Since lining up for the inaugural TAB Phoenix six months ago, the eight greyhounds in the final field have gone on to win 32 races, 5 x Group 1’s, track records have been broken, in excess of $2 million in prizemoney earned, Three greyhounds have become stud dogs, the reserve (Lala Kiwi) has won a Group 1 Australian Cup, a greyhound has broken the magical million dollar prizemoney barrier, and that’s just the beginning.
In box draw order:
BILLY CREEK (NSW GBOTA) Trainer: Ian Gilders Prizemoney: $187,920 (pre-Phoenix $64,720) Overall: 36 starts: 14-5-7 (pre-Phoenix 22 starts: 10-4-4)
The Slot: The least heralded of the greyhounds coming into the inaugural TAB Phoenix, Billy Creek provided a fairy tale story for self-confessed ‘bush trainer’ Ian Gilders just to make the race, after winning the NSW GBOTA slot through the Ladbrokes Flight to the Phoenix race series.
The Race: After an impressive first look around The Meadows circuit (29.93) in an exhibition trial the week prior to The Phoenix and coming up with the coveted red box for the final, Billy Creek’s odds were slashed from $101 to $41 before jumping at $22.30 on the tote. On race night, after beginning evenly and showing no early pace, Billy drifted back to near last before holding the rail and running on well for fourth – collecting a $65,000 cheque in the process.
The Resume: Since December 18, ‘Billy’ has become a group race winner, taking out the Group 3 Bathurst Gold Cup final, won a heat of the rich middle distance Country Classic race series at Dubbo. *Billy Creek has made the final of the Group 3 Brother Fox at Dubbo, drawing box 7 due to be run Saturday 21st May.
JUNGLE DEUCE (GRNSW) Trainer: Raymond ‘Jack’ Smith Prizemoney: $654,570 ($240,430) Overall: 43 starts: 25-5-4 (33: 18-5-4)
The Slot: Following a ‘Get on the Deuce’ campaign by connections, the voting process that Greyhound Racing New South Wales undertook, in partnership with the Daily Telegraph, Jungle Deuce was voted as ‘The People’s Pup’ beating a who’s who of NSW greyhounds for the honour, including Wow, Bandit Ned & Zipping Kyrgios. When trainer Jack Smith took the stage at the Box Draw event, he was delighted to select box two which saw Jungle Deuce start as the third favourite for the inaugural Phoenix, at $4.80.
The Race: After beginning poorly, Jungle Deuce loomed as a placegetter down the back straight before checking off heels and getting tangled up at a crucial point of the race. Jungle Deuce finished 6th.
The Resume: In his 9 starts since the TAB Phoenix, Jungle Deuce has cemented himself as one of the biggest stars in the sport winning 7 times, including winning 2 x Group 1’s (Paws of Thunder + Gold Bullion) & a G2 (Golden Sands), breaking a track record (Dubbo, 28.93) while also starting as the favourite for the G1 Rookie Rebel invitational where he ran fourth.
Jungle Deuce has since been sidelined with a hairline fracture of his hock and while healing has commenced stud duties.
SPOTTED ELK (Race QLD) Trainer: Graham Hall Prizemoney: $238,385 ($125,690) Overall: 40 starts: 17-7-4 (32: 16-5-4)
The Slot: The Graham Hall trained speedster beat out her litter sister, Extra Malt, to take out the Listed Queensland Flame earning her the Race QLD slot in the TAB Phoenix.
The Race: Spotted Elk lead the Phoenix for the first two sectionals before eventual winner, Wow She’s Fast took over around the second turn. Spotted Elk ran on well to run a clear second in 29.871 taking home the $100,000 prizemoney.
The Resume: Spotted Elk has been lightly raced since The Phoenix but did race in the Group 1 Temlee and claim the 2021 Queensland Greyhound of the Year.
Spotted Elk has resumed trialling following a stress fracture injury.
