By Isaac Murphy
If you head down to the Clarence River, North of Gosford early one morning you’ll be greeted with the sight of racehorses recovering in the calm waters, but they are not alone, you’ll see a greyhound too, his name’s Cosmic Bonus and at nearly four years of age he’ll be lining up as favourite in Thursday night’s Group Three Ipswich Gold Cup Final.
Bred, reared and raced by Evelyn Harris and her husband Leonard at their Whiteman Creek property, Cosmic Bonus is the star of the kennel.
The chaser boasts a career record of 39 wins from 80 and over $287,000 prize money and will look to add to that after posting the fastest qualifying time in last week’s heats.
“If I had a kennel full of dogs that are calm and collected as him at home it would be a pleasure,” Harris said.
“We bred his mother Dark and Stormy and we bred him, which gives you a lot of joy.
“Our breed goes back a fair way now and we don’t sell any of our pups, we breed them, rare them, race them and then they retire here, so you form quite the attachment.”
Harris said Cosmic Bonus had been a top grader for several years now, but at four years old was producing some of the best results of his career.
“He won the Masters Meteor Non-Graded Final a month ago at Wentworth Park, which was a huge result for us as owner-trainers, it was the most prize money he’s ever won ($100,000),” Harris said.
“We were thinking about putting him in the Million Dollar Chase, but we decided there were a few too many obstacles and he tends to go well fresher.
“So we decided to put him in the Master’s which was only a heat and a final and he ran a treat.”
Harris said she was continually impressed by her sprinter’s ability to compete with the younger dogs, but said Cosmic Bonus’ Masters status had helped him in the lead up to the Cup heats.
“He’s been racing at the top grade for a long time now and to have him still up there competing with the younger dogs at four years of age is really something,” she said.
“Leading into to the Ipswich Cup, we tuned him up with a few Masters runs around Casino to keep him fit.”
Evidently the dog’s preparation was perfect as he scorched out of box seven to win going away in a flying 30.28 in his heat.
“He came out like a bomb and we hadn’t trialled him at Ipswich either,” Harris said.
“A few of the locals said without a trial on the track he’d run right off at the first turn, but he didn’t do that at all last week.”
“He always finishes off quite well, so once I saw him go to the lead I was confident, although I couldn’t see the TV from behind the boxes, so I had no idea he’d won by six lengths.”
Harris said her chaser had formed a great race sense over his career and would hopefully show off all of his attributes in Thursday’s final.
“His does his best racing when he gets on the bunny like most greyhounds do, but he’s versatile in that he can still win from behind because he generally doesn’t get too far back,” Harris said.
“Usually when he turns for home no matter what track he’s on he hits the accelerator and you’re not going to chase him down.”
“He’s got to begin and most of the time he’s pretty reliable, if he’s there at the first turn and doesn’t get into any major trouble he’ll be hard to beat.”
Harris is looking to cash in on Cosmic Bonus’ career best form, with a big summer planned.
“He’s made some Group One finals at Albion Park before, so we’ll be taking him there next for the Brisbane Cup,” she said.
“If everything goes to schedule we’ll have another go at the Group Two Woy Woy Poultry Cup Gosford Cup, which he won last year.