Maja crowned Sapphire champion

Ashlee Terry experienced her biggest thrill in greyhound racing when Maja Mahi Mahi brilliantly won the $145,000 group 1 Sapphire Crown at Sandown Park last night.

“We’ve run second and third in a couple of group races but never won one,” said the 26 year old from Cranbourne South.

“I don’t really know how to describe it to be honest.”

Maja Mahi Mahi was winless in four starts at Sandown Park coming into the keenly contested final. She began well from box 2, holding her position near the rail in a frantic dash to the first turn. She moved off the rail through the turn allowing group 2 Laurels winner Up Hill Jill to rail up beneath her, but she refused to relinquish the lead and off the back straight had established a two length lead.

Up Hill Jill came again but Maja Mahi Mahi had all of the answers, holding on to win by half a length in 29.67.

“I wanted the pink (box 8) but then the way the box draw turned out I was really happy with her drawn on the inside because there was going to be a mad charge to the first turn. I hoped she’d hold the rail and she did.

“When she was sitting up with the others I was just hoping she’d hold on. She just kept kicking.”

Maja Mahi Mahi arrived from New South Wales in January and is the only greyhound in the kennel Terry trains for other people. The owners, the Middle Tote Syndicate, brought a large support team to cheer her on in the group 1 feature.

“Andrew who I live with, he’s been mates with the owners for 10 or 12 years and they gave us a call. They wanted a change of kennel and bring her to Victoria and see how she’d go. We got lucky I guess.

“It was nice to have a big group of people cheering her on. I think we’ll be celebrating tonight.”

Maja Mahi Mahi wins the $145,000 group 1 Sapphire Crown

The Sapphire Crown is one of the most distinguished races conducted at Sandown Park. Restricted to female greyhounds only, the honour roll boasts some of the greatest chasers to grace the track, including Bogie Leigh, Paua To Burn, Betty’s Angel, Cindeen Shelby and Xylia Allen.

The win was Maja Mahi Mahi’s 12th in 39 starts and the $100,000 first prize took her prize money to $144,000.

The Sapphire Crown was part of a group 1 triple bill featuring the $250,000 RSN Sandown Cup – the world’s richest race for stayers – and $145,000 Harrison-Dawson for the male sprinters.

The Sandown Cup was taken out in brilliant fashion by Fanta Bale. In doing so she became the first greyhound to win a group 1 over each metropolitan distance, and elevated her prize money beyond $716,000.

The Harrison-Dawson was won by in form chaser Black Mumbo, giving Anthony Karabitsakos his first group 1 win.

Click here for the full results from last night’s races.

Mick Floyd
About Mick Floyd - Mick is the Racing and Media Manager at Sandown Park and has 15 years of experience in the sport. He has a finely tuned talent for finding three legs of a quaddie. You can follow his ramblings on Twitter - @mickfloyd
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