Looking back at 30 years of Qld GOTY stars

Caption: 2020 Queensland Greyhound Of The Year winner Oh Mickey with Mick Zammit (Photo: Box 1 Photography)

The Queensland Greyhound Of The Year Awards will be held on Friday, April 1, at the Queensland Cricketers Club at the Gabba.

Former top racecaller, greyhound historian and popular Chase columnist Paul Dolan is tracking the award winners from 1971 through to the present. In the February Chase he had a look back at the winners and finalists from 1971 to 1992. That was the era of greyhound racing at Brisbane’s famous Gabba track.

Now it’s time to have a look from 1993 to the present, Albion Park being the state’s metropolitan venue for the past 29 years.

1993: Magnificent stayer Trojan Tears, trained by Tony Zammit for the Ivers family, was the winner. In a year almost unmatched for depth in Queensland, Trojan Tears took the award ahead of Dave Brett’s star bitch Toban Leah and Tom Paterson’s versatile performer Worthy Reward. Trojan Tears was a star in Queensland and in Sydney, so much so that she also won the NSW Greyhound of the Year title. We are unlikely to ever see that happen again, due to residency clauses being introduced.

1994: Toban Leah and Worthy Rewards were finalists again. As if running into Trojan Tears the previous year wasn’t tough enough, along came a brindle bitch named Flying Amy. You know her deeds, Ron Ball took her here, there and everywhere and she raced into canine immortality.

1995: Flying Amy’s spectacular deeds continued in this year and she became the first dual Queensland GOTY winner since Top Simbi back in 1973 and 1974. Flying Amy’s kennelmate Boronia Blossom and Marie Heck’s Moreton Bay Star were the finalists.

1996: Top stayer Boronia Blossom didn’t play second fiddle to anyone this year, winning the title over Jurassic Vapour, trained by John Keep, and Silver Pageant prepared by Pauline Fruend.

1997: Three mighty fine sprinters were on centre stage this year. Roger Green and Gary Ralph’s Roanokee took the title over Steve Kavanagh’s Smooth Rumble and Pat Ryan’s Wine Glass. As well as his terrific wins at home in feature races, Roanokee became the second Queensland-trained greyhound (after Rustic Venture in 1984) to win a race which was regarded by most at the time as the toughest in the land to win – the Melbourne Cup.

1998: For the first time since 1992, the finalists were of the same sex, on this occasion, male. The winner, Reg and Mary Crawford’s iron dog Nujooloo, didn’t win a Group One but you don’t have to. He raced all year, his deeds including wins at Wentworth Park and Dapto. At home at Albion Park, he won over 520, 600 and 710 metres, regularly rising and dropping back in distance with success. The other two finalists, Peter Rayner’s Faithful Hawk and Tony Zammit’s Rocking Rambo, polled extremely well.

1999: This was the year of Faithful Hawk, his wins including the Golden Easter Egg, Bob Payne Winter Stake and Gold Coast Cup. Kobble Creek for Michael Ivers and John Reimer’s Winged Runner were finalists.

2000: Winged Runner’s superb form in 1999 carried on to this year and the daughter of Silver Chisel took the title. Short Mode,l from the Patterson kennel, and Marie Heck’s Son of Iron were the runners-up.

2001: Ron Ball seemed to always have a topliner in his kennel and this year it was the sprinting bitch Springtime Magic. Her win in the Border Park Galaxy at Tweed Heads was a highlight. Bright Ebony for Jim Madigan of the Northern Rivers and Group One Brisbane Cup winner Tricky Creek for the Ivers family were the runners-up.

2002: Awesome Machine could be called a FIFO winner – that is, flew in and flew out. Melbourne trainer Gary Ennis sent Awesome Machine to his Queensland friends, trainers Greg and Michelle Stella, who won the Group One Winter Carnival Cup with the dog. Awesome Machine also won the Queensland Derby. Yo Yo’s Gem for Neil Thompson and the Ivers family’s Thunder Creek were finalists.

2003: There’s the opportunity within the voting rules for the GOTY panel to name four finalists, rather than the normal three. In 2003 the panel felt there were four worthy finalists and that it would have been an injustice to cull one of them. The Reg Kay-trained Elite State was the winner. He won 25 of his 29 starts for the year, including two Group One wins. How good is that? It’s almost inconceivable to think that among the runners-up was the Tony Brett-trained Bogie Leigh who won 22 of her 35 starts for the year and also two Group One features. Also finalists were stayers Spanish Belle for Sarah Monaghan and Dooley’s Mist for the late Barry Dull.

2004: If we thought the year 2003 was a dazzler, how about 2004? Bogie Leigh was there again, and this time a winner. She had 19 wins from 32 starts and Group One wins in the Australian Cup and Golden Easter Egg. But how about the runners-up? Reg Kay’s Fool’s State had 20 wins from 34 starts, including four Group Two wins. And boom youngster Surf Lorian, trained by Tony Zammit, had 17 starts for 14 wins. The son of Just the Best only contested one Group race and he won it – The Peter Mossman Classic in Sydney. Surf Lorian broke three track records (Gold Coast and Ipswich) and twice equalled the Albion Park 520 metres record. Yep, it was a vintage year for each finalist.

2005: Tony Brett was on a roll with the announcement of dashing sprinter Black Enforcer as the winner after 25 wins from 34 starts. Victory in the Group One Top Gun virtually sealed the title for the Token Prince-Miss Corleone dog. Tiarta for Sarah Monaghan had 13 wins from 22 starts, her top win being the Group Two South Australian Oaks. Reg Gardoll’s Watch The Web had similar credentials, 14 wins from 25 starts including the Group One Vic Peter Classic.

