Superstar Shima Shine shone brightest in the inaugural Pink Diamond Champion Sprinter Final (500m) at Bendigo on Friday night, dominating an all-star cast to claim the $75,000 winner’s purse for trainer Andrea Dailly and owner/breeders David Gleeson and Bob Cummings.
The victory took the dual Group 1 winner’s earnings past $700,000, while Gleeson heaped praise on the Pink Diamond concept as he and great friend Cummings also pocketed an $11,250 breeder’s bonus.
“Fantastic. He did what we wanted him to do and he was just too good for them,” a delighted Gleeson told Jason Adams.
“I think it’s the greatest incentive that I’ve seen come from Victorian greyhound racing, this Pink Diamond series, and whoever thought up the idea has done a fantastic job.
“I’m absolutely thrilled and Bob Cummings will be just as thrilled to win such an event.
“Without my mate Bob Cummings I wouldn’t have any dogs at all. Bob and I have been a partnership in breeding dogs now for 40 years and in that time we’ve had some great times but this dog is the culmination of all our efforts and he thrills us to bits.”
Shima Shine (Barcia Bale x Shima Song) qualified through the Ballarat 450m heats and was making his first appearance over 500m at Bendigo, having won two from three over 425m, the defeat being a third in last year’s G2 Cup.
Drawn in box one, Shima Shine started $2 favourite, ahead of boom youngster Aston Rupee (box 2) at $3.20 and Catch The Thief (box 3) at $6.40, with the class trio the only finalists at single figures.
Handler Korie Heinrich, trainer Andrea Dailly’s daughter, expressed pre-race concerns about the inside draw on the bend start, but she needn’t have worried as Shima Shine began sweetly to lead and he held the brave Aston Rupee at bay, scoring by 1.19 lengths in a fast 27.74sec.
“It didn’t matter whatsoever,” said Heinrich.
“I was happy (when he led) but Aston Rupee is a jet as well, so with anything like that sitting on your tail you’ve got a little bit of doubt.”
Shima Shine has now won 36 of his 61 starts and in great news for greyhound racing fans and not so good news for rival trainers, Gleeson said there are no plans for retirement, quipping to Jason Thompson, trainer of third-placed Catch The Thief, that “he hasn’t turned six yet!”
“We breed them to race them and why not race them when they’re fit and strong and performing like this dog can,” said Gleeson.
🥇 SHIMA SHINE (Andrea Dailly / Davrob Syn)
🥈 ASTON RUPEE (Glenn Rounds / Ray Borda)
🥉 CATCH THE THIEF (Jason Thompson / Des Dooley)
WATCH: Shima Shine (1) stepped well and warded off early pressure from Hazey Roy (8) before holding Aston Rupee (2) at bay in the $120K #PinkDiamond Sprinter Final.
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