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Waterloo Cup: Whitford, Lanigan Team with AFL Stars to Strike Again

Graham Whitford has become just the third trainer in the past 30 years to win multiple Victorian Waterloo Cups after Rylee’s Marshall was victorious at Longwood on the weekend.

In fact, Whitford teamed with the Lanigan family for the second time in three years to win the event after the trainer/owner combination was successful in steering Zambora Blueboy to the second of his Waterloo Cups in 2013 (Zambora Blueboy also won the 2012 Waterloo Cup for different connections).

Rylee’s Marshall is owned by the Lanigan O’Brien Crouch Bros Syndicate which includes Gerard Lanigan, his son Matt, Essendon footballer Nick O’Brien and Adelaide Crows brothers Brad and Matt Crouch.

With more than 140 years of history, the Waterloo Cup is the oldest event in any form of greyhound racing in Victoria and it is also coursing’s ultimate prize.

To win the Waterloo Cup, a greyhound must course six times up a 300 metre straight track across two days in a knockout competition, making it a true test of speed and stamina.

“It takes a special dog to win a Waterloo Cup and you certainly need luck along the way including a reasonable draw and you need to avoid any injuries,” Whitford said.

“It takes a special dog to win a Waterloo Cup and you certainly need luck along the way including a reasonable draw and you need to avoid any injuries.”

“But most of all you need a dog that can recover well in between courses and one that is nice and relaxed and is happy to have a sleep in between runs.”

While the number of people coursing greyhounds these days has declined, there remains a staunch group of around 40 trainers who regularly set their greyhounds for the Waterloo Cup.

“It (the Waterloo Cup) is the pinnacle in coursing and it’s an event that has so much history. Every coursing trainer aspires to win it and, to put it into perspective, I imagine it’s like winning an AFL Grand Final. Not that I’ve ever won one an AFL Grand Final, but it’s similar in that it is the ultimate prize in that particular sport,” Whitford said.

The Yarram trainer said it was hard to compare his first Waterloo Cup win with his second, but he said they were both special in their own way.

“It was different with Zambora Blueboy because everyone knew he was a big chance as he had won it the year before, so he was a proven superstar.”

“On the other hand, Rylee’s Marshall was about fourth in betting at 8/1 at the start of the series, and I actually thought his brother Rylee’s Bandit (7/1) was my best chance of winning, but he got knocked out on the first day (Saturday).”

Rylee’s Marshall boasts a solid yet unspectacular record of eight wins and 26 minor placings from 63 career starts outside of coursing, but in winning the Waterloo Cup he will retire as a champion of the coursing game.

For all results of the 2015 Waterloo Cup Carnival visit the NCA Victoria website here

Pictured top: (inset) Gerald Lanigan and Graham Whitford embrace as Rylee’s Marshall (red) defeats Suave Odessa in the final Waterloo Cup course of 2015.

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