Darren’s Sovereign hat-trick

\"\"Caption: Catcher Nicole Connell with the Darren Russell-trained chaser Hondo Herrera, winner of last month\’s Col Harris Gold Sovereign (630m) at Ipswich, with Susan Harris (left) and Debbie Leagh-Murray (right). Photo: Just Greyhound Photos.

Ipswich news by MIKE HILL

INNISPLAIN trainer Darren Russell is making the $7875 Col Harris Gold Sovereign (630m) at Ipswich his own.

Russell landed the hat-trick when Hondo Herrera led all the way for an impressive win in the $5250-to-the-winner feature last month.

He had led in the previous two Gold Sovereign winners – Bago Bluff in 2019 and Javens last year.

The astute trainer, who has 16 dogs in work, said he hadn\’t set Hondo Herrera for the race but admitted it was a very good win.

\”It was just good timing,\” he said.

\”I\’d just started stepping him up to the 600m and the timing of the race was good for this dog.

\”I\’ve been experimenting a bit with him and it seems to be working.\”

Hondo Herrera (Fernando Bale-Maya Herrera) bounced quickly from the squeeze box five and opened up a commanding lead – an advantage he never relinquished.

The Russell-prepared chaser , a $4.60 chance, beat Paul McIlveen\’s Bad And Boujee ($10) by four and a quarter lengths with the Jamie Hosking-trained Waltzing Mickey ($15) another length back third.

The winner clocked 37.46s and although he\’s improved in each of his four runs over the 630m journey, Russell admitted his run home time was still a bit slow.

\”He\’s about three-to-four lengths off the smart middle distance runners,\” he said.

\”He\’s got strength over 600m but the 630m trip does test time and he won\’t run 700m.\”

The victory boosted Hondo Herrera\’s record to six wins and eight placings from 26 starts and lifted his earnings to just over $28,000.

\”He\’s a good average dog but not brilliant early over 520m, and I felt the step up to 600m would help  boost his confidence,\” said Russell.

\”I was always confident he\’d handle the extra distance.

\”He\’s starting to learn what it\’s all about.

\”He\’s by Fernando Bale … the Fernando Bales are either brilliant or they take time to develop.\”

Russell said Hondo Herrera was in the second group \’but he\’s progressing nicely\’.

\”He\’ll have a few more goes over 600m and then I\’ll give him a freshen up for some 520m runs,\” the trainer said.

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MEANWHILE, Susan Harris is super proud of her family\’s long association with greyhound racing.

\”We are probably the only family in Australia with an unbroken line of trainers going back more than a century,\” said the Greenbank-based trainer.

\”We have had greyhound trainers in every generation since the 1890s.

\”And our connection with the sport goes back even further in England and Ireland.\”

Harris represented her family  at the presentation of the Col Harris Memorial Gold Sovereign Final (630m) at Ipswich last month held in honour of her uncle.

It\’s one of several feature events the Campbell-Harris family is associated with in south-east Queensland.

Capalaba Greyhound Racing Club puts on a race each April in honour of her father, Billy Harris, who died in 2019.

The other big feature is the annual Molly Campbell Memorial Silver Dollars run over 520m at Albion Park – named in honour of Harris\’s grandmother and founder of the Queensland Greyhound Form Guide.

\”That race began as the Molly Campbell Silver Collar for maiden bitches at Capalaba in the early 1970s, finishing in the mid-1990s before being relaunched as the Molly Campbell Silver Dollars at Albion Park in 1997,\” Susan said.

(The last winner of the Capalaba Silver Collar was the Dennis Reid-trained sprinter Needles And Pins.)

\”Combined, the Molly Campbell has been going for almost 50 years.

\”My grandmother started the Queensland Greyhound Form Guide in 1967 in the front room of her Brisbane home, eventually moving to Stanley Street, East Brisbane, a stone\’s throw away from the Gabba, with her four sons – Billy (Susan\’s dad), Col, Joe and Louis – all helping with its production.

\”It was a real family affair.

\”I worked there for nine years after leaving school until it closed in 2000.

\”Over the years we also printed greyhound newspapers and magazines.

\”My grandmother Molly\’s family, who arrived in South Australia in the late 1890s, came from Ireland where they had raced coursing dogs from the 1600s, while dad\’s father\’s side of the family came from Yorkshire and Staffordshire in England and had been racing and coursing dogs from the 1700s.

\”My great-great-grand father William Harris had raced greyhounds in the Gornal region of Staffordshire, with reports saying he had a good coursing dog called Gornal Flyer.

\”He also bred hunting horses for the Royal Family, and my great-grandfather James Harris raced dogs at the first-ever greyhound meeting in Sydney in 1927.

\”His son William Edward \’Ted\’, my grandfather, also raced dogs in the 1940s and 50s, until his death in 1962.

\”Ted and Molly (Campbell) had met in Sydney in the early 40s during the war before moving to Brisbane.

\”Sons William Edward \’Billy\’ (my dad), and Colin, Joe and Louis also trained and helped out, even their sisters Olivetta and Erin helped with the dogs.

\”It was a real family thing.\”

Susan has continued the training tradition and currently has 11 dogs in work.

She said the Harris family, including Molly, was the first family to be inducted into the Queensland Greyhound Hall Of Fame in 2010 for services to the industry.

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GREENBANK-based trainer Brad Woods had his \’best night of the year by far\’ at Ipswich last month.

Woods, who has been  training for 35 years, took four runners to the Saturday night meeting and returned home with three winners – litter mates Flight To Mars and Oh So Bro (My Bro Fabio-Tarmac Black) and half brother Septimo (Oaks Road-Tarmac Black).

Flight To Mars, an $11 chance, and $1.80 favourite Oh So Bro won 520m novices, while Septimo was successful in the 431m fifth grade.

It wasn\’t the first time the trainer had landed multiple winners.

\”I\’ve had four winners a couple of times but that was a few years back,\” he said.

\”I had a four at a Wednesday meeting at Albion Park and also at  Beenleigh – that was a long time ago.

\”I\’ve also had a few trebles over the years.\”

The Ipswich success came as a \’a bit of a change\’ for Woods, who\’s experienced a lean year, although he did admit he had gone to the meeting feeling confident.

\”I honestly thought I could win three,\” he said.

\”And it\’s my best training effort this year, by far and away.\”

Woods, who has nine dogs in work, said although Flight To Mars was having her first run over 520m he thought the bitch had a good chance of victory.

\”She\’s had no luck in recent runs over 431m at Ipswich and with the straight start (520m) I thought she could jump to the front.

\”I just had to hope she could stay in front … and she did.\”

He said Oh So Bro was drawn (box one) to win.

However, the favourite looked anything but a \’cert\’ on the corner before lifting  late for a courageous victory.

\”They\’re average dogs but they\’ll win a few more races and the fact they can run 500 is a bonus,\” Woods said.

And he was extra pleased with Septimo\’s victory, which took the dog\’s record to 14 wins and 15 placings from 50 starts and almost $24,000 in prizemoney.

He said the black sprinter had put in \’two real good runs\’ leading up to the win.

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