Ipswich memories shared as Tweed complex closes

AS the greyhounds were about to parade for the final race at Border Park Tweed Heads last Saturday, there was thunder and lightning in the background.

That race was the last to be run at the track which has been sold.

It was the Harry Pledger Appreciation Trophy, named in memory of the co-founder of the Tweed Heads club back in the 1960s.

Some of the estimated 800 people in attendance for the track's swansong reckoned the weather was an acknowledgement from the legendary Pledger looking down from the heavens.

He passed away in 2012, aged 93 years.

"Harry was either anti going or saying, let's get on with it. I suspect the latter,'' said former secretary-manager of the club Bruce Knight.

The outcome of that final race produced a quirky occurrence.

The event was won by Magical Yessam, trained by 77 year-old Don Massey from Ipswich.

Thirty-four years ago, in May 1982, Massey and his wife Lyndal won the first race run on the opening night at Ipswich with a dog named Yessam Blackie.

Magical Yessam won this year's Ipswich Magical Auction final, with a first prize of $40,000.

The dog earned $10,000 in the Tweed Heads win.

"I've got as big a thrill winning this race named for Harry Pledger as the auction race at Ipswich,'' Massey said, trying to hold back tears of joy.

"I knew Harry for about 50 years.

"He was a perfect gentleman, a unique person.''

There were three generations of Pledgers in attendance last Saturday including Harry's daughter Christine who flew in from the USA for the occasion.

The Border Park committee is optimistic that a new venue will be established somewhere in northern New South Wales.

Concerning the results from the final day, Harry Pledger got one thing slightly wrong as he was watching things unfold.

The track is known as Border Park.

In its history of nearly 50 years, Border Park was supported by trainers from both sides of the border.

On Saturday the score was six wins for New South Wales trainers and four for Queenslanders.

A final tally of five all would have been more fitting.

Brisbane Cup

IN a swap situation, Ipswich greyhounds raced last night and Albion Park is on tonight.

Albion Park will stage the group 1 $75,250 the winner Brisbane Cup over 520 metres.

Outside Pass was the fastest heat winner in 29.61 for Gatton's Tony Apap. That equalled her best time for Albion Park's 520 metres journey. And at that figure, she is the fastest bitch to win at Albion Park since the track opened in February, 1993.

Outside Pass came home a final sectional of 12.45 last week and that's super strong.

The lone Victorian in the series, Blazin' Bomber for Darren Pattinson, won his heat in 29.75.

His run home was nearly as strong as Outside Pass. He went 12.50.

Thirty Talks, for Tony Brett, won in 29.77 with a last split of 12.53.

Brett also won a heat with Zabdon Ferrari who clocked 29.86 but with a run home of 12.78.

Brett also won with Whata Nice Size in 29.88. His run home was 12.62.

Outside Pass is the favourite from box seven at $2.30 ahead of Thirty Talks who has box three and is $4.

Darren Pattinson returned to Melbourne last Friday with Blazin' Bomber. He will fly to Brisbane today for the final.

"The dog has a great temperament and is a very good traveller,'' Pattinson said. "He comes out alright but then doesn't show a lot of early pace. He picks up after about 30 metres.

"He would be as strong as any dog around. If he had a bit more early dash he would have won a lot more races.

"He's the best dog I've ever trained, by a long way. I've never won a group one so here's hoping for some luck from the five alley.''

Like Pattinson, Tony Apap is hoping for luck with Outside Pass who has box seven.

"If she jumps like last week we're in with a great chance,'' Apap said.

"I don't mind her drawn out wide. She's done really well since the heat win, I put her up the straight on Tuesday morning and she looks and feels terrific.

"Her fourth in the Melbourne Cup, only beaten two lengths, was a really good run, I rated her a bit unlucky there. This Brisbane Cup is a really strong race, it's the old story, whoever gets around the first turn unscathed will be very hard to beat.''

Tony Brett's runners have drawn boxes two, three and four.

The trainer has a great chance to add to his 10 group one winners, achieved in the three eastern states.

High profile Ipswich based owner Len Antonio owns Thirty Talks and Whata Nice Size.

Antonio is yet to taste group one success.

Brett has won the Brisbane Cup twice, with Bogie Leigh (2003) and Glen Gallon (2011).

Consider this

FOR maximum attention, nothing beats a good mistake.

Good bet among confusion

IT'S very confusing to many people that the start times for greyhound meetings vary from week to week.

It isn't the race clubs who make the change. The times are set by Sky Racing.

For tomorrow's Ipswich meeting, race one is at 4.14pm, around an hour earlier than normal.

Race 10 is at 7.18pm so it's an early start and finish.

A good bet might be the Col Byers trained Little Ach Cee in race seven.

The reliable beginner has drawn box two and is chasing his fifth win at Ipswich since joining the Byers kennel from Rockhampton.

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