Queensland’s greyhound industry celebrated the 2011 racing season with the announcement of the Greyhound of the Year, Dashing Corsair at the RQs Greyhound Awards at Sofitel Brisbane Central over the weekend.
Dashing Corsair had a fantastic pre-retirement season winning the Group 1 National Distance Championship Final, Group 3 SuperStayers and the Group 3 Big Dog Cup.
Owner Paddy Fitch and trainer Dwyer Lennon accepted the award, which capped off a career of 57 wins and 30 placings from 124 starts, 24 of which were Group finals.
Dashing Corsair has also been nominated for the 2011 Australian Greyhound of the Year to be announced in March.
He beat out other 2011 Greyhound of the Year nominees Bogie King and He Knows Uno.
Each Queensland greyhound racing club awarded their 2011 Greyhound of the Year and a number of Brisbane premiership awards were also presented including Brisbane’s leading owner, trainer, sire and brood bitch.
Introduced at the 2011 RQs Greyhound Awards was the Women in Racing Award and the Community Racing Award.
Emma Bryant, president of the Cairns Greyhound Racing Club was presented the Women in Racing Award for her unwavering dedication and time devoted to the club.
The Community Racing Award was given to the Albion Park flood effort team after Albion Park was devastated by the floods in early January 2011. Through the selfless and extraordinary efforts of all the volunteers from Racing Queensland, Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club and the industry, the club was up and racing after one weekend.
The 2010 Greyhound Award winners include:
• 2011 Greyhound of the Year – Dashing Corsair
Sponsored by Sky Racing
• Brisbane – 2011 Greyhound of the Year – Abby Shiraz
• Bundaberg – 2011 Greyhound of the Year – Uno Leo
• Cairns – 2011 Greyhound of the Year – Fuelled Fantasy – Sponsored by Brothers Leagues Club Cairns
• Capalaba – 2011 Greyhound of the Year – Rylee’s Raven – Sponsored by Bayer
• Ipswich – 2011 Greyhound of the Year – Spring Rose
• Rockhampton – 2011 Greyhound of the Year – Spring News – Sponsored by Mars
• Townsville – 2011 Greyhound of the Year – Colli Belle
• Brisbane Leading Owner Award – Hazelgrove Syndicate – Sponsored by TattsBet
• Brisbane Leading Trainer Award – Sandra Hunt – Sponsored by Big Dog Pet Foods
• Brisbane Sire of the Year – Surf Lorian – Sponsored by All Crowd Catering
• Brisbane Brood Bitch of the Year – Solid Skye – Sponsored by IPG Printing
• Women in Racing Award – Emma Bryant – Sponsored by Brandons
• Community Racing Award – Albion Park flood effort team – Sponsored by Garrard’s Horse & Hound
Racing Queensland Hall of Fame inductees
Three worthy industry contributors were inducted into the Racing Queensland Hall of Fame, Ron Ball, the Bellamy family and Bogie Leigh, sponsored by Contour Consulting Engineers.
Flying Amy was an Australian Hall of Fame inaugural inductee and now her trainer Ron Ball enters the Racing Queensland Hall of Fame.
Ball has trained four Queensland Greyhounds of the Year. They are Flying Amy in 1994 and 1995, Boronia Blossom in 1996 and Springtime Magic in 2001.
The former Ipswich coal miner, now fulltime greyhound trainer, has trained the winners of four National Championships. They are Flying Amy (1995 Sprint), Metz Magic (2011 Sprint) and Boronia Blossom (1995 and 1996 Distance). Boronia Blossom is the only greyhound to win two National Distance Championships in the race’s history of 42 years.
Winning events twice has been a canny knack for Ball. Take Flying Amy for example. She won the 1994 and 1995 Gold Coast Cups. Anyone who saw her second win in that race will never forget her explosive speed out of box six to lead a crackerjack field a merry chase home. In her first Gold Coast Cup win, Flying Amy beat brilliant sprinters Star Title and New Fox into the placings.
