It's funny how people put so much energy into looking at a feature race before it happens and very little time following the same dogs once it is over. We read the form, study the box draw, make judgements about the dogs' abilities and so on, and before the race is run it feels like we know each runner personally. Yet as soon as the race is over, the form guide gets thrown out, as do the original thoughts and it's on to the next big event.
Well, with Nationals run and won once again, I'd thought it would be a nice opportunity to look at the finalists from both the sprint and distance finals over the last couple of years.
For many, the Nationals are a chance to see runners from states not usually followed, and once the events are over, it is so easy to forget about those that shaped one of the biggest races for the year. Hopefully for most, it will be a chance to answer the question ‘What ever happened to that dog?'
2011 National Sprint Championship Final
Unfortunately, after the scratchings of Pedrosa, Damek and Tonneli Bale the race became a Queensland dominated event and lacked the superstar quality expected of such a race. Nonetheless, Albion Park always provides an entertaining contest and the locals were able to steal the prize away from the more fancied southern neighbours.
• 1st Metz Magic – Won the final as a reserve and announced itself as a young star in the making. Has since won nine races, including a more recent try over the 710m. Also competed in the Sister Cities Cup final in Christchurch where it was runner-up.
• 2nd Cold Fusion – Back racing in Queensland although recent form is below his best. Competed in a Group 1 event at Wentworth Park after the Nationals and was reserve for the Adelaide Cup in 2011 also.
• 3rd Allen Hertz – Dour type sprinter who has hardly had a rest since this final (now had over 80 starts). Competes in top grade consistently but finds the real sprinting stars a bit too pacy.
• 4th Point Two Over – Still racing with 106 starts under the belt for 27 wins. Has been one of S.A's most consistent sprinters with the occasional flurry over 600m. Turned 4 years old in February.
• 5th Hellyeah Jacko – Raced until April 2012 and finished with a staggering 157 starts for 17 wins. Clearly this race was the highlight of its career where it led a Group 1 race for the first 50m.
• 6th Glen Gallon – Has turned out to be the best credentialed dog in this field after making multiple Group 1 Finals. Also just completed a second placing in the NSC final of 2012, with prizemoney now edging towards $300,000
• 7th Bogie King – Was active up until June this year, and was still winning more often than not. Travelled far and wide including Wentworth Park and The Meadows for feature events, however its best form remains on its home track.
• 8th Maybe Elite – Only raced four times since his reserve appearance in this race. No wins in those and has not been seen since April.
2011 National Distance Championship Final
The result was a fairytale ending for Dwyer Lennon and Queensland racing with their main man ending his career on a high and creating history in the process. Unfortunately, only three runners are still racing one year later.
• 1st Dashing Corsair – Was announced well before the series that the final would be his swansong. Still the only dog to win both NSC and NDC and his 710m Albion Park track record of 41.44 remains as the time to beat. Ended up with $455,000 in the bank.
• 2nd Lady Arko – Ran a huge race this night, however only raced five more times for a win at Wentworth Park and Temora. Never raced in 2012.
• 3rd Kalden Mayhem – Had a great year in 2011 and has won 23 races since being S.A's distance rep. Was beaten out of a back-to-back Nationals appearance by Abdon Bale in 2012.
• 4th Bobby Boucheau – Retired in early 2012 after racing twice more after the NDC final. An intense 32 start career amassed 16 wins and $265,000 in earnings.
• 5th Pickle Mickle – Ran a good race this night, and backed it up with 5 wins in the next 6 appearances. Began to struggle with injuries for the remainder of his time before being retired in May.
• 6th Abby Shiraz – Won her next three starts final and continues to be an honest, bread-and-butter type greyhound. Connections have gone back to the sprinting trips as she approaches four years of age.
• 7th Zipping Lad – Probably the tragedy story of this field. Made it four Group 1 finals in six months with appearances in the Carnival Cup, Sale Cup and Galaxy before kidney disease took its toll and forced the greyhound to be euthanised in April.
• 8th Ming Dynasty – Was very young when competing in this race and has unfortunately failed to follow up since. Was never a factor in the staying scene of 2012 and has not won a race in the 17 starts since.
2010 National Sprint Championship Final
Was a great night in Adelaide in 2010, and a particularly good one to remember for New South Wales. Was a real two-dog battle of a sprint final, and they set a brilliant time in the process.
• 1st Smooth Fancy – Finished the year off strong with two more Group 1 appearances including a TOPGUN invitation behind El Grand Senor. Was retired to stud by years' end with first pups yet to be seen.
• 2nd Cosmic Chief – Took a very similar path to Smooth Fancy by competing in the Paws of Thunder (3rd) and TOPGUN (4th). Won a few races back on the Vic metro tracks in early 2011 before it too was retired to stud.
• 3rd Tombstone Jack – Was the first dog to ever beat Damek on home soil and ran on well on the national stage. Only ever had one start back in Tasmania before returning to Melbourne. Was barely out of a place until February 2011 when injury stuck him down and ended his career.
• 4th Pedrosa – Continued to be a prolific winner in Perth and qualified for the same event a year later before being scratched. Was unfortunately cut down by injury again at Sandown in November 2011 and in turn ended his career. Overall Pedrosa won 30 from 50 and will be remembered as a great for a long time in W.A.
• 5th Arsonist – Continued to race for over a year and became a more than handy sprinter, eventuating with 24 wins on many different tracks. Beaten into second place by Arsonist over the time were dogs such as Oh Watta Nite, Don Chendo, Galba Jack and Iceman Raikkonnen.
• 6th Blazing Chaos – Has become a very handy dog and has travelled everywhere around Melbourne and country Victoria, Hobart and then back home again. Was still racing as of August 2012 and was up to $60,000 from 16 wins.
• 7th Tomic – Could only manage won more win from a handful of starts after representing his state on home soil. Ventured interstate without much luck before succumbing to injury at Strathalbyn in January 2011.
• 8th Where's Pancho – Still racing, still winning. Turned four in March and connections have found a niche over the new shortcourse trips of Angle Park and Gawler. Is up to 36 wins from 78 starts.
2010 National Distance Championship Final
The distance feature was certainly an entertaining affair with the entrants from S.A and Tasmania running great races. But NSW made it the National duo and broke the domination that Victoria had on the premier staying event. Dashing Corsair also contested the race but has been described above.
• 1st Blue Lorian – Announced itself as a superstar this night, and continued to make big finals and compete with the best. Travelled everywhere, including Perth for the Galaxy and finished his career in June 2011 earning $375,000 for connections.
• 2nd Satanic Cash – Probably still remains the best stayer to come out of S.A since Bothing. Finished with a 50% win record however many would have liked to have seen it pinch a Group race interstate after many cracking runs just behind them.
• 3rd Sitka – Returned to Victoria almost immediately after this race and continued to be a good money spinner. Raced over every distance and always proved hard to catch. Retired in March 2011.
• 5th Joanne Monelli – Had only 8 more runs, all on home soil before being retired shortly after. Won 30 from 87 in a successful racing journey.
• 6th Mickie Keato – The Victorian representative fell out of form after this event, winning only one more race at Bendigo. Ended up retiring due to injury in March 2011.
• 7th Reign Over Me – The National Distance final would turn out to be the dogs last run. It had come a long way from its humble beginnings at Richmond and Bulli.
• 8th Sophina Bale – Started 90/1 on this evening in what would clearly be the highlight of its career. Barely beat a runner home in its remaining five runs and would be retired come years' end.