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Dynamic duo again dominate Brisbane Cup Night

5 July 2024

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By Pat Mcleod

Superstar trainers Jason Thompson and Tony Brett again combined to dominate Queensland’s premier race event, Thursday’s Winter Carnival Cup Night at Albion Park.

Victorian-based Thompson won the $1 million Group 1 Brisbane Cup (520m) with Flying Zulu, while Queenslander Brett took out the Group 1 Queensland Cup (710m) with Exploded.

The pair have won a total of 11 Brisbane Cups between them, but significantly since 2019 Thompson has sent his Winter Carnival squad North to Brett’s kennel with that formula reaping incredible rewards annually.

Thompson made a rare trackside appearance on Thursday night, purely to support Brett, who, with his ‘care-taker’ role, had a total of five dogs to box in the Brisbane Cup Final.

“I don’t go to the races often, but I am rapt to be here tonight,” Thompson said.

“It is pretty extraordinary the number of times we have sent dogs to Tony (Brett) and the number of dogs that have won.

“From the first dog we sent to him, Black Opium because of covid (in 2019), we knew that whatever dogs we sent to Tony they would perform as well as they could.”

Thompson said Brett had certainly bought out the best in Flying Zulu, who saluted in a smart 29.66sec, with Brett’s Lakeview Emily second and Good Odds Cobber (Frank Hurst) third.

Jason and Holly Thompson celebrating with Flying Zulu after the Group 1 Brisbane Cup victory at Albion Park

“Flying Zulu hasn't done a lot of racing, but anyone who as seen him race in Melbourne will tell you that the dog on his night he can do anything.

“In the heat of the Melbourne Cup last year he was three or four lengths in front going through the catching pen and cracked a hock.

“So, he was obviously going to win a heat of the Melbourne Cup and who knows if he would have gone on to win it, but he was going to win his heat by a long way in good time.

“Had he won that, people would have had more knowledge of what the dog is capable of.

“I think this is the first final he has made where he has had a good draw (Box 1). Although he got back a bit he was where he wants to be and that is on the fence.

“This was his third week up with Tony and he was at his best.

“I was surprised in the run tonight that he was able to run down the quality of dogs that he did and still run very good time. It was an amazing run.

“But it did not surprise me because the dog has always been capable of winning a Group 1. He always had the ability.

“At the 600 metre boxes tonight he was still a few lengths off the lead and he has won by a length. So that was a huge effort.

“He wanted to win. He made something difficult look quite easy.

“He has that Group 1 next to his name now and this was the right race.”



Albion Park | Queensland Greyhound Racing Club | 8:53 PM

Brisbane Cup F

Brett may already have five Brisbane Cups on his mantlepiece, but Thursday night’s program now holds special significance for the Grandchester (west of Ipswich) trainer.

He took a complete break from the sport from late last year to travel with wife Fleur and regenerate.

Brett stepped back into play for this Carnival and, even considering his stellar career to date, the results have been incredible, with Thursday night a headline example:

  • First in the Group 1 Queensland Cup – Exploded;
  • Second in the Group 1 Brisbane Cup – Lakeview Emily;
  • Third in the main Cup consolation – Zipping Optimise.


Exploded for trainer Tony Brett wins the 2024 Group 1 Queensland Cup.

Brett said he was ‘just so proud’ of Exploded for his gutsy performance to charge through and win ahead of Tyson Barton’s Fahey’s Magic and Michelle Sultana’s One Hot Bandit.

“It is one thing to get onto the bunny and run a good time, it is another thing to guts it out and actually win a Group 1 race,” he said.

“I am just rapt with that performance.”

Brett said there was no one magic formula as to why his kennel and his combination with Thompson achieves so much big race success.

“You have to start with a good dog. They have to have the ability to do what this dog (Exploded) did tonight,” he said.

“I just try to help them bring out their best.

“It is not one thing that I can put my finger on as to why this dog has gone so well tonight. It could be up to 50 different things that we do.

“It could be the walks around the paddock that he just loves. He loves that open space. I don't know what it is, but fortunately we are able to do it.

“It works and the dogs are happy and I think that is a big part of it.”



Albion Park | Queensland Greyhound Racing Club | 8:07 PM

Queensland Cup F

After taking a beating from the ‘interstate invaders’ for the majority of the Winter Carnival Brett and fellow South East Queensland trainer Sandra Hunt, clawed back some ground for the locals on Thursday night.

Hunt’s Kahlo Hayze proved she is a big-race performer, winning the $75,000-to-the-winner Elite Machine Consolation Final (520m) over Overflow Beau (Craig Chappelow) and Zipping Optimise (Tony Brett) in a very quick 29.67.

The always-measured Hunt was delighted with the win.

“That was a great run, but she had to do it to win tonight,” she said before adding with a laugh: “I told her a thousand times this week that she had to jump well tonight and she listened, which was a first.

“When she started racing she showed that she was smart in a field, but at that stage she wasn’t up against this quality of dogs.

“Now she has gone up to the better class where you just can't put a foot wrong and tonight she did not.

“She is a special dog.”



Albion Park | Queensland Greyhound Racing Club | 8:29 PM

Elite Machine Consolation F

Kahlo Hayze’s win capped a sensational night for Bundaberg owner/breeders of this Orson Allen x  Dolcetto Hayze litter, Nathan and Tracy Trigg.

Litter brother Newton Hayze (Myra Griffiths) won the historic Mick Byrne Memorial Final (520m) for maidens and novices, to start off Thursday night’s features.

Jumping from the eight box he found the lead by the first turn and held that position, winning by six lengths from Tim Britton’s Henry Locksmith and Royal Voltage (John Watts).

“We are friends of the owners and they entrusted the dog with us because he does not like a big kennel,” said Matt Hamilton, who trains in conjunction with his wife Myra.

“They also know how much we love and look after our dogs. This one sleeps in Myra’s bed.”

Myra said she was confident of a good result as soon as Newton Hayze found the fence early.

“He is desperate for the inside and so we were not overly confident from Box 8, but this feels amazing, more than we could have hoped for.”



Albion Park | Queensland Greyhound Racing Club | 7:04 PM

Mick Byrne Memorial F

Michelle Sultana’s powerhouse sprinter Mackenna flexed her muscles with a commanding five-and-a-half-length win over Cluster (Selena Zammit) and Morton (Jason Sharp) in 29.66secs to win the Jamie Marsh Consolation (520m).

That was Mackenna’s quickest time and the first time below 30secs in her four starts at Albion Park during this campaign.

The highlight of her Brisbane stay was victory in the Origin Greyhound Series Match Race over track record-holder Jay Is Jay.



Albion Park | Queensland Greyhound Racing Club | 7:46 PM

Jamie Marsh Consolation F

Successful former Townsville couple, Brad and Jackie Belford, have announced their shift to south-east Queensland with victory in the Carnival Masters Final (520m) with Pretty Cindy.

The pair, who have been a training powerhouse in the north of the state for many years, closed that door on Sunday to start their next adventure at Churchable.

“The property at Churchable isn’t quite ready so we are based at Tom Touvelis’ kennels at Park Ridge for a while,” said Jackie.

“So, this is our first starter, and first win, since leaving Townsville.

“We are absolutely delighted with this win. It is a great way to start.”

Pretty Cindy jumped straight to the lead from Box 3 and then held that position, beating Jimary Indiana (Malcolm Ross) and Daysea’s Rowdy (Claude Dacey) to the line in 30.15secs.



Albion Park | Queensland Greyhound Racing Club | 7:22 PM

Carnival Masters F