Southern kennels ‘get serious’ about summer carnival riches

Caption: Jeff Britton’s Mepunga Shine has headed to Queensland hot on the heels of his win in the Group 1 Silver Chief at The Meadows. (Photo: BlueStream Pictures)


The majority of Thursday night’s Albion Park program may have been rained out, but that didn’t halt the increasing tempo and volume of the Golden Greys Summer Carnival drum roll at The Creek.

The final 10 races of the 12-event program, including the $18,500 TAB Christmas Stocking Final (600m), fell victim to the summer storm.

However, before the shutters came down, six interstate dogs with carnival intentions trialed over the 520m.

Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club CEO Luke Gatehouse said with the heats of the carnival’s first Group 1 race, the $150,000 Golden Sands (600m), to be held next Wednesday, the southern kennels were ‘getting serious’.

“The number and quality of dogs we have trailing tonight is an indication of the significant interest from interstate kennels in the Golden Greys Summer Carnival,” Gatehouse said.

“These trainers want their dogs to be given every opportunity to reap the major rewards of this carnival.

“The Golden Greys started with a strong local flavour, the Queensland Flame and the QGOLD feature night. Both very successful events.

“Next week we have the heats of the Golden Sands (Wednesday) and the Futurity and Derby (both Group 2 events) on the Thursday.

“The Golden Sands is worth $100,000 to the winner. The Futurity and Derby winners each collect $75,000.

“No wonder there is plenty of interest.

“What I have found very interesting is that while the whole carnival is gaining growing popularity nationally, major interest is being shown in the Golden Ticket.

“It has taken a couple of years, but the interstate kennels now realise what a great concept this race is – not only great prizemoney, but also a saloon passage into a Group 1 race.”

The Golden Ticket format opens on Thursday, January 11, at Albion Park with four, four-dog heats.

First and second from those four heats move through to the ‘final round’ (January 18), where the dogs are paired in match races.

From these four match races, the fastest of the four winners is declared the recipient of the Golden Ticket.

That dog not only collects $60,000, but also gets direct entry into the $250,000-to-the-winner Group 1 Gold Bullion (final February 1), which is the pinnacle night of the carnival.

The six interstate dogs that trialed on Thursday night were:

Saige Tenniele (trainer Kody Charles, WA) 29.95; Mepunga Shine (Jeff Britton, Vic) 30.27; Daddy’s Girl (Kody Charles, WA) 30.41; Isle Of Rose (Jackie Greenough, Vic) 30.42; Rare Speed (Kody Charles, WA) 30.57; Weblec Marquise (Jeff Britton, Vic) 30.57.

While Group 1 National Sprint Championship Final winner, Saige Tenniele, was the quickest of the trialists, the Britton camp was ‘very happy’ with the introduction to Albion Park of recent Group 1 Silver Chief victor, Mepunga Shine, in the wet conditions.

“Considering the conditions, the fact that he flew in late Wednesday night and this being his first look at the track, I think the dog trialed alright,” said the Britton’s Queensland kennel chief Tim Britton.

“He looked a little lost going around some of the bends, so will go better for that run.

“I was very happy.”

Britton said Mepunga Shine would contest next week’s Queensland Derby heats and depending on how the dog performs, he may stay for the Golden Ticket and Gold Bullion.

“I think he (Mepunga Shine) is a pretty handy dog,” he said.

“His run in the Silver Chief was super. He’s only young and I think he can go a fair way in his career if he can stay sound.

“He hasn’t had a lot of starts (12: 8-1-0 for $137,110 in prizemoney), but definitely has ability.

“He has broken 30 seconds at The Meadows and any dog that is going 29.7 or 29.8 at The Meadows, well, they will go well in match races.

“They are fast dogs. So, he is suited to that format.”

The Golden Greys Summer Carnival is also the next phase of the Britton family’s expansion into Queensland after they opened their satellite kennel at Churchable at the start of November.

Since then, Tim Britton and fellow trainer Martina Kirillidis have campaigned a growing number of the kennel’s dogs at both Albion Park and Ipswich.

Britton said with the Queensland expansion now well and truly operational, it was ready to cater for dogs from the Victorian headquarters to come just for a major feature race series.

“The plan is definitely coming together,” he said.

“Now we’ve got a situation where the dogs can come up and settle in instead of flying in and flying out.”

Other than Mepunga Shine, the Brittons also have sent up youngster Weblec Marquise and Multi Matt, who did not trial on Thursday night.

Multi Matt recently ran third to Hector Fawley (Lisa Cockerell) in the Group 1 Hume Cup Final (600m) at The Meadows.



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