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  4. Rhonda Essery's kennel mates in hunt for 2022 Country Cup

Rhonda Essery's kennel mates in hunt for 2022 Country Cup

Images courtesy: Louise Partland

R8-Samshu-b-301121-2.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans

A competitive brother and sister with an outstanding record at Townsville will be just two of the many regional greyhounds vying for a place in the 2022 Country Cup.

A key race as part of The TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival, the best dogs from across the Sunshine State’s regional tracks will this month be out to book a place in the Country Cup Final at Albion Park over 520 metres on the first Thursday in February.

Leading Townsville trainer Rhonda Essery is hopeful of landing two from her kennel in the Final, starting their path towards Brisbane with their heats at their home track on Tuesday evening.

From the same Fernando Bale and Jingjing litter, Essery’s Samshu and Stratford have quickly become specialists at the 498-metre journey at Townsville – combining for 30 victories across their career.

And, if the brother - Stratford - does not win the race, it is usually the sister – Samshu – getting the money.

Since early November, the brother and sister have run a quinella on six separate occasions.

They have been split up for their Country Cup Heats on Tuesday evening, which experienced trainer Essery is pleased about, hoping to land both of them in the big Final. 

If they were to qualify, Essery confirmed the kennel would certainly make the long trip down the Bruce Highway to contest the Country Cup.  

“She will beat her brother, then he will win, and then she will beat him again – they have been run been running one and two a fair bit,” she said with a laugh. 

“They are very competitive between each other.

“It will be interesting to see how fit they are on Tuesday night as we have just had a couple of weeks off.

“At least they are not racing each other on Tuesday night, that is one thing.”

Black bitch Samshu went through a few kennels in NSW before eventually being purchased by North Queenslanders Rhonda and Stephen Essery at their Burdell operation.

Samshu
Stratford

R4-Stratford-071221-2.jpgThey acquired Stratford first and had success with the brindle dog and when his sisters came on the market – Samshu and another dog who did not make the grade – the Essery’s pounced.

Samshu has been a revelation at the Townsville Showgrounds-based track over 498 metres, never running outside of the money in 13 attempts, for 10 victories.

She will jump with the yellow jacket on Tuesday evening, a box she has won from just three times from eight attempts across her 83-start career.

“She has just been going that little bit better than her brother, her record here at the 498 metres is just amazing,” Essery said of Samshu.

“That is good hey. She is going really good for us, both of them are.”

Top local trainer Rhonda has been on the mend of late following surgery with husband Stephen doing much of the heavy lifting around the kennel, with Rhonda joking Stephen can take all the credit for their recent fortunes.

Rhonda is hopeful of getting back fully into the swing of training in the near future as her health improves.

The kennel has 35 dogs in work – which leads to a big team set to go around on Tuesday night – as well as six pups.

The greyhound industry in Townsville has never been stronger – Rhonda believes – with a higher standard of dogs being purchased by trainers and owners with much more prize money on offer across the club’s two meetings a week.

The 2022 Country Cup is open to all grades of dogs while greyhounds must be domiciled north of the Gympie area for a minimum of 76 days leading into the heats.

Heats and Finals will be run at Bundaberg, Townsville and Rockhampton over the next nine days ahead of the Final at Albion Park on Thursday 3 February 2022.

First and second place getters from each qualifier progress to Final in Brisbane with the two highest grade third place getters progressing to the Final as well.

Races

1
1

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 6:55 PM

TAB

2
2

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 7:15 PM

GLEN & NARELLE LUCKIE

3
3

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 7:35 PM

DAN THE PAINTER MAN

4
4

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 7:55 PM

WESEAL 5th Grade F

5
5

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 8:15 PM

BOHLE ICE

6
6

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 8:35 PM

MATTHEW ASHELFORD

7
7

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 8:55 PM

Country Cup H

8
8

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 9:12 PM

Country Cup H

9
9

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 9:32 PM

LOUISE PARTLAND GREYHOUND PHOTOGRAPHY

10
10

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 9:47 PM

MCP RACING

11
11

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 10:10 PM

TGBOT

12
12

Townsville | Townsville Greyhound Racing Club | 10:32 PM

GORDON ALLEN