‘Fearless Luke’ ready for a carnival crescendo

\"\"Caption: Champion trainer Tony Brett, and ‘Team Brett’ member, Tony’s cousin Sarah Johnson, give the victory salute after Orchestrate took the honours in the Origin Sprint at Albion Park recently (Photo: Box 1 Photography)


(Group 1, $375,000)
Heats July 1, final July 8
(Group 1, $150,000)
Heats July 1, final July 8


ALBION Park chief Luke Gatehouse has defiantly dug in as the threat of COVID-19 reared its ugly head during the Queensland Winter greyhound carnival.
At a time when the dreaded plague-like disease was still hitting Victoria and New South Wales and throwing a dampener on the Albion Park spectacular, Gatehouse insisted everything will go ahead as planned – and successfully.
The Winter Carnival crescendo opens with heats of the Brisbane Cup (520m) and the Queensland Cup (710m) on July 1 with finals of the Group 1 double on July 8.
The closures, then re-openings, of interstate borders have again cast a pall over the Queensland action but Gatehouse remains defiant.
“We fear nothing at Brisbane greyhounds, we don’t even fear fear itself,” he said.
“We live with it like everyone else in society. You just have to be nimble and adapt.
“It’s an uncertain world we live in.”
Less than a fortnight before heats night, Gatehouse said interstate interest in the two Group 1 races was high.
Last year the Brisbane Cup was won by Victorian star Black Opium, although Tony Brett looked after it because Jason Thompson was locked in with border closures in place.
It was similar early this year when Brett looked after Sir Truculent for South Australian Wally Harkins and landed the Listed Gold Cup (710m).
The same night Greg Brennan rugged up Victorian Shima Shine for Victorian Angela Dailly to win the G1 Gold Bullion.
Now it is on to the winter galas and it is understood that a record number of interstate stars are here to be temporarily ‘adopted out’ to Queenslanders to chase the huge prizemoney.
Gatehouse pointed out that Brett has ‘a kennel full’ of interstate runners and the Grandchester mentor confirmed this when he said he had three from Victoria, two from South Australia, one from Sydney, one from Western Australia and one from Tasmania.
“So I reckon I’ve got nearly all the states covered,” quipped Brett, who has won the Brisbane Cup four times, his latest being back-to-back with Thirty Talks and Fast Times in 2016 and 2017.
Brett may take his Brisbane Cup tally to five as exciting youngster Orchestrate continues to gather fans. His latest starring role, victory in the Origin Sprint at Albion Park in a career-best 29.66.

Dual Million Dollar Chase trainer Peter Lagogiane (Mystic Riot and Handsome Prince) has been based in Queensland for a number of weeks and is set to play a leading role in the Cup.
It is interesting to note Jason Thompson’s success in the Brisbane Cup. Like Brett he has won the race four times – with Uno Joel (2007), El Galo (2008), Got A Moment (2012) and last year with Black Opium.
The Queensland Cup used to be called the Albion Park Gold Cup until a change of name when the latter was moved to a summer date.
The Brisbane Cup used to be raced in December, but was switched to July, to replace the Winter Cup which, in turn, was moved to summer to become the Gold Bullion.
After all, you couldn’t have a Winter Cup staged in summer, could you.
Gatehouse said about $750,000 will be spent on finals night, a great feature race occasion that comes hot on the heels of the Greyhound State Of Origin series which New South Wales won 2-1.
“But as soon as we finish with Winter we kick in with the state National Sprint and Distance qualifiers in August,” said Gatehouse.
An interesting piece of trivia is that northern NSW trainer Dennis Reid won the Brisbane Cup (520m) with Questions in 1998, then won the distance Albion Park Gold Cup (710m) with the same dog in 1999.



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