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Brett hits Cup number six complemented by Crawford’s classy double

By Isaac Murphy

Race-8-Black-Opium-DSC-8795-JPG.JPGIf you want to win the Group 1 Brisbane Cup send your greyhounds to Tony Brett.

The champion trainer grabbed Queensland’s premier sprint race for the sixth time with a brilliant performance from Victorian Black Opium, but the Crawford kennel just about stole the show with Classy Ethics winning the Group 1 Queensland Cup for the stayers and Euoligia claiming the Mick Byrne Memorial in a huge night of racing.

Brett described Black Opium’s performance as flawless, and the new Brisbane Cup champion didn’t give her rivals a chance.

“You couldn’t put a foot wrong in that race last night and she didn’t, to run 5.47 early and the overall time (29.44) she was as close to impossible of being run down,” he said.

“To beat her you had to run a track record, 5.47, 11.45, 12.52 you just don’t see those numbers and to put her name up there right behind Sennachie is a credit to the champion she is.”

Black Opium landed in Brisbane three weeks to the day of the race and her body of work couldn’t have been more impressive.

“She’s done everything right since she arrived equalling the 395-metre record (22.25) in her trial, highballing in her heat and doing it again in the final,” Brett said.

“I think the experience of her being here last year was a massive advantage to be able to slot back in at our place and not skip a beat.

“Last year she had a few little vices about her but this time around from day one she walked around like she owned the place and happy dogs generally race well and that’s how it worked out.”

For a long time, Black Opium was recognised as the best bitch not to win a Group 1 but after breaking through in Melbourne in May the floodgates have opened.

“It’s great to see her finally get the rewards for Jason and Seona (Thompson), she made a Melbourne Cup at her seventh start and set the bar incredibly high and a lot of pressure goes on them to come out and win Group 1 races,” Brett said.

“It’s taken a while with her but a combination of experience, time and confidence in herself has brought her the Sapphire Crown in Melbourne and The Brisbane Cup in a couple of months.”

“Last year she would have given them a look in, maybe run a bit wide on the first turn, but there was none of that last night she’s a champion bitch.”

Albion Park

SKY RACING Brisbane Cup (G1) F 520m

Brett has given Queensland greyhound racing enormous exposure this year and although Black Opium is a Victorian, the trainer thinks the host state has a tonne of talent to lean on.

“It’s nice when you put a plan in place and a month later it pans out, as much as the Queenslanders want a local winner,” Brett said.

“I think she’s earnt temporary status after what she’s done in the cup the last two years.

“Queensland racing is still in great shape going forward, the runs of Special Cyndie and Federal Morgan were enormous, and it wasn’t Oh Mickey’s night but we all know what a special dog he is.”

If you want to win a Brisbane Cup you send your dogs to Tony Brett and that’s just what Jason and Seona Thompson have done, with Brett relishing the opportunity to race at the highest level with a couple of amazing animals.

“We just love being a part of the big races and are lucky enough to have the trust of Jason and Seona to send us their best two chances, but that relationship has been formed over several years,” he said.

“You take dogs like Black Opium and Hooked on Scotch everyday of the week, but it comes with its pressures as well as you don’t want them to come to your kennel and race ordinary, so I’m really pleased it’s worked out for all parties.

“We get as much enjoyment out of it having her for a month as we do with one of our own, I just enjoy good racing and would have been at the track watching the show even if I didn’t have a finalist, it’s good for the sport.”

There could only be one winner last night but Hooked On Scotch’s time in Queensland was still invaluable according to Brett and it might not be the last Brisbane sees of him.

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see Hooked On Scotch up here with his name is lights next year, he’s a funnier dog that didn’t quite get it right his first time at Albion Park and still ran 29.55 in his heat win,” Brett said.

“I think that was only his fifth start back from injury, if he stays sound and gets his confidence back, he’ll compete with any dog.”


Crawford double is only the beginning

The Crawford kennel has come with a massive resurgence in 2020.

Kiss And Spin winning the Flying Amy was a highlight but Classy Ethics and Eulogia took husband and wife team Jeff and Jane Crawford to another level and they’re not done yet.

“It’s been a enjoyable winter carnival for us, all the races that were scheduled we thought we had a dog or dogs that could compete and to knock off two Group races including THE Queensland Cup - I’m still pinching myself,” Jeff Crawford said.

“We hope Eulogia and Kiss And Spin get a start in the Emerging Origin Sprinters next week and Classy Ethics will head to the Breast Cancer Cup at Ipswich.

“We’ve got a couple of KC And All/Reshuffle litter mates that we’re setting for the Eric Thompson in a couple of weeks’ times, the stars have really aligned.”

When Crawford acquired Classy Ethics, he wanted a front running stayer and that’s just what he got, with the bitch overcoming odd-on pop Velocity Bettina early to claim the Group 1 Queensland Cup.

“She did exactly what I thought she could do, compete for the lead early cutting across from the six to go with Velocity Bettina,” Crawford said.

“I think we got about a half-length in front and with a bit of scrimmaging Velocity Bettina checked off heals giving us a fairly substantial break and she went right on with it and ran a personal best (41.77).

“The confidence Classy Ethics has in herself is there for all to see, the bold way she goes about her racing; I’ve always loved front running stayers and to have her perform on the biggest stage was fantastic.”

Albion Park

TAB Queensland Cup (G1) F 710m

Crawford had been looking for the right dog for a while and found Classy Ethics in David Smith’s New South Wales kennel, and the former trainer and owner of the bitch over the moon with the result.

“I spoke to David last night and he said jokingly I suppose you don’t want me to send the courier to pick her up, so she’s got a kennel here for the near future at least,” Crawford said.

“He said he’s got another prospect that he might send up very shortly that we could have a bit of fun with going through the grades.

“We’ve formed a good relationship over a short period of time and to be given quality dogs by another trainer, one of your peers, is the ultimate compliment.

“I know he’s just as thrilled as I am, her brood bitch credentials have gone through the roof.”

Just 20 minutes before Classy Ethics became a Group 1 stayer, another Crawford runner Eulogia had her coming out party, winning the Mick Byrne Memorial in emphatic fashion.

“Eulogia was faultless in all aspects from box rise to finishing the race off; Bow Baby who was on our tail was very heavily backed in the heat and the ability was there, she put us to the test but we passed with flying colours,” Crawford said.

“She’s just a real little trooper my bitch and I’m really excited about where we could head with her because she just gets better each time out, she’s run 29.82 and still has so much improvement.

“The first litter we had out of Reshuffle were late to mature, so to have Kiss And Spin win The Flying Amy and Eulogia The Mick Byrne tells me they’re well ahead of schedule and hopefully should be engaged in the Emerging Origin Sprint next week.”