Tommy Shelby 'Unlikely' To Be Ready For Perth Cup

CHAMPION greyhound Tommy Shelby is "unlikely" to be ready to run in the heats of the rich Group 1 Perth Cup (520m) at Cannington in three weeks.

David Brasch

19 February 2022

CHAMPION Tommy Shelby is “unlikely” to be ready to run in the heats of the Group 1 Perth Cup at Cannington in three weeks.

Part-owner and trainer Steve Withers told the Greyhound Recorder on Thursday.

Withers had approached WA stewards for special discretion to trial Tommy Shelby (Fernando Bale-Serena Fly High) at Cannington between races on Saturday night.

He was refused permission.

“It would have been nice to get in a trial with him on a race night,” said Withers.

He pointed out the dog is the winner of 31 races and $1.02 million in stakes and is very high profile, having done plenty for WA greyhound racing.

“He is likely to start favourite when he returns to racing and we thought it might be for transparency and there for everyone to see just how he is going in his return to racing,” said Steve.

Tommy Shelby has not raced since finding first turn trouble at Sandown in a heat of the Group 1 Melbourne Cup on November 19.

“The dog is flying in his comeback, but he has had one 300 metre and a couple of 400s at Mandurah,” said Steve.

“He went 27.20 for 490 metres which is very, very good and ran a sectional record doing it.

“But he got tired.”

Withers says bringing the superstar back to racing is a “delicate process”.

He is now looking at trialling at Cannington next Thursday.

“At this stage, I would say his chances of running in the Perth Cup series are more unlikely than likely,” he said. “It will be difficult to have him right for the heats, but not impossible.

“I don’t want to take him to the races just for the sake of racing.”

Tommy Shelby has been mixing training and stud work.

“He’s now almost at the 70 bitch level,” said Withers. “We are selling two a week and still only to bitches on season.

“His oldest pups are nine months.”

Tommy Shelby is the winner of the Group 1 Australian Cup, Group 1 Golden Easter Egg, Group 1 Hobart 1000, Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation, has been second in the Group 1 Vic Peters, third in the Million Dollar Chase, Group 1 Melbourne Cup, Group 1 Gold Bullion and Group 3 Gold Ticket. He has been a finalist in the Group 1 Topgun, Group 1 Temlee and Group 2 WA Derby.

One wonders if thoroughbred trainer Chris Waller asked to trial between races with an equine version of Tommy Shelby, say Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant, if he would be given permission.

Waller’s champion Winx regularly trialled between races in her lead-up to major race campaigns doing a lot for the promotion of the sport.