Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Apsley greyhound trainer Tom Cryer shed a few tears of joy after Cryer’s Fred had led all the way to win the third and final heat of the Anniversary Cup (512 metres) at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
And race track regulars who have been following the brindle dog’s fortunes since 2014 also would have been delighted to see him back in the winner’s circle after nine months without success – even though he was one of the outsiders of the field.
The win had been something of a training triumph for Cryer and his wife Margaret with Cryer’s Fred, for all intents and purposes having been retired, resuming from box one after a two-month break.
“We’d been advised to retire him but it wasn’t long before he started tearing up and down his yard so we decided to give him one more try on the track,” he said.
The 2015 Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year, Cryer’s Fred is a February 2013 whelping by Spring Gun out of Cryer’s Midget, herself a former Greyhound of the Year.
The best dog Cryer has trained in a 50-year involvement in the sport has now been around 107 times for 34 wins, 30 of those being at Tara Raceway which makes him the most successful greyhound to have ever raced at the Lake Terrace East venue.
Cryer won the Anniversary Cup in 2010 with Cryer’s Tiger who was then runner-up to Glenville Maggie the following year while Cryer’s Fred was runner-up to Mojito Mayhem last year.
And now, Tom Cryer and Cryer’s Fred’s remarkable journey – a journey that actually started on Anniversary Cup day in July 2014 when he won on debut over 400 metres – will continue on Sunday when the spritely octogenarian places the sentimental favourite in box four for what will be his third consecutive Anniversary Cup final.
Another remarkable story is that of rising five-year-old Old Jock – a 117-start veteran who has won 21 races, was a 2016 Mount Gambier Cup finalist and Greyhound of the Year.
Raced by Jock Middleton’s Jocks Lot Syndicate and trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley, Old Jock qualified for the Anniversary Cup final after chasing Colden Girl throughout and finishing a three-quarter length second.
By Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze, Old Jock, who looks well drawn in box two on Sunday, is another one who ostensibly had been retired to Bluey Forsyth’s Hamilton property in May but found himself back on the track some six weeks later after Forsyth reported that the big black dog was anything but happy in retirement.
Stanley, Tara Raceway’s leading trainer, has never won an Anniversary Cup but has three runners on Sunday after Fiorelli Rose and Stylish Pursuit also ran second in their heats.
Colden Girl, trained at Heathmere by Bea Bryant, was back at Tara Raceway for the first time since March after a stint of racing in Victoria where she won two races at Sandown Park.
Raced by Bryant in partnership with husband Roger and Colleen and Dennis Rose, Colden Girl, who looks hard to beat after drawing box one in the final, will be lining up in her second cup final this year after having previously qualified for the Mount Gambier Cup with a smart 29.77 seconds run.
Horsham trainer Jeff Guy, who experienced a bizarre situation last month at Tara Raceway when Paraphernalia and Brazen Bomber both ran track records which stood for only a week, was successful in the second heat with the pair’s litter sister Brazen Blue.
By Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco, Brazen Blue carved out the quickest of the three heats – 30.03 seconds – when leading all the way to defeat Fiorelli Rose and Shore’s Last with Guy believing the blue bitch would be even better for the run and not unhappy at drawing box eight in the final.
Still looking a bit scratchy after spending four days in hospital following a recent car accident, Guy was accompanied by Adelaide-based Terry Guy who had stepped in to help out during his brother’s hospitalisation.
The youngest and least experienced finalist is Shore’s Last who at only his eleventh start qualified with a third placing behind Cryer’s Fred and Fiorelli Rose but who doesn’t look all that well drawn out in box seven.
The 25-month-old son of Kinloch Brae x On Shore is trained at Glenroy by Richard Clayfield who will be chasing his third Anniversary Cup winner – Seldom Sure successful in 1994 at Glenburnie and Glenville Maggie at Tara Raceway in 2011.
THE GATEWAY TO ANOTHER REID MEMORIAL
Gateway To Eden, a 35 kilogram blue son of My Bro Fabio x Key To Eden, looks well placed to give Nicole Stanley her third John Reid Memorial (512 metres) success.
Having his first Tara Raceway start in heat one last Sunday after six runs in Victoria, Gateway To Eden was slowly away from box eight but once finding the rails quickly made up ground before finishing powerfully to defeat the Richard Clayfield trained pair of Glenville Phil and Lone Star.
Gateway To Eden, who looks to be marginally better drawn in box four on Sunday, should be better for last week’s run as he endeavours to emulate Stanley’s previous winners of 2014 and 2016 in Eylandt Princess and Hay Miss.
Clayfield also holds a strong hand with four finalists – Lonesome Cry x Up And Away brothers Lone Star and Solitary Lad drawn on the inside and Dyna Tron x Time And Tide littermates Glenville Phil and Glenville Silver in boxes five and three respectively.
Solitary Lad, in particular, looked impressive at only his second race start when winning the second memorial heat in 30.42 seconds, virtually the same time as Gateway To Eden.