Flying Amy Classic is on the road to Group One status
By TERRY WILSON
ALL going well, the Flying Amy classic could soon be among five Group 1 races staged at Albion Park in Brisbane.
The latest edition of the 520m race is on at the Creek next month with heats on June 3 and the final a week later on June 10.
The prize pool is at Group 1 level with $113,000 total prizemoney ($75,000 to the winner), but it still has to hit Group 1 status.
That is not too far off according to Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club boss Luke Gatehouse, who has confirmed this year’s staging will carry Group 2 status.
The classic is named after former outstanding Queensland bitch Flying Amy and is one of the big races to lead into the rich Winter Carnival at Albion Park.
“It had Group 1 money in 2019 as well because the ultimate goal is to get it to that stage,” said Gatehouse.
“This year, by rights, it is a Group 2. We have to pay Group 1 money for a few years to get it to that level and we’re working through to that.”
The Flying Amy has been won by some top-notch performers, none more so than Feral Franky in 2019 in a field that included Sennachie, Black Opium and Fernando’s Riot.
That perhaps was the best line-up ever in the classic which had its origins back in the Gabba days when it was known as the Queensland Puppy Classic (from 1985 to 1996).
It then became the Coca-Cola Puppy Classic in 1997, then the Middle Park Travel Puppy Classic in 1998 until the powers that be settled on the Flying Amy Classic from 1999.
It is unusual that Flying Amy actually won the age-restricted event in 1994.
Last year Kiss And Spin won the race for Jeff Crawford when first money was $25,000 after the coronavirus pandemic hit the industry and feature race money was cut significantly.
Now, heading into a hot winter carnival, Gatehouse is looking forward to attracting the best from far and wide with the Flying Amy, the State Of Origin and several semi-classics warming up the action for the G1 Brisbane Cup (520m) and the G1 Queensland Cup (710m).
“We’re expecting to get the cream of the crop from across the country,” said Gatehouse.
There is plenty to look forward to for the greyhound world.
It all starts with the $27,500 Carnival Chase (600m) and Young Guns (520m) on May 13, then the Listed Carnival Sprint (520m) worth $27,500 on May 27; the Listed Dashing Corsair (710m) worth $27,500; then the Flying Amy, followed by the Origin Sprint, Distance and Challenge and the Origin Match race on June 17.
Unfortunately the Origin series this time around is going to clash with an NRL game between Brisbane and Penrith, barring a revamp of the draw.
The Winter Carnival then really hots up in July with the major sprint and distance races.