Caption: The celebrations hit top gear when the father and son team – Wayne and Steve Scott – combined to win last year’s Group 3 Vince Curry Memorial for maidens over 520m at Ipswich with Farmor Beach(Photo: Just Greyhound Photos)
By MIKE HILL
IT\’S been a launching pad for some wonderful careers, says long-serving Ipswich official Merv Page.
\”And this year\’s series should be no exception,\” he said.
Page was referring to the final of the $60,000 Group 3 Vince Curry Memorial for maidens over 520m at Ipswich on Saturday, February 6.
First run in 1984 over 512m before the distance was increased to 520m in 2002, the race has become one of the highlights on the racing calendar.
With $40,000 winning prizemoney and carrying group status, Page said the feature had become the gala debut for many promising careers over the past 20 years .
\”It\’s a master race. To win it is enormous for connections of a young dog,\” he said.
\”Traditionally, every year the dog that wins the final goes on to bigger and better things.
\”Just look at the progress of last year\’s winner Farmor Beach.\”
The youngster, prepared by father and son team – Wayne and Steve Scott – went into the Vince Curry series unraced and emerged as the undefeated champion after producing stunning wins in his heat, semi-final and final.
And Farmor Beach\’s career has just blossomed.
The Fernando Bale-Kinloch Beach brindle sprinter has since boosted his record to 16 wins and six placings, including more Group success, from 27 starts and his prizemoney stands at a touch under $200,000.
Last month Page said trials at the Ipswich track had been huge.
\”Everyone\’s trying to have their dogs primed and ready for the Vince Curry,\” he said.
As Chase went to press on the eve of the series heats, leading kennels were fine-tuning their youngsters.
Master trainer Tony Brett, who produced the only dead-heat in the race\’s long history when kennelmates Split Image and Paua To Avoid couldn\’t be separated in the 2016 final, was pinning his hopes on experienced pair Enthusiastic and Orchestrate and the interestingly named unraced youngster Fletch – a Velocity Lodge-owned sprinter.
Tony Apap and his daughter Christina, with two Vince Curry victories so far (Brook Lee 2012 and Rose Honey 2018) had the well-bred unraced youngster Easy Does It (Fernando Bale-Simply An Angel) – a half brother to Mark Saal\’s outstanding sprinter Pump It (Collision) as well as the already raced Manfred, while Tony Zammit, another trainer with two series wins – Reliability (1996) and Runaway Sally (2004) – had Back Moo Moo as his kennel\’s sole representative.
Trainers agree it\’s not an easy race to win.
\”You need luck and hope that your dog can peak on the night,\” said Apap.
Recent Vince Curry Memorial Maiden winners 520m:
2002 Mr Reliable (Margaret Quarrell) 30.27
2003 Woops A Daisy (Ned Snow) 31.03
2004 Runaway Sally (Tony Zammit) 30.77
2005 Vizcaya (Sarah Pringle) 30.82
2006 Winsome Ace (John Finn) 31.08
2007 Flying Felicity (Gary Moore) 30.95
2008 Red Aces (Michael Boody) 30.89
2009 High Earner (Christine Robartson) 30.56
2010 Auriga Fox (Geoff Draheim) 30.95
2011 Dance A Jig (Steve Lennon) 30.64
2012 Brook Lee (Christina Apap) 30.78
2013 Allez Brigette (Vicky Wisener) 30.61
2014 Jungle Junction (Reg Kay) 30.46
2015 Heidi Benz (Geoff Uhrhane) 30.83
2016 Split Image* (Tony Brett) and Paua To Avoid* (Tony Brett) 30.42
2017 Fire To Rain (Chris Riordon) 30.52
2018 Rose Honey (Christina Harman) 30.78
2019 Spotted Wolf (John Clancy) 30.74
2020 Farmor Beach (Steve Scott) 30.33
* Dead-heat first.