Queensland trainer Tony Brett and Skilled win Tweed Heads Border Park Wauchope Challenge

WELL AHEAD OF THE PACK: Skilled and trainer Tony Brett won the Tweed Heads Border Park Wauchope Challenge, presented by Border Park sponsor Steve McGrath. Photo: Supplied/Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club.
WELL AHEAD OF THE PACK: Skilled and trainer Tony Brett won the Tweed Heads Border Park Wauchope Challenge, presented by Border Park sponsor Steve McGrath. Photo: Supplied/Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club.

The Tweed Heads Border Park Wauchope Challenge has been hailed as a credit to racing by leading Queensland trainer Tony Brett.

Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club hosted the seven-race non-TAB evening on Saturday, January 11 with a massive pool of $30,000 in prize money sponsored by Border Park.

The Grandchester trainer drove for eight hours with 22 month-old greyhound, Skilled, to attend and win the challenge.

"It was my first time there. It's a long way but you go wherever is suited to the dog winning the race," he said.

"He really jumped out of the boxes and that's his trait. He's fast out early and away he went.

"I was a little bit surprised that he was able to lead because he hadn't seen the track or raced there.

"Wauchope is one of only a couple of grass tracks in Australia and he'd never raced on a grass track. It's a big thing for a young dog to race in different conditions and win."

The large 38kg greyhound rocketed out of the boxes and raced away from the pack for an easy five length win in 25.90 seconds. He was trailed by the locally-trained Rivergum Road of Patrick Parrelli and odds-on favourite Barbaresco.

"He's had five starts now with four wins and picked up about $43,000 in prize money. That's great money for a dog with five races," said Mr Brett.

"He got a couple of treats on the way home. He got two cheeseburgers and a soft-serve cone as an after race treat, which he gobbled down in about ten seconds."

Mr Brett collected the trophy and the $20,000 first prize before putting $400 on the bar for patrons.

He said the racing environment on the night reminded him of younger years at regional racing clubs.

"I haven't raced on a grass track for ten years but it was a bit like going back to where I was as a kid and racing," said Mr Brett.

"There was a few hundred people there and it was nice to be back in the country to socialise, have a few drinks and watch the dogs. It was a great night and I had a ball.

"For the likes of next year I'll look to head back not just with one but three or four dogs to have a go at different races.

"The hospitality of the club and to get a crowd that size is a credit to them. It very much reminded me of going to dogs with my parents when I was a kid."

PREPARING FOR THE RACE: Trainers and dogs prepare for the final of the Tweed Heads Border Park Wauchope Challenge. Photo: Supplied/Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club.

PREPARING FOR THE RACE: Trainers and dogs prepare for the final of the Tweed Heads Border Park Wauchope Challenge. Photo: Supplied/Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club.

Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club president Rex Nairn said the event was hugely successful for the club and he was thrilled with the crowd who attended.

"It's quite extraordinary for Wauchope to host a $30,000 race considering we have the $5000 Wauchope Cup," he said.

"There wouldn't be another regional club to host a race even close to this. This would have been the biggest greyhound prize money race in NSW on Saturday.

"I was absolutely thrilled with how many people came to the races because we definitely got some people there. There was a lot of people I didn't recognise who attended for the first time.

"We also had a local trainer run second and he wasn't too disappointed because he went home with $5000. That's equivalent to winning the Wauchope Cup.

"It turned out to be a really good night and if we run it again we would only make some minor changes for the format of the qualifying heats."

The racing meet was the most wealthy of four greyhound racing meets for NSW on January 11 and one of the largest prize pools on offer across Australia on the night.

SPARKLING: The Tweed Heads Border Park Wauchope Challenge trophy won by Skilled. Photo: Supplied/Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club.

SPARKLING: The Tweed Heads Border Park Wauchope Challenge trophy won by Skilled. Photo: Supplied/Hastings River Greyhound Racing Club.