Caption: Mary Burman (owner), right, with handler Erin Cameron and Brisbane Greyhound Club vice president Bob Lambert after Big Boy Bruce had won the Clem Jones Cup recently (Photo: Box 1 Photography)
By TERRY WILSON
REIGNING Albion Park Greyhound Of The Year, Big Boy Bruce, was earmarked to back up for a tilt at the Listed Gold Cup at his favourite track after taking out the Clem Jones Cup (710m) in late January.
Nearing four years of age, Big Boy Bruce stormed into Gold Cup calculations by beating a strong field of stayers, although the black dog had to go through Gold Cup heats (as Chase newspaper was going to print) to earn a chance at the $106,000 Cup.
Veteran trainer Ray Burman described Big Boy Bruce as ‘a tough old bugger’. A number of strong interstate performers are set to clash in the heats hoping to emulate the victory of Victorian True Detective last year.
And Burman expects several of the interstaters to improve after having their first look at Albion Park in the Clem Jones.
“No matter what you serve up for him he takes it on,” said Burman as Big Boy Bruce headed into his 106th race start in Cup heats.
“He can go 500 metres one week, then 600 metres, then 710 metres.”
The Burman family was not surprised by the dog’s Clem Jones Cup win when he led, was overtaken, then pushed up along the rails to score.
“We did expect him to win because in a full field he’s generally going to be leading.”
Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club chief executive Luke Gatehouse is excited about the fare ahead for racegoers, especially on finals night, which looks like being huge.
“Interest from interstate has been not too bad given the way the COVID situation has been for the last 11 months,” he said.
“We’re still getting these good dogs and the variety of racing is really good.
“We’re looking forward to Gold Bullion night because we’ve got the Bullion, the Gold Cup, the Country Cup and the Queensland Short Course Championship – there’s something for everyone.”
Of course there will be special trackside entertainment featuring a light and laser show supporting live act the Cold Chisel Experience.
One of the leading visitors is trainer Rob Britton, who has sent three Cup candidates north to be kennelled with Steve Scott.
The Britton clan had success in Brisbane last year when True Detective won the first staging of the Listed Gold Cup (710m) for Rob’s brother Jeff.
Meanwhile major 2020 season Albion Park awards have been decided and grabbing multiple gongs has been Cyndie Elson, who operates out of Churchable, west of Ipswich.
Elson missed out on Greyhound Of The Year – that was taken out by Big Boy Bruce (Ray Burman) with 194 points – although she was not far away with Magical Bill (145) runner-up just ahead of It Ain’t Billy (Nicole Connell) on 144, Stinger Noir (Selena Zammit) on 142 and Frieda Las Vegas (Tony Zammit) next on 141.
Mrs Elson just happens to be the owner of It Ain’t Billy.
But Mrs Elson claimed Trainer of the Year honours, along with owner of the year as well as broodbitch of the year with Cyndie’s Magic.
Fernando Bale claimed Sire of the Year honours.