A man born into greyhound racing more than 50 years ago enjoyed his best night in the sport when training the winners of the $145,000 Group 1 Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic (Mepunga Hayley – $4.10) and the $58,000 Group 2 AWM Distance Championship (Mepunga Tiara – $8.70) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Not in his wildest dreams did Jeff Britton think he could win both the both sprint and distance features on one of the biggest nights on Victoria’s greyhound racing calendar. In fact, he didn’t even give it a fleeting thought.
This was, after all, supposed to be a night where history was made with Xylia Allen ($1.30Fav) expected to win the AWM Distance Championship from Box 1 and overtake Miata as Australian greyhound racing’s highest ever prize money winner.
However, Mepunga Tiara had other ideas, taking a forward position early as Xylia Allen tried hard to no avail after languishing at the start.
Britton, a son of legendary greyhound trainer and GRV Hall of Famer Allan Britton, has enjoyed a rich vein of success in recent years.
In fact, he trained four winners on the card, but was quick to deflect credit on to others.
“It’s not me, it’s the dogs (who deserve credit), and the man who bred them (Barry Smith). (Partner) Angela (Langton) and I have a great team of workers at home, and we are fortunate that we are able to train for Barry, who is a wonderful breeder and rearer of greyhounds.”
Unfortunately, Smith wasn’t on course to enjoy the celebrations, as three of Britton four winners were bred by the breeder from the town of Mepunga East in Victoria’s far west.
“Barry has been a top breeder for a number of years and his breed seems to be getting better and better,” Britton said.
Mepunga Hayley collected a $100,000 first prize for winning the Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic, while Mepunga Tiara’s AWM Distance Championship win saw her claim the $40,000 winner’s cheque.