By Renn Barker
Being drawn for the number one box at a big cup meet would be pretty good news for most trainers but that’s not the view of Gippsland couple Ian and Maureen Brown whose greyhound, Wears Woodleigh, is running in the $67,000 Cranbourne Cup final (520m) this Saturday night.
“We were actually hoping he’d be drawn for box eight rather than one because he’s been running best from the outside boxes, right from his first race which he won from box eight. He’s a young dog and still learning” Maureen said.
Wears Woodleigh, who is just over two years old, was sired by Spring Gun out of Smart One and has had 19 starts for five wins and four placings. The Browns bought him six weeks ago from Greg Graham of nearby Woodleigh, and have since enjoyed a win and third placing at Warragul last month and a second placing in his Cranbourne Cup heat.
“He’s a very nice quiet dog, very relaxed in the kennels but does get a bit excited when he gets to the track,” Maureen said.
Ian and Maureen, who started in the sport in 1972, are retired in Loch and have eight greyhounds that they now race just as a hobby. They’ve had some nice wins along the way, especially with the dog they remember most fondly, Mr Arkwright, who won nine races from 68 starts.
“Mr Arkwright had a couple of very good years, including big wins at Wentworth Park in 1994 and at Sandown and Olympic Park in 1993 against some strong competition,” Maureen said.
Today, they’re very pleased that Wears Woodleigh has made the 2019 Cranbourne Cup final but they’re not expecting him to claim the $47,000 first prize.
“It’s a strong field with some great dogs like Poke The Bear and Orson Allen and Wears Woodleigh still needs to pick up his pace, especially in the middle stretch. But he’s young and still learning and he’s got a lot of heart. He also did a lot of his early training and trailing at Cranbourne and knows the track well. So it could be that there’s a Cranbourne Cup win in his future.”
Wears Woodleigh is the rank outsider in the Cranbourne Cup at $41, but he commands respect after his huge come-from-behind run in his Cranbourne Cup heat last weekend when runner-up to champion sprinter Poke The Bear.
The Cranbourne Cup is the final leg of the 2018-19 Gippsland Carnival. Admission into Saturday night’s final is free from 5pm and will include food trucks, loads of kids entertainment and the chance to meet AFL great Dane Swan. For more info click here.
The Inside Word: Simone Fisher talks to co-trainer Maureen Brown about Wears Woodleigh’s chances in the Cranbourne Cup on Saturday night.
2019 CRANBOURNE CUP
Saturday night 9 February – 520 metres
1. Wears Woodleigh (Ian Brown, Loch) $41
2. Poke The Bear (SeonaThompson, Pearcedale) $2.10
3. Orson Allen (Correy Grenfell, Avalon) $2.30
4. Hightan (Michelle Nolan, Devon Meadows) $26
5. Huxley (Paul Abela, Parwan) $9
6. Blue Striker (Peter Akathiotis, Reservoir) $14
7. Azkaban (SeonaThompson, Pearcedale) $7
8 Sure To Excite (Graham James, Woodleigh) $26
9. Hasten Slowly (Angela Langton, Anakie) $6
10. Dyna Chancer (Correy Grenfell, Avalon) $14
Note: Odds supplied by tab.com.au as at 6 February, 2019
Photo by Clint Anderson