Breeding: SIRE: Brother Fox DAM: La Paz
Whelped : 18/10/1989
Trainer : Garry Ball
Owners : Helen Gorman, Garry Ball, Eric Baulch
Career Race Record : 53 starts, 28 wins, 17 placings
Career Prizemoney : $180,700
- Winner 1992 Group 1 Australian Cup
- Winner 1992 Group 3 Cranbourne Cup
- Winner 1993 Group 1 Australian Cup
The Group 1 Australian Cup is one of the most sought after greyhound events in this country and in 50 years of this great race only China Trip has been successful on more than one occasion.What makes this feat even more remarkable is that China Trip’s second Australian Cup win came after spending six months on the sidelines with a broken hock, an injury that has ended the careers of many racing greyhounds.
“In July 1992, a few months after she won her first Australian Cup we took China Trip to Queensland for the Gold Coast Cup series. She was four or five lengths in front in her heat and would have won it easily except she broke her hock during the run [and finished 2nd]. We were devastated and didn’t know if she’d ever race again”, said part-owner Helen Gorman.
China Trip was Helen’s first greyhound, and she and trainer Garry Ball were prepared to do whatever it took to nurse her back to full health. “She was part of the family and almost like a child to me. We drove her up to Queensland to have her operated on which cost us $2,000. She had three screws inserted into her hock and had six months off racing”, she said.
A faultless beginner who “led in virtually every race she ever contested”, China Trip had lost none of her zip on return to the racetrack. In January 1993, in her first start back from her long layoff, China Trip recorded the quickest of her 11 career wins at Olympic Park, scorching the track in 29.68sec, the fastest time of the night over the popular 511 metres.
China Trip’s next run came a fortnight later in an Australian Cup Qualifying trial, which she won before taking out a heat and semi-final of the series in the week’s to follow. So with four wins from as many starts under her belt going into the 2003 Australian Cup final, the defending champion was instilled the favourite at 5/4 [$2.25], ahead of the Graeme Bate-trained superstar Bomber Gleeson at $3.00. Bomber Gleeson was looking to avenge his 3rd placing behind China Trip in the 2002 Australian Cup.
However China Trip reigned supreme once again, jumping to the lead before holding out True To Do [$10.00] by a head, with Bomber Gleeson again having to settle for the minor prize. “I remember China Trip being drawn in box six and I was watching the race from behind the boxes. It looked to me as if True To Do had caught her and won the race, but [former AFL champion] Tony Lockett was in my vicinity and he said to me “she’s won”. He was right and it was so surreal and felt like a dream because no other dog had done it [won two Australian Cups] before”, Gorman said proudly.
Tragically, China Trip broke her hock a second time in June 1993 and missed another five months of racing. But another amazing recovery saw her return to the track for four wins and three placings from seven starts before finishing sixth in her last ever race start, a semi-final of the 2004 Australian Cup. This took her overall career statistics to 47 starts for 22 wins and 16 minor placings.
With her racing career over China Trip soon became a mum with renowned greyhound businessman Ray Borda purchasing every pup from her first three litters which included some handy performers, the best of which being Brookside Doll [49 starts for 19 wins]. Incidentally, Gorman’s involvement in greyhound racing came about through a friend who owned China Trip’s dam, La Paz.
“A friend of mine owned La Paz and she invited me to be involved in breeding a litter with her. So we took her to the best sire of the time, Brother Fox, who was located in Dubbo [NSW]. We decided to keep three pups, including China Trip, who was the only fawn one in the litter”, Gorman said.
“She was quite timid which was a bit of concern, but she broke-in very well and kept trialling faster and faster. She came out and won her first start by 22 lengths at Albury.” While admitting that her dad was initially disappointed when Gorman told him she was going to pursue a her interest in greyhounds, China Trip’s success soon changed his outlook and “my whole family got involved.”
“She spent many nights sleeping on the end of my bed and we would walk her at 6am each day through the streets of Moonee Ponds. I remember her being quite scared of trams”, Gorman said.Never one to get excited about anything, China Trip was known as “Happy”, a name given to her in jest by Gorman. And happiness is what China Trip brought to Gorman through her feats on the racetrack, particularly at Australian Cup time.