Top battle looms in elite Ipswich series
ANOTHER chapter in the history of the Vince Curry Memorial will be written on Saturday night as Ipswich stages the 36th running of the world's richest maiden event.
The race was named in honour of the great all-round broadcaster Vince, who was the number one thoroughbred caller for Radio 4BC.
Vince also called harness racing and excelled at describing a variety of sports including tennis, cricket, Olympic Games track and field and swimming. He loved commentating boxing.
Vince never called greyhound racing. However in 1982 as sports director of Radio 4BC, he played a big role in the formation of the Ipswich club obtaining a license to race on a Saturday night. Vince convinced management of the radio station to broadcast the Ipswich TAB races and the rest is history.
Vince passed away in February 1983 from cancer at age 53.
The Ipswich club never forgot what he had done for them and in 1984 the club introduced the Vince Curry Memorial maiden.
To this day of the three racing codes, Ipswich greyhounds is the only one to perpetuate Vince's memory.
A number of trainers with finalists in Saturday night's final have already had success in this great race.
John Clancy, who trains finalist Spotted Wolf, won the race in 2001 with Awesome Attack, who was out of Spotted Wolf's great grandmother.
This dog is undefeated throughout the series so far having won its heat from box one in 30.80 and semi-final, also from box one, in a quicker 30.59. That was the fastest of the four semi-finals last week.
Chris Riordon has a double prong attack on the final with Moby Go, drawn in box six, and litter brother Tienne Tee, in box seven.
Chris, a former harness racing driver, came into greyhound racing about a decade ago and had a great deal of success with a bitch called Spirited Flame.
From her first litter, she produced the 2017 Vince Curry winner Fire To Rain. That year, Chris qualified three runners for the final. He ran the quinella with Roll So Deep and fourth with Fabrique.
Tienne Tea won her semi-final last week in 30.87 and Moby Go ran second in his semi.
Tony Brett will be looking to win his second Vince Curry final or should that be third.
In 2016, Brett trained Split Image and Paua To Avoid who produced the only dead heat victory in the races history.
Brett trains Exciting Times, drawn in box eight, for the same owner as Split Image George Kairouz. He also raced in partnership with former rugby league great and a devoted greyhound man Terry Hill.
Exciting Times won its heat on debut in 30.73 and was beaten into second place behind Spotted Wolf last week in the semi-final.
Hollow Words (box five), caused a big upset to win its semi-final last week.
Sent out at $61, Hollow Woods came from third early to beat Pearls Are Us in the slowest heat 31.13.
Trained by Amber Boody, her family knows what it takes to win a Vince Curry. They won with Red Aces in 2008 when trained by Michael Boody.
Tony Apap has never trained a Vince Curry winner. He lines up this year with Shorino coming out of box two, but has stood on the presentation dais twice. His daughter Chistina has collected the winning trophy in 2012 with Brook Lee and last year with Rose Honey.
Shorino ran fourth in his heat and was a very unlucky second in the semi-final last week, having been taken wide at the first turn and checked when making another run on the top turn and still managed to run second.
For sentimental reasons, I hope Shorino can race well on Saturday night as he is owned by my brother David. So when I broadcast the race, you will have to excuse me if Shorino hits the front at any stage. I might get a tad excited.
Good luck big brother.
Two other trainers with runners in Saturday night's final that have not tasted success are Ray Burman and John McCarthy.
Ray trains Blue Diva (drawn in box four). She is another undefeated through the series and has been ultra impressive only beginning moderately on both occasions.
Her run home times have been brilliant. She won the heat in 30.74 and semi in 30.60 and has another with a big chance in the final.
John McCarthy trains Pearls Are Us, out of his great producing bitch Pearl Za Zinger (box one), which is a big advantage in any race.
She ran second in the heat and semi-final.
My selections for the Vince Curry final are: 2 Shorino, 8 Exciting Times, and 4 Blue Diva.
Picture perfect win
CONGRATULATIONS to Di and Rick O'Donnell from Just Greyhound Photos who owned their first 520m winner at Albion Park last Monday night.
Monica's Joy was able to come from near last early and weave her way through the field to get up and score for her lucky owners and trainer Jason Bloomfield.
Bloomfield is a former Victorian greyhound having her third local run.
I'm sure that's one photograph that will sit nicely on the mantle piece at the O'Donnell household.