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Spotted Elk joins sister Extra Malt with feature honours

By Jordan Gerrans 

Even though Spotted Elk is not in her name as a trainer, Leanne Hall was hoping the gun bitch would claim the first ever TAB Queensland Flame on Thursday night.

Leanne had litter sister – Extra Malt – in the Final, while race favourite Spotted Elk is trained by her husband Graham.

While the dogs have different trainers in the race book, it is a team effort at their Marburg kennel as they help each other out and train together effectively.

Seeing as Extra Malt is a Group 3 winner earlier in her career – being the Ipswich Auction Series Final this year – and Spotted Elk was yet to win at that level, Leanne was eager to see her litter sister score a career best triumph, even if she isn’t technically her trainer.

Leanne’s thinking came through as Spotted Elk backed up her pre-race favouritism to claim the Listed prize on Thursday night and is now qualified for the $1.145 million TAB Phoenix at The Meadows later this month.

Leanne and Graham embraced and saluted the crowd at Albion Park as they walked from the starting boxes to the grandstand, with Extra Malt running into second place behind her litter sister in the closing stages.

They were back home at Marburg on Friday morning and still beaming with their beloved dogs, who they refer to as Blaze (Spotted Elk) and Pearl (Extra Malt) around the kennels.

“It was a really big thrill, it was great and we were rapt,” Leanne said.

“I was hoping it would pan out that way because Spotted Elk has not won a big race before Thursday night, which I wanted to see her do that.

“She always seems to be beat her sister in the finals, she may not win, but she usually beats Extra Malt in the finals of these races.”

The products of the Paw Licking and It Gets Better litter are the best two dogs the Hall’s have ever prepared, Graham believes.

Races

8
8

Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:49 PM

TAB Queensland Flame (L) F

YaM5zail.jpeg“It was an enormous thrill to win a race like that on Thursday night,” Graham said.

“For us to have the opportunity to now compete on the big stage in Victoria, it is just tremendous.

“The crowd was just enormous on Thursday night and we are seeing more people turn out for these special event races now.

“They are just magnificent animals these two, they are very good little dog.”

From the red rug, Spotted Elk was always favoured to get the cash and she was strong from box to winning post, while from out wide in pink, Extra Malt was always going to find it tough to run down her sister but she put in a serious effort trying to get there.

Spotted Elk ran home in a slick time of 29.75 seconds over the 520-metre journey.

“You go through a race and you think it might pan out this way or that way, the race was run almost exactly as we expected,” Graham said.

“We were happy for her to be drawn in the red as she is a ping and go dog and we knew Extra Malt needed the breaks going through the catching pen the first time to get in a position to run her down – which she was not able to do in the end.

“The box draws suited Spotted Elk on this occasion and that is how it worked out.”

The Hall combination have been winning machines in their young careers so far, combining for 39 victories, with both hovering around the 50 per cent winning strike rate.

Looking ahead to the $1.145 million TAB Phoenix at The Meadows later this month, Graham leaves for Melbourne with the two sisters early next week, aiming to have two runs on the track before the Final.

The Flame was run on the first major night of the TAB Golden Greys Summer Racing Carnival at Albion Park, offering $37,500 in its own right and a berth in the new million-dollar feature to the winner.

While Extra Malt is not qualified for the TAB Phoenix, the Halls will find a suitable race or two for her as well.

It will be a happy homecoming of sorts for Graham, who previously lived and trained in Victoria earlier in his career, while Leanne grew up in the southern state, but she will remain in Brisbane and tend to the rest of the team while Graham is in Melbourne this month.

The first ever TAB Queensland Flame kick-started the 2021-22 TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival.

Click here to see the full program for the 2021-22 TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival.

Spotted Elk
Extra Malt