Sent to the boxes as the $4.60 second elect, Velocity Shirl only stepped fairly from box seven but was able to punch up into second spot around the first turn behind the early leader Smashniak Gold (box one).
Velocity Shirl began taking ground off the leader down the back straight, but was checked by the leader at the 600 metre boxes, before regaining her momentum and switching to the outside.
In the home straight and Smashniak Gold was not going down without a fight, with Velocity Shirl putting in a tenacious performance to score in the shadows of the post, the official bargain being a head in a tidy 35.04.
Race favourite Norm The Storm (box six) found plenty of bother after an ordinary beginning but ran a credible race to finish third, one and a half lengths off the winner at the finish.
Wilson said it was a nervous few moments waiting for the numbers to flash up on the semaphore board, with the trainer of over three decades unsure if his bonny bitch had done enough to win.
“I was hoping that she had gotten there in time and put her head out on the line,” Wilson said.
“From where I was at the 600 metre boxes it was very hard to tell who won and when the race caller said he’d stay out of it I got a little bit worried.
“It was a nervous wait but it was such a huge relief when number seven came up on the board.”
Wilson said he was very impressed with the performance of Velocity Shirl which never gave up throughout the race.
“She got into a bit of trouble trying to go on the inside of the leader on the top corner but she was good enough to overcome that and she was smart enough to switch to the outside and she worked hard to find the front.
“To his credit the leader (Smashniak Gold) kept kicking and he made my bitch work hard – she had to dig really deep – but thank heavens she had enough left in her and she was able to get there.”
Wilson said it was a terrific feeling to have claimed the $25,000-to-the-winner feature, the first Group race he has collected throughout his time in the greyhound industry.
“It was a huge thrill to win it – now I am setting my sights on getting a Group 1 so I’m getting greedy already,” Wilson joked.
“We have had a lot of handy dogs over the years but they have all been a couple of lengths short of being Group class dogs so it was nice to have a change of luck and it was good for the dog to be able to overcome difficulty in the race and still get there – she is a pretty smart little girl.”
Wilson said there will be no slowing down now that he has claimed an elusive feature victory, with hopes that Velocity Shirl has done enough to receive a late invitation to compete in the Group 1 Rookie Rebel (600 metres) at The Meadows on February 20.
“My partner Elaine said we should retire while we are on top – but it has taken us so long to get a big win we may as well keep trying now that we are going so well,” he said.
“I don’t know whether she has done enough to get a late invitation to the Rookie Rebel – travelling would be a whole new experience for her if she did – but I think she would have a chance if she did and made the final.”
Check out Velocity Shirl (7) winning the Group 3 Queensland Cup.