Hill ready for a Topgun repeat

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Group 1 Topgun 525m and 725m

Best 8 greyhounds selected.

The Meadows, November 7

525m winner $150,000

725m winner $75,000

By David Brasch

IT will be two decades exactly since rugby league legend Terry Hill was the toast of the greyhound world after his beloved Placard landed the Group 1 Topgun.

Now Terry gets another crack at those glorious Topgun heights with a dog on whose pedigree he took a massive punt, the ownership of who he dragged in his great mate George Kairouz, but which he had to send to Adelaide to find his best.

The dog is Golden Night recent winner of the Group 1 Adelaide Cup and now under the training of Troy Murray who is just itching to get a crack at a race like the Topgun.

\”Gee, that\’s right,\” said Terry. \”It is 20 years since Placard won the Topgun. I\’ve never had another runner in the race since.

\”Getting Golden Night into the race for George and I and also Troy, who has done such a marvellous job with him, would be another dream come true.\”

Terry remembers that night 20 years ago like it was yesterday.

\”It was the last of the international Topgun races,\” said Terry. \”It had dogs from England and Ireland and he beat a dog called Droopy\’s Zola to win the race.\”

Queensland champ Winged Runner was third and chased home by such greats as Go Wild Teddy, Dutchy\’s Angel, Kantarn Bale, Classic Capri and the other import Gentle Memory.

Placard was something else.

He also won the Qld Derby, National Sprint and Shootout.

\”We sent him up to Queensland to a lovely young guy called Greg Brennan who did a marvellous job with him to win the Derby,\” said Terry.

\”He downed Go Wild Teddy to win the NSW final of the National Sprint and then won the grand final in Launceston.\”

Terry had paid $5000 for Placard (Malawi\’s Prince-Gem\’s Delight) from his great mate Jimmy Coleman as a pup.

\”Jimmy had trained the mother,\” said Terry. \”She was from Max Burdekin\’s great old damline.\”

Terry\’s partner in Golden Night, George, had bought a litter sister to Placard he named Precious Diamond.

\”She won four of her first eight, was injured, we bred with her and she produced nothing,\” he said.

Golden Night will be the Hill/Kairouz/Murray flag bearer for the Topgun after his Adelaide Cup victory.

But, because of the restrictions on interstate travel, Troy Murray will stay in Adelaide and send Golden Night to Geoff Collins for that campaign.

The Topgun plan was unveiled after the Adelaide Cup victory had virtually ensured Golden Night would be selected in the Topgun.

That Cup victory in 29.55 as a $6 chance was over the $1.70 favourite Catch The Thief with $16 chance Mepunga Isla in third.

George and Terry flew from Sydney to Adelaide for the race.

\”And how lucky we are that the border was opened just for us to come and see this race,\” said Terry.

George admitted he and Hill were like a couple of schoolboys ‘hugging and kissing and jumping up and down’ when the son of Go Wild Teddy-Hillary rattled home to give the partners yet another Group 1 victory.

Both were high in praise of the job done by Troy Murray to get Golden Night settled and turned into a Group 1 winner.

\”Jason Thompson had him in his early days and he was a nightmare in the kennels at the racetrack,\” said George. \”If he was in a late race, we just wrote off his chances.\”

The move to Adelaide and Troy\’s kennel, already winners of the Adelaide Cup with Miss Spicy, has been a godsend.

\”He can still be a bit of a worry in the kennels, but Troy says he is much, much better now,\” said George. \”He can still have a bark and carry on.\”

Rugby league great Hill, who played 246 NRL games, 14 State Of Origins for NSW and nine Tests for Australia, first joined in greyhound racing partnership with George back in 1994.

\”Terry introduced me to the great Jimmy Coleman and the three of us formed Coleman\’s Fresh Produce,\” said George. \”Jimmy has been our inspiration in dogs. He\’s a legend, our version of Bart Cummings.\”

It was Hill who planned the mating of long dead Go Wild Teddy with three-times winner Hillary a daughter of Irish star Razldazl Jayfkay and G1 star El Brooklyn.

\”It all becomes a bit special when you breed a Group 1 winner yourself,\” said Terry.

Hillary was a litter sister to Northam track record holder Channing.

\”She has a litter of four by Barcia Bale that will be 12 months in December,\” he said.

George admits just being in a Group 1 is thrill enough for he and Hill.

The Topgun beckons.

Terry and George know this time their celebrations will need to be in front of a TV. To win a Topgun 20 years after the first, will be good enough for Terry.

Caption: Rugby league champion Terry Hill, above left hamming it up with Chris Walker, is a greyhound fanatic these days. (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

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