Caption: Graham and Leanne Hall (Awards photos: Box 1 Photography)
By Chase Editor Pat McLeod
Stellar litter sisters Spotted Elk and Extra Malt may not have made their final impression on the TAB Queensland Greyhound of the Year awards.
In early April the Graham and Leanne Hall duo dominated the spotlight at the 2021 edition of the annual presentations.
Spotted Elk took out the major award – Greyhound Of The Year – and Extra Malt was not only named a finalist for that gong, but also collected the Brisbane Greyhound of the Year trophy and was the recipient of the Run of the Year Award for her simply outstanding effort at Albion Park on October 28.
But after the backslapping from that night had faded Graham Hall quietly agreed that the kennel could be back next year, with Extra Malt in the running for 2022 GOTY.
“Extra Malt is still improving,” he said.
“Her times over 500 are getting better. She is three-year-old last month (March) and running better times than ever. She is faster than Spotted Elk, but Spotted Elk has a bit more early pace.
“The best could be to come. We have not ruled out a staying career with extra Malt yet. It is a possibility. We have discussed it and there are two trains of thought. It may well be that we could give her a go at 700m.
“So, Greyhound Of The Year for 2022 for Extra Malt? That would be a dream result and not beyond the realms of possibility.”
As April marched on, Extra Malt continued her winning ways at Ipswich, including winning the $24,000 Ipswich Anniversary Trophy (520m) in 30.06, the equal seventh fastest time run for that distance at the track, while Spotted Elk recovered from an injury she received in the heats of the Group 1 Australian Cup back in February.
Hall said he would closely monitor both bitches with initial hopes of racing into the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
“Both girls still love racing and are so competitive, especially with each other,” he said.
“While I still think there is a lot left in Extra Malt especially, the only consideration is that we want to breed with these two girls … and how long do we race them?”
Spotted Elk established herself as the state’s most promising chaser in 2021, recording 16 wins and 10 placings from 35 starts last year.
In a remarkably consistent 12 months, the bitch finished 2021 with a bang, claiming the inaugural Listed Queensland Flame and earning a spot on the national stage, representing the Sunshine State in the coveted $1.145 million TAB The Phoenix at The Meadows.
Starting a relative outsider against a number of the Australia’s top chasers, the Queenslander came close to causing a boilover, leading for a large portion of the feature race before being caught late to finish a scintillating second.
In being crowned TAB Greyhound of the Year, Spotted Elk defeated fellow finalists Extra Malt and recently retired staying champion, Maggie Moo Moo.
Racing Queensland announced more than 20 award winners at the iconic Gabba venue, acknowledging the remarkable achievements of greyhound racing participants across the state throughout 2021.
2021 TAB Queensland Greyhound Award Winners
Queensland Greyhound of the Year – Spotted Elk
Brisbane Trainers Strike Rate Award – Bianca Whitford
Brisbane Sire of the Year – Fernando Bale
Brisbane Leading Owner Award – Cynthia Elson
Brisbane Dam of the Year – Hope’s Magic
Top Simbi Award – Townsville Greyhound Racing Club
Brisbane Greyhound of the Year – Extra Malt
Bundaberg Greyhound of the Year – Fogelberg
Capalaba Greyhound of the Year – Magical Trav
Ipswich Greyhound of the Year – Spring Cleo
Rockhampton Greyhound of the Year – Love You Peaches
Townsville Greyhound of the Year – Samshu
Brisbane Trainer of the Year – Cynthia Elson
Bundaberg Trainer of the Year – Darren Taylor
Capalaba Trainer of the Year – Terry Priest
Ipswich Trainer of the Year – Pauline Byers
Rockhampton Trainer of the Year – Darren Taylor
Townsville Trainer of the Year – Rhonda Essery
Young Achiever – Jedda Cutlack
Woman in Racing – Di O’Donnell
Outstanding Contribution Award – Neville and Norma Jackson
Run of the Year – Extra Malt
QRIC Welfare Award – Joanna Phillips from Love a Greyhound
Hall of Fame (Person) – Bob Lambert
Hall of Fame (Greyhound) – Trojan Tears