The Caller’s Box

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By PAUL DOLAN

HERE’S a question that would stump most greyhound racing enthusiasts at a trivia night.

Name a feature race which has had four homes? That is, has been run at four different venues.

Here’s a hint. It’s a signature race in Victoria. Pause for a think or read on.

The answer is the Australian Cup. It was staged at North Melbourne from 1958 to 1962. Then at Olympic Park from 1964 to 1995. Then there were three runnings at Sandown from 1996 to 1998, that was when The Meadows was being built. And it’s been at The Meadows since 1999.

In Queensland, I can think of one feature race which has had three homes. It’s the Gold Coast Cup.

The race was run at the two-turn circuit which was inside the Gold Coast trotting track at Queen Street in Southport from 1977 to 1988 over 560 metres. The winner of the last Cup at that venue was Riviera Chris, a quality bitch trained by Jack Fitzgerald. First prize was $18,000 and it was a top-notch field. West Cape finished second and Carlton Joanne third.

The Cup’s home from 1989 to 2008 was the ‘one-turn’ Parklands circuit, run over 457 metres. It’s virtually a ‘’gimme’’ when nominating the best greyhound to win the Cup at that venue. Flying Amy won it twice, in 1994 and 1995.

The honour roll is a beauty. When we get to this month of July, I reflect on some of the great Cup winners I had the pleasure of calling at Parklands. I often think it was one of my favourite races to call. But in hindsight, I would say it WAS my favourite race.

West Cape (1989), Wallowa Flash (1991), Tickety Boo (1992), Star Title (1993), Roanokee (1997), Faithful Hawk (1999) and Elite State (2003) readily spring to mind as sensational Gold Coast Cup winners. These are household names of greyhound racing.

So too was El Galo who won the last Cup at Parklands in 2008. I didn’t call that race, Steve Hawkins had the honour. Buckingham Chuck’s win in 2007 was the last Cup I called at Parklands.

The Cup’s third home was Albion Park from 2009 to 2017. There were certainly some good class winners, including Late Show Lee (2010), He Knows Uno (2011), Don’t Knocka Him (2012) and Opal Nera (2017).

The idea of staging the Gold Coast Cup at Albion Park was to maintain continuity of the race pending the building of a new Gold Coast track to replace Parklands. But that hasn’t happened, nor will it, so it makes sense that the race has just disappeared. There’s little point resurrecting a Gold Coast Cup when the Greater Brisbane venue opens in Ipswich in 2024 or thereabouts.

I’m sure people who had any type of involvement with the Gold Coast Cup, like myself, hold happy memories.

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