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Hara’s Clyde gifts Tony Brett maiden Capalaba Cup

By Isaac Murphy

There isn’t much Tony Brett hasn’t achieved in Queensland greyhound racing but until today he’d never lifted the Capalaba Cup.

He can now tick that off his list courtesy of Hara’s Clyde, who gunned down track specialist Never Walk Alone to take the race and the $17,500 first place prize money - kennel mate Hammer Down running third.

Brett doesn’t venture to Capalaba too often, but saw an opportunity for his two speed machines to be in the mix when he brought both here for the first time three weeks ago, and in true Tony Brett fashion, they saved their best for the final.

“I thought Hara’s Clyde would improve sharply off his first run here and he ran well again last week to get into the final, but he certainly saved his best for the big day,” Brett said.

“There wasn’t much between a lot of dogs in that field, it was going to come down to who performed on the day and it was him.

“He came out well and for the first time didn’t get a check and was able to hit full steam without worrying about other dogs around him - 19.69 was comfortably his quickest run.”

Things looked dour mid-race for Brett when Capalaba star Never Walk Alone looked to have the race in his keeping, but there was no denying the two-year-old.

“Even though he got out well so did Never Walk Alone who had the wood on him last week and to be honest I didn’t think he’d be able to run him down, it was an enormous effort from a young pup,” Brett said.

“It was tough from behind the boxes without a TV, we were relying on Bunny’s (John Brasch) call and when he said Never Walk Alone was out in the lead we were more worried about running into a place, it was a big surprise when he called him first.”

Capalaba

CON SCIACCA Capalaba Cup (L) F 366m

Brett said it didn’t get much better when a plan came to fruition, and he was basking in the glory of a successful campaign.

“We’ve never won a Capalaba Cup, it’s a massive honour to put it on the trophy list in a bumper year,” he said.

“To come down three weeks ago with Hara’s Clyde and Hammer Down with a mission to win the Capalaba Cup - and they come out and run first and third - there’s an enormous amount of satisfaction.

“Both are obviously better known for their work on the circle tracks, so it’s taken a really big effort to come out and mix it with star locals like Never Walk Alone and Made in America because they’re just gun dogs here every weekend.”

There’s no rest for the newly crowned Capalaba Cup champion, booked in to take on Queensland’s best chasers at Albion Park on Thursday.

“It doesn’t get any easier for Hara’s Clyde, we take the next step now and go and take on Oh Mickey and Stinger Noir at Albion Park now in the Young Guns,” Brett said.

“I think he’s ready though and when the big races are on you’ve got to put them in and as we saw today, get in a final and anything can happen.”

The Bob Vernon Memorial Maiden was the other feature on the card for the up-and-coming pups, and it was Selena Zammit’s Opal Prince who turned his form around to best $1.50 favourite Tough As Teak.

“He came out a little bit awkward last week from his inside draw and even though he tried to get to the crown of the track, he really had to work to get there copping a few bumps,” Mick Zammit said.

“We were very pleased with the run and gave him a hope drawn much better in box seven, but Darren Russell’s Tough As Teak ran the time of the meet last week and we knew he had to beat him out to be any chance - and we did and he found a bit of trouble.

“At Capalaba when you get to the front you can often pinch a race, he wasn’t necessarily the fastest dog in the field but got it right when it mattered.”

Zammit said the dog would kick on to Albion Park and hopefully become another staple Thursday night dog for the kennel.

“He’s got a fair bit of ability, we’re hoping he can really kick on from this and step up to the 520 metres at Albion Park,” he said.

“I don’t think he’s going to be a world beater but he’s only young and I definitely think he’ll be able to knock a few races off in town.”

Capalaba

Bob Vernon Memorial F 366m

Before today, Opal Prince was riding a streak of four straight second placings - a run which kept him eligible for the Bob Vernon.

“We definitely thought he would have broken his maiden before this series came around, but fortunately he didn’t and what a great way to start a career,” Mick Zammit said.

“If he’d have been beaten, we probably would have had to sit on our hands until the Eric Thompson in a couple of months, but very happy to get his maiden out of the way.”

A Capalaba regular, Zammit praised the work of the club getting the meet up and running under trying conditions.

“We love racing here, we trial here a fair bit with all of our dogs,” Mick Zammit said.

“There are a lot of good people in John Catton and Erin Cameron and plenty of others doing the hard work up here, very humbling to win a feature.

“Had it not been for COVID-19, the attendance would have been huge today but for the committee to still put a great day of racing on is a testament to them.”

Hollow Words was another notable winner on the card, gapping them in the Cup Consolation Final for Amber Boody in 19.85.

The dog, who represented the state at the National Straight Track Championships last year, beat Hara’s Clyde two weeks ago and missed a finals birth by less than a length in last week’s heats.

His class shone through from box seven, recording win six at the track from thirteen starts and would not have been out of his depth in the final.

Capalaba

CON SCIACCA Capalaba Cup (L) C 366m