For some time now the boffins who inhabit the psychology departments of the planet armed with reams of statistics and tax deductible clipboards have been telling anyone who will listen that our precious memories tend to be very unreliable when it comes to correctly reconstructing events from our past. What is perceived as incontrovertible fact is often not completely correct, and our wonderful sport is no stranger to misplaced facts and incorrect assumptions.
The reason for the above preamble is to introduce a completely erroneous statement made on a greyhound forum (I won’t name it in case people think I’m trying to be churlish) regarding one my all-time favourite greyhounds: Miss High Lo.
This strikingly-marked white and black bitch dominated the Sydney distance racing scene from the Sydney Cup of 1973 until the end of 1974, deservedly taking the New South Wales Greyhound of the Year honours for the latter year.
Regarding a match race that took place between Miss High Lo and the superstar Victorian stayer Lizrene (another of my all-time favourites) at Wentworth Park, on this forum someone penned the following:
‘Lizrene beat her by 4 lengths in a match race – the result was not a surprise. Miss High Lo was a Wentworth Park and Richmond specialist. Victorian stayers were superior to their NSW counterparts in that period – they won the first 6 National Distance Championships. Miss High Lo was a great stayer but didn’t beat the best away from her home tracks.’
To be fair, the person who wrote that later came back and corrected his mistake, although he went on to say Lizrene was perhaps past her best at the time of the match race.
I have never seen a stayer like Miss High Lo at Wentworth Park: my late father and I would watch races from the Leger in those heady days, so I caught a great sight of her as she left the boxes and again when she usually made her winning moves in the back straight. Heady stuff for a young teenager in those great days.
Being a huge fan of Lizrene and Miss High Lo the match race was a wonderful opportunity to see which of the two was the better, although I had no real doubt the younger Miss High Lo would be victorious. And so it proved. Miss High Lo, wearing the red rug, took the lead soon after the start and never gave her ageing, but brave, rival (wearing the blue rug of box four) a chance, bolting in by four lengths.
The race took place on 2 February before a crowd estimated at 13,000 people. One of the reasons the match had been arranged was because the pair had clashed on 22 December (just 42 days earlier) in a special Invitation over 640 metres at Wangaratta. Lizrene had won that race (taking her record to five wins from five starts on that circuit), while Miss High Lo finished fourth.
To further state Miss High Lo was a two-track specialist is equally erroneous. Certainly, Miss High Lo was a superstar at Wentworth Park: 16 wins, two seconds and one third from 19 starts over the old 722 metres is testimony to that. Her wins included two Sydney Cup’s and a Wentworth Park Gold Cup, and a track record.
Yet at Harold Park, she won the Christmas Gift, was a gallant and narrow second to Dotie Wilson in the 1974 Summer Cup (one of the greatest two-dog races ever run in the country) and an Association Cup finalist. In fact she twice ran 42.80 for the 732 metres, the second-fastest times ever recorded on the circuit to that time and won 10 of her last 14 races on that course.
While it is quite right to argue that Miss High Lo ‘didn’t beat the best away from her home tracks’, sad to say, Lizrene wasn’t very good away from Victoria either. In 12 starts outside Victoria, Lizrene scored just two wins, although she did run six seconds and one third. By comparison, Miss High Lo raced six times in Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia for two wins and one third.
The simple fact is that while Lizrene was a superstar in Victoria, Miss High Lo was the same in New South Wales.