Bathurst Cup just gets better

\"\"Caption: The Bathurst track back in 1951. The Cup has flourished in recent years since gaining Group status.

By GARY CLARK

THE last 11 years has seen the Bathurst Cup really develop into a class Group Three race and with $25,000 again awaiting the winner next month the event is sure to attract another quality line-up.

The increase in prizemoney and elevation to  Group status lifted the quality of the race and in recent times three Group-class chasers have put their names on the honour roll.

Back in 2009 and 2010, Dana Beatrice for Rodney McDonald won successive cups, running 30.07 and then 29.81 a year later.

Dana Beatrice was the winner of 28 races from 65 starts and amassed a total of $251,000 in prizemoney.

Yass trainer Neil Staines took out the race in 2011 with Retro Zarr before Ray Smith’s Irinka Luka won in 2012.

Irinka Luka established a fine overall career record, winning 23 races from 52 starts and finished his career in the 2013 Goulburn Cup when fifth behind Knocka’s Return.

Mystical Eagle (2013) and Zipping Tess (2014) were followed by the very good bitch Are Jai Que who did the job in 2015 for Michael Clayton.

The bitch had a short career with just 32 starts for 19 wins and recorded 29.76 in her Bathurst Cup win as the winners started to get faster on the clock. She has now turned out to be a very successful brood bitch.

Then the class acts of the track started to dominate the race with Falcon’s Fury, a prolific Group finalist for Paul and Pamela Braddon, taking out the race in 2017.

The dog won 26 races from 49 starts and just two weeks after winning the Bathurst Cup won the Group Two Bulli Gold Cup and then the Dubbo Cup the following month.

He also made the final of the Maitland Cup and was again a finalist in the 2018 Bathurst Cup, but this time finished at the tail of the field.

He collected $130,000 in prizemoney in his career and would be one of the best sprinters to come out of the Braddon kennel.

In 2018 a bitch named Miss Splendamiro started her career in NSW with trainer Hank Vanderburg and he prepared her to win the Bathurst Cup that year in 29.40, clearly faster than previous winners.

She had been a finalist in the Gosford Cup two months earlier and later switched kennels to Victorian trainer David Geal.

The bitch then ran fifth in the Golden Easter Egg that year before peak performances at the top level when runner-up in the Melbourne Cup and third in the Brisbane Cup.

She won 33 races from 66 starts and collected $227,000 in prizemoney.

A year later in 2019 the western districts trainers continued their good fortune in the race after McDonald and Braddon when Dubbo trainer Charmaine Roberts took the Group Three event with Caitlyn Keeping.

Charmaine is well known for her ‘Keeping’ greyhounds and after Caitlyn Keeping won the Bathurst Cup she went on to win the Black Top at Newcastle before making the final of the Group One Paws Of Thunder, but she fell in running.

And last year’s winner was again from Dubbo when the Dennis Barnes-trained Nangar Diva  beat a strong field, including the Million Dollar Chase winner Good Odds Harada.

Prior to her Bathurst Cup win she was a finalist in the Group Three Flying Amy Classic at Albion Park and won the Temora Cup.

Nangar Diva raced some high-quality chasers during her career and kept up the amazing standard that has developed in this race.

Bathurst, like many NSW clubs, has gone from a grass country track to a loam TAB track and built their feature races through strong sponsorship over the years.

So, this year we wait to see who will venture out west and join a growing list of Group chasers to be associated with the Bathurst Cup.

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