2006: Three outstanding bitches were the finalists and each was a mighty fine stayer. Paul Felgate’s Miss Brook took the title, ahead of Tony Brett’s Quidame and Elaine Williamson’s headline-maker Lucy’s Light.

2007: This time it was two stayers and a sprinter, each a female. Miss Grub for Glenda and John Dart was the winner. Miss Grub won races in four states. Her Group wins were the Group Three SA Distance Championship, Group Two Maidment final at Sandown, Group Two Zoom Top at The Meadows, Group Two McKenna Memorial (Sandown) and Group One Albion Park Gold Cup. Miss Brook made it to the stage again, joint runner-up with Christine Robartson’s dashing sprinter Miss Hot Gossip.

2008: The judging panel decided on four finalists. Victory went to Size Can Matter for Reg Kay and Julie Edmonson. The son of 2003 GOTY Elite State performed with distinction in three states and his wins included the Group One Perth Cup. Finalists were Made to Size and Knocka Norris, also for Kay, and Tony Brett’s Queen Lauryn.

2009: How’s this for three all-time greats? Queen Lauryn took the title over Desley Williams’ and Dwyer Lennon’s Dashing Corsair and Christine Robartson’s High Earner. Queen Lauryn won 12 of her 22 starts, the highlight being the Group One Albion Park Gold Cup where she beat high-profile stayer Mantra Lad.

2010: Dashing Corsair was back again, and this time a winner. His only Group win was the Group Three Newcastle Cup over 715 metres by four lengths. ‘Harry’ as was his kennel name, raced 38 times for 17 wins in the three eastern states. He made 11 Group finals in five states. He twice broke the Albion Park 710 metres record. He Knows Uno for Mick Patterson was a runner-up. He raced 16 times for 8 wins including the Group One Brisbane Cup. Also a finalist was Christine Robartson’s High Earner who won the Group One Perth Cup and made Group finals in five states.

2011: Dashing Corsair’s longevity can be measured by the fact that he was a Queensland GOTY finalist for three years in a row. He won in 2010 and again in 2011. This time the hardy warrior outpolled Ryan Ayre’s Bogie King and He Knows Uno for Mick Patterson.

2012: There is always an emphasis on winning at home in Queensland. But if you win a race of the status that is the Melbourne Cup, that counts for a lot. And so it was with Got A Moment. She was trained for the first nine months of the year by Dianna Buxton of Ipswich who transferred the bitch to Victoria’s Jason Thompson for the rest of the year. Got A Moment won 14 of her 28 starts, including the Group One Brisbane Cup to add to the Melbourne Cup. In another year of four finalists, Got A Moment outpolled Don’t Knocka Him for Reg Kay, Tony Brett’s rising star Glen Gallon and He Knows Uno was back again.

2013: You’ve got to be tough as well as talented to make it to the stage for GOTY night more than once. And so it was with Glen Gallon, winner of 11 of his 21 starts including the Group One Winter Carnival Cup at Albion Park. He outpolled Gary Pettersen’s Starliner who raced from January to December, winning races in nine of the 12 months. Victoria’s Xylia Allen, trained by Jenny Hunt, was a finalist too. There was no residency clause in place at the time. 

2014: Tony Brett’s Flash Reality had a stellar year with wins in the Group Two Queensland Derby and Group One Winter Carnival Cup. Runners-up were Iva Vision for Peter Young and Yogi Blue for Peter O’Reilly.

2015: Sam Dart’s Dzeko, a daughter of Radley Bale, was an impressive stayer. Winning the Group One Albion Park Gold Cup was the year highlight. Dart was based at Dulgiugan on the Northern Rivers of NSW and sent Dzeko to Melbourne’s Angela Jackson for around half of the year. It was another year of four finalists. Dzeko won ahead of Matt Reid’s Norm The Storm, Bob Cooke’s Cash In Motion and Reg Hazelgrove’s Fabulous Storm.

2016: It was GOTY number six for Tony Brett when Thirty Talks was the winner. The son of Where’s Pedro was owned by Ipswich identity Len Antonio who paid $30,000 for the dog as a pup, hence the racing name. Tony Apap’s Outside Pass and Bill Elson’s Cyndie’s Magic, dubbed as ‘the people’s champ’, were runners-up.

2017: Stand up for number seven, Tony Brett. The aptly named Fast Times took the title. Wins in the Group One Winter Carnival Cup and Brisbane Cup were highlights. Jury, also trained by Brett, and Outside Pass were the finalists.

2018: Hasten Slowly, trained in Victoria by Jeff Britton and Angela Langton, had the required six starts in Queensland to be eligible for the GOTY. The son of Fernando Bale won four times in Queensland, the standout being the Group One Brisbane Cup in 29.67. Champagne Sally for Ray Burman, Del Rey for Tom Tzouvelis and Cosmic Bonus for Evelyn Harris were the runners-up.

2019: Brett Hazelgrove’s well named Dam Slippery took the title. Something of an ‘iron lady’, the daughter of Dyna Double One had 35 starts for 13 wins. The standout was the Group Two Richmond Oaks, leading all the way from box three. Brett’s brother Craig trained Wise Misty, also a finalist, as was the Darren Russell-trained Bago Bye Bye.  2020: Oh Mickey had a splendid record which he chalked up over ten months of the year, under three trainers. Clint Kratzmann, the dog’s owner, trained him initially, then Troy Donaldson, followed by Selena Zammit who had the dog for nine months. His 15 wins from 29 starts was a terrific strike rate, including wins in the Group One National Derby and Group Two Richmond Derby. The runners-up were Farmor Beach (Wayne Scott) and Classy Ethics (Jeff Crawford).

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