Tom Tzouvelis has been trying for more than ten years to win a Darwin Cup. With the help of good friend and local trainer Brian Kelleher, that goal was realised with the win of Off And On in the $25,000 to-the-winner feature last Sunday night.
“I sent a few up to Brian and his wife Robyn and they have done a great job, with ten winners and eight placings from 20 starters for me. We have won the Easter Gift, the July Plate, the Chief Minister’s Cup and now the big one,” Tzouvelis said.
“I thought the locals might want to run us out of town but the reception was really friendly.
“I bring my family up for what is virtually a working holiday each year. It’s a fantastic place, so much to see and do. The racing is a bonus, Brian does a fantastic job with the dogs.”
Tzouvelis was confident when Off And On, a daughter of Tomac Bale and Jackie’s Trouble, jumped straight to the front in Sunday’s high quality Cup final.
“She has never led in her life,” said Tzouvelis.
“There was a fair bit of carnage at the first turn and when my bitch got clear I knew they wouldn’t run her down as she is really strong at the finish, she’s raced over 600 and 700 as well.”
Off And On scored by two lengths on the line from Perth visitor Ochre Keroma. Zipping Zeus from Adelaide ran third. The favourite Invictus Rapid for Seona Thompson struck early trouble from box six and finished fourth, his effort after striking that early interference was commendable.
Tzouvelis had hoped to tackle the Darwin Cup with the very talented Tail Gate who was in terrific form at Albion Park until breaking a hock in February this year.
“Ron Kelly owned Tail Gate and had his heart set on racing in Darwin. So he bought a share in Off And On. Ron and some of his mates were there on the night and obviously had a great time celebrating. After the race meeting they ended up back in town, drinking from the Cup trophy at some of the pubs on Mitchell Street.
“Ron has owned racehorses which have won some really good races but he says winning the Darwin greyhound Cup tops everything.”
Sunday’s Cup meeting drew to a close another hugely successful Darwin Cup Carnival, with Northern Territory greyhound racing going from strength-to-strength, with the introduction of increased Sky Channel coverage in recent months.