By Isaac Murphy
One hundred and twenty starts for fifty-eight wins and over $370,000 in prize money make a remarkable career for Cosmic Bonus. On the eve of his fifth birthday the Evelyn Harris prepared chaser has a score to settle as he looks to go one better and win the 2019 Ipswich Gold Cup.
Cosmic Bonus went around a hot favourite in last year's Cup, running a remarkable second after being severely hindered on several occasions, but Harris said age is no barrier with his recent good form a sign he was ready to go again starting with this Thursday’s heats.
“We were thinking about retiring him if he was able to defend his Masters Meteor title on Million Dollar Chase night. He ran a brilliant heat, quickest of the finalists and just never got a chance in the final,” Harris said.
“He’s gone on to win at Casino last Friday, nearly breaking his own track record again. Which he’s already bettered twice this year, so he’s showing no signs of slowing down.”
“I’ve been told the record career wins for an Australian greyhound is sixty-four and he’s sitting at fifty-eight right now. We’d love to get there if he keeps running time.”
Cosmic Bonus’ ability takes him a long way, but it also takes a special training effort to keep the dog spritely between races, a routine Harris has well and truly down pat.
“We’re very deliberate with what we do with him to keep him fresh for big races like the Ipswich Cup,” she said.
“We know he has the strength, so we keep him fresh with runs over the short course in between feature races, but the real secret is taking him down to the Clarence River and swimming him with the horses. He loves it. It seems to keep his mind and body young.”
The dog’s Ipswich Cup campaign starts this Thursday night when he jumps from box five in heat two, something that Harris said won’t phase the veteran who meets some young talent in his heat.
“He’s so experienced. The fact he hasn’t raced too much on the track or that he’s drawn the five don’t really phase him. He’ll just run his own race,” Harris said.
“I have looked at a few of the other greyhounds in his heat and see the red (Velocity Bettina) and the two (Zipping Cosmo) are locals with good records at the track, but haven’t seen fields as strong as we have. I think we’re a real chance.”
Harris put Cosmic Bonus at the top of her chances to win the Cup, but also brings three other well credentialed runners starting with Bad Neighbour in heat three.
“Bad Neighbour was luckless in the Lismore Cup Final and before that ran really well behind Feral Franky in the Regional Final on Million Dollar Chase night,” Harris said.
“She’s got a happy history at Ipswich, she won the Young Guns up there a couple of years ago and I’d put her right up there to qualify for the final with Cosmic Bonus if she’s got her head together. She can really run.”
“She likes the inside so box three isn’t a bad draw for her and with not a huge amount of early speed in her heat she can hopefully go forward.”
Littermates Lenray Bonus and Fran’s Bonus jump in heats four and five respectively. The former third up off an injury, the latter carrying strong form lines into her heat.
“Lenray Bonus has come up with a nice box as (2), he’s come back from a broken foot really well. We’ve been slipping him and he’s had a couple of race starts, The 520 metres might test him, but he has plenty of upside,” Harris said.
“Fran’s Bonus is coming off a Million Dollar Chase semi-final and a third in the Lismore Cup. She’ll have her work cut out for her from the five in her heat. She likes to drift back and run on, I’m hoping she doesn’t spot a dog like Fernando Blaster too big a start.”
“Both those Dyna Double One/Magic Display dogs (Lenray Bonus, Fran’s Bonus) are very strong, we’ll definitely be looking to put them over the 600 in time.”
Harris trains out of her Whiteman’s Creek property on the outskirts of Grafton and is constantly on the road with her strong kennel and with some new pups on the way and a stud career to worry about said she couldn’t thank her family enough.
“We’ve just broken in nine Fernando Bale’s out of Magic Display and they’re going really well and we’re hoping a few of them will be ready for the $20,000 Maiden at Lismore in December so we’re busy as always,” she said.
“There are so many people asking when we’re going to put him (Cosmic Bonus) to stud, it’s fantastic to have the interest but I have to keep telling him he’s racing too well, but it’s nice to know his line will continue.”
“I couldn’t do it with my husband Leonard and youngest son Michael who do a huge amount of work at home, they’re the reason for our continued success.”