History of the Top Gun

Topgun Timeline

1993  First Topgun run. Victorian champions Worth Backing and Golden Currency defy wet and cold conditions to finish in a dead heat. Revealing finished a further four inches away in third. Worth Backing and Golden Currency split the $40,000 winner’s purse.

1994       Topgun held at Olympic Park. Winner’s purse increased to $50,000.

1995       Rapid Hiker sets new track record on old Sandown Park track.

1996       First place prizemoney increased to $70,000.

1997       Greyhounds from Ireland, the UK and United States compete against Australia’s best.

1998       Race elevated to Group 2 status.

1999       Race elevated to Group 1 status.

2000       Prizemoney increased to $100,000 to the winner.

2003       Bombastic Shiraz completes Triple Crown – claiming the Shootout, Melbourne Cup and Topgun.

2004     Whisky Assassin, drawn favourably in box 8, sets new Sandown Park track record – 29.40   seconds.

2005       Prizemoney increased to $125,000 to the winner. 

2008       Race finds a permanent home at the Meadows after both Metro clubs agree to a new feature race structure. Previously the Topgun had alternated between the MGRA and Sandown.

2009       Superstar winner El Galo is disqualified after returning a positive swab and the race is awarded to Regal Thyme the first reserve, he gained a start in box one following the scratching of the injured Queenslander Knocka Norris.

2009       Victorian and Australian Greyhound of the year Cindeen Shelby rounded out her outstanding year with an all the way win defeating a classy field in 2009 Topgun.

2010       Another Victorian and Australian Greyhound of the Year El Grand Senor proved what a great champion he was with an outstanding Top Gun win, he led all the way in 29.83.

2011       Legendary Victorian Hall of Fame trainer Graeme Bate won one of the few events he hadn’t before secured. His extraordinary year continued when Allen Harper took out the Top Gun. He proved too good after finding the early lead. The Wheeler – Bate combination not only supplied the winner but runner-up as well with Radley Bale. It was a memorable night for the unstoppable team.

2012      Rank outsider David Bale ($31.20) caused one of the biggest boilovers in Group 1 history, running down kennelmate Desalle Bale in the shadows of the post to win the Sky Racing TOPGUN in 29.92.

2013      West Australian star Dyna Nalin ($9.00) gave the Wheeler family a historic third consecutive Topgun victory with a brilliant come-from-behind 29.89 win in the Group 1 classic.

2014      Australian Cup winner Buckle Up Wes ($6.30) staked his claim as Tasmania’s greatest ever Greyhound after winning the Group 1 Topgun. He also became the first greyhound to win the Australian Cup – Topgun double.

2015      Superstar Fernando Bale’s scorching all-the-way winning time of 29.57 a race record at the Meadows was enough to win the $150,000 first prize and stretch his unbeaten run in Group 1 finals to eight, a record that was unprecedented and will likely stand forever, particularly on the sprint circuit.

2016      Dundee Osprey won the 2016 Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun (525m) at The Meadows, the biggest win of his outstanding career.

 The $215,000 race went to script for the powerful greyhound, as he got a dream run into the first corner and settled in third position behind pacy duo Aston Bolero and Pantera Nera.

 From there Dundee Osprey (Fabregas – Dundee Rose) was always going to be hard to beat, and he proved too strong winning by three lengths over Aston Bolero, with Pantera Nera third in 29.99sec.

2017    Victorian star Up Hill Jill claimed a thoroughly deserved and overdue Group 1 breakthrough on one of Australian greyhound racing’s greatest stages, with a brilliant all-the-way victory in the Group 1 Sky Racing Topgun at The Meadows in 2017.

After winning the Group 2 Sandown Laurels in December 2016, the ultra-consistent speedster had been a regular in feature events throughout 2017, but frustratingly for trainer Dave Geall and owner/breeder wife Rose a second Group title has proven elusive. However, on Top Gun night she finally did it in style leading all the way at $13 recording 29.89.

2018    Prodigious talent Poke The Bear in a sensational display, trounced the best sprinters in the land to claim the Topgun’s $150,000 winner’s purse, emulating his superstar sire Fernando Bale, which won the invitational feature in 2015. Poke The Bear was positioned awkwardly early but drove through into third and after railing past the gallant Up Hill Jill in the back straight he dashed clear, trouncing Hasten Slowly by an ever-widening 5.96 lengths in 29.74sec.

2019    It was a shock result in the 2019 Group 1 Topgun with Get It Gizmo winning the $150,000 to-the-winner invitation for trainer Harry Manolitsis at double figure odds. In a race of high action, Get It Gizmo from box two whizzed up on the rails and sailed to a handy lead, with the people’s dog Feral Franky and Whiskey Riot hot in pursuit. But in the drive to the line Get It Gizmo proved far too strong, landing the $150,000 to-the-winner prize in 30.08 – the slowish time indicative of the way the race was run. Feral Franky lost no admirers finishing 2 ¾ lengths second, while it was another 1 ¼ lengths to Whiskey Riot in third.

2020  Victorian star Shima Shine claimed an overdue Group 1 breakthrough on one of Australian greyhound racing’s greatest stages with a memorable all-the-way victory in the TAB Topgun (525m) at The Meadows. Contesting the invitation-only Topgun for the second time, having run sixth to Get It Gizmo in 2019, it was an anomaly that Shima Shine didn’t yet have a Group success on his resume. Trained by Andrea Dailly, the son of Barcia Bale is raced by long-time breeding partners David Gleeson and Bob Cummings, who’ve enjoyed feature race success with Shima Shine’s mother Shima Song, a two-time Group 2 winner of the Geelong Cup and McKenna Memorial, and the likes of Shimaguni and Shima Bar. Shima Shine and Simon Told Helen then broke clear of the chasing pack as Shima Shine kept going strongly to deny the gallant Simon Told Helen, scoring by 2.5 lengths in a scorching 29.67s, equalling his Meadows personal best.