Warrnambool Cup a fitting end to festival

\"\"Caption: Zambora Smokey (Jason Thompson) takes the silverware in last year’s Warrnambool Cup (Photo: BlueStream Pictures)

WHO\’LL be the winner of the 50th running of the $67,000 Group 2 Warrnambool Cup (450m) this month?

The Clay Moss bitch Tien Shan won the  inaugural feature back in 1972 and since then some outstanding sprinters have joined the honour roll, including Tempix (1980), Bomber Gleeson (1992), Kantarn Bale (2000 and 2002), El Galo (2008), Black Magic Opal (2014), Zambora Brockie (2016) and Dyna Patty (2019).

The $47,000-to-the-winner final hits the track on Wednesday night (May 5), completing a highly successful inaugural Western Festival of Racing.

Greyhound Racing Victoria launched the four-club cups festival comprising Horsham, Ballarat, Geelong and Warrnambool earlier in the year.

At the time GRV Deputy Chair Greg Miller said the \’Western Festival of Racing\’ would provide an important marketing opportunity as the sport continues to thrust its brand across the state in line with its \’Metropolitan\’ and \’Gippsland\’ Festivals of Racing.

\”The festival is set to bring enormous excitement and increased exposure to the sport in western Victoria,\” Mr Miller said.

\”Our four greyhound clubs in the west – Ballarat, Geelong, Horsham and Warrnambool – each has a rich history and are all integral to the fabric of our sport and to their local communities.

\”Many of the best greyhounds in the world hail from the west – from the immortal \’Warrnambool Warrior\’ Bold Trease through to present day champions like Shima Shine and Tiggerlong Tonk.

\”I have no doubt that the hundreds of trainers and breeders based in the west of the state will be determined to secure all four country cups on offer during the Festival.\”

He said the festival, incorporating more than $700,000 in prize money across eight spectacular nights of racing, was aimed at attracting the most talented greyhounds from all around Australia to country Victoria.

So far it has achieved that with the brilliant Shima Shine winning at Horsham and new sprint sensation Ferdinand Boy winning the Ballarat Cup.

A GRV spokesman said the popular Warrnambool Cup meeting would be aired live on greyhound racing’s free-to-air television series, \’Thrill of the Chase\’ on 7TWO, drawing attention from tens of thousands of sports fans across Australia.

Last year\’s winner Zambora Smokey, son of a previous winner Zambora Brockie, gave highly decorated Pearcedale trainer Jason Thompson his fifth success in the G2 feature.

Thompson\’s other winners were El Galo (2008), Hanify\’s Impact (2009), Ronan Izmir (2013) and Black Magic Opal (2014).

Western Victoria boasts almost 3500 greyhound participants (breeders/owners/trainers), employs more than 660 people (full-time equivalent) and has around 300 volunteers, while generating $77 million annually in the region.

Recent Warrnambool Cup  winners: 2011 Arsonist (Heather Collins, Pearcedale), 2012 Dyna Bert (Andrea Dailly, Anakie), 2013 Ronan Izmir (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale), 2014 Black Magic Opal (Jason Thompson, Pearcedale), 2015 Ronray Spirit (Terrence Reid, Yuroke), 2016 Zambora Brockie (Anthony Azzopardi, Rowsley), 2017 Leo’s Gift (Robert Britton, Lara), 2018 Striker Light (Brett Bravo, Lovely Banks), 2019 Dyna Patty (Andrea Dailly, Anakie), 2020 Zambora Smokey (Jason Thompson).

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