• Tuesday, 23 May, 2023,
  • by Peter Quilty

‘Britton blitz’

The friendly – albeit competitive – greyhound racing rivalry between the Britton brothers is well documented.

But add another chapter to the ‘never-ending story’ when the siblings, Robert and Jeff, face-off in the $270,500 Group 1 Sportsbet Sandown Cup final (715m) at Sandown Park on Friday night.

Elder statesman Rob will rug fastest qualifier First Picked (Box 5), while Jeff will rely on Korda (Box 4) to ‘ace’ the $175,000 first prize.

Only a ‘pimple’ separated them on respective heat wins last week – First Picked (41.74sec) and Korda (41.75sec) – so it’s surprising both are $8.50 on Sportsbet for the final.

Last year’s winner Untapped (Box 1) and NSW staying supremo Cawbourne Magic (Box 2) both head fixed odds betting at $4, followed by NSW ‘new kid on the distance block’ Zipping Orlando (Box 8) at $4.80 and Moraine Suzie (Box 3) at $5.50.

“I’d like to see her jump to the front, but she hasn’t done that for
a while.”

In the heats, Untapped finished second (beaten 0.5L) to First Picked; Moraine Suzie finished second (beaten 1.8L) to Cawbourne Magic; and Zipping Orlando finished second (beaten 3.7L) to Korda.

Rob Britton’s son, Tim, has also reached the ‘big dance’ with Dirt Farmer (Box 7).

Dirt Farmer accounted for Osprey Athena (beaten 1.2L) – trained by Jeff Britton’s partner, Angela Langton – in 42.08sec.

Sportsbet has marked Dirt Farmer an $18 chance and Osprey Athena (Box 6) at $16.

Cawbourne Magic, prepared by Andy Lord, comfortably made the ‘cut’ with a 41.81sec success in a run-off.


The Britton family’s Sandown Cup record is quite remarkable.

Rob has won SGRC’s staying flagship with champions Fanta Bale (2017) and Tornado Tears (2018). In fact, in 2018, he trifectaed the race with Tornado Tears’ litter brother Rippin’ Sam (2nd) and Quick Jagger (3rd).

Jeff came agonisingly close with runner-up True Detective in 2020. He also finished third with Tyler Durden (2021), Mepunga Tiara (2014) and Lady Moscato (2009).

Incredibly, family patriarch Allan won the race with Tonight’s Wish (1997). His daughter, Linda, saluted with Jennev (2002).

“We’ve enjoyed success as a family in the event,” Rob Britton said. “It’s been a great thing to have the right dogs at the right time.

 “But I’ve always found the Sandown Cup a hard race to win.”

Britton added that First Picked (Oct ’20 Benali x Erelda Bale) and Dirt Farmer (Jul ’20 Fernando Bale x Tears Siam) are “handy, but not in the same class as some of the stayers I’ve had in the past – like Fanta Bale and Tornado Tears”.

“The box draw also has made it difficult – it’s a horror draw in terms of what’s around them.

“They’re both good, honest dogs but a yard short of making me confident of their winning chances in the final.”

Britton thinks Untapped, trained by Dustin Drew, will lead and gives her a “great chance off the ‘red’ alley”.

And he says Cawbourne Magic and Zipping Orlando, trained by the legendary John Finn, are “quality stayers”.

“I just don’t know where First Picked will be at the halfway mark,” Britton bemoaned. “I’d like to see her jump to the front, but she hasn’t done that for a while.

“However, she runs a genuine ‘700’ as does Dirt Farmer. He’s strong to the line, but I doubt he’ll get to the front.”

As for Dirt Farmer, Britton added the pre-potent Fernando Bale x Tears Siam pedigree “has been very good to me over four successive litters – all natural stayers”.

“I think the progeny has earned over $3.5 million in prizemoney!”

WATCH: FIRST PICKED (B4) picks off 2022 Sandown Cup queen UNTAPPED (B7) in the fastest heat (41.74sec) last week.

Peter QuiltyPeter Quilty

Peter Quilty

Peter Quilty has more than three decades of experience as assistant editor of Victorian Greyhound Weekly. He was editor of GRV monthly magazine The Adviser (2001-09) and owner/publisher of Australian Greyhound Monthly. He also served on the selection panel for the inaugural GRV ‘Hall of Fame’ inductees and for several years was an adjudicator on the Victorian GOTY. He’s also published greyhound racing yearbooks and wrote the ‘Bold Trease’ video script.

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