Weslyn Wins Action Packed Silver Collar

Weslyn Wins Action Packed Silver Collar

 

The 49th running of the prized Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar turned into a real cliff hanger of an edition. Hot race favourite Dyna Weslyn appeared to be cruising to victory in the $100,000 Group 1 779 staying test. That was until about 50m from the judge when the giant sized stayer Shooters Hill rocketed home late, closing down the margin to a just a head. 

 

Pictured: Dyna Weslyn wearing the prestigious Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar

 

It was yet another action packed running of longest greyhound race annually held in Australasia over the extreme 779m race distance. The great race attracted keen interest on both sides of the Tasman. Prince Phillip, the Duke Edinburgh, would have been proud watching this year’s edition of the race for which he donated the solid Silver Collar for. He turns 98 this week.   

 

As expected it was the hot $1.40 favourite Dyna Weslyn who bounded straight into the early race lead from trap five. There was a degree of jostling in behind her as the field headed into the first turn. Dyna Weslyn was lonely, reveling in her work with a lap of the track to run.

 

Pushing up to chase after the pace setter a fair margin behind was the Gerry O’Keefe, Victorian trained Billy’s Bake, while also improving their field positions when passing the 318m/779m traps was his kennelmate Vandagambo and Shooters Hill for his conditioner Sam Lozell.

 

Billy’s Bake went on retreat rounding the final turn, while Shooters Hill was sighted putting in some huge strides. All of a sudden the margin rapidly closed in, however Dyna Weslyn gamely clung on for her gutsy Group 1 victory by that head margin, clocking 46.48s for her assignment.

 

Shooters Hill was super gallant in claiming the runners up prize, while kicking on stoutly for his third placing another 3.75 lengths behind was Vandagambo. There was a further seven lengths back to the fourth placed Know Anxiety, who was also courageous considering this Gary Cleeve bred and trained stayer is still assessed as a maiden graded stayer. Aside from the $5,720 stake she received for fourth, this daughter of Yella Mustard and Know Revenge also provided Cleeve with the $1,000 breeders’ bonus payment paid to the first New Zealand bred stayer to finish.

 

         

 

An elated Craig Roberts with his Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar winner Dyna Weslyn; Sam Lozell returned with his brave runner up Shooters Hill and he was joined at the podium by his mum Maxine, Mike Rhodes and his son Blake; making the quick dash across the Tasman was Melbourne greyhound commentator James Van de Maat. Joining him and handler Cynthia Earley with his third placed runner Vandagambo was his dad Bert, fiancé Chloe and mum Joanne

 

“I was really relieved when the line came up. From where I was standing I wasn’t sure if she had held on. Luckily she had enough left the tank to nail the win,” commented a thankful Craig Roberts. Missing some final lead in work owing to harsh Canterbury frosts during the week had concerned Roberts.

 

“Weslyn is a special wee dog, the complete racing package. She handles everything that’s thrown at her and I’m so proud and privileged to train her,” added Roberts about the Brenden Wheeler, Sydney owned greyhound. Her victory and the $53,430 winning stake propelled the stake earning that this gun daughter of Kelso’s Fusileer and Xylia Allen has picked up out to $134,016. Dyna Weslyn is maintaining a high winning strike rate, having now won 22 of her 33 race day outings, while placing on another six occasions. Twelve of those wins has been in staying races (from 20).

 

Roberts has mapped out a race program for his stayer which is likely to see her quickly expand on her tidy career statistics. Foremost is the looming $30,000 NZ Stayers Cup at Addington over 732m, which is a distance that she recently shattered the 732m track record over (43.65s). It’s also the race that he mentored kennelmate Avenger Bale to victory in last year.

 

“After the Stayers Cup I’ll consider lining Weslyn up in the Amazing Chase series ($60,000, July 28) and then she’ll have a crack at being the New Zealand representative for the stayers in the Australian Nationals,” he advised. It will be the first occasion that New Zealand trained greyhounds will contest this annual inter-state and now trans-Tasman series. The New Zealand finals will be held at Addington over 520m and 732m on August 8, with the National finals being decided in Perth on August 24. 

 

23 year old Sam Lozell was pinching himself back at the podium after the super effort put up by Shooter’s Hill. He wasn’t even born when his recently deceased grandfather Max Mathews trained Cuties Sister to win the 1995 edition of the Silver Collar.

 

“Having a runner in the Silver Collar final has always been a dream for me ever since I was a kid. I was absolutely stoked to have Shooters Hill on the podium afterwards. I thought he was a chance of getting some of it when he improved when racing down the back straight. I didn’t really know if he had won the race from where I was standing,” stated Lozell, who was flanked at the podium by his mum Maxine, her partner Mike Rhodes and son Blake. Dad Mike drove the lure for the race.

 

“It was a surreal occasion and I have to thank everyone involved, including my leading kennel hand Georgie (partner, Clark).” He also advised that Shooters Hill has now earned himself a trip south to the Addington Raceway to contest the NZ Stayers Cup series.

 

Melbourne greyhound commentator James Van de Maat, who was the breeder and is a part owner of both Vandagambo and Billy’s Bake, made a quick trip across the Tasman after calling the Friday afternoon Healesville greyhounds and then he made the quick dash back to call the Monday afternoon straight track meeting at the same venue. He was accompanied by his fiancé Chloe, along with his parents Bert and Joanne.

 

“Rapt, that was great effort by the boy to place. It was fantastic to be part of such a prestigious race I’m really pleased we made the trip across here – we were extremely well looked after,” said Van de Maat, who also called two of the support races on the card.

 

       

The Auckland GRC carried on with their traditional presentation of specially inscribed collar and leads, which was presented to the connections of all the Silver Collar finalists involved, for their hosted Group 1 races - here’s James Van de Maat, with his fiancé Chloe with his souvenir collars for Vandagambo and Billy’s Bake; Courtney Turnwald accepted the collar and lead for her mum’s finalist Rippin’ Sam; the Shooters Hill team were all wearing “uniforms” for the occasion – Mum Maxine is with her training son Sam; his son Blake and partner Georgie Clark, along with Mike Rhodes; Sam Lozell wearing his #Larrysfanclub jersey, with Larry being the kennel name of his Silver Collar finalist Shooters Hill; Peter Earley delivered another outstanding Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar, with this year’s being his 47thr race call – he’s seen here with winning trainer Craig Roberts and Dyna Weslyn when she was brought into the stadium to receive her deserved accolades   

 

By Peter Fenemor

 

 

 

Posted on 11/06/2019 2:54:15 PM

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