It will be a Greyhound of the Year announcement with a difference on Sunday night when the Victorian greyhound racing industry recognises its high achievers at the 2019/2020 ‘Virtual’ Victorian Greyhound Awards.
The Victorian GOTY winner, as well as the Sprinter and Stayer of the Year and other awards, covering the period July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020, will be unveiled on the Greyhound Racing Victoria Facebook page from 8pm.
While the unprecedented COVID-19 situation prevents the awards ceremony being staged with its traditional glitz and glamour, the competition for GOTY honours will be as fierce as ever and there can be no doubting what it will mean to the winners.
Three finalists in both the sprint and stayer category have been determined by the GOTY panel, with (in alphabetical order) Sennachie, Simon Told Helen and Whiskey Riot in contention for Sprinter of the Year.
Tornado Tears will defend his Stayer of the Year title, with his opposition coming from Just Terms and True Detective.
There was enormous depth in the Victorian sprinting ranks throughout the 2019/20 eligibility time frame, a fact underlined by dual Group 1 winner Hooked On Scotch missing the final three cut-off.
Sennachie, which rose to stardom under the guidance of Steve White after moving from South Australia, started only 13 times during the 2019/20 period before retiring to stud, but the son of 2015/16 GOTY Fernando Bale was a three-time Group 1 winner.
Sennachie burst into GOTY contention last July with back-to-back Group 1 triumphs in the Brisbane Cup and Maturity, while he ended his career on a high when taking out Brisbane’s Gold Bullion in January.
Simon Told Helen’s catchy name created great interest but his racetrack deeds grabbed the headlines from the moment he defeated litter brother and kennel mate Who Told Stevie in the Group 3 Great Chase.
The son of super sire Barcia Bale proceeded to take trainer David Burnett on the ride of his greyhound racing life, victorious in 17 of his 27 starts during 2019/20, highlighted by three Group 1 events, the Silver Chief, Perth Cup and Harrison-Dawson.
Whiskey Riot, another son of the great Fernando Bale, won the biggest race of them all, the Melbourne Cup, for trainer Anthony Azzopardi, while his second ‘major’ came when eclipsing Australia’s best sprinters in the invitation-only Temlee.
He was also a four-time Group 1 placegetter, finishing runner-up in the Adelaide Cup and Maturity and third in both the Topgun and Australian Cup.
The staying title is wide open and while Robert Britton’s 2018/19 winner Tornado Tears wasn’t as dominant as the previous year he’s again in contention courtesy of wins in the Group 1 Bold Trease, Group 3 Speed Star and Listed Fireball.
Also in the running are Just Terms, which won the Group 1 Zoom Top and was placed in both the Bold Trease and Super Stayers at Group 1 level, and True Detective, which won the Group 1 Hume Cup over 600m and was a two-time Group 1 runner-up in the Sandown Cup and Super Stayers.
Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) awards ‘Greyhound of the Year’ in three categories (Sprinter, Stayer and Greyhound of the Year [GOTY]) in recognition of outstanding performances by eligible greyhounds during the racing year (1 July to 30 June).
GRV also awards Sprinter of the Year for the best eligible greyhound(s) based on performances in races conducted over less than 570 metres during the racing year and Stayer of the Year, which recognises the best eligible greyhound(s) based on their performances in races conducted over 570 metres or more during the racing year.
The GOTY Awards are open to any greyhound, including International or interstate owned or bred greyhounds, that have been domiciled in the State of Victoria for a period of not less than four consecutive calendar months during the year of the award.
In selecting a greyhound for a GOTY Award, the GOTY voting panel will consider the greyhound’s racing performances on Australian racetracks only for the year.