Local legend Norm McCullagh (Pictured above) says it is impossible not to get excited as Warrnambool prepares for a massive night of greyhound racing this Wednesday at the Showgrounds.
With two rich feature races, the $106,500 Macey’s Bistro Warrnambool Classic & $67,000 Warrnambool Cup, supported by a colourful line-up of free entertainment including tribute band Gold Chisel, the club is expecting its biggest crowd for many years, perhaps even back to the days when McCullagh trained one of the greatest greyhounds of them all, the immortal Bold Trease.
It’s been 30 years since Bold Trease won the first of four consecutive Sandown Cups from 1986-89, in what is perhaps the most astonishing feat ever achieved by a greyhound in this country.
“They used to call Bold Trease the Warrnambool Warrior, while some described him as the Phar Lap of greyhound racing,” McCullagh recalled.
“He won 41 races (from 84 starts) but only raced at Warrnambool a couple of times. He won his first ever race here, and I brought him back another time for a feature race over the (long) distance after he had won his first two Sandown Cups.”
“The crowd at Warrnambool to see him race that night was enormous and he almost got beat after giving away a huge start. He put bums on seats wherever he raced and he had such an exciting racing pattern where he would come from well back in the field to win. He was very popular and the entire town of Warrnambool was behind him.”
Norm, 76, has continued his search for the next Bold Trease ever since his champion stayer passed away suddenly in 1991, aged just seven.
“I’ve been trying for 25 years to get another Bold Trease but I’m running out of time,” he laughed.
“I’ve got a team of six greyhounds at the moment – three race dogs and three young ones coming through. You always hang on to a glimmer of hope you’ll have another champion again one day.”
Come Wednesday night, Norm is predicting a local victory in the Macey’s Bistro Warrnambool Classic with Kilty Express, who is trained at Dennington by Dustin Drew, while he expects Zambora Brockie to prove tough to beat in the Warrnambool Cup.
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