There’s an undeniable union within Warrnambool’s greyhound racing fraternity.
And that ‘unbreakable bond’ is never more evident as the Group 1 Bold Trease final (715m) – one of the sport’s premier staying events – approaches at Sandown Park on Friday night.
The Bold Trease is named in honour of the “Warrnambool Warrior” who won four consecutive Sandown Cups (1986-89).
His last-to-first racing style brought thousands through the turnstiles. He not only captured the imagination of the people within the game, but also the recognition of the general public at large.
Bold Trease lost a battle with bone cancer on July 24, 1991. He is now appropriately commemorated with a monument at the McCullagh property.
Norm McCullagh, Untapped, Aimee Drew and Dustin Drew’s daughter Evie, 7, encircled by Bold Trease’s four Sandown Cups.
Fittingly, there’s a strong Warrnambool connection for this year’s $105,000 to-the-winner Bold Trease.
In fact, Aimee visited Norm and Barbara McCullagh on Monday and laid a red rose at Bold Trease’s memorial.
“She (Untapped) is in Box 1 – the ‘red’ alley – hence the red rose,” Aimee said. “If anyone can get her across the line, it’s the spirit of Bold Trease.
“We also wanted to do something for Norm and his wife Barb. We respect the race’s significance and what Bold Trease achieved.
“Norm has helped us immensely and he allows us to use his straight track. He’s 81 but still goes to work every day, running an automotive business in town.”
Aimee and Dustin lost their father – and life mentor – Ray on October 14. The highly respected Warrnambool greyhound racing identity sadly passed away after a 10-month battle with liver cancer, aged 73.
“I grew up watching Bold Trease trial and race, so it means so much to me. This is the race I had on my calendar – I love staying racing.”
“We want to keep dad’s name and memory alive, and he’d be very proud of Dustin,” Aimee said. “Mum (Janice) and I are also thrilled.
“Dustin has prepped Untapped a long time for this. He’s shown a lot of patience and perseverance and spends more time with the dogs than with his partner Louise and seven-year-old daughter Evie.”
Amazingly, race favourite Mepunga Ruby (Box 3) is bred and owned by Mepunga East legend Barry Smith.
“I can recall her, she had a white tip on her tail,” Smith quipped. “I kept two from the litter, including Mepunga Warrior, but Mepunga Ruby was specifically kept for breeding.”
Smith added: “It means a hell of a lot to me. Bold Trease is a legend in Warrnambool and Norm McCullagh is a close friend of mine.
“If either Mepunga Ruby or Untapped were lucky enough to win, it would be great for the Warrnambool community; it would give a lot of local people a buzz.
Group 1 BOLD TREASE FINAL (715m)
Sandown Park, Friday 8:12pm – First prize $105,000
1 UNTAPPED (Dustin Drew, Dennington VIC)
2 KENNY THE BRUTE (Kel Greenough, Pearcedale VIC)
3 MEPUNGA RUBY (Jeff Britton, Anakie VIC)
4 RUN LIKE JESS (Robert Camilleri, Lara VIC)
5 KNICKS BALE (Samantha Grenfell, Anakie, VIC)
6 GYPSY WYONG (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
7 LINE OF QUALITY (Darryl Thomas, Sawyers Gully NSW)
8 DRAKO BALE (Andrea Dailly, Anakie VIC)
9 STANLEY ROAD (Mark Gatt, Thirlmere NSW) SCRATCHED
10 NIKEPHOROS (Tim Britton, Lara VIC)
Click HERE for TAB’s latest Bold Trease Final market
A painting of the “Warrnambool Warrior” hangs proudly in Norm McCullagh’s kennel complex.
“In fact, I texted Dustin the moment Untapped won her heat last week.”
According to Aimee, Smith has given Dustin a lot of advice over the years.
“Barry would be happy for us if Untapped won, and we’d be over the moon for him if it was Mepunga Ruby,” she said.
“Untapped is our first Group 1 finalist… It’s unbelievable as we’re only a small operation,” Robert said.
“I grew up watching Bold Trease trial and race, so it means so much to me. This is the race I had on my calendar – I love staying racing.
“Barry gave us Mepunga Fame to set us up in breeding. What he’s done for us can’t be described. We’re now rubbing shoulders with the best of the best.
WATCH: Distance debutante Untapped (6) shocks some star stayers with a G1 Bold Trease heat win.
“If Untapped won, it would mean so much as we’ve set ourselves up as ‘Moonlight Kennels’ which would increase our profile in the industry.
“But we’re in it more for enjoyment than money.”
The Gores combine their greyhound breeding passion with jobs: Robert for the City Council at the saleyards and Linda for OzChild – both in Warrnambool.
Untapped – a ‘graduate’ from the 2019 National Greyhound Draft – is raced by ‘Team Borda’ comprising around 50 part-owners including Warrnambool GRC stalwart Lorraine Finn.
Lorraine voluntarily runs the track’s ‘shop’ at every meeting and during trial sessions.
(Fastest to slowest):
- 41.63sec Mepunga Ruby
- 41.72sec Line Of Quality
- 41.83sec Untapped
- 42.13sec Knicks Bale
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