Tommy Shelby guns them down in WA sprint final

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WA wrap by James Broadhurst

Tommy Shelby proved his credentials as a topline racedog when a toughed out a hard-fought victory in the WA Sprint Championship (520m) at Cannington in mid-August.

The classy blue chaser showed plenty of maturity and track sense, as well as a big motor, to overcome an awkward start and claim the trophy.

In the initial scramble out of the boxes Tommy Shelby trailed the early leaders and was then pushed wide at the first turn.

He quickly reoriented in the back straight and zeroed in on the leading Pixie Monelli before powering past as they approached the final corner.

Once he captured the front, Tommy Shelby charged away to score by three and half lengths in 29.82.

The Steve Withers-trained chaser had won his heat the previous week in a personal best time of 29.55.

The WA Sprint Championship campaign was Tommy Shelby’s first appearance since he took on some the country’s best in the Gr1 Vic Peters at Wentworth Park in early July, where he ran an eye-catching second in the final.

His exciting deeds on the racetrack and his name, derived from the main character in the popular TV show ‘Peaky Blinders’, has seen the greyhound develop a growing status as a cult hero.

This reputation has been further enhanced by the decision of Withers and the rest of the ownership group to donate a portion of the greyhound’s winnings to charity for the remainder of his career.

Due to the COVID situation there’s no Nationals this year meaning Tommy Shelby will be denied a shot at the National Sprint Championship, but a tilt at the Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park might be on the cards.

Like the other state sprint championships winners Tommy Shelby receives a direct semi-final entry greyhound racing’s richest series.

While he expressed interest in taking his star racedog on the road again Withers was non-committal about a return to Sydney.

“He seemed to take a liking to the (Wentworth Park) track and we’d love to go back but given the restrictions around travelling we’ll have to see,” Withers said.

“He’s a once in a career dog for us. We’re taking it for what it is and enjoying the ride with him.”

FLAKE Monelli retained her crown as the queen of stayers in the west when she took at the WA Distance Championship (715m).

The mighty red brindle from David Hobby’s kennels didn’t launch out of the boxes with her customary brilliance, but quickly recovered to breeze past the leading Hurricane Tears and seize the front.

From that point onwards she controlled the race with a cracking tempo out on the lure and she crossed the line three lengths ahead of Cindy’s Oliver in a personal best time of 41.54.

The win was her fifth in a row and displayed her growth as a racedog.

“When she missed the start I was worried early, but she pushed under and in her last four or five runs she’s actually been doing that well,” Hobby said after the race.

“She’s been railing where she used to go around the outside.

“I’m disappointed that we don’t get the chance to travel with her (to the Nationals), but that’s just the way it is.”

Flake Monelli has always been a supremely talented chaser, but it’s been the introduction of blinkers that has helped the greyhound with her concentration issues and maximize her potential.

“She’s won $100,000 since she started wearing blinkers…so it’s worked well,” Hobby said.

Pictured: Steve Withers (trainer – centre) with Tommy Shelby and connections after winning the WA Sprint Championship. (Photo: Dennis O’Brien). Top Right: Dennis O’Brien (Greyhounds WA) and David Hobby (trainer) with Flake Monelli. (Photo: Ali Mulder).

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