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Zammit’s ‘middle child’ steps into the limelight

17 May 2024

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Cluster and the Zammit kennel post-race.

By Pat McLeod

Classic ‘middle child’, Cluster, ensured the 2024 Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival had a dramatic opening by organizing his own coming out parade at Albion Park on Thursday night.

Wedged between track-star litter mates Jay Is Jay and All Natural, Cluster discarded his ‘unknown’ tag with an inspired win in the QGOLD Winter Sprint Final over 520 metres.

“That was amazing,” trainer Selena Zammit said. 

All three dogs are from the incredible Sennachie and Kealoah litter. 

“He is the underrated brother. He isn't as fast as his two brothers, but he has got as much heart as his brothers and just tries his guts out every time," Zammit said. 

“I just love him to bits.”

Cluster refused to bow to Travis Elson’s tenacious Group performer Bear’s Bullet for the entire journey, finding the line a length in front of her, with another Winter Carnival aspirant, Seaton Key (trained by Michael Lalicz) third.

The time, 30.22 seconds, reflected the wet conditions.

Cluster’s win, taking his record to a far-from-insignificant 17 wins and 21 placings from 50 starts and $127,190 in prize money, was the only QGOLD Final on the night with heats of both the Emerging Sprinters and Winter Chase also held.



Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 9:18 PM

QGOLD Winter Sprint F

Further QGOLD heats will be held on Friday and Sunday, leading into a further seven Finals next Thursday night.

The QGOLD features have now become the popular curtain opener for both the Summer and Winter Carnivals.

Jay Is Jay won the QGOLD Winter Sprint last year, a point not lost on Selena Zammit.

“It was special to win this race and it such an achievement for us to win it with Jay Is Jay last year and then this year with his brother,” she said.

“It is freakish what is happening with these three dogs. How do you explain it? How do you put it into words?

“It is a litter that just keeps producing (the eight members of the litter have a combined prize money tally of $2,268,880). Everything they do is magic. It is a dream litter.”

Both Jay and Jay and All Natural missed the carnival opener as they recover from minor injuries.

Selena Zammit said both kennel powerhouses would be back for the carnival’s main events.



Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:59 PM

QGOLD Emerging Sprinters H

The Selena and husband Mick Zammit kennel also struck late in the program with a very impressive nine-length win by youngster Hoshino in a best of the night time of 29.93 seconds in a fifth grade 520 metre event.  

The three heats of the QGOLD Emerging Sprinters over 520 metres on Thursday night were shaping as a showcase for Travis Elson’s Fernando Bale and Nan's Magic litter, before another litter, under the care of Sandra Hunt, stole the spotlight.

Initially Elson’s promising progeny looked likely when Aidan’s Queen and Speed Zone landed first and third in the opening heat with Jedda Cutlack’s Duffman, second.

All seemed to be going to script when Elson’s Travis’s Scrub and Danger Zone appeared set to quinella the second heat.

However, in the shadows of the post the well-performed Kahlo Hayze launched a withering burst to grab the win by three-quarters of a length with Travis’s Scrub second and Warren Nicholls’ Spiderbait third.

Danger Zone was fourth and the winning time, 30.50 seconds. 

However, Hunt’s representatives from the Orson Allen and Dolcetto Hayze litter weren’t done.

Mustang Hayze claimed the final Emerging Sprinters heat, one-and-a-quarter-lengths ahead of recent Brisbane Young Guns winner, Travis Elson’s Super Scrub, who started a $2 favourite.

Selena Zammit’s Rocklea Earle was third, with the winning time 30.36 seconds. 

Kahlo Hayze from Sandra Hunt's team.

Back in Bundaberg the ‘Hayze’ litter’s owner Nathan Trigg watched the racing while surrounded by another just-whelped litter and was appropriately rapt, especially with the finish of Kahlo Hayze.

“That finish was pretty awesome. It was really heart-in-the-mouth stuff,” Trigg said.

“I was well and truly surprised with the amount of ground the dog made up in those last 50 metres.

“She can run home well, but when she stumbled at the first corner I thought, ‘Well she is gone here’.

“As far as the Final goes, the trouble with Kahlo is that there are a lot of very quick-early dogs. They really do get out and give themselves every chance and if Kahlo finds trouble it will be hard for her. But, she does always try her best.”

Trainer Hunt was happy with the night’s result.

“We have two in the Final so you can only be happy with that,” Hunt said.

Meanwhile, a captivating fairytale is forming around exciting middle distance racer Cyndie’s Cyndie.

The Cyndie Elson-owned and trained excitement machine continued her path towards a unique carnival highlight with victory in the opening heat of the QGOLD Winter Chase over 600 metres at Albion Park on Thursday night.



Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:55 PM

QGOLD Winter Chase H

Cyndie’s Cyndie will now contest next week’s Final and then move to the heats of the newly minted $112,500 Group 2 Cyndie’s Magic over 600 metres, a race named after her mother.

“I have no doubt this bitch will a big threat in this Winter Carnival, but the whole family, especially mum, is looking forward to the race that is named after the mother, Cyndie’s Magic,” Cyndie Elson’s son Travis said. 

“That is what we are aiming for. Mum is so excited about the whole carnival, especially about this bitch. Her mother (Cyndie’s Magic) is on the couch at home and that dog was mum’s ‘baby’.

“Mum is honoured that a race has been named after Cyndie's Magic. And, she said, ‘Well, let's try to win it with her daughter’. And, what a story it would be if she could win it.”

Cyndie’s Cyndie saluted on Thursday night ahead of Jewel Bee (Ray Burman) with Amendola (Tom Tzouvelis) third. The winning time was 35.26 seconds. 

The second of the two heats in the QGOLD Winter Chase was won by Tony Apap’s Plum Tuckered, in a quicker time, 35.12 seconds. 

“I was very pleased with her start and first section considering the wet track,” Apap said.

Trainer Travis Elson.

“Her box manners have been good in the last couple of starts. Her start and that performance gives you confidence. She is just a great little bitch, a little bit timid, but an absolute gem to train.

“The way she is coming out at the moment it wouldn't matter what box she draws next week.”

As Queensland’s form trainers sought early Winter Carnival success in the QGOLD events, another big local name, Tony Brett, is slowly emerging from hibernation.

As the carnival drum roll grows louder, Brett made an ominous appearance late in Thursday night’s program at ‘The Creek’.

He narrowly missed ‘the chocolates’ when August Bob was run down by Tarawi Moo (Denise Robinson). 

In a later race, the impressive Daintree Idol put Brett back into his familiar winner’s circle, with a win in her first appearance at Albion Park.



Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 10:02 PM