Dundon, who only started training in April, was confident of his charge’s chances ahead of the $50,000 to-the-winner final, and that confidence was justified when Stetson Donna ($7.90) began brilliantly from box 3 to lead through the first turn ahead of Witch’s Potion ($20.90) and Take Me Home ($19.30).
Down the back straight, the trio cleared away from the pack headed by odds on favourite Irma Bale ($1.70) who railed strongly through the first turn after blowing the start.
The daughter of Premier Style and Silent Flower maintained the margin to her rivals in the run to the line to claim the Group 2 title by 2.75 lengths in a slick 29.54 seconds.
In a blanket finish for the minor placings, Take Me Home railed strongly to finish second a neck ahead of Witch’s Potion, who held off the fast finishing Irma Bale by a nose.
But it was all honours to Stetson Donna and to trainer Peter Dundon, whose family made the trek from Finley to share in Peter’s achievement.
“The prestige of just being in the Laurels was enough for me,” said Dundon.
“I am so proud of my little greyhound, she’s just magic. If she had of come last it wouldn’t have worried me, just being here is a thrill.”
“My wife (Annie) was so excited I thought she was going to have a heart attack – she gets more excited than I do!”
Stetson Donna had finished second on six occasions before finally breaking her maiden status at start number 10. Since joining the winner’s list, Stetson Donna has won six consecutive races, all of which have come in the city.
“She is a brilliant beginner and she has got that burst at the end. She’s just so consistent at the moment and she’s only 21 months old, so for a greyhound of her age she’s going really well.”
The win also capped a difficult week for breeder, Donna Sadler, after whom Stetson Donna is named. Sadler began her breeding operation in 2006 with her mother, Lois, who sadly passed away a week prior to the final.
“It was a dream of hers to have a runner in the Laurels and I’m sure that she’s been helping me tonight. I’d like to extend my condolences to the entire family, and thank Donna and her family for all her help,” said Dundon.
First run in 1964, the Macro Meats Laurels is Victoria’s premier race for young female greyhounds, and boasts icons of the sport including Australian Greyhound Racing Association Hall of Fame members Winifred Bale, Sandi’s Me Mum and Paua To Burn on its honour roll.