Tommy Shelby Crowned Australian GOTY

THE Tommy Shelby juggernaut rolls on to ever-expanding greatness with the news he is the Australian Greyhound of the Year for 2020-21.

David Brasch

7 September 2021

THE Tommy Shelby juggernaut rolls on to ever-expanding greatness.

If anyone ever needed confirmation of that fact, consider Tuesday night’s showcase The Catching Pen episode which announced the industry’s highest achievers for the 2020-21 racing season.

Track superstar, Tommy Shelby, winner of 31 races and over $1 million in stakes, has been named 2020-21 Australian Greyhound of the Year.

And for his exploits with the champion sprinter, part-owner and trainer Steve Withers has been named Australian Trainer of the Year.

Tommy Shelby’s sire, Fernando Bale, now the most dominant force in the breeding world, was named stud dog of the year.

Team Tommy following his Golden Easter Egg victory at Wentworth Park

And, to top off all that, Tommy’s mother Serena Fly High was named broodbitch of the year.

“It is crazy to think we are even involved in this award,” said Withers of Tommy’s inclusion in the final list of greyhound of the year hopefuls.

“We are just a small kennel and, as a greyhound family, we look on these things with envy.

“To think your mate sitting on the couch next to you is part of these superstars, the giants of the industry who we have the utmost respect for is very humbling.

“My wife, Kira, whelped him, bottle fed him and he is her little baby. She makes no bones about the fact I run last around here.”

Tommy Shelby had a 2020-21 season that was staggering in not only its success but proved his greatness in front of the entire country.

He chased Group success in five different states during a time of great uncertainty with Covid.

His 2020-21 highlight reel included:

Won the G1 Australian Cup

Won the G1 Golden Easter Egg

Won the G1 Hobart 1000

Second in the G1 Vic Peters to Playlist

Third in the Million Dollar Chase to Handsome Prince

Fourth in the G1 Topgun to Shima Shine

Third in the G3 Golden Ticket to Crazy Cool

Third in the G1 Gold Bullion to Shima Shine

Finalist in the G1 Temlee to Wow

Three Group 1 victories in the 12 months sealed his year and clinched the title of the best greyhound racing in Australia in 2020-21.

His challenge came from greats of the industry in Shima Shine (37 wins, $729,000, G1 Topgun, G1 Gold Bullion), Stanley Road (15 wins, $357,000, G1 Super Stayers, G1 Association Cup) and Tiggerlong Tonk (42 wins, $707,000, G1 Perth Cup, G1 Harrison Dawson).

Steve Withers with his pride and joy Tommy Shelby

Withers proved himself around the country as a man able to take on the best on their home front and still win. He trains at a winners to runners strike-rate of 32 per cent.

Fernando Bale, of course, is dominant. His progeny have won $72m and they only started racing in 2017.

And, Tommy Shelby’s mother, Serena Fly High, a fine race bitch herself and owned in Sydney by Vince Bennett and his daughter Amy, has produced the winners of $1.6 million.

They also include Tommy’s littermates Withers Monelli (17 wins, $106,000), Steve Monelli (13 wins, $95,000), Jumbo Jet (9 wins, $36,000) and Kirra Monelli (6 wins, $33,000), while to Barcia Bale she is the mother of current Group star Jungle Deuce (15 wins, $220,000) etc.