Thrilling Amelia Hands Walsh A Third Silver Collar

PUNCHING through a gap on the rail when racing into the final turn yielded victory for Thrilling Amelia in Sunday’s Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar.

Peter Fenemor

14 June 2021

PUNCHING through a gap on the rail when racing into the final turn yielded victory for Thrilling Amelia in Sunday’s running of the $100,000 Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar (779m).

The Karen Walsh mentored stayer then slipped clear from her rivals, cruising to an effortless win by a comfortable 7 ½ lengths, recording 46.79s for the assignment.

The field jammed up behind her when turning in for the gruelling run home. Kicking home stoutly to claim second was Claws In Leo for Dan Roberts, while Arch Lawrence applied the finishing touches to the third placed Little Teegs a further half-length astern.

For Walsh, who is a consistently high strike-rate conditioner, this was her third training success in the great race, while owner Gary Harding savoured his fifth win in Austrasia’s longest staying test.

He trained his first two winners prior to handing over the mentoring duties to Walsh.

It was in 2018 when Harding negotiated a three-pup package when purchasing members of the Australian bred Mogambo and Monaco Icon litter when recognising potential staying blood in the siblings.

He sure was proved correct with Thrilling Amelia’s huge win which came in the 50th running of the prestigious event. 

Litter sister Thrilling Nina was shaping up as an outstanding stayer, claiming eight wins over the distance from 18 attempts (five minors) prior to unfortunately being injured and being retired to the breeding barn.

“I’m very proud of Amelia – she got away okay, then settled nicely. I was relieved when she shot through into the lead, then ran clear to win it.

“I’m so rapt for Gary (Harding) who was astute enough to buy the pups with the Silver Collar in mind. 

“Yes, we were deeply disappointed when we lost Nina as a racing proposition, although I guess Amelia can join her (breeding) when she finishes racing,” advised Walsh, who set off early on Monday morning for the five-hour drive to Palmerston North to successfully race a pair of lower-graded Thrilling prefixed greyhounds.    

Blazing Amazing Chase Victory

Sheer power carried the talented It’s A Blaze to victory in Sunday’s running of the $50,000 Amazing Chase match race series.

Once again it was the strong run home produced by the Dave and Jean Fahey prepared former Victorian that cemented his bold 30.26s 527m gallop.

It’s A Blaze then had to withstand the efforts from the remaining three match-ups – he did so, although the gloss was somewhat removed from the win when the Lisa Cole mentored Federal Morgan went amiss during the final match after having set up quicker first and mid-trip sectionals prior to faltering.

For the Faheys it was the second occasion they have provided the Amazing Chase winner having prepared Shantui to win the inaugural 2017 running, also at Manukau Stadium.

GRNZ Hall Of Fame Inductees

Marking the 50th occasion of the running of the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar saw Greyhound Racing NZ make four inductions into the GRNZ Hall of Fame during Sunday’s meeting. 

All four inductees stamped their mark on previous Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collars editions.

Steiny Blue won the 1988 Silver Collar final, before going on to finish third the following year and second in 1990. 

She was an outstanding stayer throughout her career with trainer Thayne Green, also a GRNZ Hall of Fame member, frequently traveling his stayer throughout the country, winning 33 of her 65 staying assignments.

Swift Fantasy was a greyhound staying phenomenon. She astounded racegoers from all three racing codes with her pulsating last to first finishing bursts for her late trainer Steve Clark.

Lady (kennel name) provided greyhound racing with invaluable mainstream media exposure, especially with her astounding victory in the 2010 Silver Collar final.

She also went on to add second and third placings in subsequent runnings of the great race.

Swift Fantasy’s entire racing career was over staying distances which saw her rack up 14 wins and 13 minors from her 35 race day outings.

Ring The Bell became just the second stayer to win two Silver Collar finals and the first to record back-to-back victories when winning the 2017 and 2018 editions.

He was the first Australian trained stayer to win the tough 779m endurance test when Victorian trainer Gerry O’Keeffe crossed the Tasman.

He then left the 2016 Australian Nation Distance victor in the care of GRNZ Hall of Fame conditioner Ray Adcock, who applied the finishing touches for his second Silver Collar win the following year.

His outstanding career concluded with 31 staying wins (23 minors), while overall he won 37 of his 91 career races, amassing $449,621 in stake earnings.

Peter Earley is known as the voice of the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar and last Sunday he came out of retirement to call his 48th final.

The commentaries he delivered have always been colourful, while maintaining complete accuracy throughout.

Earley was also an invaluable asset for the greyhound code, not only throughout his commentary career where he pioneered national greyhound radio commentaries on the Radio Pacific network, but also being a racing broadcaster, especially over the later years during his time with TAB Trackside radio.