Coursing royalty descends upon Longwood as the 148th Waterloo Cup series kicks off on Sunday.
It will indeed be a ‘Battle of Waterloo’ as 64 entrants – including defending champion Making Gravy (pictured above) – start their chase for coursing’s time-honoured ‘Holy Grail’.
Making Gravy has “had a few issues”, according to Stanhope trainer Adele Powell, but he’s not ‘going off the deep end’ if you’ll excuse the pun.
In fact, it’s quite the contrary as Powell adds “I’m pretty confident I’ve got him 100 per cent”.
“He trialled at Healesville on Tuesday and it’s the best he’s ever gone. He pulled up a treat and is ready to go!”
Incredibly, late in June, Making Gravy sustained an undetected stomach muscle tear in the early rounds of the Longwood Cup. But he still managed to finish runner-up to Nangkari who had taken out the Benalla Cup a week earlier.
Making Gravy then resumed on his fourth birthday, finishing runner-up in the Western Saws Cup – also at Longwood – to All Inn Billy on August 1.
Owned by Vicki Prest of Young in NSW, a close friend of Adele’s for over 30 years, Making Gravy was duly rewarded for his gallant efforts.
“He’s well over his McDonald’s chicken nuggets and Woolworths cake he got on the way home for his birthday,” Adele quipped.
“He’s a typical coursing dog, so laid-back. Nothing bothers him, he goes with the flow.”
But now the serious business begins as Making Gravy attempts to retain his Waterloo Cup ‘crown’.
He’s engaged in Event 1 and pitted in the first round against Blackpool Bolt, an accomplished sprinter on the ‘circle’ (13 from 53) making his coursing debut.
Elated National Coursing Association of Victoria joint secretary Sean Lithgow said this year’s Waterloo Cup series had attracted the first full field (64 entrants) since 2012.
“It just goes to show how popular and well-supported coursing has become,” he said. “It’s great to be getting such high participation rates.
“I’ve been involved in coursing for 10 years and in that time, this would be the hardest year on paper to win the Waterloo Cup.”
And Lithgow suggested the following matchups would be worth going a ‘long way to Longwood’ to see:
Custom Roof (QF – Ray Boundy Memorial) v Dream Wizard (2020 WON – Victorian Derby)
Nine Nine (RUP – Victorian Oaks Consolation) v Sambar Chief (2021 WON – Victorian Derby)
Kasemi (WON – Gippsland Cup) v Mr. Football (RUP – Victorian Derby)
Rothwell Prince (WON – Bert Clark Memorial) v Utah Ghost (9 from 23; Won Victorian Straight Track Championship – Healesville)
Thunder Strike (S/F – State of Origin) v All In Billy (WON – Western Saws Cup)
Lalina (13 from 23) v Udeyan Bale (6 from 32)
Gotham Baroness (WON – Victorian Oaks Consolation) v Uncle’s Girl WON – Gary Brett Memorial)
Three rounds will be conducted this week, with the Event 1-8 winners progressing to the quarter-finals next Sunday.