Say the name ‘Ron Ball’ and most people will instantly think of Flying Amy. But what might be called the ‘bread and butter’ greyhounds get just as much attention at the Ball kennels as the superstars. Winning races virtually week in, week out has seen Ball win two Albion Park training premierships, in 2008 and 2009.
The Bellamy family’s greyhound racing involvement spans more than 50 years in the industry.
Frank Bellamy, his wife Mavis and son Peter have enjoyed ongoing success which started when Frank was a greyhound trainer in Grafton, then later at Ballina and the Gold Coast.
Frank’s top performer in his early days was Spotted Lightning. He bought the dog at Lismore when it was beaten in a maiden race. Frank sensed that there was something amiss and he thought he could fix the problem.
Fix it he did. He took Spotted Lightning to Capalaba for a maiden race and a good old fashioned betting plunge. In a field of 12, Spotted Lightning romped home. The margin was given as 20 lengths but some say it was more like 30. Spotted Lightning won his next start, a new race called the Tweed 1000 at the old Razorback track near Tweed Heads. He won that by four lengths.
Frank Bellamy won six challenge races with Spotted Lightning, including the Commonwealth Cup Invitation at Sydney’s Harold Park in 1961.
Frank did all the muscle work on his greyhounds and was regarded as an expert in that area. His tool of trade was quite simple, hot vinegar.
Peter Bellamy, when training to be a school teacher, purchased a lightly raced bitch named Coven’s Memory. She went on to become one of Queensland’s fastest race bitches of her time. She broke the Tweed Heads 420 metres record in the Legacy Cup and broke the Gabba 420 metres record. Frank died just before those two record runs.
Mavis Bellamy put Coven’s Memory to imported sire Waverley Supreme. That litter produced Supreme Memory who in turn became a great broodbitch herself. Her progeny included top Gabba stayer Gary’s Hope and Queensland Cup winner Coven Miss who in turn went on to be a great producer. Barrio Babe, Subic City, Barrio Fiesta and Dee Bee are but a few quality racers produced. But it gets better. Barrio Fiesta is the mother of Surf Lorian, a racetrack flying machine from limited starts and an outstandingly successful stud dog since 2004.
Mavis devoted countless hours of service as a committee member of the Beenleigh Greyhound Racing Club. The hampers put together by Mavis and her ‘canteen ladies’ for Queensland Cup day each June meant more to many winners than the prizemoney.
The term ‘household name’ doesn’t get applied very often to greyhounds but it’s certainly fitting for Bogie Leigh.
During a wonderful race career which ran from January 13, 2003 until December 16, 2004, Bogie Leigh became known throughout Australia as the ‘sprint queen’ of her era.
Bred by Peter Bryers in Toowoomba and owned by Les and Sandi Bein of Gatton, Bogie Leigh won prizemoney of $488,335, trained throughout her career by Tony Brett. She is Australia’s fifth highest prizemoney earner. She currently sits proudly as the only female in the top eight names on that prizemoney list.
Bogie Leigh’s career on the racetrack started and ended the same way. Her debut run saw her finish second in an Albion Park 520 metres maiden. Her racetrack swansong nearly two years later was her second to Malfoy (Dashing Corsair’s sire) in the 2004 Group 1 Brisbane Cup at Albion Park. But in between those second placings at Albion Park was a list of feature race wins which is quite something to behold.
Her Group racing success was the 2004 Group 1 Golden Easter Egg, 2004 Group 1 Australian Cup, 2003 Group 1 Brisbane Cup, 2003 Group 1 Sandown Sapphire Crown, 2003 Group 2 Queensland Futurity and 2003 Group 3 Lismore Cup in the track record time of 29.48.
She was very much an Albion Park star, winning 29 races there, with five seconds and two thirds from 38 starts. Her best time was 29.83. The track record then was 29.73 to the credit of Flying Amy.
Bogie Leigh is a daughter of Just the Best and Hypo Havoc. Her career record was 68 starts for 41 wins, 12 seconds and five thirds.
Bogie Leigh was twice a finalist in the Queensland Greyhound of the Year. She was a finalist in 2003, the winner that year being Elite State. Bogie Leigh took the crown in 2004.
In 2006, Bogie Leigh was inducted into the Australian Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame.