was just reward for Hello Good Bye as he registered win number 10 from 19 starts and took his prizemoney to in excess of $80,000 with the Group 2 win. The Greenough kennel is known for training only strong fast greyhounds and this Group 2 win was another feature for a kennel no stranger to big race success. It certainly won’t be the last.
Transcend Time for Appin trainer Mark Azzopardi held on well second and in doing so picked up another $10,000 cheque to take his prizemoney to in excess of $85,000 for connections. The beautifully bred dog performed with distinction and accolades should be given to Azzopardi and his team for bringing this dog back from serious injury. With limited starts in the past 6 months, he will be improved from the racing and with his early speed will give followers a good sight wherever he goes from here.
The locally trained Flying Tee for Sandra Hunt ran a terrific race for third and looks to have a bright future. The black January 2011 son of Collision was having just his tenth race start and he will surely go onto bigger and better things with further race experience. The third place prizemoney taking the black dogs earnings to over $10,000.
As is always the case in finals hard luck bestows many runners and those starting outside the five runner Top Story could be forgiven for blaming bad luck for ruining any chance. Approaching the first turn Top Story ran wide checking many runners and putting them out of winning contention. Jagger Swagger (5th) and Veyron Bale (4th) both stuck on well after striking early bother to give their supporters something to look forward to when they have their next starts.
The Group 2 Queensland Derby has been a stepping stone for past winners and an indication that bigger things are in stall. In 2013, that trend looks to continue with winner Hello Good Bye. Previous winners of the group 2 feature include High Earner, Bogie King, and Superman. Being in the Greenough kennel he will pop up in feature races throughout the year, and judging by his form so far in 2013 another group win is just around the corner.
PAW NOTE – Glen Gallon – almost half a million reasons to smile
Glen Gallon (Flying Stanley – Incoherent) for Queensland’s leading trainer Tony Brett continued on his winning return from minor injury as he again won a best 8 on Thursday night in the process taking his prizemoney closer to the magical $500,000 mark. The August 2009 son of Flying Stanley – Incoherent didn’t have it all his own way but eventually got there on the line to win by head from Hanson Senor with a further 4 lengths to Miss Milkshake in third. It was the Glen Gallons 25th win at Albion Park and his 33rd overall from 60 starts to go with a further 11 placings. Owned by the Velocity Lodge partnership he has been a marvellous dog throughout his career and is as honest as they come.
It was a great performance from the second place getter Hanson Senor who was having his first start since September 2012 for owner trainer Geoffrey Allen after a long road to recovery from injury. The February 2010 son of Give Me Five – Hanson Charm ran right up to his previous best and it took a superstar grey to beat him. Allen almost pulled off the impossible and congratulations should be given to a great training performance.