With $12,000 on offer for the winner, it was no wonder the 2012 Bathurst Cup was one of the closest greyhound finishes in recent history.
Forbes dog Irinka Luca took out the prestigious 520 metre Bathurst Cup at Kennerson Park on Monday night and only a head separated first and third.
Irinka Luca didn’t have the best start jumping at number six, but he came home strong and won by half a head in front of Chenzhou Boy and Good Thing was another half a head behind.
Trainer Ray ‘Jack’ Smith said the win was one of the most valuable his dog had run.
“We were not expecting to win, he is a good dog and had a bit of luck, but we are very happy that he did,” he said.
Irinka Dennis x Sussudio is highly regarded at the Bathurst track and his father holds the Kennerson Park record for the 520m distance in a blistering time of 29.72 seconds.
Irinka Luca ran the Cup in a quick 30.16.
Kyl’s Me Girl ($13.10) jumped first from box four and held the lead into the first sectional with a time of 4.30 seconds.
Chenzhou Boy ($6.40) and Irinka Luca then made their moves and Chenzhou Boy lead the field and was just out run in the final 30 metres.
Mr Gazmick ($4.90) from box eight jumped well and got into fifth early, with 300 metres to go he found the next gear and powered home, only missing the win but a head.
Bathurst Greyhounds Operations Manager Craig Townsend said the final lived up to the hype they expected.
“Bathurst racing really is some of the best racing in the country, the race on Monday night was so close and exciting and it is great we have the calibre here in Bathurst,” he said.
“Irinka Luca is a champion dog and he proved that today in tight racing.
“He was one I picked early to take out the race, but with the quality of the fields it could have been anyone’s.”
Townsend said Irinka Luca looked good coming into the final, he lost the heat by a nose but ended up finding space on the outside.
“He did get a bit lost in the heat and in the final he was still trying to find where he wanted to go, but he did enough to win,” he said.
“I was worried when he drew box seven, but he showed that an inside box doesn’t always mean a win.”
The Forbes trainer said he was not too concerned by the wide box draw because he is still not sure which box suits him the best.
“He does get a little lost and is not sure where he wants to run, but I think the wider boxes may suit him a little better,” he said.
Spring Blueboy was favourite paying $2 and was running from box one, he jumped well and got into the middle of the pack, but just could not find a way through the speedy traffic and finished outside the placings in sixth.
If Spring Blueboy did get up and take the win, he would have been the first dog to win the Bathurst Cup back to back and take the two major wins of the season, the Soliders Saddle and the Bathurst Cup.
The richest greyhound race in the world on March 24 at Wentworth Park, the Macro Meats Golden Easter Egg, will have Irinka Luca, along with four other Bathurst Cup finalists vying for the $250,000 race.
“This is an outstanding result, we may have had a couple before, but to have five from the Bathurst Cup in the richest greyhound race in the world, is incredible and extremely exciting,” Townsend said.
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