While all the focus will be on the Group 1 Hobart Thousand, the R.W (Bob) Brown Memorial Consolation event will again take its regular spot on Tassie’s biggest night, and as such stands as much a part of the Thousand series as the heats and final itself.
Since 1999, the consolation event has been named in memory of the late Robert William “Bobbie” Brown, the local legendary trainer whose name is etched all over the in the history of the race, and sport in the state of Tasmania.
Apart from being a stellar boxer (a winner of 69 of 72 bouts fought), Bob Brown became an inductee of the Tasmanian Greyhound Hall of Fame in 2008. He was witness to every Hobart Thousand that took place during his lifetime, from the first running in 1939 right up until his death which actually occurred on December 17, 1998; the same day 59th running of the race.
Despite winning just about everything a trainer could win on the Apple Isle, the Hobart Thousand eluded him as a trainer. However it remains a great gesture for the Hobart club to honour him with what has proven to be a high-class listed event in its own right.
One doesn’t have to look back any further than to last years’ race when a virtually unknown-at-the-time black dog named Buckle Up Wes took it out, with the eventual Launceston Cup winner, Varcoe, third in the same event.
Emerald Lee won the 2011 version for Debbie Cannan, while Penny’s Angel led all the way previous to that. Even a Victorian in Banger Harvey can be seen on the recent honour roll for the Bob Brown Memorial.
But the 2014 running of the race is arguably the best version to date, with five of the seven runners coming second in their respective heats last week.
Though Buckle Up Wes isn’t there to go back to back, there are three interstate chasers that have remained to challenge an excellent crop of local stars.
Kelly Bravo will take a duo of chasers into the main event two races later, and her chaser Hekate Belle was less than a half-head away of making it a Group 1 trio. It couldn’t quite catch Senor Slamma from box one on that occasion, but gets the chance to atone from the same draw this week. It will likely be one the favourites, with a consistent form line in the past month.
Fellow Victorian, Kicking Rocks had no problems coming out the 461-metre start last week, but found Big Ticket a touch too fast. It broke 26 seconds on that occasion being beaten narrowly and a repeat would go close to getting it back into the winners’ circle for master trainer, Darren McDonald.
While Nicole Mcrae’s veteran Walk Hard could only manage fourth in its heat, it was the manner in which the son of Bit Chili finished the event that suggests it will be hard to beat. While he may be giving away youth to his rivals, the dog is no stranger to the Elwick track and with any luck in running will be storming over the top.
The race won’t be an all-Victorian show, as Night Tremors and Bruny Venture couldn’t be racing in better fashion to defend their home turf.
Trainer Eileen Thomas would be well aware of the brilliant mid-race burst the Night Tremors possesses, and it will be right in the picture again from the outside draw. Given the amount of interstate talent, this Tassie youngster could well be the knockout dog for punters looking for a bit of value.
Likewise for Bruny Venture, who despite the six-rug should be well in the race at the half way point and well placed to capitalise on any mid-race bother that may come the way of those behind him.
The R.W Bob Brown Memorial Consolation is scheduled to run at 9.05pm as race six on Hobart’s Thursday night fixture – a race that carries a lot more weight than the $4465 on offer for the winner.
R.W Bob Brown Memorial Consolation Box Draw
Box 1 – Hekate Belle – Kelly Bravo
Box 2 – Kicking Rocks – Darren McDonald
Box 3 – Wynburn Rush – Ben Englund
Box 4 – Warehouse Mouse – Mick Stringer
Box 5 – Bit Hot Rusty – Shane Whitney
Box 6 – Bruny Venture – Gary Fahey
Box 7 – Walk Hard – Nicole Mcrae
Box 8 – Night Tremors – Eileen Thomas
Izon Destruction – Shane Whitney