(TASBRED SERIES WHELPED ON/AFTER 1/10/2018)
HEATS: MONDAY 19 April
FINAL: MONDAY 26 April
By Brennan Ryan
THE Ladbrokes Illingworth Classic is a race every trainer in Tasmania wants to win, so Rodney Walker considers himself truly fortunate to have two victories to his credit.
Heats for this year’s Illingworth Classic will be run on April 19 with the $16,000-to-the-winner final on April 26.
It is 30 years ago this year since Walker won the inaugural Illingworth Classic, staged at the White City track, with Swanky View. Also bred by Walker, Swanky View claimed the $16,000 feature in a thrilling contest.
Jumping from box eight, the brindle son of Waverly Glider defeated Sunset Kid by a narrow margin.
“He was a good dog and a good hurdler in the finish,” Walker recalled about Swanky View.
“It was a good field for the Illingworth. He was going up against some very smart local pups at the time and Swanky View got the job done. He shot through up to top grade within a few starts.
“By the first turn he was three lengths in front and was too good, just a real good beginner.”
Swanky View won 22 out 58 starts with 16 minor placings and collected $46,118 in prizemoney.
“That night driving home we pulled in at Campbelltown where all the trainers stopped to fill up. Walking in, all the trainers would start bowing and calling me the king,” Walker remembers with a laugh.
Walker won his next Illingworth Classic 13 years later when Blackberry Moss won the feature in 2004.
Noted for her quick box speed, Blackberry Moss had also taken out the Tasmanian final of the National Sprint before finishing down the track to Mantra Lad in the Group One National Sprint in New South Wales.
Litter sister Lemon Moss was another top chaser who represented Tassie the following year.
The daughter of Awesome Assassin was a prolific racer, winning 22 races and was a member of a bloodline Walker had been breeding from since the 1990s, starting from Belinda Bale.
“It all started with that great Wheeler family line – I bred with a bitch named Princess Alana, she was beautifully bred, and have just continued on with the same line,” he said.
“The breed has been very good to me in time; it has won about 15 classics here in Tasmania.”
The late Des Illingworth was regarded by many as the man that helped shape Tassie racing.
Des and his father Ollie were pioneering greats in the early days of greyhounds in Tasmania.
“Des was a wonderful person and made the time to listen to anyone that had any problems with grading or matters relating o greyhounds. He had a real passion for the industry,” said Walker.
Recent Illingworth Classic winners
2012 – Emerald Lee
2013 – Yappin’ Jack
2014 – Kalaway Ernie
2015 – Demi Cali
2016 – Lil’ Miss Marny
2017 – Stylish Nic
2018 – Just Browsing
2019 – Major Innings
2020 – Wynburn Cutie