History of the Harrison-Dawson
The Harrison-Dawson is named in honour of three of Sandown Park’s finest servants; Henry Harrison who served as Sandown Chairman for 23 years; his daughter and life member Loretta; and son-in-law and former Sandown Chairman Geoff Dawson, who celebrate 30 years as Chairman in 2017.
2009 – The race started as the Dawson with Group 3 status and $40,000 to the winner. The first final was won by Dyna Forte for Graeme Bate and Paul Wheeler. Worse than midfield early he stormed home to beat Din’s Son and Jarvis Bale in 29.77 at $4.40 winning by four lengths. Interesting finalist was Who Told Helen the grand dam of star sprinter Simon Told Helen.
2010 – Brilliant sprinter-middle distance star Flash Of Light won the second running of the Dawson stalking early leader Nova Surf she racing home the stronger for an outstanding win in a top field. She was later to win at Group 1 level for trainer Mark Delbridge recording hot time of 29.45 she beat Nova Surf and Fedex by three lengths at $3.
2011 – Still at Group 3 level the prizemoney rose to $50,000 to the winner when won top class sprinter Don Chendo. Raced and bred by long serving MGRA Director Terry Davis and his wife Joy. Den Chendo was trained by fellow director and top mentor Len Ketelaar. He chased early leader Star Diamond all the way finishing the better to get up and win in 29.64 at $5.10. Arsonist was second and Symmetry third. Don Chendo was by Where’s Pedro from Perth Cup winner Kilby Supreme.
2012 – The event became a Group 2 with $75,000 to the winner and was Called the Harrison – Dawson combining the Harrison Memorial and the Dawson for the first time. Emilio ‘Norm’ Rinaldi’s love affair with Sandown Park continued when his brilliant sprinter General Destini won the Group 2 final sponsored Berwick Mazda.
General Destini ($4.60) began only fairly before taking full advantage of his favourable box 1 draw to rail strongly and camp behind early leader and race favourite Cape Hawke ($2.80) through the first turn. Entering the back straight, Cape Hawke faltered, allowing General Destini to take the lead. Despite being the least experienced greyhound in the field, ‘The General’ showed great tenacity to hold off multiple Group race finalist and Top Gun winner David Bale ($9.40) by 1.75 lengths in a race record 23.32.
2013 – A holiday tour of Rob Britton’s Lara kennels and pre-prepared DVD paid dividends for New Zealander Alison Lee after her chaser Clone Your Own took out the 2013 Harrison-Dawson. Clone Your Own ($5.10) overcame a tardy start from box 1 but enjoyed a saloon run through the first turn. He then charged between leaders Premier Event ($5.70) and Imry Bale ($4.50) to lead down the back straight, and in a thrilling run to the line, Clone Your Own held off a gallant Imry Bale by a head, with favourite Glen Gallon ($3.10) a further 1.75 lengths adrift in third. An ecstatic Lee, who made the trip from her Christchurch home to be track side for the final, was near speechless after taking out one of the club’s premier races.
2014 – Leading trainer Darren McDonald added another feature final to his glittering resume when Awesome Project ($4.10) scored a brilliant all-of-the-way win in the Group 2 Berwick Mazda Harrison-Dawson. Awesome Project endured a checkered run in his heat; however, he created his own luck in the final by springing the lids and holding off Musquin Bale ($3.20) by a length in 29.49. Banjo Boy ($3.60) was third. Owner Brad Canty sent his star to McDonald after claiming the Group 2 Gosford Cup in early January. Since that move, Awesome Project has won seven of 13 starts to improve his overall record to 18 wins from 38 starts. Canty, who was track side for his chaser’s win, celebrated in style by shouting the bar on course.
