The brilliant Smart Missile blasted his way into the record books at Sandown Park tonight, stopping the clock at a stunning 29.006 to claim the Speed Star crown.
Despite the cool conditions, an enthusiastic crowd ventured track side to witness the inaugural running of this unique event, featuring eight of the fastest greyhounds in the country pairing off in four match races vying for a share in $61,000 in prize money.
The first match races saw Lamia Bale defeat Full On Bling in 29.397 before Smart Missile claimed the series lead by defeating Dyna Yemen. Texas Titan chased down Caustic Bale in 29.277 in the following heat, and Kayda Shae proved too strong for Armed And Ready in the final match. Kayda Shae’s time of 29.099 was fast enough for second place.
Smart Missile entered the night as the fastest qualifier after his stunning 29.080 trial last Sunday. Following that run, Smart Missile’s trainer Jason Mackay believed that he would improve after a few runs at the track, and that he was capable of getting down to the 29 second mark. His run tonight proved him right and breeder and part-owner David Hirst believed there was still a little more improvement to come.
“He was pretty impressive, once he lobbed on the arm and got a clear run I thought he’d run around the same mark as what he ran in his qualifying trial. It’s a chilly night here tonight and I think if it was a nice mild night he would have gone close to the record. He’s only 26 months old so he’s only going to get better, but we’re very happy with where he’s at.”
Hirst had a large contingent of friends and family trackside to see the run, including his father and co-owner, Peter.
“It’s been great,” he continued. “We bred the pup and between me and dad we went halves. It’s great to finally have one with the ability he has.
“I remember seeing his first trial at Cranbourne and thinking we’ve got something special here. I actually thought the clock wasn’t right but we brought him back the next week and he went better the second time. I rang Jason Mackay and said ‘I’ve got a nice one here’ and he said he’ll book the crate. Two days later he was up in Sydney.
“After he’s first trial for Jason, he said ‘he’s going too well – he’s staying up here!’
With Smart Missile’s first major race win under his belt, Hirst already has set his eyes on a bigger prize.
“When this series was announced we thought it was a good opportunity to come back here and get a look at the track ahead of a Melbourne Cup Prelude. It’s amazing to think he’d go on and win the series.
“Jason Thompson has done a great job with him since he arrived back in Victoria, so we’ll probably keep him down here for now and aim for the bigger races like the Shootout and Melbourne Cup before heading back to Sydney for some races up there.”
The winner of each of tonight’s match races collected a $10,000 prize, with the fastest overall winner collecting a further $15,000. Smart Missile’s $25,000 collect more than doubled his career earnings to $48,732 from 17 race starts. His winning time was the third fastest recorded at the venue behind track record holder Bekim Bale (28.96) and sprinting phenom Fernando Bale (28.98).
Later in the night, the first two Melbourne Cup Preludes were run, with Kel Greenough claiming both with Billo’s Pick (29.34) and Rivergum Drive (29.61) saluting. To cap off a memorable evening, five greyhounds wearing the blue rug won on the evening, raising a further $2500 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia as part of the Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Go The Blue Dog Campaign.
— DVD (@whacknal) September 24, 2015
— Kate Goodrich (@kategoodrich) September 24, 2015
— Davey Boy Sadler (@offtrackjock) September 24, 2015