Australian Cup winner Buckle Up Wes ($6.30) staked his claim as Tasmania’s greatest ever greyhound when winning the $215,000 Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Trainer Ted Medhurst did a remarkable job in getting his star up for the race after 10 weeks on the sidelines with a ligament injury and, ironically, he said the spell may have been the cornerstone of his all-the-way win.
“The fact he was fresh may have been the reason he won tonight,” Medhurst said after the greyhound won the $150,000 first prize.
“Greyhounds often begin better when they are fresh, and if he didn’t lead he wouldn’t have won because he probably didn’t have enough race fitness to come from behind and win.”
“I’ve been laser-ing him every morning and every night for the past nine weeks, and walking him on the walking him at a gentle pace on a walking machine every day, all in an attempt to get him right for the Topgun.”
The race against time was reward for effort after Buckle Up Wes was withdrawn from the Group 1 National Sprint Championship.
“He has only had four trials since he injured himself in August, so he’s still a couple of runs off his peak.”
“Hopefully his good form will continue into the Melbourne Cup series, because that’s what I’m aiming for with him next.”
Buckle Up Wes won in 30.02sec ahead of a fast-finishing Oakvale Destiny and Awesome Project, with Medhurst not surprising his charge was able to pull off the win without running exceptional time.
“Times aren’t everything. He was on the bunny and greyhounds can be hard to catch when they’re out in front. The other seven dogs were off the bunny, and they had to contend with being bumped,” he said.
Buckle Up Wes, who was bred by Robyn Johnson and is owned by the Johnson Sutton Syndicate, took his record to 30 wins (12 placings) from just 49 starts, while he has amassed $551,000 in prize money.
Buckle Up Wes is the first greyhound to win the Group 1 Australian Cup-Topgun double.