Australia’s best stayer Tornado Tears demonstrated all his champion qualities with a magnificent return to the track in the Group 1 Zoom Top (725m) at The Meadows on the opening night of the Australian Cup Carnival.
In a superb training performance by champion mentor Robert Britton, Tornado Tears dug deep to win the invitation-only Zoom Top first-up after five months on the sidelines.
The son of the great Fernando Bale and Tears Siam, a litter sister to Britton’s 2015 Zoom Top hero Space Star, hadn’t been seen in action since September 22, when he won the Group 3 Top Cat Video Cup at the same venue.
“He has just got me in awe,” said Robert Britton.
“Tornado Tears does things that dogs just shouldn’t be able to do.”
It was the fourth time Britton had won the Zoom Top in the last six years, having previously won the event with Cheetah Zorro (2014), Space Star (2015) and last year with Fanta Bale, enhancing the Lara mentor’s reputation as greyhound racing’s Bart Cummings.
Despite his lack of racing fitness and a less than ideal draw in eight, Tornado Tears started $2.20 favourite in the $75,000 to-the-winner Zoom Top, ahead of NSW visitor Poco Dorado ($4.30) and his Group 1-winning kennelmate Barcali ($7.70).
Tornado Tears began well from his outside alley but wasn’t able to cross outsider Black Impala ($28.30) and Poco Dorado.
After momentarily being caught wide, Tornado Tears found the fence with a lap to go and the writing looked to be on the wall when he moved into second in the back straight.
But as Tornado Tears sweated on a rails run, reserve Blue Moon Rising ($10.80), a litter brother and kennelmate to Poco Dorado, swept to the front; however the favourite wouldn’t be denied and kicked back strongly along the inside in a stirring finish to score by .36 of a length in 42.51sec.
Another interstater in Western Australian Moment To Jive ($21.10) ran third.
“I was just hoping he would lead to give himself a chance but to come from behind and win this race proves how big his heart is,” said a proud Britton.
“We didn’t know how strong he would be heading into the Zoom Top after such a long lay-off. I feel that everyone has a lot more confidence in him that I did.
“He has had a faultless preparation after his hairline fracture in his hock five months ago. Even though he hasn’t been over 700 in his comeback, he was showing all the signs he was more than okay.
“Greyhounds like this just don’t come around often. He is a dog that knows how to find the line and that is exactly what he did tonight.”
Tornado Tears has now won 20 of his 29 starts, his last seven in a row, and he’s undefeated in three assignments over 725m at The Meadows, while it was his fourth victory at Group 1 level, following on from the Sandown Cup, Albion Park Gold Cup and National Distance Championship.
This article was compiled by Gerard Guthrie and Molly Haines. Photos by Clint Anderson.