Group 1 Stars Renew Great Modern Rivalry

THE latest chapter in one of racing’s great rivalries will be written on Thursday when Shima Shine and Tiggerlong Tonk meet in the Harrison-Dawson.

Mick Floyd

19 May 2021

THE latest chapter in one of greyhound racing’s great modern rivalries will be written on Thursday night when Shima Shine and Tiggerlong Tonk meet in the Harrison-Dawson.

The pair and will meet for the 9th time at group level in the $145,000 final, equalling Up Hill Jill and Striker Light as one of the great group level rivalries.

The two have followed a remarkably similar career paths, displaying outstanding speed and fantastic longevity throughout. In fact, it will be the 26th time the two have competed at the same race meeting.

Beginning their respective careers six weeks apart in 2019, they first met in the final of the group 1 Silver Chief in January 2020 and over the next 18 months have met in two country Cups, two invitationals at the Meadows, and a Shooout, East Gift and the TAB Melbourne Cup at Sandown Park.

The Harrison-Dawson will be the fourth time they’ve met in a group final at Sandown Park, a track at which both boast an extraordinary record.

Shima Shine has won six of 14 starts (42.9%) at HQ and is the only greyhound to feature twice in the top 8 fastest times at the track.

Fastest winning times at Sandown
28.909 Hard Style Rico
28.939 Hooked On Scotch
28.951 Unlawful Entry
28.960 Bekim Bale
28.980 Fernando Bale
28.999 Dyna Patty

Tiggerlong Tonk, who ran third in the Harrison-Dawson in 2020, has won 11 of his 26 Sandown starts (42.3%) and while he may not have the outright speed of Shima Shine (his 29.034 race record time in last year’s Shootout ‘only’ ranks 14th), he has been consistently quick throughout his career. Of the 75 fastest winning times at the track (up to 29.162) only the great Fernando Bale features as many times as Tiggerlong Tonk with five entries.

Number of sub-29.17 wins at Sandown
5 Fernando Bale
4 Hooked On Scotch
3 Poke The Bear
3 Zambora Brockie

While Shima Shine boasts the faster times and more prize money, Tonk has won more city races and made more group finals. He also leads the head-to-head 7-1.

Unsurprisingly, the greyhounds’ handlers – friends and neighbours Correy Grenfell (27) and Korie Heinrich (25) – share enormous respect for their opponent.

“There would be nothing between them two out,” said Tiggerlong Tonk’s trainer, Correy Grenfell.

“Tonk’s confidence is high and I believe if he jumps this week like last he’s going to be hard to beat based on the draw. But I’ll be looking where Shima Shine is in the run if Tonk is out in front.”

The market suggests Shima Shine ($2.40) is better drawn of the two in the final after coming up with box 2 with Tiggerlong Tonk ($3.70) in box 8, however Shima Shine’s handler, Korie Keinrich, doesn’t agree.

“If I’m being honest I actually like Tonk from the pink,” she said.

“The dogs are on a par with the ability they both have. I know Shine went a bit quicker (in his heat), but Tiggerlong Tonk is a beast of an animal and props to Correy on what they continue to achieve with him.

“If I can’t win it, I hope Tonk can bring it home for them!”

And in good news for racing fans, this may not be the last meeting between the two group 1 winners. While stud careers are likely for the two well-bred group 1 winners, connections have declared that their champs as ‘race dogs’ who will continue to race as long as the dogs are keen to go racing. In fact, as the current top two seeds for the upcoming Speed Star match race series, they could well meet in a match up that Grenfell is keen to see.

“Hopefully come Speed Star Tonk and Shima could draw each other as it would be on helluva race.”

Would it ever!

Tiggerlong Tonk Shima Shine
78 starts 36-16-8 Record 58 starts 34-4-8
$576,015 Prize money $638,488
26 starts 11-6-2 Sandown record 14 starts 6-3-1
29.034 Sandown Best 28.949
18 Group finals 14
10 Group 1 finals 6
5-2-2006 Group race record 3-1-2003
20 City wins 15
$8 (2nd favourite) Harrison-Dawson all-in $5 (favourite)
$3.70 (2nd favourite) Current price $2.40 (favourite)
2nd Speed Star Rank 1st

The Harrison-Dawson is one of two group 1 finals on an action packed night of racing on Thursday night which also features four heats of the world’s premier distance race, the $250,000 RSN Sandown Cup.