Up Hill Jill ($6.20) produced the run of her career to mow down fellow Victorian Striker Light and claim the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg (520m) at Sydney’s Wentworth Park on 31 March.
In yet another classic encounter between arguably the two best female greyhound sprinters this country has seen in the past decade, Striker Light, aided by box one, was well on the way to becoming the first greyhound to win the Golden Easter Egg twice before her arch rival showed enormous heart to make up three lengths on the triple Group 1 winner and claim the $250,000 first prize.
“Striker Light is a superstar and she was highballing, and I just thought she might have run us off our feet. Coming to the corner I thought we were run off our feet, but how big was that?” Up Hill Jill’s trainer David Geall said after the race, in which she won by a quarter of a length in 29.77sec.
Remarkably, Victorian-trained greyhounds have won the past nine editions of the Golden Easter Egg, which is Sydney’s richest, and the equal second richest, greyhound race in Australia.
Franking the dominance was the fact that the first four placegetters in the 2018 final were trained in Victoria – Up Hill Jill (Geall), Striker Light (Brett Bravo), Fernando Express (Robert Britton) and Dual Keroma (Anthony Azzopardi).
Up Hill Jill’s win was her second Group 1, as she also snared the 2017 Topgun at The Meadows, and Geall paid tribute to his star’s ability to remained focussed on the job at hand despite the festivity that comes with Golden Easter Egg night.
“She’s so professional. Behind the boxes…the noise and the crowd (were so loud).. I was nervous but she’s just professional (and acted) as if nothing’s happening… as though it’s a little trial,” the Lara trainer said.
Up Hill Jill (Premier Fantasy – Where’s Demonica), who turned three in February, was bred by Geall’s wife Rose, and this was her 67th start for 35 wins and 24 minor placings.
She is now Australian greyhound racing’s six all-time highest prize money earner at $774,736.
Earlier in the night, NSW stayer Simon Keeping (Martin Hallinan) was sensational in defeating young Victorian Rippin’ Sam (Robert Britton) in the $100,000 to-the-winner Group 1 Association Cup (720m).
AUSTRALIAN GREYHOUND RACING’S TOP PRIZE MONEY EARNERS
Fanta Bale $1,365,175
Fernando Bale $1,299,370
Dyna Double One $1,160,316
Sweet It Is $945,445
Aston Dee Bee* $801,190
Up Hill Jill* $774,736
Xylia Allen $743,730
Dyna Villa $722,618
Ando’s Mac $687,931
* still racing