Mepunga Shine shimmers in last year’s G1 Silver Chief. Photo 📷 Clint Anderson.

  • Thursday, 15 Feb, 2024,
  • by Peter Quilty

Time to ‘Shine’

The Britton name has been synonymous with a myriad of major feature races around Australia for more than six decades.

And the Australian Cup is no exception.

Family patriarch and GRV Hall of Fame member Allan Britton – who turns 90 in May and now resides in Lakelands, the northernmost suburb of the city of Mandurah – came agonisingly close to Australian Cup glory in 1990 when runner-up with Bullion Broker.

From 1990 to 2001, he also prepared the following finalists: 1993 Dinney’s Host (4th), 1998 Mepunga Streak (8th), 1999 Reggemite (7th) and 2001 Galliano (6th).

His eldest son, Rob, ‘put things right’ winning three Australian Cups – Isa Brown (2002), Tasman Queen (2008) and Fanta Bale (2017).

He also finished third with Prankster (2010); fourth with Ravello (1991) and Coulta Lil (2008); fifth with Been Cooler (2004) and Airbourne Bale (2007); and sixth with Hey Brother (2002).

But now it’s the youngest son of Britton Snr, Jeff, who gets his time to shine.

“He’s in with a big chance if he can lead early… He’d be hard to run down if he finds the front.”

Mind you, he’s had Australian Cup finalists in Mister Harlewood (fourth in 2020) and Tyler Durden (seventh in 2021).

Jeff co-trains with partner Angela Langton, who prepared 2018 Australian Cup runner-up Hasten Slowly.

Anakie’s “Team Britton” has three semi-finalists in the Group 1 Sportsbet Australian Cup (525m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.

Their terrific triumvirate – all bred and owned by breeding legend Barry Smith, also a GRV Hall of Famer – is headed by G1 Silver Chief winner Mepunga Shine (Box 7) in Semi-final 3 (Race 7, 8.47pm).

Mepunga Shine (Feb ’22 Shima Shine x Mepunga Molly) finished third in last week’s G1 Temlee won by “next big thing” Explicit. And Explicit (Box 2) will again be his foe.

Explicit is Sportsbet’s $1.60 favourite to claim the semi-final, while Mepunga Shine is $10. Explicit ($3.50) is also the Australian Cup ‘All In’ favourite. Mepunga Shine is quoted at $26.

Mepunga Shine has notched nine wins from 17 starts and $166,985 in prizemoney. He’s three (with one second and one third) from seven, with a 29.76sec PB, over 525m at The Meadows.



“He goes well at The Meadows and he’s a good beginner,” Angela said. “He’s capable of overcoming the box draw.

“He’s in with a big chance if he can lead early. He’d be hard to run down if he finds the front.

“However, Explicit will be very hard to beat.”

Potential star Mepunga Reward (Box 7) lines up for Jeff and Angela in Semi-final 1 (Race 5, 7.59pm).

Mepunga Reward (Apr ’22 Fernando Bale x Mepunga Isla) faces his litmus test against the might of Morton (Box 2) and Alpha Zulu (Box 6).

He’s rated an $8 chance for the semi-final, while Morton is $2.70F followed by Alpha Zulu at $3.60. On the nominal chart for the series, Morton and Alpha Zulu are both on the third line of betting at $8 and Mepunga Reward is $41.

Mepunga Reward has recorded five wins from eight starts and $38,105 in stakes. He’s two (with two seconds and one third) from five, with a 29.84sec PB, at the track/distance.

“He’s a pretty smart pup and is beginning a little bit better,” Angela said. “He knows how to manoeuvre around a field for such a young dog; he’s field savvy for his age.

“His strength is his forte, he’s got the momentum to come from behind. Ideally, we would have liked the ‘inside’ but from out wide he might stay out of trouble.

“He’s as good as anything if he has a bit of luck.”

‘Team Britton’ is also represented by the classy – albeit highly underrated – Mepunga Smokey (Box 3) in Semi-final 2 (Race 6, 8.23pm).

Mepunga Smokey (Oct ’21 Barcia Bale x Mepunga Isla) – an older half-brother of Mepunga Reward – will lock horns with speedsters the calibre of Tim Zoo (Box 1) and Pass The Buck (Box 5).

WATCH: MEPUNGA SHINE (B3) “roars away” and “makes a massive statement” in the G1 Silver Chief.

He’s $10 (semi-final) and $51 (‘All In’), with Tim Zoo ($2.15F & $7.50) and Pass The Buck ($3.50 & $8) respectively.

Last year, Mepunga Smokey finished third in the G1 Adelaide Cup and G3 SA Derby and sixth in the Geelong Derby. He also won the 2023 Pink Diamond Maiden Sprinter in what was a Jeff Britton-trained trifecta.

Mepunga Smokey has registered 12 wins from 31 starts and $110,470 in prizemoney. He’s two (with four seconds) from eight, with a 29.67sec PB, at the track/distance.

“He’s got a lot of ability,” Angela said. “He’s one of the best in our kennel.

“He can be a little bit tardy at box rise, but if he can get a clear run at the first corner, he’ll be very strong and will keep coming.

“He needs the ‘rail’, so box three is a little bit of a help.”

WATCH: Jason Bonnington, Corey Smith and Mitch Ebeyer preview Week 2 of the Sportsbet Australian Cup Carnival at The Meadows. It features semi-finals of the Australian Cup and heats of the Fanta Bale Stayers.

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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