By Luke Gatehouse - Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club CEO
There is nothing like rivalry to turn a very good race into a great race.
And that is what I am hoping for when many of the nation’s best line up for the Group One Brisbane Cup final at Albion Park on December 6.
As I put fingers to keyboard we have no idea who has won through to the finale, and which of the southern raiders will be here.
But as rivalry and pure magic goes, I struggle to go past the 2015 event as a classic example.
I vividly recall coming onto the course that night. There was an unmistakable buzz around Albion Park. Now, on big race nights there will always be a special atmosphere, but there was something special back in ’15.
The magnificent Andrea Dailly-trained Dyna Double One was the raging favourite. The powerful sprinter was coming north for more glory after taking out the Melbourne Cup the previous month.
However what made ‘magic’ that night was of course the appearance of our own star, Bill Elson’s Cyndie’s Magic. On the betting board Cyndie may have been the underdog, but that was not the case with the legion of ‘local’ fans who were there that night to cheer her on.
Cyndie’s Magic and Dyna Double One had met in the Cup heats, with the Victorian taking the honours. There was plenty of money on an upset that night.
In the hours that turned to minutes leading into the showdown, most of the chatter on-course centred around these two.
It had all the elements of a rugby league State of Origin encounter with the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of each of these star chasers being put under the microscope.
When the lids pinged Dyna Double One sat third behind early leaders Old Spice and Fantastic Spiral. But on the home turn, he simply went wide and scooted past them to get to the line a decisive winner.
As this was happening Cyndie’s Magic began what she was to become famous for, a withering late burst. However this time it could only get her to second place.
Still, a great race and worthy of the lead-up.
Let’s hope the 2018 version has the same atmosphere.
The Brisbane Cup is of course the main event for December, but the Brisbane club will also be hosting a couple of very tasty choices as an aside.
On December 13 (heats) and 20 (final), we have the $12,000 Xmas Stocking (520m, Fifth Grade) and the Middle Distance Challenge ($12,000, 600m).
The Middle Distance Challenge is a lead into January’s 600m features, the $20,000 Clem Jones Cup (January 10) and the $25,000 Group 3 Qld Cup on January 24.
Finally, the Xmas Stocking final on December 20, will not only be a great night of racing, but a chance for the Brisbane Club to celebrate the festive season with all of our supporters and friends.
From me, a special thank you to all the staff at the Brisbane Greyhound Club, who make this, in my opinion, the best club in the country.
And to all involved in this great sport – Merry Christmas and a very happy and safe 2019.