Caption: Adam Mcintosh, and part of his support team, after Elisheba took out last year’s $75,000-to- the-winner Vince Curry Memorial Maiden (520m) Final at Ipswich. (Photo: Just Greyhound Photos)
By Pat McLeod
Queensland’s premier greyhound racecaller, John ‘Bunny’ Brasch, admits to feeling privileged whenever he calls a race in the Vince Curry Memorial Maiden Series.
Brasch will be behind the microphone at the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club on Saturday night when the lids fly for the 40th staging of the series, with eight heats to be contested.
“Obviously there is a lot of history, prestige and prizemoney involved in this series,” Brasch said.
“But for me, it is even more than that.
“The fact that this event is named after a legendary race caller gives it even more significance.
“The word ‘legend’ is used far too frequently these days, but Vince Curry certainly is a legend. He was a great caller across a variety of sports, but especially horse racing.
“Ironically he never called a greyhound race, but his name is part of the world’s richest greyhound maiden race because of his tremendous support for the Ipswich club in its formative years.”
The Vince Curry Memorial Maiden series will be held over three weeks with the Group 3 final (520m) worth $112,500 ($75,000 to the winner) to be staged on Saturday, February 3, as the final event of the Golden Greys Summer Carnival.
Brasch said the ‘Vince Curry’ had not only stood the test of time, but has flourished.
“It is now as significant as ever,” he said.
“Trainers see this event as not only a race that brings a rich reward, but also the spotlight of the greyhound racing world.
“The winner of the Vince Curry has immediate status. It is a proven stepping stone to higher honours in the sport.
“That is why every year you see trainers holding back their gun youngsters to be part of this series.
“And the honour board speaks for itself. Across every decade the Vince Curry has produced champions on and off the track.”
Brasch called his first Vince Curry Memorial Maiden Final back in 1997, a race won by champion Token Prince for Mike Abbott.
He called others, including the 1999 win by Paul Felgate’s Just The Best, and has called every Vince Curry Maiden final since 2015.
“The series has its own special aura,” says Brasch.
“I look forward to it for a number of reasons, but mainly because of the anticipation of seeing the next wave of potential stars coming though.
“In recent years winners have included Ned Snow’s champion Shipwreck (2022), who went on to accumulate more than $300,000 in prizemoney and Farmor Beach (Steve Scott, 2020).”
Long-time Ipswich owner/trainer/breeder and club official, Rob Essex, said the quality of the ‘Vince Curry Class Of 2024’ would not disappoint.
“One of the enjoyable facets of this series is the secrecy surrounding many of the nominations for the initial heats,” said Essex.
“Trainers want their young dogs to do the talking on the track during these first heats.
“I have no doubt the quality will be shown across the eight heats.
“For example, there is plenty of interest in entries from three of the big-name kennels – Tom Tzouvelis (four entries), Tony Apap (one entry) and Tony Zammit (one entry).”
Industry analysts will also be focusing on the breeding of the 61 heat aspirants and predicting which mating formulas will result in track success.
Last year’s Vince Curry Memorial Maiden Final was won by Adam McIntosh’s Elisheba.
The first Vince Curry Memorial Maiden was staged in 1984. The race was not contested in 1986.