Caption: Ted Medhurst and Buckle Up Wes after victory in the 2014 Topgun
Group 1 Australian Cup (525m)
Best greyhounds nominated.
Heats February 12, Semis February 19, final February 26.
$300,000 to the winner
Group 1 Fanta Bale Super Stayers (725m)
Best greyhounds nominated.
Heats February 19, final February 26.
$100,000 to the winner.
By David Brasch
EVERY day, Tassie training legend Ted Medhurst makes a point of thanking all the retirees he and partner Deb have on their Mangalore property.
\”Yes, I make a point of it,\” Ted said. \”They provide the memories we live with.\”
Until recently, one of those to get a special thank you was Buckle Up Wes, the son of Collision-Everlong Bale, who won 30 races and $552,000 for Gary Johnson and Sharon Sutton racing out of Ted\’s kennel.
\”He got cancer a little while ago and there was no way I was going to let him suffer,\” Ted said. \”We have got to think of him. Now, all we have are those memories.\”
But what memories they are.
Late this month, The Meadows will host the final of the Group 1 Australian Cup, the scene of one of Buckle Up Wes\’s Group 1 victories. The other was also at The Meadows in the Topgun.
Buckle Up Wes was meant to be a Tassie legend.
His mother Everlong Bale was bred and raced by the Wheeler family, ending up in South Australia where she was a high-class race bitch.
\”From what I remember, Rob Camilleri put the bitch into pup to Collision and she was then sent on a deal to Gary Johnson on the north-west coast of Tassie,\” Ted said.
Johnson reared the litter of nine and gave Sharon Sutton her choice of a half-share in one of the pups for helping out around the property. She chose the pup who would become Buckle Up Wes.
\”Gary educated him but rang and asked if I would take him on,\” Ted said. \”He said he was too fast for him to keep training but he needed to be sorted out.
\”Like a lot of Collisions he just needed some confidence. Every single day in those first few months we told him how good he was. He just needed a bit of maturity but once that came … wow.\”
Buckle Up Wes\’s first ever trial for Medhurst came at Hobart and it was ordinary.
\”We took him back three or four weeks later and he went sensational,\” he said. \”He failed first up but then qualified in sub 26 around Hobart.
\”He then won nine of his first 15 starts and we headed up to Wentworth Park for some travelling.
\”He trialled at Wenty after the last and I remember Chris Nutt could not believe the sectionals he ran.\”
He ran 29.82 at Wenty leading throughout and then went back home. Four months later he went back to finish third to Iona Seven in the Group 1 Paws Of Thunder.
\”Things started rolling from then,\” Ted said. \”Six weeks out from the Australian Cup, we sent him to The Meadows for a trial and he went 29.78 first look.\”
Buckle Up Wes came up with box six in the heat against stars like Zelemar Fever, who had just won the Group 1 Temlee, and boom youngster Banjo Boy.
\”Deb and I were whelping a bitch the night of the heats, so we stayed in Tassie and asked Andy and Judy Stewart to handle him. He won the heat against that great field and broke 30 seconds.\”
Come the final and Buckle Up Wes was done no favours again drawing the seven against another field of superstars.
\”It is amazing to think back now to the final,\” Ted said. \”We just knew everything was going right for us. Deb had won the Cup with St Pierre four years before. Buckle Up Wes weighed in on Cup night at 31.6kg exactly the same weight as St Pierre four years earlier.\”
Buckle Up Wes led throughout in 29.74 to beat Keybow, Dyna Nalin, Hallelujay Henry, Musquin Bale, Marcus Joe, Kiss Me Ketut and Innocent Til.
\”It was a magical time,\” Ted said. \”To think we could go over from Tassie and win such a race when you see some of the great kennels that dominate the race now and in the past.
\”I still watch the replays of his big wins.\”
Ted had said to Gary Johnson only a few months before that it would be a shame if Buckle Up Wes did not win a big Group race. He won two.
\”We went up to Albion Park and he was second in the Group 1 up there but hurt a ligament. He then got into the National Sprint final but did the tendon above the stopper bone in the final,\” Ted said.
\”But, I worked and worked on that injury and remember Marg Long from The Meadows ringing me to see if he could make the Topgun.
\”I told her he would be right.\”
He won that, too, beating Oakvale Destiny, Awesome Project, Zipping Willow, Allen Deed, Keybow, Mepunga Hayley and Chica Destacarda.
\”Look at the record of those dogs in that Topgun final … the best of their time.\”
Buckle Up Wes retired to stud in Tassie, got no more than a handful of bitches and was quickly forgotten by breeders.
\”He did well,\” Ted said. \”But breeders are a fickle lot and great dogs like him can be quickly forgotten. It is the lot of many great race dogs.\”
His best was Buckle Up Rose who also made a Group 1 National Sprint final, Launceston Cup and Tassie Gold Cup in her 24 wins for $57,000.
\”We are left with his memories now,\” Ted said. \”That Australian Cup was magical.\”