Amazing dead heat ends top trainer’s title drought
AFTER his dad won the prestigious Ipswich series nearly two decades ago, Tony Brett was starting to wonder if he would ever replicate the feat.
He'd watched his dogs run second five times in previous Vince Curry Memorial Maiden finals at the Ipswich Showgrounds.
However, even experienced Grandchester trainer Brett could never have anticipated how he would end the drought.
Two of the three dogs he trained in the latest final dead-heated.
Outsider Split Image, from box four, led all the way before favourite Paua To Avoid somehow managed to level up in a riveting final lunge.
"This was one race that always seems to elude us,'' Brett said.
"To do it that way with two separate dogs and two separate owners was double enjoyment.
"It was very satisfying.''
Brett's dad Dave, who is no longer with us, won the 1998 final with Doover Lacky.
Continuing a fine family legacy after taking over from his father added to Tony's Ipswich joy.
Both dead-heaters were from Sydney, offered to Brett to train.
Split Image's owner George Kairouz made the trip to Ipswich on the night.
Paua To Avoid is owned by David Jones, from Wagga Wagga.
Brett said he was browsing through the previous winners just before Saturday night's latest final over 520m.
The dead heat was the first in Vince Curry final history. The series has run since 1984.
"In my time (16 years), I've dead-heated probably twice I reckon,'' Brett said.
"Split Image was the underdog. I didn't think she could run as fast as Paua to Avoid, or my other runner Thirty Talks, out of the one box. But she's just consistent and a good beginner. And in those sort of races, that's what you've got to do.''
Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club manager Merv Page shared in the excitement, watching from the boxes.
"I did think the four (Split Image) might have hung on,'' Page said.
"It led all the way and the other dog just caught it right on the line.
"It was very good racing.''
Page said the $51,000 prizemoney covering first and second would be shared by connections.
However, Brett was more delighted with the thrilling finish than the financial reward.
"It was a bit easier to get up earlier this morning,'' he said.
"It was a late night but well and truly worth it.
"It's amazing prizemoney that a club can put that on for a maiden race here in Queensland.
"But when they cross the line, the prizemoney is the last thing you are thinking of.
"To finally win it, is a great honour.''
Brett expects Paua To Avoid to return to Sydney.
He hopes to continue working with Split Image at Grandchester, where he has 18 dogs in work.
Split Image could be set for the Group 2 Queensland Futurity series at Albion Park in April.
VINCE Curry final-winning trainer Tony Brett was full of praise for the Ipswich club after another terrific maiden series.
"It's the home track and they do a great job there,'' Grandchester-based Brett said.
"It's nice to go to the track and the track turns it on for you - meals and drinks and admission for the owners. And that's what it is all about.
"People in the sport, when their dogs are in good races, they like to be spoiled.''
The next major racing at the Ipswich Showgrounds is the annual Puppy auction series starting in three weeks.