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Noel Murdoch dreaming of Listed Queensland Flame crown

Race-6-Cha-Cha-Charlie-DSC-3121-jpg.JPGBy Jordan Gerrans

At almost 80 years of age, Noel Murdoch feels his greyhounds – including the speedy Cha Cha Charlie – keep him alive and kicking.

The stalwart of greyhound racing in Queensland will race for the first ever Listed Queensland Flame title next Thursday evening at Albion Park after his White Brindle Dog won through to the Final following the heats.

Cha Cha Charlie collected second in his heat, almost a length behind comeback dog Ninetymile King, enough to land in the Final, which is worth $37,500 for the winner as well as being a qualifier into the inaugural running of the $1.145 million TAB Phoenix.

While the Oakhurst-based dog was forced to settle for second in the heats, his veteran trainer thinks she can go one better on the big stage.

To get his kennel of the dogs to the races is a big task for the 79-year-old, living around 80 minutes south of Bundaberg at Maryborough, making it a three hour trip in the car to Albion Park.

Murdoch did not get home until after 2am on Friday morning following Thursday’s races and while it is a lengthy process, the dog lover says it is no worries when he has top dogs such as Cha Cha Charlie, who has won 15 times from 68 efforts.

“They are worth it,” Murdoch said on Friday morning.

“The money on offer is better than it’s been and the dogs are looked after great, as well.

“I still love what I do. It is a great sport, that is what keeps me in it and I suppose it keeps me alive, too.”

Murdoch is hopeful of obtaining Brisbane-based kennels in the future.

It is a family affair to get the greyhounds to the races, Murdoch says, as his daughter Shari does plenty of the handling and physical work at the track, while wife Jan is always helping out in some way, shape or form.

As he is battling to walk at times these days, Shari’s involvement in the kennel is invaluable, the veteran trainer says,

Murdoch has been around dogs since the early 1970’s, originally rearing dogs for his friends who trained, before he took up the training caper himself.

When he retired from working into the construction industry, he went a step further with his passion, having a team of around 40 chasers at his peak, but has around 30 in his kennel these days.

“I have been racing dogs ever since,” he said.

Racing Queensland earlier this year announced the Flame (520m) would 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 million-dollar feature to the winner.



Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 8:43 PM

TAB Queensland Flame (L) H

zsNXLwsA.jpegMurdoch says the inaugural Flame is an exciting concept and is hopeful Cha Cha Charlie can improve again on the bigger stage, where he will jump from box five with the yellow rug on.

“It was a good run in the heat, he is coming back let’s put it that – I expected him to run a little better than he did,” Murdoch said.

“I thought it was a fairly good run but he is stronger than that.

“I was a little disappointed with the box draw, he will need to find a fair bit from there.

“We will need a bit of luck next week in the Final.”

Also in the third of four heats from Albion Park on Thursday night, breeder, owner and trainer of Ninetymile King, Bianca Whitford, could not be more pleased with his return from injury.

He booked his spot in the Final, running home in 30.10 seconds in the Final, in only his fourth run back he tore an Achilles tendon back in May.

“He has been trialling the house down actually since he came back and is trialling faster than what he was before he had the injury,” Whitford said.

“We were reasonably confident that he was going to go good on Thursday night.

“He was stiff last week and I think he would have won then if he did not get cut off.”

Ninetymile King has drawn the three slot for next Thursday’s Final.

The Whitford kennel do not have many race dogs going around at the moment, mostly focusing their attention into almost 20 puppies who are working their way to making it to the race track in the future.

“We have lots of young stock,” she said.

Other heat winners on Thursday night were Extra Malt as the hot favourite, Magic Prince for the Burman kennel and Graham Hall’s Spotted Elk.

RQ was earlier this year announced as one of eight slot holders in the million-dollar Victorian greyhound feature, which will be staged at The Meadows on December 18 and includes $750,000 to the winner.

The final field for TAB The Phoenix will be confirmed on Friday, December 10 before the box draw is held on Sunday, December 12.

Also at Albion Park on Thursday night, The Dave Brett Memorial Final over 520 metres was claimed by Tom Tzouvelis’ Tungsten Miss, winning the bulk of the $16,800 on offer.

The Dave Brett Memorial remains one of Queensland’s most revered maiden series decades after its inception.

Dave’s son – premier Queensland trainer Tony Brett – has continued his legacy in the sport as one of the leading prepares of greyhounds.



Albion Park | Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club | 7:40 PM

Dave Brett Memorial F