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Another of Ken’s Banjos Playing to the Melbourne Cup Beat

Gippsland trainer Ken Virtue is no stranger to the TAB Melbourne Cup, but Friday night’s heats present a brand new experience for his greyhound Banjo Bewdy, who has never competed at group level before.

A winner of six races from 13 starts, Banjo Bewdy earned a spot in the heats with an encouraging runner-up performance in a TAB Melbourne Cup Prelude last month.

Bred and owned in NSW by Ron Steel and Andrew Varasdi respectively, the Magic Sprite and Mary Lou Cargo greyhound will line up in Race 12 at Sandown Park on Friday night jumping from Box 1, in what is the eighth and final Cup heat.

“Her form is good and although she has never drawn Box 1 before, I think she will be suited by it,” said the Tooradin based Virtue, who has targetted the Melbourne Cup with Banjo Bewdy since September.

Watch: It took a very special run by the classy Oakvale Destiny (6) to beat Banjo Bewdy (2) in a TAB Melbourne Cup Prelude on October 22.


Virtue, whose former superstar greyhound Banjo Boy (also owned by Varasdi) competed in a Melbourne Cup heats in 2014, said that he is surprised to have a greyhound compete in the world’s richest greyhound series again so soon.

“This is a bonus. I didn’t expect to be here again so quickly, but this was not a big decision. She has earned her opportunity,” he said.

Banjo Bewdy will have to compete against the likes of Blazin’ Bomber and Bearville Azza on Friday, and only a win will secure her a place in the $600,000 final November 20.

“She needs to go straight to the front and have a bit of luck. She is a reliable beginner. She is very good throughout the (first) turn and she is quite prepared to hold her ground,” Virtue said.

“She has a lot of early pace and there are some abilities that she has that people haven’t seen yet.”
With a first prize in the Melbourne Cup final worth $420,000, Virtue will be hoping Banjo Bewdy can live up to her full potential for the remainder of the series.




Bonnie Chignell’s best recent runs in the Gippsland region


Traralgon Saturday 7 November

Nachos Gracias (Mark Busuttil) Scoring a win from her first start, there was plenty of hope to take from this strong win (Replay)

Sale Sunday 8 November

Miss Money May (Graeme Jose) Winning its fourth race, this almost two-year-old is running strong (Replay)

Warragul Tuesday 10 November

Magic Is Might (Peter Presutto) Another almost two-year-old proving little experience is necessary as he notched his fifth win in his first Warragul race (Replay)

Cranbourne Wednesday 11 November

Mighty Sprite (Amy Lauterboom) Scoring another track record, this two year old has now won eight consecutive 311m races at Cranbourne (Replay)

This article was written by Bonnie Chignell.

Bonnie Chignell is a Gippsland girl with a lifetime experience in greyhound racing having been born into the industry. She is a Race Starter and Qualified Judge at the Traralgon Greyhound Club, and is also a hobby greyhound trainer. (Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the author and not necessarily that of GRV).

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