Vault: 2020 Melbourne Cup, Hard Style Rico

THERE have been few better moments in racing than watching the emotion pour from Luckie Karabitsakos after Hard Style Rico won the Melbourne Cup.

David Brasch

26 November 2021

THERE have been few better “moments” in greyhound racing than watching the emotion pour from Luckie Karabitsakos after his beloved Hard Style Rico led throughout to win the 2020 Group 1 Melbourne Cup.

No, there was no crowd in the grandstand, up against the outside of the track, to share in his moment. Covid has much to answer for.


But, all greyhound racing was with him and “Rico”. All greyhound racing was glued to TV sets to witness the running of a classic Melbourne Cup.

Rico (Bella Infrared-Bella Rico) “thrashed” Simon Told Helen, “thrashed” Tommy Shelby, “thrashed” Tiggerlong Tonk, “thrashed” Shima Shine, to win that Melbourne Cup.

And to add the icing on the Cup, he broke the Sandown track record doing it.

“Rico” was that good.

Luckie needed no time to think about it. He immediately retired his dog to stud. The Cup victory, a record breaking performance, a pedigree to back it up and Rico was off to a new career.

He went with the boast of 21 wins and $627,000 cash behind him.

He’d also run a record at Shepparton, won the Silver Bullet, was second in a Maturity and finalist in the Australian Cup, Silver Chief and National Derby and four other Group finals.

He’s instantly been accepted like all Melbourne Cup winners, but especially so with Rico because of the vintage crop of rivals he put to the sword.

Some of the very best breeders in the land have used him.

Names like Hallinan, Wheeler, Borda have sent bitches his way. Queenslanders, who never once saw the dog race, have been among the biggest numbers to use him.

His oldest pups will not be 12 months until March 2022.

Luckie is the first to admit he retired Hard Style Rico are the very peak of his powers. Leaving dogs like Simon, Tommy, Tonk and Shima Shine in his wake in a Melbourne Cup was a pretty good stage to go out on.