The National Coursing Association of Victoria staged their annual awards at Sandown Park for the year 2020, on Thursday night. And, despite several turbulent times, coursing continues to deliver a vital component to the preparation of racing greyhounds, for both industry participants, and their animals alike.
As the broadcaster for several coursing meetings, including the 2020 Waterloo Cup at Lang Lang, I had the great fortune to witness many wonderful achievements during the season, and catch up with some of the delighted award winners as well.
The 2020 Coursing Award winners are:
2020 COURSING GREYHOUND OF THE YEAR – MAKING GRAVY (27points)
(Black Bear Lee x Bit Classy) Bred by Vicki Prest and trained by Adele Powell.
Making Gravy completed a dream debut season winning the 2020 Waterloo Cup. Beginning the season with a win in the Slip to Boxes at Longwood before his only defeat in a one win limit event at Longwood. Once he saw the drag lure at Lang Lang, which according to Adele Powell “he was brought up with”, Making Gravy went to another level. Winning an All Aged Event on August 16, before beating a very classy field to win the Waterloo Cup, two weeks later.
2020 COURSING BITCH OF THE YEAR – JULANA & GOTHAM PRINCESS (16 points)
In an even year for the girls, we saw a rare tie for Bitch of the Year between Julana and Gotham Princess. Julana (Dyna Double One x Chelabella) bred by Robyn Massina and trained by Dallas Masina won a Maiden and a One Win Limit event at Longwood before taking out the Karen Leek Memorial feature for veteran greyhounds on the Waterloo Cup weekend.
Gotham Princess (Walk Hard x Gotham Queen) began the year by winning the Larmax Trading Puppy Event at Lang Lang before continuing her love affair with Lang Lang by taking out the Sylvester Doyle Puppy Classic.
2020 COURSING OWNER OF THE YEAR – SMKN SYNDICATE (14 points)
The SMKN Syndicate includes: Sean and Melanie Lithgow, Kerryn Maynes, Denise Maynes and Nicole Riseley. In addition to having had the incredible experience of owning former star coursing bitch Gotham Queen, the syndicate have watched the run of success continue with the next generation. Gotham Queen’s litter to Walk Hard, produced this year’s Derby winner – Dream Wizard and the Sylvester Doyle Puppy Classic winner, Gotham Princess.
Upon accepting the award for the SMKN Syndicate, Kerryn Maynes said “It is an amazing award that is just indicative of the training methods of Sean and Melanie Lithgow.” “They have done so much, and they care for their dogs, so the members of the syndicate are very proud to receive this award.” “Particularly so in a year struck by Covid-19.” “The volunteers and the association have kept coursing going, in the most challenging circumstances and coursing is growing thanks to their efforts.” “ I love coursing and am very proud to receive this award.” Kerryn Maynes on behalf of the SMKN Syndicate.
2020 TRAINER OF THE YEAR – JOHN BOSNICH & BRIAN FOTHERGILL (15 points)
Testimony to a being a very even year, another tie with Brian the “King of Coursing” as he is affectionately known, having a very strong year with Tigerfish Fozz and Barracuda Fozz leading the way as well as great assistance from Brian’s daughter – Sarah making sure all their greyhounds looked a ‘million dollars’!
John Bosnich, a relative newcomer to the sport, was extremely hard to beat at Lang Lang where his team raced primarily. Always perfectly prepared, John’s team included Rear View Mirror amongst others and will no doubt be a trainer to watch next year.
BEST FIRST YEAR COURSING TRAINER FOR 2020 – Aaron Campbell (6 points)
Aaron Campbell had an impressive debut season under the tutelage of Gerry O’Keeffe. Led by his eye-catching speedster – Zipping Atticus, Aaron’s team were super competitive with some great support from his 14 year old daughter Elloise, and they will certainly be back coursing next season.
Aaron was truly moved by his award and added “ Winning the award means a lot to me, and as well the recognition of having a bit of success.” “Getting some positive feedback is always a fantastic reward for effort.” “I am looking forward to the upcoming season and will bring back Zipping Atticus for another campaign at the Waterloo Cup if he is sound.” “ I have also picked up a lovely dog from David Geall – Morticia.” “She is a little bit quirky in her circle track racing where she runs wide into the straight, so I think the format of coursing will benefit her a lot, she has a fair bit of pace early so I would anticipate her to be very competitive.”
2020 NOEL BANKS MEDALLIST – SUE DELANEY
The Coveted Noel Banks Medal, is an award for outstanding and continuous volunteer service to the coursing industry and longstanding coursing devotee, Sue Delaney is truly a worthy recipient. Sue’s efforts have contributed to the continuation of coursing, not only in one of the most difficult years in Australian sport (thanks to the current pandemic), but also ensuring the sports ongoing future as well.
In summary, the 2020 Victorian greyhound coursing season was a roaring success, irrespective of unforseen difficulties that continue to affect the entire world. Full credit and sincere thanks to the NCAV Executive and Committee, all volunteers, clubs and sponsors who continue to support and ensure greyhound coursing in our state, is more than the very foundation of our modern day sport, but a key part of greyhound racing’s future as well.
As we look ahead to the next coursing season with great anticipation, some insightful comments below, for those of you that have not had the opportunity to experience the impact that coursing can have, on racing greyhounds at any level. Sean Lithgow, trainer of Dream Wizard who has now contested two Group 2 events after the 2020 coursing season added “ Coursing has been essential.” “Dream Wizard has always been very talented, but lacked a little bit in his ability to focus.” “We have done some re education work with Dream Wizard at Rising Star Kennels, as well as coursing which really switched him on.” “ He did get used to being bumped around a little bit and that helped him build his confidence to run through a field and now he is matching it with the big guns, and he feels he is at home with them.” “We can really thank coursing in part for the improvement that we have seen in him.”
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