THE Dapto Maiden Classic has been a prominent fixture on the NSW racing landscape since its inaugural running in 1966. It has also produced some future stars and not the least of these was the 1997 victor Tommie Streaker (Casino Tome x Zoom Streaker Feb '96).
A red brindle dog, Tommie Streaker was trained throughout his career by Dave Irwin and made his debut with a tilt at the 508m Dapto Maiden Classic series when aged 19 months, running second in his heat on September 11, 1997, beaten three-quarters of a length by Spanish Bow.
Making it through to the semi-finals, Tommie Streaker was sent out an odds-on favourite for his run-off, despite drawing box five. He repaid punter's faith by downing Akay Keroma by a length and a half in 29.71, not far outside the 29.65 best of the night.
Drawn favourably in box two for the September 25 Dapto Maiden Classic final, Tommie Streaker was sent out an even-money ($2.00) favourite and duly saluted, downing Huntingwood by five lengths in 29.85 to collect the $20,000 first prize money.
The newly-crowned Dapto Maiden Classic winner was given a one-month break. When he resumed he further cemented his growing reputation with victories over 457m at the Gold Coast and then at his first three starts over 520m at Wentworth Park.
With six wins on end Tommie Steaker began 1998 on January 24 by finishing third up the Wyong straight over 300m. He then seemed to lose all form, running unplaced in four successive races at Wentworth Park.
Irwin took Tommie Streaker to Bulli in early April and the red brindle dog once more regained his ‘mojo', recording three consecutive wins over the 472m trip.
After missing the start and finding trouble he finished last in his next Bulli outing, but an undeterred Irwin brought Tommie Streaker back to win his heat of the Bulli Gold Plate on May 13.
The $20,000-to-the-winner final was run on a wet track the following week and although badly served by drawing box six, Tommie Streaker jumped in front and led all the way to down classy Victorian greyhound Awesome Assassin by almost six lengths. Awesome Assassin had won the Gold Plate the previous year.
Taken to Tweed Heads he finished third in a 420m event and then had a short break, resuming in the heats of the Bulli Gold Cup, running second to Rotkara Sam.
In the final, Tommie Steaker missed the start from box four but battled on gamely to run a three and a half lengths second behind November Safari.
Tommie Streaker then won a heat of the Gold Coast Cup (Group 2) on July 22 before running a solid fifth behind Victorian star Hotshot in the final.
In August he campaigned up the straight at Wyong, winning a top-grade event over 300m on the 15th and then winning a heat of the Wyong Derby over the same trip a week later, downing November Ivory by four lengths.
In the Wyong Derby final on August 29, Tommie Streaker again defeated November Ivory, this time by just over three lengths to collect the $3,500 first prize money.
After failing to make the final of the Brisbane Cup when fourth in his 520m heat at Albion Park behind the great Rapid Journey, Tommie Streaker returned to Wentworth Park for his next seven races. He scored four wins, one second (beaten a nose) and two thirds and his efforts led Irwin to take his sprinter into Victoria for the Melbourne Cup series over 515m at Sandown.
After running second to Feel The Magic at his first look at the course, Tommie Streaker was only seventh behind Star Of Mine in his heat of the cup. The trip would be his only excursion into Victoria in his career.
After winning up the Wyong straight, this time over 366m in the first week of December, Tommie Streaker came back to Wentworth Park and contested the Group 3 Christmas Gift.
On December 12, Tommie Streaker only finished third in his heat, beaten three lengths by Reckless Rover but in the final, despite drawing box six, he reached the lead coming out of the first turn and went on to defeat Big Bad Luther by just over a length to collect the $15,000 winning purse.
Tommie Streaker started 1999 with a win at Wentworth Park, his ninth at the course and, as it proved, his last. After failing in a heat of the Adelaide Cup at Angle Park, Dave Irwin trekked to Toowoomba for the heats of the 457m Toowoomba Cup.
Tommie Streaker took a great liking to the track, winning his heat from box six by nine and a half lengths in a flying 25.18 and then won the Toowoomba Cup final by almost four lengths from Sagres Mist.
After being injured when seventh at Wentworth Park in March, Tommie Streaker resumed on April 10 in a heat of the NSW Straight Track Championship at Wyong, finishing third to the eventual winner, Tough Hombre.
He did not race again for seven weeks, resuming with an easy win up the Wyong straight on May 29.
Tommie Streaker then ran third in a heat of the Tweed Heads Galaxy on June 14 before winning a consolation event at the course two days later.
Two more victories followed, both at the Gold Coast, before a series of defeats at at Bulli (twice), Wentworth Park, and the Gold Coast.
In August, Tommie Streaker began the last leg of his career: a double defence of his two titles, the Wyong Derby and the Bulli Gold Plate.
On August 7 he won his heat of the Wyong Derby in 16.46 (the best of the day) and, four days later, was run down in the shadows of the post and beaten a nose by Bob's One in a heat of the Bulli Gold Plate.
In the Wyong Derby final on August 14, Tommie Streaker defeated Mr Benger by just half a head to become the only greyhound to win the race twice in its long history.
On August 18, Tommie Streaker missed the start from box five but ran on gallantly to finish third behind the high-flying Bob's One in the Bulli Gold Plate final.
He was retired after the race, having contested 58 races for 30 wins, seven seconds and nine thirds, earning around $115,000 in prize money. He made nine major race finals, winning six, running second in one and third in another.
The 2017 Group 3 Dapto Maiden Classic will be run on Thursday night.