Six superb finalists have been announced for the 2014 Victorian Greyhound of the Year with the winner to be announced on Friday, February 20.
Three sprinters and three stayers make up the numbers for the prestigious title and, between the six of them, they have won eight Group One races, four Group Two races and three Group Three races.
The finalists won a combined total of more than 100 races throughout 2014 and have earned more than $2.68 million between them.
The finalists in alphabetical order are:
Awesome Project won 19 races in 2014 including the Group Two Gosford Gold Cup and the Group Two Harrison-Dawson in what was a remarkable year for his trainer, Darren McDonald.
The bonny Dyna Willow had an affinity with Wentworth Park, winning both the Group Three Betfair Cup and the Group Two Summer Distance Plate in the Harbour City in 2014.
The brindle bitch won in three different states (Victoria, NSW and Western Australia) during the year, claiming seven races overall.
Dyna Willow has since been retired and is expected to whelp her first litter to Magic Sprite within the next few days.
The unfashionably-bred sprinter was one of the most consistent greyhounds during 2014, making eight Group finals, finishing out of the placings in only one of those, the Group One Topgun (6th), at what was his first start back from injury.
The black son of Take The Kitty and Key Exit won two Group One races, the Perth Cup and the Brisbane Cup, as well as the Group Three Silver Bullet.
He ran second in the Group One Australian Cup, the Group Two Cranbourne Cup and the Group Two Queensland Derby while he also finished third in the Group One Melbourne Cup.
Trained by Jeff Britton, the gutsy blue bitch won the Group One Sapphire Crown in brilliant fashion before landing further success in the Group Three SA Oaks later in the year.
Owned in SA by Nathan Wilson, she made a further six Group race finals during 2014 with her best performance arguably being a strong second in the Group One Topgun behind Buckle Up Wes.
Sweet It Is
The black powerhouse was a dominant force in the staying ranks throughout 2014, winning four Group One races (Sandown Cup, National Distance Championship, Bold Trease and Association Cup) and one Group Three race (Sydney Cup) over the 700s.
On top of this, the kennel-mate to fellow finalists Keybow and Awesome Project, made a further seven Group finals, finishing either second or third in four of them.
The versatile champion Xylia Allen rounds out the six finalists for Victorian GOTY with her biggest 2014 victory being in the Group One Gold Cup at Albion Park. The daughter of Turanza Bale and Tayah Bale also took out the Group Two McKenna Memorial.
Australia’s highest stakes earner qualified for seven other Group finals during the year, retiring in late 2014 with $743,730 to her name.
There is no doubt the six finalists for the 2014 Victorian Greyhound of the Year are all exceptional athletes, ensuring a tough battle to determine which chaser will take home top honours.
NSW, Western Australia and South Australia have also announced their finalists for greyhound of the year.
NSW has three outstanding finalists in National Sprint Championship heroine Chica Destacada, Group One Megastar winner Tommy Brislane and the Queen of Wentworth Park, Zipping Willow.
WA has three contenders in grand campaigner On Coin and the Linda Britton-trained duo Star Recall (now trained in Victoria by Jeff Britton) and Zelemar Fever.
SA’s title should be a tight finish with Cairnlea Layla, Galilee Spirit, Genghis Kahn, Sidney’s Shadow and Wild Soul all in contention to be crowned the state’s top dog.