AS most readers are probably aware, To The Galo’s led practically all the way from box four to win the Group 2 Warragul Cup (460 metres) in stunning fashion on January 22. While anyone who looked at the end of the race video saw a time of 25.49 posted, this was later amended to 25.34, a new track record. This clipped 9/100ths from the previous mark, held by Dewana Result since May 2014.
Notably, this is the first time the track record has been lowered over the 460 metres distance in the Warragul Cup final, and the third time overall the time standard has been lowered during the Group racing era, which commenced in 1995.
In 1995, the Warragul Cup was rated as a Group 3 event and that year’s victor, Bonjase, scored by six and a half lengths over the old 424 metres trip in 24.06, a new track record.
Three years later the brilliant Hotshot downed NSW sprinter Queensbury Rules by three and a half lengths, and equaled the 24.06 mark.
When it comes to track records going by the wayside in major Group races on Victorian country tracks, there are only a handful which have been breached over the last 21 years.
Doing them alphabetically, ex NSW sprinter Pororoca annihilated the likes of Leefull and Vapour Whirl to win the 2006 Cranbourne Cup by just over eight lengths in a new track record for 520 metres of 29.68.
The Geelong track record has been lowered twice in that tracks’ flagship final. The first occasion was in 1997 when Power Zone downed Macorna Lad and Lansley Bale in 25.37. That was followed in 2013 when the sensational Black Magic Opal sizzled over the Geelong 460-metres course in 25.11.
Arguably, the 2014 and 2015 finals of the Healesville Cup, run up the 350 metres straight, has seen the record first broken and then equaled.
Frosty Jay Jay won the 2014 Cup for trainer Kel Greenough, defeating kennelmate Paw Licking by three-quarters of a length in 18.80. As most people are probably aware, we’ve gone into the twilight zone of timing so that instead of hundredths being good enough, now races are timed to the next three digits. So Allkel To Excel, the 2015 Healesville Cup winner, and also trained by Kel Greenough, ran 18.80 as well, but the time is more like 18.7999999999, or it might as well be.
The Horsham Cup has seen two winners of its final also lower the track mark. The John Bushell-trained Brumby Lad downed Sun Hero by four lengths in 2004 to score in a new time standard of 26.85.
Completing the country cups track records list is, of course, the great Fernando Bale, who ran 29.8999999 (let’s just call it 29.90) to win the 2015 Traralgon Cup over 525 metres on the newly-refurbished course.
Notably, a track record has not gone down at any of the city tracks in a major Group final.
So, To The Galo’s, who held the Goulburn 440 metres track record for a week late last year, becomes only the 12th greyhound to set new figures in a Group final in Victoria.