• Saturday, 17 Jul, 2021,
  • by Victoria Shaw

Coursing fit for a Prince

Rothwell Prince’s back-to-back wins at The Meadows in June were dispersed by two coursing appearances, including victory in the Bert Clark Memorial at Longwood over the promising St. Marys Panda.

This proved a welcome turning point for the son of Unlawful Entry, who extended his winning streak to three when victorious at Sandown Park last Sunday.

Rothwell Prince endured some misdemeanors on the racetrack including receiving a ticket for failing to chase before he joined Phil Smith’s Pascoe Vale South team, and his record now stands at six wins from 17 starts.

“Coursing really did give Rothwell Prince a bit more of an ‘edge’ to his chasing, as he does have untapped ability, and I think that he’s starting his races a lot better now,” Smith explained.

Rothwell Prince’s June 30 victory at The Meadows occurred on an important milestone date for Smith, a longtime greyhound racing enthusiast, as he renewed his training licence on the same date in 2012.

Rewind the clock further to the late nineties and and Smith was preparing prolific winning stayer Ringside Fire (Fire Cape x Pretty Pretty), who amassed 28 wins from 82 starts and earned $168,000 in prize money.

Ringside Fire was rated the best stayer in Australia at that time and was crowned the Victorian Greyhound of The Year in 1997.

It is interesting to note that Ringside Fire’s total stakes earnings were not far off the cost of an average family home back then, and that Philip had only been licensed as a greyhound trainer for two years before his star performer received the wonderful accolade.

“Coursing really did give Rothwell Prince a bit more of an ‘edge’ to his chasing, as he does have untapped ability.”

Philip’s first experience as an owner stretches as far back to 1986 with Tempix Sue, while in more recent times he won the coveted 2017 Temora Cup with To The Galo’s.

Smith also trained the triple country cups finalist and 2016 Warragul Cup winner To The Galo’s throughout parts of his career.

In an interesting turn of events, Rothwell Prince’s sire, Unlawful Entry, ‘dead-heated’ for third with To The Galo’s in the G2 Warrnambool Cup.

Philip’s beginnings in the greyhound racing world stem back to an often fondly referred-to venue, Olympic Park.

In the late 1960s with Philip attending the hallowed racing circuit with his dad during school holidays, he would run up to the bookies ring and report back to his father with the betting fluctuations. Today, as a family man with three kennels and his own sign writing business, greyhound training is not the only mentoring opportunity that Philip has taken on.

Phil is a local junior footy club President, so he clearly enjoys getting the best out of greyhounds on the track and encouraging children on the football field as well.

And, when speaking with Philip, you can’t help but notice the calming presence in his voice, that no doubt transfers well to both young footballers and animals under his supportive guidance.

Ringside Fire, according to Philip, “was a give-away, when I first got hold of him, but I managed to turn him around.”

WATCH: Rothwell Prince (2) makes it three on end in town with a narrow middle-distance victory at Sandown last Sunday.

Additionally, Philip mentioned: “Eight Ball (G3 Bill Collins Speed Star finalist) was another success story that I worked with, and the penny finally dropped for him.  As for his half-brother Rothwell Prince, I won’t be ruling out the Waterloo Cup, as he really is a work in progress. He is such a beautifully natured dog as well.  So, he is going to be a huge hit at GAP, because whoever has the good fortune to adopt him, will fall in love with him.”

However, Rothwell Prince’s mellow disposition on the race track is something that Philip is determined to turn around, with the greyhound’s coursing appearances intended to bring out his competitiveness.

“It might sound silly but if Rothwell Prince trialled against a Free for All greyhound, he would probably run within a length of them.”

“(but) if I trialled him against a maiden, he might win by a length in a slow time.”

“The problem is Rothwell Prince is too friendly, which is really why I went coursing with him.”

“But, at the moment Rothwell Prince is a race dog, and there is no question about it – he loves his racing!  You never know, the penny could drop in the Waterloo Cup, one of Australia’s oldest sporting events.”

The Waterloo Cup is coursing’s holy grail, and it will undergo a new format in 2021, running across consecutive Sundays (15 + 22 August) as opposed to back-to-back days.

Victoria ShawVictoria Shaw

Victoria Shaw

Australia’s only female race caller and the only woman in the world to have broadcast four codes of racing in this country and overseas. Victoria has co-hosted international racing awards and hosted racing forums focusing on women’s inclusion within international racing communities including Poland, Morocco, Spain & the United Arab Emirates. She has called races on the Victorian thoroughbred picnic circuit and at numerous greyhound tracks around the state as well as the 2020 Waterloo Cup. Victoria is fascinated by the incredible efforts of racing animals as well as the people that love and prepare them, no matter where they are in the world.

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