Last Saturday night the Ipswich Greyhound Club hosted six sensational Gold Cup heats for this weekend’s feature Group 3 final. With the 6 first placegetters and 2 fastest seconds progressing to the final, controversy surrounds the event following the suspension of heat winner Honey Bouquet for a first marring offence.
The Stewards report taken from the Greyhound Racing Qld website is reproduced below:
Race 7 – Ipswich Gold Cup Heat 4 520m
Shortly after the start HONEY BOUQUET shifted ground inwards. Approaching the winning post on the 1st occasion ZIPPING HURF was tightened for racing room between CEE EH OH and HONEY BOUQUET. Entering the bottom turn as a result of CLONAKILTY MAN shifting ground outwards CEE EH OH, RUSH OF POWER, HONEY BOUQUET and ZIPPING HURF were hampered in running with ZIPPING HURF losing ground. Approaching the 630m boxes CEE EH OH and ZIPPING HURF were racing tight and bumping losing ground. Racing over the concluding stages HONEY BOUQUET improved on the inside of YOGI BLUE and commenced shifting ground outwards, turned its heads outwards and made muzzle contact with YOGI BLUE on 1 occasion marring the running of YOGI BLUE.
Stewards spoke to the trainer of HONEY BOUQUET Mr. J Conlon and advised Mr. Conlon that the greyhound HONEY BOUQUET would be charged under Rule 69 (1) (a) Marring, 1st offence, and stood down for a period of 28 days plus a satisfactory stewards’ trial 520m all tracks.
The outdated rule that dogs found guilty of marring not being disqualified needs to change – the cost is too great for those other greyhound in the race being affected. Take last Saturday’s heat. Though it was visible to everyone watching the event live and on the slow motion replays, Honey Bouquet marred. At the conclusion of the race her trainer was informed that she had been stood down and suspended. She would not take her place in the final. Despite this – and because of this outdated rule – she still wins the race. Then because it is a heat race she is drawn for the Group 3 final. She is immediately scratched from box 3 and the first reserve takes her place in the final. This racing rule lacks common sense.
Where is the compensation for those greyhounds directly affected by Honey Bouquet’s performance? Those who were competing in the same race? Admittedly Honey Bouquet should have won her race easily. It was an enormous run and great performance, she made wonderful ground to peg back the leaders to win by the narrowest of margins.
Should Yogi Blue who finished second to Honey Bouquet been afforded the win and the place in the final? Why do stewards conduct a box draw on track with a greyhound that they have just suspended? When will the rules change to disqualify greyhounds from their race performances where they have been found guilty of marring and other like offences?
The victim in this instance is clearly Yogi Blue. While he didn’t perform to his best in last weekend’s heat race he does have an exceptional record at Ipswich including a super-fast 30.28PB here. That time is the second fastest of all the finalists. Only Surfin’ Kawati has run quicker – 30.19 PB set in his heat win which is the 4th fastest of all time at the track and trip. Changes need to be made. At his best Yogi Blue would be considered a strong chance – his race and chance will never be run.
Coincidentally, Yogi Blue was suspended in September 2013 for the SA Derby Final when second in his heat behind up and coming SA superdog Ernie Bung Arrow. The reason – Failing to Pursue due to injury. He was never drawn for the final after stewards made the decision to hold the draw over until the following morning. Perhaps a similar decision could have been made here with Honey Bouquet.
Nevertheless the race will go on and Saturday night will see the 2013 Group 3 Ipswich Gold Cup Champion crowned. The winner will join the list of past winners including: 1987 winner and great New Tears, 1989 winner Acacia Ablaze for trainer Brian McEvoy, 2003 winner Freedom Bale for an up and coming trainer Tom Tzouvelis and 2011 winner Cold Fusion who saluted in a race record 30.34 for trainer Neil Falls.
The finalists in box draw order:
Box 1 – Semi Earner (High Earner – Seminole)
Ex Victorian Semi Earner draws the cherry box for the group final after finishing a close second behind Swap in last weekend’s heat. Trained by Selena Zammit out of her Willow Vale base, the daughter of ill-fated sire High Earner has had a wonderful career registering 10 wins. Better known for racing over the middle distance events, the Ipswich 520m is a tough 520m and with her strength she will be running on strongly. Yet to win here she looks a place chance.
Box 2 – Swap (Collision – Velocity Miss)
Heat winner in a solid 30.54 PB winning by a length despite starting at big odds of $24.00 and being awkwardly drawn in box 4. Trained by Glen Smith he has an outstanding track and distance record with 13 starts resulting in 5 wins and 4 placing’s. Raced by the Velocity Lodge Partnership he is a live each way chance after coming up with a favourable box draw in box 2. Three wins in succession indicates his ability and he is racing in peak form. Quick early and runs a nice race here where his running and racing style perfectly suits the showgrounds circuit.
