By Isaac Murphy
Precious Sal has taken out the rebirth of the Straight of Origin concept for Darren Russell and Queensland in what was a landmark day for the Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club.
The Straight of Origin concept pits four Queensland maroons against four blues in a dash up the straight and just three days after his Group One Gold Cup triumph at Albion Park it was Russell who picked up another piece of silverware.
“I was quietly confident she could run a race today, she had the fastest time of the field and coming off a three month break this her third run back she was ready to run a race,” Russell said.
“She was in good touch her first two back not beaten far when she jumped fairly ordinary, she came out today and that was the difference.”
“The only thing I’m filthy I didn’t get on at the $14, I almost took $9.50 last night which I thought was overs, but the win softens that blow.”
It was a fairy-tale result for the four-and-a-half-year-old bitch who scored her twenty-fifth and possibly last career victory in the feature event.
“With that good get away it gave her the chance to use her 13.5 run home which is huge, Cosmic Bonus held us up a little mid race, but once she cleared him she was home,” Russell said.
“The plan was to bring her back for this race and retire her, but I’ve heard a little whisper in the winds there might be something coming up, so I’ll keep her in the kennels the next couple of weeks and see if something suitable comes up.”
The race was first run in 2014, before financial difficulties put it on the backburner, but with the growth of the club since becoming a TAB meeting, Russell said he was humbled to win the race at the iconic club.
“It’s an honour to win this race and get my name on the trophy, I might have started in New South Wales, but Queensland’s home now and to make all the maroon jerseys happy today is great,” Russell said.
“The TAB has done that much for this club, from the Saturday meetings where you used to get the trainers here and a few odd punters, compared to today with families here kids here it’s getting people interested in the sport.”
Capalaba President John Catton said his entire staff had done a fantastic job getting the event up and running again and was glad to keep the title north of the border.
“I’ve got to thank club manager Bob Patching and Erin Cameron for their work putting on the day, the whole committee have worked tirelessly the last six weeks, it’s a big thankyou to them and TAB who have supported this day,” Catton said.
“Fantastic to have another Queensland retain the trophy after we first ran the race in 2014 and hopefully today’s success turns this into an annual event.”
Catton said Queensland put forward a formidable team of four including, Above Average for Greg Stella, Tiempo Dinero for Peter Wilson and Rear View for John Hutchinson, who were hand picked after a raft of nominations.
“Queensland had a really strong hand going into the race, we didn’t have quite as many nominations from New South Wales dogs, but the ones we did namely Cosmic Bonus for Evelyn Harris were really strong,” Catton said.
“We’re changing the timing slightly next year, so hopefully going forward we can get some more Group calibre dogs from down South trying to get their hands on the trophy.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised next year if we had an increase in prize money, we’ve got a massive crowd here today 350 plus and it’s great for the families to come down here and watch the dogs go down the straight.”
It was also a special day for Queensland’s number one race caller John ‘Bunny’ Brasch, who was presented with life membership for his years of service to the club.
“Bunny has been a constant at this club from as far back as I can remember,” Catton said.
“He’s known for his brilliant calls, but he’s supported this club through thick and thin and is a much loved member but our staff and patrons alike.”