Ipswich focus is now on Vince Curry Memorial

\"\"Caption: Mal Ross and Phantom Clyde after success in the TAB Ipswich Sprint (431m) (Photo: Just Greyhound Photos)

By Mike Hill

STILL recovering from the club\’s big Cup carnival, Ipswich officials are now focusing on next month\’s $60,000 Group 3 Vince Curry Memorial (520m).

The Vince Curry, Australia\’s richest maiden for greyhounds, has produced winners that have gone on to be household names in the sport after Peter Coleman\’s Katie\’s Lad won the inaugural final in the mid-1980s.

Stars heading the list include Mick Abbott\’s Token Prince (1977 winner), Paul Felgate\’s Just The Best (1999), Christine Robartson\’s High Earner (2009) and Tony Brett\’s Split Image that dead-heated with kennelmate Paua To Avoid in 2016.

This year\’s winner in race record time of 30.33s – Steve and Wayne Scott\’s Farmor Beach – is on the cusp of something special after winning last month\’s rich Ipswich Cup.

The victory followed an impressive winning streak in recent months, including six-in-a-row at Albion Park.

Heats for the rich 2021 Vince Curry series will be staged on January 23, with semi-finals on January 30 and the $40,000-to-the-winner final on Saturday, February 6.

Meanwhile, brilliant Northern Rivers-trained sprinter Phantom Clyde blew his rivals away with a stunning victory in the $12,600 TAB Ipswich Sprint (431m) – one of a series of feature events on Cup night.

The win took the Mal Ross-prepared speedster\’s wonderful record to 14 wins and a second from just 17 starts.

After being unplaced in his first two runs at Grafton in late April-early May, the brindle dog (Fernando Bale-Clover Cottage) has dominated sprint events.

Phantom Clyde went into the $8400-to-the-winner Ipswich final a hot $2 favourite after a runaway seven-and-a-half lengths heat win.

Pauline Byers\’ talented sprinter Spring Rock ($3.50) made his rival work early but Phantom Clyde took control on the top turn to power away in the straight for a four-length victory.

Spring Rock held on for second, three lengths in front of John Hill\’s Fernando Bee ($17).

The Craig Emery-Peter O\’Reilly combination were successful when Sumatran Star ($4.60) won the $12,600 Ipswich Cup Consolation (520m).

Central Queensland-based Emery had sent the sprinter south to O\’Reilly\’s Yamanto kennels for a tilt at the Cup.

Sumatran Star had pushed eventual series winner Farmor Beach all the way in their heat seven nights earlier and in the Consolation showed strength to beat Robert Jacobsen\’s $3.10 favourite Crazy Cool by three-and-a-half lengths with the Tom Tzouvelis-prepared Blue Day ($4.60) a length back third.

Earlier in the year, Emery had helped O\’Reilly prepare his star sprinter Shakey Diesel for a successful assault on the Rockhampton Cup.

In another Ipswich feature final, the Tony Zammit-trained Frieda Vas Vegas produced a rousing performance to win the $12,600 Past Members Trophy (630m).

Frieda Las Vegas ($3.80) held off a gallant Micks Recall to notch her 18th win (12 placings) from 39 starts, pushing her prizemoney to just under $100,000.

The Jamie Hosking-prepared $1.95 runner-up charged late but missed by a length with Paul Cauchi\’s It\’s A Trick ($41)  third, while Jimary Dynamite (Mal Ross) won the $9450 Eddie Little Appreciation (732m) and the John Catton-trained Lucky Hero was successful in the $7615 RQ Naidoc Celebration Chase (630m).

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