History aplenty in Wentworth Park classics
By MIKE HILL
BOTH sexes as well as stayers will be featured in a big Group 3 night at Wentworth Park this month.
The Bob Payne Sprint (520m) for males, the Ladies Bracelet (520m) for females and the Gold Cup (720m) all have a long history.
They go back 50 and 60 years.
The three big finals will be run on Saturday, May 8.
The Bob Payne Sprint was first run in 1961 as the Winter Stake over 457m at Harold Park.
With the retirement of the GBOTA chairman Bob Payne in 1985, the race was renamed in his honour, and became the Bob Payne Winter Stake and when Harold Park closed in 1987, the event moved to Wentworth Park.
It would eventually undergo another name change to become the Bob Payne Sprint.
Over time it has been won by a host of smart sprinters, including Woolley Wilson (1972), Snow Report (1985), Camden’s Ghost (1986), How’s The Fort (1992), Solve The Puzzle (1998), Go Wild Teddy (2000) and Oaks Road (2012).
In 2019, five months before he would win the world’s richest greyhound race – the Million Dollar Chase – the Frank Hurst-trained Good Odds Harada won the Bob Payne beating 2018 Chase runner-up Jamella Jet.
The Ladies Bracelet, introduced as a celebration of women in racing, was first run at Harold Park in 1971 and was won by the mighty little brindle sprinter Shapley Escort.
The event is open to the best 32 bitches nominated and the final is always conducted on the eve of Mother’s Day every year.
It was moved to Wentworth Park in 1988 and has been won by some famous bitches.
Gold Spring won the race in successive years ’79/80 and AGRA Hall of Famer Winifred Bale was successful in 1983. Other brilliant greyhounds to win included Mandarin Girl, Camden’s Ghost, Jessica Casey, Short County and Victorians Amy’s Doll and Mutombo Miss.
In recent years Bracelet winners have included Zipping Willow (2014), Zipping Lilly (2016), Miss Splendamiro (2018) and Zipping Bailey (2019).
Meanwhile, the Gold Cup – first run on the grass at Wentworth Park in 1966 over 790 yards – has been won by some of the star stayers in the sport, headed by the mighty Zoom Top (1968 and ’69).
Other champions to win the race include, Ragsie (1972), Miss High Lo (1974), National Lass (1986), Miagi (2008), Bell Haven (2013), Dyna Willow (2014) and Space Star (2015).
More recent winners have been Ebby Ripper in 2018 and Blue Moon Rising (2019).