2015 – Fernando Bale cemented his claim as Australia’s finest sprinter with an emphatic win in $145,000 Group 1 for the first time Harrison-Dawson. After recording the second fastest time ever run at Sandown in the heat, Fernando Bale drew the coveted box 1 for the final and was immediately posted record $1.15 favourite with tab.com. Remarkably, he was backed into $1.05 – also a record – and didn’t disappoint those who took the short odds. Showing his trademark exceptional speed at box rise, Fernando Bale had opened a two-length break on the field within meters of the start and was three lengths clear leaving the straight.
That margin had opened to more than five lengths down the back straight and while the gallant Weston East ($25.00) ran on bravely to reduce the margin to three lengths, Fernando Bale would not be denied his third Group 1 victory. His time of 29.14 was the fastest ever recorded from box 1 and took three lengths off the race record. Amazingly, it was just the fourth fastest time Fernando Bale had recorded at Sandown Park.
2016 – Dundee Osprey ($24.70) and his trainer Geoff Scott-Smith upstaged some of the biggest names in greyhound racing with a stunning victory in the $145,000 Group 1 Harrison-Dawson in 2016. “Absolutely incredible, just absolutely incredible,” said the spritely 69-year-old of his first win at group level.
“Years ago we won the Roy Maidment, that was before group races but it was still a big thrill. To win this race tonight is super, super special.” Dundee Osprey qualified for the final on the back of an outstanding heat win in 29.31, and despite lining up in his fourth group final in his past seven starts and boasting the fourth fastest time at the track in 2016, was sent to the boxes as the 25/1 outsider. Beginning well from box 2, Dundee Osprey sat behind early leaders Aston Bolero and One For Me through the first turn before switching three wide off the back straight and powering to the line to win by 3½ lengths in 29.25. Once For Me ($6.80) hung on for second ahead of the fast finishing favourite, Blazin’ Bomber ($2.80).
2017 – Trainer Anthony Karabitsakos broke through for his first Group 1 victory when Black Mumbo ($6.60) upstaged the odds-favourite Bewildering. The black dog began well from box eight but was turned sideways around the first turn as Queenslander Bubble Guppy (box two) shot through to take the lead.
Down the back, young gun Jimmy Newob ($4.80) (box seven) circled Bubble Guppy ($17.70) to take the lead, with Black Mumbo quickly gathering his momentum to push up into second spot. Approaching the home turn, it was a race in two as Jimmy Newob and Black Mumbo went stride for stride, with the latter gaining the upper hand in the closing stages and kicking clear to triumph in 29.53. It was Black Mumbo’s fourth appearance at group level, having finished second in the Group 3 Bill Collins Speed Star and qualifying for both the Group 3 Silver Bullet and the Group 2 Ballarat Cup.
2018 – Exciting young sprinter My Redeemer followed in the Group 1-winning footsteps of his superstar half-sister Up Hill Jill when storming to victory in the $100,000 to-the-winner Harrison-Dawson of 2018. After drawing box one for the final, My Redeemer started $2.30 favourite and he settled third behind Bernardo ($8.10) and Zipping Captain ($40.80). My Redeemer was still third turning for home and with plenty of work to do, but he finished powerfully to grab Bernardo in the shadows of the post, scoring by half a length in 29.36sec.
2019 – Orson Allen ($2.10 Fav) claimed the second Group 1 of his career when taking out the $145,000 Harrison-Dawson final of 2019. After scoring a narrow win in his heat over the fast-finishing Flynn, Orson Allen made it a one dog race in the final, leading all the way to win in 29.26sec after a slick first section of 5.06sec. The son of KC And All x Desalle Bale won the final by 1.79 lengths over Southern Ripple, followed by Dyna Unther and Flynn.
2020 – Simon Told Helen has claimed tonight’s Group 1 Harrison-Dawson with a typical display of unrivalled acceleration. After being swamped by punters from $2.30 into $1.50 favourtism, the popular greyhound with the striking Roman nose snared Group 1 win number three of his career after holding off a gallant Jax Bale and the fast finishing Tiggerlong Tonk. In notching his 14th win from 22 starts, Simon Told Helen sizzled into the first section clocking 5.05sec and was never headed, clocking an overall time of 29.23sec.