Box 3 – Honey Bouquet (Bit Chili – Honey Mist)
Box 4 – Captain Clarrie (Elite And Classy – Where Are You)
The Peter Reutschi trained chaser produced a 30.63PB in his heat win last week when jumping well from box 8 in his all the way win. The 520m looks as far as he wants to go and he was paddling to the line when just hanging on. Draws box 4 in the final. The winner of 14 races with 9 placings from 37 career starts, the small 30 kilogram black dog has been another honest chaser throughout his race career winning $32,000 in prizemoney. Consistent and not without a chance.
Box 5 – Surfin’ Kawati (Surf Lorian – Tarzane’s Girl)
The Lois Neal owned and trained Surfin’ Kawati made it win 3 wins in succession when destroying his heat in a best of night 30.19 PB by 7 lengths after leading throughout. Fast early it was a dominant display from the boxes to the catching pen for the son of Surf Lorian. Racing in career best form it followed from his two previous sub 30 sec BON performances at Albion Park. Peaking at the right time and in career best form he looks to be the dog to beat, despite drawing box 5. The jump will decide his chances in the final and followers will hope he has luck early and from there all eyes will be on the clock for times and margins. Deserves a win like this.
Box 6 – Not Held (Mogambo – Velocity Held)
The Shane Ellis trained chaser finished a close 2nd in his heat when losing by the narrowest of margins to Captain Clarrie who he just failed to run down in the straight. In a race full of interference it was a good performance for the consistent chaser who lines up in Box 6 for the final. It is the second finalist for the Velocity Lodge Partnership. 26 career starts for 10 wins and 7 placing’s and close to $20,000 in prizemoney. A bread and butter chaser who may need luck from this draw – each way.
Box 7 – Spirited Flame (Vapour Whirl – Fire Goddess)
Despite winning his heat in the slowest time, it was a great performance by Box 7 finalist Spirited Flame who copped a number of bumps and checks throughout – overpowering them to the line in a blanket finish. The white and black bitch looked a little lost throughout the race and it was no surprise as she hadn’t been to Ipswich for a long time. The winner of $80,000 in prizemoney, she has a wonderful career record of 21 wins from 51 starts. Owner and trained by Christopher Riordon – she can win this despite her poor box speed.
Box 8 – Regal Lauryn (Surf Lorian – Queen Lauryn)
Brilliant heat winner in a fast 30.28PB after leading throughout from box 6. The recent Lismore Cup winner is looking to go back to back cups after drawing ideally in Box 8 for the final. She is beautifully bred being by Surf Lorian – Queen Lauryn – the dam being the Queensland great and holding the Ipswich Track Record at a supersonic 30.01. The winner of 8 from 10 here, and 16 from 33 overall she has already accumulated $85,000 in prizemoney throughout her short race career. In the hands of leading mentor Tony Brett she looks a strong winning chance despite her tendency to use all of the track.
Box 9 (Box 3) – White Hornet (Cosmic Rumble – Skinny Magic)
Park Ridge trainer Ray Burman’s luck continues in 2013 with his young chaser White Hornet being afforded the advantage of Honey Bouquet’s suspension. Drawn as the reserve White Hornet will start in box 3 for the final – the same box he competed from in his heat when second behind fastest heat winner Surfin’ Kawati. Just 2 years of age White Hornet has recorded 11 wins from just 22 career starts, including 6 starts here for 3 wins and 3 seconds. Second successive group 3 final after recently finishing second at Albion Park in the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup final behind brilliant speed bitch Punch One Out. Each Way chance.
Box 10 – Thunder Rocks (Surf Lorian – Kaycee Diva)
The Stephen Arnold owner and trained chaser had a wonderful heat when a gallant second behind Regal Lauryn. It was a wonderful training performance to have the November 2010 son of Surf Lorian reverse his recent form where he has raced without luck at headquarters, including in his heat of the Group 3 Gold Coast Cup. A career record of 57 starts for 7 wins and 20 placings. Slow early but chasers hard and is an each way chance if he can gain a start in the final.
Selections – 5 – 8 – 9 – 2
The Ipswich Gold Cup Final is race 8 on a full 10 card program this Saturday night at Ipswich. Racing in the later timeslot – the race will be run and won at 10.04pm Qld time. ARG wishes all connections the best of luck for the final.