Darwin track ‘cherry ripe’ for big Cups

\"\"CAPTION: Leading Queensland trainer Tom Tzouvelis has had tremendous success during his previous visits to the Top End, including landing the 2017 Darwin Cup with Off And On, pictured above winning a race at Albion Park. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

By MIKE HILL

DARWIN Greyhounds racing manager Greg Aldam believes the Winnellie Park track will be \’cherry ripe\’ for this month\’s big Cups carnival following a recent upgrade.

The club was forced to reschedule both the Listed Chief Minister\’s Cup (537m) and the Group 3 Darwin Cup last month because of COVID-19 restrictions.

\”We pushed both Cups back a fortnight,\” said Aldam.

The final of the $15,000-to-the-winner Listed Chief Minister\’s Cup will now be run on Sunday, August 1, with the G3 Darwin Cup heats on Sunday, August 8, and the $25,000-to-the-winner final on Sunday, August 15.

Restrictions following a snap lockdown in the Greater Darwin area as well as Alice Springs were eased last month.

\”We had our first meeting back after the track upgrade last Sunday and although the new surface was a touch slow it raced well,\” said Aldam.

\”And it can only get better. Come Cup night I expect the track to be in super order.

\”We had a bumper crowd for our return to racing and with the large number of visitors and travellers currently in Darwin I\’m expecting huge crowds for the carnival.\”

Leading WA trainer Tim Mullany has already arrived in the Top End with his team, including runners targeting the Cup.

\”Tim\’s a great supporter of Darwin racing,\” Aldam said.

\”He likes racing here … he\’s using it as a working holiday as well as helping local trainers.\”

Aldam said top Queensland conditioner and previous Cup winner Tom Tzouvelis was working with Darwin\’s powerful Steele Bolton kennels and indications were former Darwin trainer Jamie Hosking (now based in south-east Queensland) would have a couple of dogs at the carnival.

\”And we\’re still expecting more dogs from WA and some from Victoria,\” he said.

Aldam said officials were still confident of having at least 10-15 interstate sprinters in what should be quality heats for the Cup.

Following the decision by Greyhound Clubs Australia to approve the date changes for the cups, club president Robbie Brennan said he was expecting the carnival to be \’highly successful and well supported in the current climate\’.
The Darwin Cup carnival is an annual fixture for a number of travelling trainers from Queensland and Western Australia, in particular, Brennan said.
\”We hope by making this move the trainers that make their way to Darwin can still do so,\” he said.
\”Plenty of work has been done to the track and it is in great order.

\”We are looking forward to a fantastic carnival albeit two weeks later than expected.\”

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