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Hazelgrove Heaven on Townsville Cup Night

By Isaac Murphy

Quara’s Flick lined up as a $61 long shot in the Townsville Cup Final for Brett Hazelgrove, 28.68 seconds later the kennel’s new acquisition was a Group Three winner. It was just her second start with the Hazelgrove.

“It was a bit of a shock when she won, but upon reflection her run wasn’t bad last week. I think it might have been the $61 that turned everyone off,” Hazelgrove said.

“On her past runs down south she was renowned for her quick getaway. So when she drew side by side with Slippery there was always the chance, she would get the fly and that’s what happened.”

“They treated me like royalty up there. I can’t say enough about the efforts of the club, it was a real honour to win and I can’t wait to go back next year.”

The timing could not have been better for Hazelgrove and co-owners of Dam Racing David Blench and Michael Phillips who got the bitch to Queensland just in time for the Cup.

“The owners purchased her a few weeks ago for breeding purposes but thought if they could pull off a few races that’d be great and they’ve basically recouped what they paid for her in one swoop,” Hazelgrove said.

“They’ve shown great confidence in me. It’s always good to repay the faith, they also own fifty percent of Winsome Willow who won the sprint on cup night.”

Hazelgrove’s star bitch Dam Slippery ran on well to finish third in the Cup on a huge night for the kennel, but there was little time to celebrate as Hazelgrove headed straight back to Brisbane to tackle the pairs next targets.

“It was straight back to work after Friday. I fed the dogs got a couple of hours sleep and started the drive back to Brisbane wanting to get them home and keep the momentum going,” he said.

“I trialled Quara’s Flick at Albion Park this morning and I was very pleased with the run. Her only little weakness is a flat spot in the middle of her racing, but her run home today was excellent which can offset that habit.”

“She goes back to a fifth grade on a Thursday where she will be very well graded and hopefully string a couple together.”

Although upstaged on Friday night Dam Slippery remains the star of the kennel with a Group Two Richmond Oaks and TAB Origin Greyhound Series Sprint to her name. She now turns her attention to this week’s Nationals Heats.

“Her natural pattern is to lead, but she’s taken ground off Wise Misty and made up lengths in the Cup, she looks really strong coming into the Nationals,” Hazelgrove said.

“It’d be an absolute honour and a thrill to represent Queensland at the Nationals especially after her Origin win earlier this year, but there are a lot of good dogs namely Common Ground who’s going great since returning.”

“We’re not taking anything for granted. It only takes a touch of bad luck and dogs like Big Bad Bob and Wise Misty will be there to capitalise, but she’s travelled great and given me every indication she’s ready to go.”

Possibly the only men happier than Hazelgrove on Townsville Cup night were Dam Racing partners Michael Phillips and David Blench who own Dam Slippery, Quara’s Flick and fifty percent of sprint winner Winsome Willow. Phillips spoke about his incredible night.

“It was a remarkable night, I caught Big Bad Bob when he won the consolation, boxed Quara’s Flick in the Cup and then to have Winsome Willow win the sprint who we have a fifty percent share in, I’m still smiling,” he said.

Phillips is a fourth-generation greyhound man who has long had a keen eye for breeding, which has flourished as his good mate David Blench joined him twelve years ago and now acts as a Queensland liaison for the duo.

“David and I co-own Dam Racing, we tried to register as Mad Racing standing for Michael and David, but it was already taken so we settled on Dam, representing David and Michael.”

“The connection with Brett training the dogs has to go to my good mate and business partner David Blench who now resides in Queensland and it was his suggestion that we give Brett a go and the results have been exceptional,” Phillips said.

“On behalf of David and I we can’t thank Brett enough, his commitment to detail and ability to work with us as owners to achieve our goals is above and beyond.”

The pair are constantly on the lookout for potential brood bitches and after the loss of two of their best producers Quara’s Flick loomed as an exciting prospect.

“We lost two brood bitches recently including Dam Slippery’s mother Go Minnie Mouse and were looking to replace them somewhere down the line,” Phillips said.

“That’s where Quara’s Flick came into the picture coming from the Bale line which we haven’t tapped into, we were aware she had racing ability but to win a Group Three on your second start was amazing.”

“It’s exciting times for myself, David and Brett all the dogs are flying and I can’t stress enough how much of a role each of us plays in reaching those targets.”