By Alex Nolan
Good luck outweighs good management when it comes to winning the world’s richest maiden series for greyhounds, according to two-time Vince Curry champion trainer Christina Harman.
Harman (nee Apap) became a two-time Vince Curry winner when Rose Honey stayed out of trouble from Box 8 to win the 2018 edition, complementing the trainer’s 2012 win with Brook Lee.
Harman will look to defend her title when she boxes littermates Vellatrix and Georgia Cette (Velocette x Georgina) in heats five and six respectively at Ipswich on Saturday.
“They’re not the best ones we’ve had in the kennel, but over the years the Vince Curry has proven that it’s not always the best dog that wins,” Harman said.
“You need the early speed so you can stay out of trouble. There are a lot of young dogs and you don’t know which way they’ll go.”
Harman’s father Tony Apap will box a third littermate Firmino in Heat 4, as well as Shorino (Heat 2) and Simply Smooth (Heat 9).
Vellatrix and Georgia Cette, out of the Apaps’ three-time Albion Park winner Georgina, have both trialed at Ipswich in preparation for the series.
However, Harman wasn’t brimming with confidence about their chances.
“In saying that, Rose Honey wasn’t necessarily our best chance going into the (2018) series, Tail Wag was and he got knocked out in the first round,” Harman said.
“In fact, Rose Honey was probably our least-favoured chance going into the heats but she just kept improving.”
Harman said the Vince Curry was one of the races she looked forward to most each year.
In a massive boost for Queensland greyhound racing the 2019 series has attracted 78 greyhounds for Saturday’s first round of heats, with 56 set to make their racing debut.
The top three finishers in each heat, plus the two-fastest fourth place-getters will progress to four semi-finals to be held next weekend.
The first two home in each of the semis will then line-up in the $60,000 final on Saturday 23 February 2019.
“It’s a huge thrill to win it because you spend so much time getting them ready for the race and it’s exciting to see what the young dogs can do,” Harman said.
The series, named after legendary radio broadcaster Vince Curry, has been run at the Ipswich track since 1985.
Recent graduates include the Chris Riordon-trained Fire To Rain (2017), Heidi Benz (2015) and Split Image/Paua To Avoid, who couldn’t be separated in the 2016 edition of the race.