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‘Tonk’ eyes Australian Cup

Star sprinter Tiggerlong Tonk’s affinity for the Ballarat 450-metre trip continued last night with victory in the Western Districts Derby.

Trained by Correy Grenfell, Tiggerlong Tonk is undefeated from four starts over that circuit after claiming a $20,000 first prize in the Group Listed event.

He also won the Anniversary Trophy at Ballarat on January 15.

WATCH: Tiggerlong Tonk (8) take out the Western Districts derby at Ballarat.

“He’ll now be set for the Group 1 Australian Cup series,” Grenfell said. (Tiggerlong Tonk is a reserve for the G1 Temlee at The Meadows on Saturday night.)

A dual G1 finalist, Tiggerlong Tonk ($1.80F) – who turns two on February 24 – exited well from box eight and was quickly in control. He accounted for Aston Cade ($5.10) by one and a half lengths, with Impending ($17.20) three lengths away third in a smart 24.93sec.

It was his 13th win from 25 starts, with stakes totalling $91,680.

Bred and owned by Michael Finn from Wagga Wagga, Tiggerlong Tonk (Feb ’18 Dyna Double One-Tiggerlong Dot) first shot to real prominence late last year during the G1 Hobart Thousand series (461m). He ran a near-record 25.55sec defeating track record holder Stanley Gordon, before finishing fifth to Hooked On Scotch in the final.

And he’s gone on with the job, finishing third to Simon Told Helen in last month’s G1 Silver Chief (525m) at The Meadows.

However, it was champion sprinter Orson Allen who first put Grenfell, 26, on the greyhound training map. His racetrack feats allowed Grenfell to purchase a 51-acre property at Mount Wallace (just over 30km from Bacchus Marsh).

But it would be remiss not to mention that Grenfell has ‘done the hard yards’, serving an apprenticeship with a few big kennels.

Pawnote: Grenfell became a proud father for the fourth time when wife Samantha presented him with twin girls – Ava and Gracie – on February 1. The Grenfells also have two young boys – Xavier, 6, and Ollie, 2.

It’s said that “luck is where hard work meets up with opportunity”, and in that respect Grenfell is an inspiration to young people in all walks of life.

Ironically, if we want to compare ‘apples with apples’, Tiggerlong Tonk and Orson Allen share a similar form line from their first 25 starts.

So, how does Grenfell rate Tiggerlong Tonk with his former superstar?

“He (Tiggerlong Tonk) is slightly quicker over 450 metres, but he’s probably not as strong as Orson Allen,” Grenfell said.

Orson Allen went on to win four group race finals last year – G1 Perth Cup, G1 Harrison-Dawson, G2 Horsham Cup and G2 Cranbourne Cup. He was also runner-up in last year’s G1 Temlee and the 2018 G1 Maturity Classic.

In all, Orson Allen started on 61 occasions for 31 wins, eight seconds and five thirds. He amassed $620,300 in prizemoney.

Will Tiggerlong Tonk follow in such illustrious paw prints? Only time will tell.

Peter Quilty
About Peter Quilty - Has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.
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