Rocky road to Gold Cup glory as favourite falls and runs towards the field

THE biggest event in Dawson Park’s history was almost a complete boilover on Thursday but some quick thinking from Dubbo Greyhound Racing Club president Shayne Stiff saw the Rocky Ridge Gold Cup final (516m) completed and Tricky Jade break the track record on her way to claiming the $25,000 prize.

The boxes opened in the feature race of the Anzac Carnival and the highly-talented field rounded the first bend but heavy contact saw pre-race favourite Kulu Special ($3.50) fall, tumble a number of times and find itself a long way behind the pack.

The Anthony Azzopardi-trained bitch then got back up and started heading around the track in the opposite direction, but Stiff jumped the fence and scooped her up before she could affect the outcome of the rich event.

With much of the attention on Stiff and Kulu Special, few noticed Tricky Jade ($4.10), trained by Clergate’s Martin Hallinan, dominate the field.

The talented daughter of Navigator Miss and Bit Chilli avoided the drama by breaking well from box three and from there she never looked back, delighting the Hallinan camp.

Hallinan couldn’t make the trip to Dubbo, but Sam Jones and Cameron Hallinan were there on his behalf and Jones said, despite the confusion relating to Kulu Special, it was an amazing victory. 

“I didn’t know what was going to happen, if they were going to stop the race or anything but it was pretty interesting,” Jones said.

“But it was good, really good and when she jumped to the front we knew it was all over, it was just about what time she would run.”

The time itself was the best the track had seen over 516m as Tricky Jade passed the post in 29.59 seconds, collecting the huge cash prize and track record in the one race.

“She wasn’t 100 per cent fit coming into it but Marty (Hallinan) has been working with her and getting her right and he’ll be over the moon,” Jones said of the trainer, before taking time to praise the meeting at Dawson Park. 

“It’s been really good, we’ve been out here for a couple of carnivals and it’s always good to come back and we’ll be back again next year.”

Manyana Groper ($10.10) finished four-and-a-half lengths further back in second, while Molong’s Toby Weekes, whose dog Soviet Missile also fell in the early contact, took third with his other contender, Freddy’s Smile ($15.50), who finished a further length behind.

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