Last season’s best performers on the Victorian coursing circuit were recognised at the 2017 National Coursing Association Awards at Sandown Park on 25 January.
Among them was Gotham Queen, who was crowned the Female Greyhound of the Year after a season that saw her take out the Victorian Oaks, Longwood Cup and a Waterloo Cup Consolation.
While she was the dominant female greyhound of the coursing season based on a points system, trainer and part-owner Sean Lithgow was excited to announce that his star would soon be a mum.
“She is in pup to Walk Hard which is really exciting as we (wife Melanie and I) have never bred a litter before,” Lithgow said. “We were tempted to miss the season and keep racing her, but the previous time she came on-season was 16 months earlier, so we thought it might be a long time before she’s comes on again. We originally bought her to breed with, and she has really exceeded our expectations on the track.”
Gotham Queen has also been a star on TAB tracks with 12 wins from 38 starts including a win at Sandown Park and some quick victories on the provincial circuit culminating in more than $24,000 in prize money.
However, Lithgow is adamant that coursing and circle racing go hand in hand, and that Gotham Queen will have a role to play in the 2018 coursing season.
“She’s due in March and we are hoping to bring her back for the second half of the coursing season, including the 2018 Waterloo Cup,” he said.“I believe coursing is safer than circle racing and that the dogs enjoy it more. I also think mixing it up between coursing and circle racing prevents greyhounds from going stale. It keeps them focussed and brings out the best in them.”
2017 NCA AWARD WINNERS
Greyhound of the Year: Last Outlaw (32 points)
Female Greyhound of the Year: Gotham Queen (26 points)
Owner & Trainer of the Year: Annette Kampman (22 & 21 points)
Noel Banks Award: Heather Villinger
Junior Encouragement Award: Julie Fothergill