WOW SHE’S FAST (Sportsbet) Trainer: Jacqueline Greenough Prizemoney: $1,047,870 ($15,895) Overall: 16 starts: 11-1-0 (6: 4-0-0)
The Slot: Following her unbelievable 27.5L win on debut at Sandown in September, the talk began of whether or not ‘Sharni’ would get herself a Phoenix slot and wagering behemoth, Sportsbet, did not disappoint locking her in early giving Team Greenough the opportunity to set her up for the race at just her seventh race track appearance.
The Race: With Spotted Elk on her inside leading and Aston Rupee on her outside giving her plenty of room, Wow She’s Fast lobbed third on the rail and showed how strong she is taking over from Spotted Elk and running away to win by 3L in 29.655, at a healthy starting price of $11 much to the delight of the raucous Sportsbet crowd.
The Resume: Following her TAB Phoenix win, Wow She’s Fast has gone from strength to strength winning the Group 3 Launching Pad with an incredible 28.93 run before taking out the Group 1 Sapphire Crown to become the 10th greyhound to crack the magical million-dollar prizemoney barrier in emphatic style, a near track record performance of 28.81.
ASTON RUPEE (Ray Borda) Trainer: Glenn Rounds Prizemoney: $605,335 ($420,750) Overall: 42 starts: 23-9-5 (33: 19-7-4)
The Slot: Leviathan owner, Ray Borda, was able to pick what most people considered the #1 seed with a greyhound he owns, Aston Rupee for his personal slot.
The Race: Aston Rupee had no clear air in the early stages and that theme continued throughout the race resulting in ‘Jimbo’ running a luckless 7th as the $2.50 favourite.
The Resume: Considered by many as the fastest greyhound in the world, Aston Rupee only had 8 starts following the Phoenix but he made those count winning the Group 1 Temlee, just missing out on the Meadows track record with his sizzling 29.39 run on Australian Cup night and a further two sub 29 second runs at Sandown.
Aston Rupee has now commenced stud duties where he is sure to be popular with breeders.
VICE GRIP (The Dogs WA) Trainer: Adam Smithson Prizemoney: $394,000 Overall: 69 starts: 31-13-8 (58: 24-11-8)
The Slot: To determine the representative for The Dogs WA slot, a race series was run culminating in a match race where Vice Grip defeated Fernando Star to seal his trip across to the eastern seaboard for trainer Adam Smithson.
The Race: After drawing poorly in Box 6, Vice Grip jumped evenly but was given no room to move before finishing 8th.
The Resume: After heading back to WA and having two months off, Vice Grip became a Group 1 winner at his 64th career start winning the 2022 G1 Perth Cup while also having a win against Wow She’s Fast at Wentworth Park on his record.
TRUE COLLINDA (TAB) Trainer: Jason Thompson Prizemoney: $79,980 ($35,905) Overall: 27 starts: 10-5-3 (20: 8-4-2)
The Slot: Race sponsor, Tabcorp, enlisted the services of leading trainer Jason Thompson to gain exclusive rights to the greyhounds in his kennel. Following injuries to multiple Team Thompson runners, the decision came down to two – True Collinda & Typhoon Sammy – with a match race being held on a trial day to make the final decision with True Collinda coming out on top.
The Race: Starting from the unfavourable box seven, True Collinda began poorly before making up some ground in the home straight to finish 5th.
The Resume: True Collinda has been sparingly raced since the inaugural TAB Phoenix and has not been seen on the racetrack since February due to coming on season.
KOBLENZ (Sports Entertainment Network) Trainer: David Geall Prizemoney: $792,165 ($711,235) Overall: 42 starts: 26-7-5 (39: 26-6-3) The Slot: The Sports Entertainment Network (SEN) joined forces with form expert and professional punter, Troy Little to make their selection and when Koblenz took out the G1 Melbourne Cup in late November, the decision was made to select the David Geall trained speedster.
The Race: Known for his early speed, Koblenz landed second at the first split behind Spotted Elk and alongside eventual winner, Wow She’s Fast before holding on to run third.
The Resume: The Melbourne Cup winner only raced two times after The Phoenix, both at Shepparton, before succumbing to injury and joining his half-brother My Redeemer at stud.