Greyhounds from Victoria and Western Australian took out the National Championship grand finals in Hobart last Saturday night.
22 months old Fabregas led virtually all the way in the group 1 National Sprint final over 461 metres. On a cold, rainy night, the Melbourne trained youngster scored by three lengths over Queensland’s Glen Gallon for Tony Brett. New South Wales trained Exclusive One was a further three quarters of a length away third, followed by Western Australia’s Uno Reltub.
Fifth home was Aston Thomas representing South Australia, ahead of Tasmania’s Rob Pines, Oaks Road from New South Wales and New Recruit for Tasmania.
Glen Gallon ran home strongly and was taking ground off the leader. But Brett offered no excuses, declaring that the winner was just too brilliant on the night.
Fabregas clocked a creditable 25.85 seconds, or about one length outside the track record. The dog is trained by 23 years old David Hirst for high profile Victorian owner and breeder Paul Westerveld. The son of Bombastic Shiraz has won 12 of his 13 starts and only commenced racing in May of this year. Fabregas is named after Spain and Club Barcelona soccer player Cesc Fabregas. The star midfielder played for English side Arsenal from 2003 to 2011, breaking many club records before returning to Barcelona last year.
Fabregas broke a seven years drought for Victoria by winning Saturday’s National Sprint final. The previous winner from that state was Pure Octane in 2005. The final that year was held at Sydney’s Wentworth Park.
The brilliant Miata broke an even longer drought for Western Australia by winning the National Distance Championship final over 709 metres. The previous winner from the west had been Paradise Street on home soil at Cannington back in 1998.
Queenslander Tarlie’s Angel from box one led the field in the very short dash to the first turn where Miata speared across to the front from box six. Graeme Bate’s Irma Bale quickly got to second and try as she may, every time she looked like moving close to Miata, Paul Stuart’s star found extra and kicked on strongly to beat Irma Bale by three quarters of a length.
‘’She just wasn’t quite right when we were in Brisbane in June. She didn’t really want to go to the races on Gold Cup night at Albion Park. She needed a rest, we gave her that and she blossomed,’’ Stuart said of Miata.
Miata ran track record time of 41.24 seconds in her win on Saturday. It was only the ninth time that a race had been run over 709 metres at Hobart and clearly she’s the best stayer to race over that distance there. But to break the record on a heavy track in such bleak conditions that prevailed is an amazing effort.
Tasmanian trained litter brother and sister Jethro and Bell Haven picked up third and fourth placings with excellent efforts. Noted backmarker He Knows Uno, representing New South Wales, finished fifth. South Australia’s Abdon Bale ran sixth, ahead of Tarlie’s Angel and Victoria’s Karanji.
Miata (pictured winning at Albion Park) took her earnings to $407,193 with Saturday’s $75,000 first prize. The daughter of Bombastic Shiraz and Winsome Bluebird is now number 16 on Australia’s list of highest prizemoney earners. Nobody can predict when injuries may occur but being one month short of her third birthday, Miata has the time and capacity to rocket up that prizemoney list.
Rather appropriately, Miata is a racing car in America, commonly refereed to as ‘’Spec Miata.’’
Story by Paul Dolan, photo by Corey Pearce