TOP FIVE SILVER COLLARS

2001

Aqua Mouse

2010

Swift Fantasy

1983

I’m A Robot

1994

Tivoli Tom

2018

Ring The Bell

1 – 2001 AQUA MOUSE

Wow, what an event!

The 2001 edition of the Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar delivered everything and then some.

Astro Teddy took off like a scolded cat, cutting out phenomenal early sectionals, which included being just outside the 318m track record the first time around. Estimates had his race lead at around 15 lengths when scorching down the back straight the second time.

Rounding the final turn Astro Teddy severely got the staggers. Four other stayers were charging at him when the field straightened for the gruelling run home. Dive-bombing them all at the judge was Aqua Mouse, who snatched his victory by a short neck, with a nose back to third and right with them was Astro Teddy and another contender Sole Edition.

The blanket finish saw commentator Peter Earley deliver his usual free-flowing, flourishing finishing comments. Firstly, this is how he called the race finish – “Oh my God. I don’t know – Aqua Mouse!”

Then Earley backed that up saying post-race about Astro Teddy with – “Astro Teddy was jumping up and down on a pogo stick!”

Experienced people in the greyhound code were shaking their heads in disbelief at what they had just witnessed.

Owner John Goode (who mentored Aqua Rattle to victory the previous year) had entrusted local conditioner Delys Van Meeuwen with the training duties for this edition.

He said, “After Mouse copped an early race check I had given her up as a winning chance. There was no way she was going to reel in the leaders. For her to get up from her field position represented a brilliant performance – I have to credit Delys for presenting her spot on.”

2 – 2010 SWIFT FANTASY

Swift Fantasy was a marketer’s dream!

She captivated followers with her daring, pulsating last to first finishing bursts. Lady, as she was affectionately known as around the Steve Clark kennels, was a canine phenomenon.

Swift Fantasy penetrated national mainstream media, providing invaluable nationwide exposure for the greyhound code. Long-time Lady supporters Dion Walker and Lavina Herbert formed the “Swift Fantasy Fan Club”, providing vocal and graphic support whenever she raced.

Swift Fantasy was installed as the warm $1.90 favourite for the 2010 Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar final and as per her usual racing style she was the last stayer sighted on settling. From there she trucked along at the rear of the field, content to view the hindquarters of her rivals for the greater part of the 779m journey.

It was when the field was approaching the final turn when Swift Fantasy switched on the turbo chargers, quickly striding from a tailed off position to commence her trademark weaving finishing burst.

She rocketed through and around her classy staying rivals and put them away with ease during the run home scampering clear for her effortless Silver Collar victory by an ever increasing 5.25 length margin.   

This is how commentator Peter Earley called Lady home: “It’s not a dream – it’s a fantasy – it’s a Swift Fantasy.”

It was the ultimate training success for her long-term industry trainer Steve Clark. He was dubbed “cleanex Clarkie” such was the extent of emotion that the recently deceased conditioner displayed at the podium!

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3 – 1983 I’M A ROOKIE

I’m A Rookie was a 1980 whelped pup that breeder, owner and trainer Bill Annette couldn’t give away. She, along with some litter mates was offered at $200. He gave her away twice – twice she was handed back with comments including, “She is no good.” Undeterred the South Aucklander decided to persevere with her and after a number of trials where she wouldn’t chase “an inch”, the penny finally dropped.

Roll on the 1983 Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar series and I’m Rookie won her 832m Silver Collar heat by an audacious 13 length margin and was accordingly installed as the favourite for the final. In the final she treated her rivals with absolute contempt, demolishing them by a commanding ten-length margin, therefore becoming one of the most convincing winners in Silver Collar history.

And that came after I’m A Rookie was knocked out cold when having an unplanned altercation with a concrete post when given a “stretch out” in a paddock just hours before being taken to the Mt Smart Stadium for her final assignment!     

4 – 1994 TIVOLI TOM

Tivoli Tom made Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar history when in the 1994 final he became the first greyhound to win two Silver Collar finals. Local trainer Pat Paterson had previously mentored him to victory in the 1992 final. 

As commentator Peter Earley stated, “Tivoli Tom has etched his place into Silver Collar history”. His second victory was delivered in a ruthless, tradesman like style where Tivoli Tom stalked the pacemaker throughout, from where he produced his known withering finish to claim his second Silver Collar by a comfortable four length margin.

Two years earlier Tivoli Tom had adopted the same tactics where in his professional manner he chased the pacemaker from where he assumed control of the race down the back straight, easing away for his 2.5 length victory with a further nine-lengths back to third.

Pat Paterson was a no-nonsense trainer, who while deep down was immensely proud of her charges achievement in becoming the first dual Silver Collar winner, was quoted in saying in her normal gruff manner, “Tom would have won last year’s collar final (1993) if the bloody kennel cough hadn’t hit him.”  

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10 Ring The Bell

5 – 2018 Ring The Bell

Duke Of Edinburgh Silver Collar history was created in 2018 when the Australian owned stayer Ring The Bell became the first stayer to win back-to-back Silver Collars.

Victorian conditioner Gerry O’Keefe was the first Australian trainer to mentor a Silver Collar winner when he produced Ring The Bell the win the 2017 edition. He then transferred the outstanding stayer into the more than capable care of the NZ Hall of Fame trainer Ray Adcock.

Somewhat surprisingly Adcock hadn’t prepared a Silver Collar winner during his long, successful and distinguished training career. That anomaly was rectified in 46.50s when Ring The Bell dug in really deep to annex his second Silver Collar title.

Ring The Bell jumped smoothly to chase after the pacemaker. He took over the pace when completing the first lap and looked assured to stretch out for victory. Race rival Dusty Gambler had other intentions when he wrestled the race lead away from the Kiwi based Aussie stayer nearing the end of the back straight the second time around.

It turned into an epic paw-wrestle between the pair during the run home which saw Ring The Bell dig deep into his stamina reserves, drawing clear to claim his second Silver Collar title by what turned into handy 3.25 length margin.

Here’s how Peter Earley called the final stages. “Ring The Bell boom-boom – he’s home. Ring The Bell the first ever to back-to-back a Silver Collar – too big, too strong.”

Then Earley added this. “Doyen greyhound trainer Raymond Harold Adcock trains his first Silver Collar winner – very well done to you Ray.”