Images courtesy: Louise Partland
By 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.