Maturity classic holds special place for Meadows boss
By David Brasch
Group 1 Maturity (525m)
Whelped on or after 1-1-2018
Heats July 18. Final July 25
$100,000 to the winner
THE first feature race Ashley Baker presided over when he took over the reins at The Meadows a year ago was the time-honoured Maturity.
So, when he assured the Chase newspaper the race would retain its status as a $100,000-to-the-winner Group 1, it came with knowledge the series is a special one.
“My 12 months here since taking over from Marg Long has been a real baptism of fire,” said Ashley. “We got through the Australian Cup carnival, but were then thrown head first into the three months of Covid.
“It has been a really weird time.”
Baker said he and his board would be in discussion with GRV in regards to its feature race program for the rest of the year. Announcements on just that could be made soon.
“GRV gave us the OK to serve food and beverages to participants from June 22, and we are expecting to have owners and possibly patrons back on track by July 20,” he said.
“That will be one week before the final of the Maturity.”
He pointed to the fact there are so many great young greyhounds racing in Victoria at the moment that the Maturity will certainly continue its standard as one of the great classic races.
“We want to make sure we have got good quality racing at The Meadows for the next 12 months and we are confident everything will be back to normal by this time next year,” he said.
Baker does not expect any large scale on-track promotions within the next year.
He remembers only too well the victory by champion Sennachie in the Maturity not long after he had arrived as CEO at The Meadows.
When superstar Sennachie headed to the start of the Maturity, even trainer Steve White would have to admit it was a tough task.
But, the champion son of Fernando Bale-Rhonda Rocks swept to a 29.53 victory grabbing the $100,000 winner’s cheque for his South Aussie owners Kirin Corby and Bill Wudarczyk.
What would not have been so obvious at that time was the enormity of the victory and the quality of those who chased him home.
Starting hot favourite, Sennachie stormed to the front at the first turn and went on to win by four lengths.
But it is testament of just what a great race that was, how tough it is to win the Maturity, and how dominant Sennachie’s victory was when you consider those who chased him home.
- Whiskey Riot who would go on to win the G1 Melbourne Cup and G1 Temlee and be placed in six Group races;
- Feral Franky the ‘people’s champ’, who would win the G1 Vic Peters, be 2nd in three G1s and 3rd in two others;
- Good Odds Buddy the litter brother to Feral Franky and winner of 18 races and $84,000;
- Western Envoy winner of 13 races and $255,000 with victory in the G2 Bendigo Cup, 2nd in the G1 Melbourne Cup and final berths in three other G1s;
- Tauwitchere winner of the G2 Launching Pad, 3rd in the G1 Sale Cup and a finalist in two other G1s;
- Rockstar Prince winner 13 times for $86,000, 2nd in the Speed Star and finalist in two other Group races;
- Get It Gizmo winner of 10 races and $254,000 including G1 Topgun, 3rd in the $1m Chase and a finalist in two G1s.
That Maturity final field ended up winning 137 races and prizemoney of $2,933,000.
Yes, The Maturity, which comes up in July at The Meadows, is a race for the ultimate greyhound … win, lose or draw.