History of the Sandown Cup

RSN Sandown Cup Timeline

1963 –      The race first run on the grass track over 785 yards. The race was then known as the Woolamai Cup and had been first conducted in 1957 when won by Orialta.

1964 –      A sand track is installed at Sandown Park

1971 –      Prizemoney increases to $3,000 to the winner. Paul’s Thunder becomes the first greyhound to win two Cups

1973 –      Distance reduced to 718 metres. Lizrene claims her second Cup

1979 –      Temlee sires the first off, his three consecutive Cup winners

1981 –      Prizemoney increases to $12,000 to the winner

1984 –      Prizemoney increases to $20,000 to the winner. New Zealander Raurimu wins the Cup.

1986 –      Bold Trease claims the first of his four Cups

1987 –      Distance reduced to 716 metres

1989 –    At five years of age, Bold Trease claims his fourth Cup in emphatic fashion, winning by eight lengths

1990 –    Bold Trease narrowly misses the Cup final after emerging from retirement

1993 –    Cup given Group 3 status

1995 –    Cup upgraded to Group 2 status

1996 –    Cup upgraded to Group 1 status. Prizemoney increases to $40,000 to the winner. Distance reduced to 715 metres following reconstruction of Sandown track

1999 –  Radio Sport 927 becomes naming rights sponsor. Prizemoney increases to $50,000 to the winner. Smart Attitude wins the race by 9.5 lengths, equalling Lizrene’s race record

2003 –  Group 3 Lizrene Classic moved to April as a logical lead in to the Sandown Cup carnival

2004 –  Proven Lethal wins in race record time of 42.12 seconds

2005 –  Best Quoted holds off the fast-finishing Texas Gold to claim her second group race victory inside a month

2006 –  Sargent Major leads all the way to win his first Group 1, he holds off a stout Turbo Uno this followed the shock scratching Texas Gold.

2007 –  Sandown Cup controversially declared a ‘No Race’ by stewards after Don Hazzard, the trainer of Sky Hazzard, accidentally released the manual start lever.

2009 –  Sandown Cup becomes the richest staying event ever offering a series worth $175,000 and first time winner’s purse of $100,000.

2012 –      The SGRC announces an increase to the 2013 Cup series with the race worth a record $177,500 with the winner to receive $125,000 making it the richest staying race in the world.  West Australian superstar Miata started the shortest priced favourite in the events history at $1.20 after smashing the track record in her heat. However, after missing the start badly she finished a gallant third to the Graeme Bate trained Irma Bale, his first Sandown Cup winner.

2013 –  Irma Bale defended her RSN Sandown Cup when she held off the fast finishing Bell Haven and the gallant Miata in one of the most exciting finishes in the races rich history. The victory saw Irma Bale become the fourth greyhound to win successive RSN Sandown Cups after Paul’s Thunder (1970-71), Lizrene (1972-73) and Bold Trease (1986-89).

2014 –  Sweet It Is booked her place in greyhound racing folklore with a dazzling last-to-first win in the 2014 Group 1 RSN Sandown Cup. A quarter of a century after the great Bold Trease claimed his fourth and final Sandown Cup, Sweet It Is turned in a performance that matched any of the Warrnambool Warriors four cup wins. It was an amazing effort form 10 lengths a drift, she gunned down the field in front of her running away to win by a length and half.

2015 –  Sweet It Is rewrote the record books at Sandown Park in 2015, defending her RSN Sandown Cup title and becoming the sport’s highest earning greyhound in the process. Lining up in her 18th group final – her 10th at group 1 level – Sweet It Is was sent to the boxes a $5.80 second favourite behind Space Star ($1.30), and it was the latter that began brilliantly to take an early lead. From that point on is was a matter of times and margins. The win improved her record to 18 wins from 58 starts and the $175,000 winner cheque took her prize money to an Australian record $828,515.

2016  Bells Are Ringin caused one of the biggest upsets in group racing history when she defeated the country’s best stayers in the RSN927 Sandown Cup. Sent to the boxes the 50/1 outsider, Bells Are Ringin began well to cross to the rail and lead the field through the first turn. From there she was never headed, finding the line two lengths clear of Who Dey ($10.20) in 42.02.

