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Byers kennel searching for breakthrough Ipswich Gold Cup

vWAyT5QQ.jpegBy Jordan Gerrans

A split second unexpected decision to nominate emerging youngster Spring Kono for the heats of the Group 2 Ipswich Gold Cup has delivered the Byers kennel a chance at history in the Final.

The Byers team, made up of Col, wife Pauline and son Shane, have trained plenty of winners at Ipswich over the years – including winning multiple premierships at the club – and had several runners in the Gold Cup Final in years gone by.

But, they have never lifted an Ipswich Gold Cup, with Spring Kono giving the family an opportunity to break through.

Col sadly passed away in September 2019 – leaving Pauline and Shane to forge on his legacy in the greyhound industry in the Sunshine State, with Shane working with his father around the dogs since he was in primary school.

Col was often described as an industry stalwart and a leading trainer for many years before his death.

While it's Pauline’s name in the race book as the trainer, the Byers' are more like co-trainers in the thoroughbred industry, with Pauline and Shane working together to prepare the chasers.

“Dad had a lot of runners in the Final but we never won it,” Shane said.

“It would be unbelievable if we were to win it next week.”

Spring Kono, who won through to the Final in the sixth event on the program, is an Ipswich specialist, only ever racing at the track in her career.

Thursday evening’s three-length triumph handed the brindle bitch her eighth career victory from 17 starts at the venue, on top of six other minor placings.

The Byers kennel, based at Drayton, was not even going to run the bitch in the heats, believing she could not run the required times to land in the Final as a young dog.

Shane noted that he thought she could run around the 30.40-second mark around Ipswich over the 520-metre trip and was blown away with her 30.10-second performance to bolt in to claim her heat.

Races

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Ipswich | Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club | 8:07 PM

TAB Ipswich Gold Cup (G2) H

6GDl6aLg.jpeg“We literally made the decision half an hour before nominations closed to nominate her for the Cup, we were not going to put her in it,” Shane said.

“She is just so young and inexperienced; we did not think she was ready for a race like this.

“I think we just said in the end 'bugger it', we will put her in and have a go.

“I did not think she could run a race or time like this, it was a shock.

“She is a good young dog.”

Looking ahead to next Thursday’s Group 2 Final, to be worth $113,000 in total prize money this year, Shane is concerned with Spring Kono drawing box seven, thinking she will struggle to cross and put herself in the race with so much speed drawn inside her.

In other heats on the night, it was a sparkling night for Park Ridge trainer Tom Tzouvelis – landing three from his team in the Final.

Lily Monelli was the first to win through to the decider in the second heat, before kennel mates Strategise and Showdown won through later on.

Of his team of dogs going around in the Group 2 Ipswich Gold Cup heats, Tzouvelis was thinking Sleuth – who has run 30.32 seconds around the 520-metre trip of the track before – would be the best of his chances, but a wide draw saw him finish well back in the field.

“They all went good, you are always hoping you get winners when you go to the races but you never quite know how they will go,” Tzouvelis said.

“We had a terrific night, the fastest dog we had in last night – Sleuth – did not get through to the Final as the box draw beat him like it did with a few others.”

There will be automatic entry for the brand new Listed Queensland Flame for any Queensland-trained greyhound that wins the $113,000 Group 2 Ipswich Cup on November 11, should they choose to nominate.

The Flame, to be run over 520 metres, will be run on the first major night of the TAB Golden Greys Summer Racing Carnival at Albion Park on December 2, offering $37,500 in its own right and a berth in the new $1.145 million TAB Phoenix to the winner.

Lily Monelli Next Racing
Strategise
Showdown Next Racing