No Retirement Yet For Sunburnt Highway

By Jeff Collerson
Sunburnt Highway will continue racing despite becoming Wentworth Park's most prolific winner.

Sunburnt Highway, or "Billy" as he is known to trainer Judith Richardson and her husband John, rung up his 35th win at headquarters on Saturday when he led throughout, stopping the clock at a more than respectable 30.01 for the 520m.

Saturday's time was the fastest Sunburnt Highway had recorded at Wentworth Park since he clocked 29.93 winning on November 13, seven starts back.

With 35 wins at Wentworth Park Sunburnt Highway has surpassed Christine Proctor's Bessy Boo, who won 34 races on the track.

Without detracting from Sunburnt Highway's remarkable achievement, Bessy Boo's winning streak was partially curtailed when the rules on eligibility for Masters races were changed to prevent him continuing to compete in those events.

But Sunburnt Highway is now set to extend his winning tally at Wenty, with Judith Richardson saying: "John and I had been toying with the idea of retiring him once he got his 35th city win but what's the point?

"Billy loves racing and when John gets him out of his kennel and heads for our van the dog nearly pulls him over, he is so anxious to go racing.

"Once in the van, Billy sleeps all the way to the track.

"This dog has never had an injury and John is so pedantic about the recovery process that Billy pulls up perfectly after every race.

"When we got him out of his kennel to be swabbed after last Saturday's win, we needed to go in one direction but Billy was dragging us the other way, out towards the track.

"He was wanting to go around again!"

Zulu Warlord, winner of the 2021 Bathurst Cup, will launch his attempt at back-to-back wins when he contests heats next Monday.

Trainer Mick Hardman will field a strong team at Kennerson Park, with Paws Of Thunder minor placegetter Chase Me Honey, National Derby finalist Pristine Image and Analysing, a luckless second at Wentworth Park last Saturday night, also heading west.

Zulu Warlord was beaten a nose by Redshift Seven over 520m at Wentworth Park last Saturday night but set up a massive early lead and posted dazzling early splits of 5.37 and 13.83.

The "easier'' Bathurst 520m trip, which suits front runners like Zulu Warlord, is ideal for Hardman's dog.

"This year's final on February 4 is worth $40,000 to the winner so Bathurst is a really worthwhile target these days,'' Hardman said.

Hardman though is unlikely to take Springview Noah, the most improved dog in his kennel and a desperately unlucky third, beaten a head and a neck, in Slingshot Hooks' National Derby final last Saturday.

Springview Noah, who ran down Compliance to win his Derby heat at Wentworth Park on January 14, was finishing fast in the straight on Saturday when the tiring pacemaker Slingshot Jonesy faded back towards the rails.

Springview Noah checked off that greyhound's heels, an incident that could have cost him the race, considering he wound up only a neck behind runner-up Slingshot Jonesy in third spot.

With the Australian Open in full swing omen punters might have a flutter in tonight's Orange Cup final at Bathurst on a greyhound trained at WIMBLEDON.

Gulgong Flyer, who has box seven in the Orange Cup, is trained by Lynn Maney at a little village between Bathurst and Blayney but which bears the name of the world's most famous tennis venue.