Gotham Queen’s incredible reign as Victoria’s finest coursing female covered three years and a successful comeback after producing a litter of pups, while she also found time to rack up 18 wins on the racetrack.
Last month, Gotham Queen was crowned the National Coursing Association of Victoria’s Female Greyhound of the Year for 2019, having also claimed the title in 2017, when she was runner-up in the GOTY, and 2018.
“It’s incredible,” said proud owner/trainer Sean Lithgow.
“You couldn’t ask for a better dog and it was a big thrill for us to have her.”
In the 2017 coursing season, Gotham Queen, a regally bred daughter of Barcia Bale and Group 1 finalist Evie’s Entity, accumulated 26 points, while in both 2018 and 2019 she accrued 19 points.
“She only got about half-way through last year,” Lithgow explained.
“She hurt her back so we pulled the pin. She’d done enough.
“The first year she won the Victorian Oaks but then she came back the second year after having a litter of pups and she was even better. I thought she was more consistent.
“She went back-to-back in the Ray Boundy Memorial (2018-19), which was a big thrill because apart from the Waterloo Cup that’s probably the best coursing event to win with a senior dog.”
Gotham Queen’s first litter, whelped mid-career in March ’18, was to Walk Hard and the five pups to have raced have all won for Sean and wife Mel.
The headline act is Dream Wizard, which has won four from six and claimed his fourth straight victory at Warragul last Friday, clocking a flying 22.35s over 400m, while Gotham Duchess has won three from 12, with seven minor placings.
“They’ve got super talent but the focus is what they need to work on,” said Sean.
“Gotham Queen had a second litter to Collision of nine pups that are nine weeks old. She is finding motherhood a lot easier the second time around.
“Potentially we will breed with her again but we will give her a bit of a break and some time to relax now.
“We always wanted to have a broodbitch that was worth breeding with and you couldn’t get much better than Barcia Bale – Evie’s Entity. We saw her advertised by James Van de Maat but Mel and I couldn’t afford her ourselves so my aunty chipped in and my mum and one of our friends got involved as well.”
Gotham Queen isn’t the best greyhound Sean, 35, has trained in his relatively short career; he gives that honour to his very first greyhound Burnt Fuse, which won 36 races and was a multiple Group finalist.
“Burnt Fuse was an absolute star,” Lithgow said.
“He’s the best dog we’ve had but Gotham Queen would be the best girl.
“We couldn’t find a trainer for Burnt Fuse so we took out a license and did it ourselves.
“We caught the bug after that and we were very lucky to have a great mentor in Eddie Caruana. We also had Burnt Fuse’s sister Oreo Pirate but they were polar opposites and she was on the couch pretty quick!”
Having enjoyed great coursing success, the Lithgows have stepped up their involvement and are sharing the position of Secretary of the NCA, with Sean espousing the advantages of coursing for race dogs.
“It’s essential, especially with dogs that lack a little bit of confidence,” he offered.
“The one-on-one element boosts their confidence and also has big benefits in fitness and the ability to run out a distance around the circle.”