Victorian star Tiggerlong Tonk finally broke his Group 1 hoodoo with a thrilling last-gasp victory in the Sky Racing Perth Cup Final (520m) at Cannington on Saturday night.
It was Tiggerlong Tonk’s tenth appearance in a G1 event but the wait was worth it for an emotional Correy Grenfell, with the 27-year-old Anakie trainer winning the Perth Cup for the second time in three years.
Grenfell’s 2018/19 Australian Greyhound of the Year Orson Allen also opened his G1 account when winning the 2019 Perth Cup.
“We’re relieved,” said Grenfell, moments after Tiggerlong Tonk claimed a deserved and overdue G1 triumph.
“This dog has tried so hard so it’s fantastic for this to pay off.”
Tiggerlong Tonk, a son of Dyna Double One and Tiggerlong Dot, raced by Wagga Wagga breeder Michael Finn, had run a close second in the Perth Cup Prelude and then won his Cup heat in 29.62s.
That was the second fastest qualifying performance behind local Canya Cruise’s 29.56s.
Tiggerlong Tonk’s nightmare run of G1 draws continued when he was allocated box four and Grenfell’s greatest concern was avoiding Star Book (box two) after leaving the boxes.
“He’s as quick as we’ve had. For it to finally pay off and get that Group 1 next to his name it’s just a huge thrill.”
WATCH: An emotional Correy Grenfell after TIGGERLONG TONK’s breakthrough win.
Those fears were well-founded as Tiggerlong Tonk and Star Book bumped heavily but the Victorian balanced up and moved into third behind leader Canya Cruise rounding the first corner.
Tiggerlong Tonk charged into second turning for home but appeared set for yet another G1 disappointment before a desperate late challenge saw the Victorian prevail by a half-head in 29.76s.
It was his 36th win from 75 starts, having spent the majority of his career in elite company since contesting the 2019 G1 Hobart Thousand Final at just his 17th start.
“We thought it would be a long way before this,” said Grenfell.
“He’s as quick as we’ve had. He can match it with the best and he has for a long time now.
“For it to finally pay off and get that Group 1 next to his name it’s just a huge thrill.”
Grenfell also paid tribute to Steve and Kira Withers, trainers of WA cult hero Tommy Shelby, who managed Tiggerlong Tonk’s Perth Cup campaign prior to Grenfell’s arrival on race eve.
“We can’t thank Steve and Kira enough. They’ve been a big part of this.”
Andrea Dailly’s classy stayer Sunset Bourbski was also chasing a breakthrough Group 1 victory in Perth in the Galaxy Final (715m); her fifth G1 appearance.
Sunset Bourbksi was the $4.20 second elect behind brilliant local front-runner Zack Monelli ($1.70).
Sunset Bourbski was never a winning chance as Zack Monelli was a dominant all-the-way winner in 41.54s, with Sunset Bourbski coming from last to run third, edging ex-Victorian Jayville Slick out of a podium finish.
There was another Victorian success at the meeting with stayer Rostered Off bouncing back from a luckless Galaxy heat run to take out the 715m FFA.
WATCH: TIGGERLONG TONK (4) takes out the Perth Cup over CANYA CRUISE (6).
WATCH: Local superstar ZACK MONELLI (7) wins the Group 1 Galaxy.
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