Graham Whitford believes “there’s nothing like winning the Waterloo Cup.”
Whitford, 64, has well over a century of greyhound racing running through his veins, and it took him several decades to land his first Waterloo Cup (in 2013 with Zambora Blueboy). Ten days ago he did it a second time, with a greyhound called Rylee’s Marshall.
“I’ve been blessed to have a couple of champion coursing dogs over the past three or four years and they are dogs of a lifetime,” Whitford said.
The Yarram trainer heaped praise on fellow trainer, 21-year-old Jess Fothergill, who prepared the 2015 runner-up, Suave Odessa, stating she did a “fabulous job” for someone so inexperienced.
Fothergill, of Heathcote, said making the final of coursing’s premier event is something she’ll never forget.
“I’ve coursed a couple of times before but this was my first attempt at a Waterloo Cup,” Fothergill said.
“When I first got my trainer’s license four years ago I started out by coursing, and I’ve done it a couple of times since. It was a really good introduction to the sport because it is more relaxed than TAB track racing. It’s very social, everyone there is really helpful and it’s very hands on.”
Coursing is the purist form of greyhound racing and provides a tremendous challenge for trainers, with greyhounds racing one-on-one up a grass straight track up to six times across a weekend in a knockout format.
“I don’t think there’s a better way for new trainers to learn about greyhound racing than coursing, and it gives your dogs an edge in fitness for when they return to regular racing,” Jess added.
The Waterloo Cup is coursing’s premier event, and is the oldest race in any form of greyhound racing, boasting more than 140 years of tradition.