By Gary Clark
The Hull name in Wagga is famous within the areas of politics, business and racing.
And one of the most famous members of the family is Graeme Hull who takes pride of place at Wagga Gold Cup time each year.
Graeme Hull Smash Repairs has been well known to local racing people for decades. Graeme passed away in 2012 but the Wagga Greyhound Club has honoured the man who supported their club and sport for so long.
The Wagga Gold Cup, as it was known up to 2012, became the Ladbrokes Graeme Hull Memorial Cup in 2013. This year’s heats are on May 14 with the $25,000 final on May 21.
Graeme’s wife Kay was a former Federal Member for the Riverina and their son Darren was the former racing manager of the Wagga club and now holds that position at Bulli.
“It was a condition of dad’s that the money he provided to the club all goes into prizemoney and he stipulated strongly that was to always be the case,” said Darren.
Over the past two decades the cup has an interesting honour roll and the depth of the race has lifted in recent years as prizemoney has increased.
Back in 1998 the cup winner was Drumwood Prince who had a 93-start career for 22 wins, including two at Wentworth Park and 15 at his favourite Albury track.
The following year Gary Anesbury’s Quick Cruiser kept the locals happy with his victory. Quick Cruiser had two Wentworth Park wins among his 15 career victories.
The well-bred Jackie Fitz (Proper Tears-Wee Sal ) won the cup in the Olympic year of 2000 while in 2001 Supreme Times took the Wagga Cup at his fourth last start before retirement.
It was a female victory in 2002 when Lynette Simms won the race with Simcomm.
The 2004 winner was Creative Wish, who did most of his racing in Victoria, followed by Scrumptious in 2005, a greyhound that only had 34 starts for 10 wins at Wagga and Wangaratta.
Sydney dog Bank Manager bolted in with the cup in 2006, winning by six lengths. He won 34 races in total, including three at Wentworth Park and the Group Three Casino Cup in 2005. He also ran third in the Tweed Heads Galaxy Final and made the final of the Group Three Cessnock Cup.
And this is where the class winners started to be added to the cup’s honour roll. Lake Stunner, who won in 2007, also ran second in the Group Two Winter Stake at Wentworth Park. He was a Group finalist at Dapto, Canberra and three times at Wentworth Park.
Then in 2008 and 2009 it was the Cowra invasion of the McDonald kennel when Dana Gretel and Dana Beatrice won their cups.
The former won 16 of her 35 starts, including five at Wentworth Park, and Beatrice had 28 career wins.
In 2010 it was another winner who won the cup at the end of his career when True Kihael scored for Kim Hyde. After winning the heat by10 lengths, True Kihael had no problem taking out the final and three runs later was retired.
He had 45 starts for 25 wins, including seven at Wentworth Park.
Neil Staines won the cup with Country Rebel 12 months later and Brian Smith then won the race in 2012 with Wenzke, who also retired three starts later.
The 2013 winner was Jimmy Lane, not a dog that many would remember but his CV reads brilliantly with four wins at Sandown and The Meadows, and three at Angle Park to go with his Wagga Cup win. He finished his racing in Darwin.
The 2014 cup was put away by White Sypro who won by seven lengths then in 2015 Cosmic Prince gave the locals more cup glory.
Trained by Craig Price, Cosmic Prince was a Wagga specialist, winning 18 races at the track over all distances of 320m, 400m and 535m.
In 2016 Max Destruction took out the race before finishing his career in South Australia, winning at his last run at Angle Park in May 2017.
Another famous name from out west had success in 2017 when Paul and Pamela Braddon took the honours with Ferrero Miss (Spring Gun-Taradearra) who destroyed them by nine lengths.
Then Jack and Lorraine Roy had their time on the presentation dais after Gunshot Ridge won the 2018 Cup.
And the last Cup winner to date was in 2019 when Good Odds Buddy (Collision-Solar Pak) showed his brother (Harada) that he too could win a feature race by giving the opposition a lesson in a six lengths victory.
‘Buddy’ had a good career, winning five at Wentworth Park, finishing third in the Million Dollar Chase Regional Final at Goulburn and was retired after his Goulburn Cup heat defeat later that year.
One ‘botherly love’ victory ‘Buddy’ was able to have over Harada was in their very first start in a Qualifier at Richmond.
And that brings the Wagga Club to 2021 after having to cancel last year to the Covid-19 virus outbreak.
It’s been an interesting past two decades and there is something special awaiting the big night later this month when the 2021 winner will be crowned.