Caption: One from the scrapbook, Terry Hines and trainer Jason Thompson with the great Whiskey Assassin.
Group 2 Shepparton Cup (450m)
Best greyhounds nominated.
Heats March 14. Final March 19
$47,000 to the winner
By DAVID BRASCH
SUNSHINE Coast property developer Terry Hines admits he’s never been to Shepparton.
The flight to Melbourne and 181km drive north is a daunting task for less than half a minute exercise.
Today he regrets not having done just that.
It was back in 2004, yes 2004, when Queenslander Terry and his dog Whiskey Assassin, were thrust into the world spotlight of greyhound racing.
Victory in that year’s Shepparton Cup was just one of the highlights they celebrated along with trainer Jason Thompson.
“He drew badly (in the five), gave a very good dog like Brumby Lad a big start early, but ran a race record to win the Cup,” Terry said. “It was a real stoush between the pair of them.
“Every year I make sure I watch the final of the Shepparton Cup. Memories like that need to be remembered.”
It wasn’t the only memory.
By the time Whiskey Assassin (Awesome Assassin-Princess Whisky) retired he’d won the Topgun, the Shootout, Cups at Geelong, Ballarat and Shepparton, the Gold Plate at Bulli and set track records at Sandown, Geelong, Shepparton and Ballarat.
Terry gives full credit to legendary trainer Jason Thompson for ‘finding’ Whiskey Assassin.
“He said to me after the dog ran fourth in the National Derby final for his breeder and trainer Troy Provost that he was a dog I should try to buy,” Hines said. “I asked Troy how much and he said $50,000.”
A few disappointing runs not long after in Melbourne and then back at Wentworth Park and Terry eventually negotiated the deal … for much less.
“I rang Jason and told him I’d bought the dog,” Terry said. “He’d forgotten to chase him up himself.
“Jason found a few problems and gave him a good couple of months before racing him again.
“It was two months later and Whiskey Assassin reappeared to win ‘by eight or nine lengths’.
It went from there.
Naturally the Group 1 Topgun was the highlight.
“He won by nine lengths … in a Topgun!” Terry said. “You just don’t do that in a Topgun against the best in the land.”
That year, Hall Of Famers Bogie Leigh and Paua To Burn followed him home … a long way behind.
“He was Victorian and Australian greyhound of the year,” Terry said. “He elevated me personally to a status in the greyhound world. It was something else and a testament to the dog’s ability.
“When he ran the Sandown track record of 29.40, Jason said 29.20 was easily within his capability. He never got the chance to do it.”
Whiskey Assassin retired to stud, went moderately, and eventually spent his final years an honoured guest at Ian and Kerry Hoggan’s property at Churchable.
He deserved that at the least.
Terry Hines still has the Shepparton Cup at home on the Sunshine Coast. It sits proudly alongside the Topgun trophy and Cups from Geelong, Ballarat and Bulli.
When stars like Ferdinand Boy, Peter Galo, Zinzan Brooke and the likes swept to victory in the Shepparton Cup in recent days, they got their moment of glory as well.
This year’s winner will need to be a classy sprinter. But will any of them be up to a Whiskey Assassin?