Caption: The man the race honours, one of racing’s great administrators Peter Mosman
By GARY CLARK
One of the great greyhound races in NSW is run at this time each year and although it has had a few name changes over the years, it is its current title – the Peter Mosman Classic – that provides its fame and prestige.
The race was first run back in 1952 as the Bi-Annual Classic, an event for young greyhounds at Harold Park. It was won by Robin Buchanan and the honour roll since includes many illustrious names.
In 1970, The Smoother took out the Classic, Satan’s Legend, who was a brilliant Harold Park chaser, won in 1978, followed by Tegimi in 1979, Promises Free in 1982 and the great Brother Fox in 1985.
The race was then renamed after the industry lost one of its great administrators in Peter Mosman who took out an owner/trainers licence in 1957.
He then became a director of the Singleton club in 1970 before being voted in as president from 1972-81. During this time Peter was elected to the board of the GBOTA in 1975 before taking over as president in 1985.
Peter passed away in sudden circumstances just two years later and the loss to greyhound racing was felt around the state. He was just 52.
So, in 1987, the Classic was moved to Wentworth Park after the closure of Harold Park and the following year the race was re-named the Peter Mosman Classic.
The great names on this honour roll just kept coming. The first winner at Wentworth Park was Paris In Spring, followed by Classy Spider in 1990, and How’s The Fort in 1992.
In 1993 Worthy Reward, a dog who had a limited time on the track, won 14 races from 23 starts, winning over both 520m and 720m and was an unplaced finalist in the 1994 Easter Egg won by Mancunian Girl.
In 1994 Tap Dance (Ginger x Spanish Dance) won the race during a near perfect career which resulted in 21 wins from 25 starts. He was trained by Ruth Matic when he finished runner-up to the mighty Flying Amy in the 1995 National Sprint Championship Grand Final at Sandown.
In 1998 a superbly looking black and white dog from Victoria, Solve The Puzzle, took the race for Paul Osbourne. He won 25 of his 47 starts after winning his first three at Shepparton in 1997.
As the race moved into the next century, Big Sam Banner won in 2002 during his fabulous racing career.
‘Sam’ won 19 of his 38 starts and was involved in several Group finals, including Group One and Group Two features at Wentworth Park. He won the Group One Sydney Cup and ran second in the The Topgun and the Warrnambool Classic.
Queensland chasers then won the Classic back-to-back in 2003 and 2004. The Reg Kay-trained Elite State won in 2003. He won 11 of his 14 starts, including victories at Group One level at Albion Park and a Group Three at the Gold Coast before going on to a successful stud career.
The following year the Sunshine State won again with Surf Lorian, another chaser with a limited time on the track and a near-perfect record.
He won 14 of his 28 starts and was unbeatable at the Gold Coast, winning all five starts there and in his last run finished fourth to Trewly Special in the Group One Brisbane Cup.
A decade later it was the NSW dog Bessy Boo who won the Classic for Alan and Christine Proctor. He became the all-time winning greyhound at Wentworth Park, collecting 34 wins there and won 44 races overall from a 158-start career.
He was also a finalist in the Group One Dapto Megaster and the Topgun and in the Group Two Richmond Derby. He collected $340,000 in prizemoney during his career.
The third name change for the race came in 2019 when it was renamed the Peter Mosman Opal for bitches only.
Then in 2020 during the covid period, Lilly Banner won the race in outstanding fashion, scoring by eight lengths for Barry Gibbons.
The winner of 21 races from 59 starts, Lilly Banner’s bloodlines go back through the famous ‘Bale’ line. Seven generations back you can find Mercia Bale, whose mother was Dynabolt, out of Gail’s Beauty. It is a bloodline that remains a force in racing to this day.
The Wheeler name also has a strong link with the Classic, with the late Paul Wheeler winning it with Allen Harper in 2011, Garrick Bale (2012), the mighty Xylia Bale in 2013 and who can forget Fernando Bale winning in 2015.
The 2022 edition of the Classic kicks off on July 2 and expect only the best to battle it out in the final – it’s a tradition.