Devonport holds fond memories for Medhurst

\"\"Caption: Ted Medhurst (centre) with Tiger Dowling and Debbie Cannan with their 2016 Devonport Cup winner Keune.

By BRENNAN RYAN

Everyone would like to have the Devonport Chase trophy on their mantelpiece, but champion trainer Ted Medhurst has a remarkable record in the feature with five memorable victories.

This November the Group 3 Ladbrokes Devonport Chase Final will be staged over the 452-metres. The heats are on November 16 with the final on November 26.

Ted won the race five times when it was run as the Devonport Cup.

“When I first came into training dogs it was the Hobart Thousand, Devonport Cup and Launceston Cup as the three main races to win and I’ve been fortunate to have won all three events,” Ted said.

“The Devonport Cup has certainly been a great race to our kennel over the years and we’ve had some real good chasers at the right time being able to pull it off and also running in the placings.”

Medhurst claimed his first Devonport Cup back in 1990 with the top-flight sprinter Blazenka’s Flyer.

“From day one Blazenka’s Flyer was destined to be a super dog,” he said. “His trials as a pup were just unheard of even before his start to racing. He was at the peak of his powers during his career.”

Bred and raced by Darryl Carey, the brindle son of Johnny’s Monaro and Lady Blazenka won 23 races.

“We had set up a private trial at Devonport in getting Blazenka’s Flyer ready to race and I organised a small field of some realy experienced dogs and back then there you had to clock your own trials,” said Ted.

“I got Tom Englund to clock it. He beat the other runners by a huge space and broke the track record then just six days later he won at Bulli.”

Blazenka’s Flyer officially broke the 452m track record at Devonport clocking a red-hot 25.59secs.

The Devonport Cup was the first of three major race wins for Blazenka’s Flyer. He also won  the 1990 Launceston Cup and 1990 Tasmanian Gold Cup before breaking down in the 1990 Hobart Thousand.

Medhurst claimed his second Devonport Cup in 2005 with Supa Instinct.

A month earlier Ted had broken through to claim his first Group 1 title with Regent Thunder in the 2004 Hobart Thousand.

The son of Trendy Leigh and Sonic Acclaim was an “iron dog” according to Ted and his stats prove that. He won 42 races from 149 starts and held the 600m track record at Launceston.

Another decade would pass before Medhurst would prepare Dark Vito to win the 2015 Devonport Cup.

The 12-time winning son of Collision and Carlita Bale was raced in partnership with Debbie Cannan and Ian Sowell. They would combine again the following year to claim the Cup again with Keune.

“Dark Vito was a brilliant chaser and was unlucky interstate when we sent him to Sydney for the National Derby Final at Wentworth Park having been checked early at the first turn,” Ted said.

“It was a tough cup final at Devonport that year, because he had to run down Senor Slamma – a brilliant dog on his his home track. We also finished third with Prescribe.”

The 2016 Devonport Cup winner Keune won 20 races from 47 starts for Ted, Debbie and Ian.

“Keune was an exceptional bitch in her career,” said Ted. “She won her first three starts, including a 25.34 juvenile win at Devonport and fell not long after.  Without a doubt she’s the best bitch I’ve trained.

“The day Keune won the cup at Devonport was a real tough performance because she missed the start that bad and still worked her way through to run down Breaker’s Tip.”

Ted created a record in 2018 when he trained his fifth Devonport Cup winner with High Treason.

Ted’s long-time friend Murray Johnson headed the Dulverton Syndicate racing the son of Barcia Bale and Cheetah Zorro to 24 wins from 79 starts. High Treason was also a finalist in the 2017 Hobart Thousand.

“Murray had been in dogs with Barry Heawood and others,” said Ted. “Winning the cup with High Treason was fantastic because Murray’s late wife (Judy) was there a few years before she passed.

“All the owners had photos with the dog while we presented Judy with the trophy – it was special.”

It was those training efforts that saw Ted inducted into the TAS Greyhound Hall of Fame in 2017.

Ted says it takes timing and a lot of luck to win the Devonport feature and is keen to win again now the club has renamed it the Devonport Chase.

“We’ve got two months ahead, so we’ll see what runners we have when the heats come around,” he said.

“It’s been a great race and I enjoy racing at Devonport. We’ve had a lot of success at the track.”

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