Townsville to Darwin. Ipswich to Cairns. Both are long trips in anyone’s language. They were the journeys taken by two greyhound trainers to taste Cup success over the past weekend.
Townsville’s Brad Belford went to Darwin to handle his smart sprinter Here’s To You in the $25,000 to the winner group 3 Darwin Cup over 537 metres on Friday night.
Here’s To You flew out of box seven for an all the way win over fellow Queenslander Fourteen Quid, prepared by Pat Dennis in Brisbane. Sydney dog Ate To Much finished third ahead of last year’s Ipswich Cup winner Cold Fusion.
For Belford, the current leader in the Townsville trainers’ premiership for 2012, it was his first trip to Darwin.
‘’I sent the dog over to a friend for the heat and he missed the start and finished third. But he qualified for the final,’’ Belford said.
‘’He had won his previous six starts, with me handling him, and never being headed. So I figured if I handled him in the Darwin Cup final, he should jump fast and that’s what happened.’’
The group 3 $25,000 to the winner Townsville Cup, to be run on Tuesdays August 21 and 28, is the next mission for Here’s to You. Belford and his dog will, in all likelihood, meet the team of touring Ipswich trainer Tom Noble who won the Cairns Cup on Saturday night.
Noble, a regular visitor to the north Queensland Cup carnivals, landed the quinella in the $6,000 to the winner Dinky Di Web Designs Cairns Cup when $2.20 favourite Magic Control beat Five to Five in 32.09. Third home was Five on Black for Ingham based trainer Graeme Gibson.
Tom Noble won the Cairns Cup Consolation with Jack Swagger whose time of 32.18 wasn’t far outside Magic Control’s Cup winning time.
The National Championships of greyhound racing continued over the weekend.
At the Meadows in Melbourne, Irma Bale for Graeme Bate and Lektra Jay for Andrea Dailly won the two heats of the National Distance Championship.
In Perth, top flight stayer Miata won her heat of the distance series by 17 lengths in race record time.
Tonight at Bulli, south of Sydney, there will be heats of the National Sprint and Distance Championships.
Adopted Queenslander, He Knows Uno (pictured), lines up from box two in a heat of the distance series over 709 metres. The unbeaten Barcia Bale, winner of ten career starts from as many outings, lines up in a heat of the National Sprint Championship. Even though trained in Victoria by Graeme Bate, Barcia Bale has to contest the New South Wales heats because of residency conditions which state a greyhound must have been based in a particular state for at least 90 days before being eligible to run in that state’s heats.
GRNSW opted to run the state’s heats of the Nationals at Bulli rather than the city venue of Wentworth Park because the grand finals are being run at Hobart on August 25.
Hobart boasts a very spacious, ‘’one turn’’ track, the biggest in Australia in fact, and Bulli is of similar dimensions.
Story by Paul Dolan, photo by Corey Pearce.