From The Caller’s Box
By PAUL DOLAN
The recent Con Sciacca Capalaba Cup had all the drama of a Hollywood blockbuster movie.
Midweek, the track was completely flooded. After the water receded on the Thursday, manager Trevor McSherry and his staff and volunteers did a remarkable job to have the track raceable three days later.
The Bob Vernon Memorial Maiden final was the first feature, resulting in a win by almost five lengths to the Kevin Ellis trained Impact.
To think that any winner would run 19.72 after the track had been flooded was almost unimaginable. Impact (Fabregas – Velocity Willow) is owned by Steve Williams of Velocity Lodge fame.
The Capalaba Cup went to an established star in Columbian King. The Jamie Hosking trained straight track specialist recorded 19.55.
Bob Patching, dubbed ‘Mr Capalaba’ because of his long involvement with the club in various roles, declared Columbian King as the most consistent chaser he has seen in watching races at Capalaba for over 40 years.
“The dog can win from any box and can lead or win coming from back in the field,’’ Patching said.
Racecaller John ‘Bunny’ Brasch summed up the win in his call. ‘All hail the King’, Brasch declared.
Race ten was the Cup consolation. When the runners arrived at the starting point, there was plenty of commotion. A snake was seen under the floor of the boxes, a red belly black nonetheless.
Various efforts were made to remove the snake, but to no avail. After a delay of nearly an hour, the rest of the card was called off, for the safety of the handlers as well as the greyhounds.
I pondered: Is this the most weird reason for the cancellation of races? Perth greyhound caller Peter O’Neill has a story to match what happened at Capalaba.
“At Northam a few years ago, a snake came out of the bushes alongside the home straight and slithered among the runners as they were parading,’’ O’Neill recalled.
“The meeting was put on hold while they waited for a snake catcher to come from town. She couldn’t find the snake and the meeting was abandoned.’’
Around ten years ago, there was a black snake in the starting boxes at Richmond. It was caught after about twenty minutes and the meeting proceeded.
Retired Victorian gallops caller Greg Miles says a meeting at Hanging Rock was called off when the track was literally inundated with kangaroos.
“It’s an annual iconic race meeting. The next year a local trainer’s son and daughter were employed on their ponies to shoo the roos away between races,’’ Miles said.
Aussie commentator Peter Berry who calls in the USA can top any yarn about snakes and kangaroos.
“Delays due to alligators being present are common in Florida,’’ Berry said.
Now that would be a very genuine cause for alarm!