Trademark Tommy In Australian Cup Epic

TOMMY Shelby sits atop of the greyhound racing world following his epic come from behind victory in the Group 1 Australian Cup at The Meadows.

Adam Dobbin

27 February 2021

TONIGHT Tommy Shelby sits atop of the greyhound racing world following his epic come from behind victory in the Group 1 Australian Cup Final (525m) at The Meadows.

The last stride win in the Group 1 showpiece was trademark Tommy, blazoning all the qualities we’ve come to expect from the superstar son of Fernando Bale during his decorated career.

Displaying grit, determination and an unrelenting will to win, Tommy Shelby edged out Fernando Bluey to win what will go down as one of the greatest Australian Cup finishes in the race’s 63-year history.

“What can I say about him …. he’s just a gem of a dog,” beamed proud trainer Steve Withers in the race aftermath.

“I knew this success would come if we just hung in there but it’s not me, it’s all the dog, I’m just along for the ride. I couldn’t be prouder, to win an Australian Cup like that … very special.”

Heading into the $300,000-to-the-winner Australian Cup as the fastest qualifier following a sizzling 29.51 heat success, Tommy Shelby was sent out a warm race favourite at $2.80 from box four.

A clear second favourite was Fernando Bluey for 18-year-old Kayla Cottrell, the budding young trainer looking to continue her meteoric rise through the ranks after Fernando Cazz landed the Group 1 Rookie Rebel a fortnight ago.

And after Fernando Bluey speared to the front in a fast 5.02 early and established a handy lead down the back straight, it looked as if Cottrell’s sensational recent run was to continue.

But lurking ominously was a surging Tommy Shelby, the “people’s dog” ranging up alongside Fernando Bluey halfway down the home straight before sticking his head out when it mattered most to land the second Group 1 of his career.

“I know how strong he is and that he just wouldn’t give up,” Withers said.

“When I saw him in clear air down the back I thought to myself he’d be in the frame at the finish somewhere.

“What an animal he is. A perfect pet at home and an unbelievable race dog on the track.

“Winning one of the major group 1s really puts that exclamation mark on his career regardless of what happens from here.” 

Tommy Shelby’s winning margin over Fernando Bluey was a neck at the finish in 29.86.

Filling third was a gallant Lakeview Cruiser another four lengths away.

Now a winner at 27 of 41 career starts, Tommy Shelby’s prizemoney has climbed to $750,000, a figure that could well swell in the fast approaching Golden Easter Egg before returning home to WA for a crack at the Perth Cup.

Tommy Shelby’s triumph continued Fernando Bale’s domination of the event also, the champion stud dog siring the past four Australian Cup winners.