Grenfell Hoping History Repeats In Group 1 Classic

CORREY Grenfell is hoping to walk a familiar path when his star sprinter Tiggerlong Tonk takes his place in the heats of the Harrison-Dawson on Thursday.

Mick Floyd

12 May 2021

CORREY Grenfell is hoping to walk a familiar path when his star sprinter Tiggerlong Tonk takes his place in the heats of the Harrison-Dawson on Thursday night.

At 25 years of age, Grenfell became one of the youngest trainers to win a group 1 race at Sandown Park when the brilliant Orson Allen won the 2019 edition of the Harrison-Dawson.

The win came soon after his maiden group 1 success in the Perth Cup and completed a remarkable season in which he would be named the 2018/19 Victorian Greyhound of the Year.

Just a week after Orson Allen retired, Tiggerlong Tonk made his debut and has since followed a very similar career path.

Both boast superlative records at Sandown Park, both greyhounds have won the Shootout and Horsham Cup, and both claimed their first group 1 wins in the Perth Cup.

And both enter the Harrison-Dawson after a strong showing in the Warrnambool Cup series. The similarities are no coincidence.

“I always said from day dot that these two dogs are very similar,” said Grenfell.

“I always look back at what I did with Orson and follow the same line with Tonk.

“The last 3-4 years we’ve been lucky. Orson meant a lot to me and my family so when Orson retired it left a big hole in the kennel. It’s the same with Tonk. We go straight to him in the morning – he’s the first one out and the first one in.”

Like Orson Allen, Grenfell believes Tiggerlong Tonk is entering the Harrison-Dawson in career best form which in itself speaks volumes for a greyhound that has 77 starts and won $569,015 in prize money.

After breaking through at group 1 level for the first time in 10 attempts in the Perth Cup, he headed to Warrnambool where ran second in his heat before setting a new best time at Warrnambool of 24.82 when winning the Cup Night match race.

He shaved half a length off the time he set more than 12 months earlier, with Grenfell putting at least part of his rejuvenation down to a new game.

“Sending him over to Perth brought him back fresh – he’s been with us since he was 13 months old – so to get away from us for three weeks and come back he’s a completely different dog. And we’ve found a game for him he loves – playing ball.

“Anything that pumps up he loves. When he came back we put him the runs and the kids were kicking the footy and he just went silly which he’s never done before.”

Grenfell has long believed that Sandown Park is Tiggerlong Tonk’s best track, having won the Easter Gift and Shootout at group 3 level and making the 2020 Melbourne Cup and Harrison-Dawson finals.

He’s looking forward to returning to Tonk’s home deck for the first time since March – even if the box draw hasn’t been kind.

“(Box 6) it’s not what I wanted to see, but having said that, there doesn’t look like there’s a lot of speed which is going to favour him, but it will also favour Sunset Spitfire.

“I always called Sandown home with him. He’s always been a better box dog at Sandown – I don’t know why – and I think the back straight suits him at Sandown.

“Sunset Spitfire (box 2) is going to be on the speed with us, and obviously Equalizer is going to play the stalking role. Tonk’s averages about 5.05/5.06 to the first split at Sandown so I’d expect him to do that and he’s a chance to cross, and if Tonk’s on his A-game he’ll run 18.50s to the back. He’s there for the right reasons, he just needs a bit of luck in the first step or two.

“He’s good, feeling a million bucks. I believe he’s running quicker than he was when he was a pup.”

The Harrison-Dawson is open to male greyhounds and is run in conjunction with the Sapphire Crown for the females.

Four heats of each series will be run on Thursday night with the winner and runner up progressing to their respective $100,000 to the winner final on Thursday 20th May.

Thursday night is the opening night of the RSN Sandown Cup carnival, culminating in the world’s premier distance race – the $250,000 group 1 RSN Sandown Cup – on Thursday 27th May.