2017 – Fanta Bale ($4.60) laid claim to being one of the sport’s greatest ever chasers by registering a breathtaking victory in the 2017 $250,000 RSN Sandown Cup. Fanta Bale and Midnight Elsa made their moves down the back straight but with 150m to go, Fanta Bale still spotted the lamp lighter a four-length margin. But the tenacious little chaser railed brilliantly running for home to surge past the gallant Dundee Osprey and score by half a length in 41.87.

2018 – Tornado Tears showed why he’s was regarded as greyhound racing’s next big thing after prevailing in a thrilling finish to the $250,000 RSN Sandown Cup in 2018. But the well supported favourite – he opened at $26 in early markets before jumping at $2 – was made to earn his victory. Beginning cleanly from box 7, the Robert Britton trained star settled behind kennelmates Benali and Quick Jagger and the trio soon established a gap on their rivals. It set up a spectacular finish to the world’s richest race for stayers. Quick Jagger railed under the tiring Benali to take the lead before being reeled in by Tornado Tears in the shadows of the post as Rippin’ Sam powered down the outside to just miss upstaging his litter brother. The three greyhounds were separated by little more than a length on the line and gave Robert Britton the trifecta. Britton’s fourth runner, Benali, finished 5th.

2019 –  Rajasthan caused one of the greatest upsets in the history of the RSN Sandown Cup when the 30/1 chance led all the way to win the world’s richest race for stayers. While all eyes were on defending champion Tornado Tears in box 6, it was Rajasthan in box 7 who began quickest to cross to the fence and lead through the first turn. Poco Dorado followed him across from box 8 and as the rest of the field jostled for position, the pair established a four-length break on their rivals with a lap to run. Down the back straight the moves came. Poco Dorado reduced the margin to less than a length as Peppertide emerged from the chasing pack to also apply pressure. But Rajasthan continued to respond, and when he was able to hold off one final challenge from the fast-finishing Ella Enchanted, the $175,000 first prize was his.

2020 – Bronski Beat ($18.20) won the 2020 Group 1 RSN Sandown Cup (715m) with a stunning all the way performance. The Tasmanian-bred greyhound opened up a huge lead mid-race before being challenged late by True Detective and He Shall Power. It was a watershed win for trainer Brendan Pursell, who is formerly of the Apple Isle. The win continued the Lara trainer’s incredible recent run of long-priced winners, having scored 12 city wins in the past fortnight at an average price of $14.80. Pursell finished third in last year’s Sandown Cup with Peppertide. Bronski Beat, a 25-month-old son of Fernando Bale and Ainsley Bale, was the slowest of the four heat winners last week in 42.07sec. He slashed that time by 3.5 lengths this evening, winning in 41.87sec and scoring by half a length.

RSN Sandown Cup Fact Sheet:

Name: RSN Sandown Cup

Status: Group 1

Distance: 715m

Prizemoney: $71,000 (1st: $50,000 + trophy and rug; 2nd: $14,000, 3rd: $7,000) (2020) Only Prizemoney

First run: 1963 (known as the Woolamai Cup, won by Briar View)

Race record: 41.48 – Sweet It Is, 2015

Biggest winning margin: 9.5 lengths – (Lizrene 1973, Smart Attitude 1989)

Smallest winning margin: Half head (Top Sovereign 1994, Boronia Blossom 1996)

Multiple Winners: 4 – Bold Trease (1986-89) 2 – Paul’s Thunder (1970-71)

2 – Lizrene (1972-73) 2- Irma Bale (2012-13) 2- Sweet It Is (2014-2015)

Going the distance: 1963 – 785 yards (grass)

                                   1964 – 785 yards (sand)

                                   1973 – 718 metres

                                   1987 – 716 metres

                                   1996 – 715 metres 

Battle of the sexes: Males have won 12 of the last 20 Cups. Bitches 5 of the last 7.

When in doubt: Box 1 has provided 6 of the last 26 winners, though none since 2000.