When Mick Landrigan retired from his job as a butcher in 2021, he had $18,000 in his bank account and a big chunk of idle time to fill.
The Grafton local had always been in and around the greyhound scene, so he decided to chance his arm and purChase three pups in the hope they would provide him with some company, purpose and good times on the track.
Fast forward two years and one of Landrigan’s new companions, Queen Wok, now finds herself in a Group 3 Casino Cup final after causing a boilover in the opening heat of the series on Friday afternoon.
“I had to do something with myself when I stopped at the butcher and I couldn’t get the pension, but I did have a bit of holiday and long service leave so I put all of that into the pups. My wife Lilibeth is still working so I said to her “if these dogs are no good, you’ll have to look after me,”” Landrigan laughed.
“I know there’s no guarantees in the dogs, but I wanted a hobby and was hopeful of making a bit of money. Queen Wok went as good as she goes in the heat and of course I’m happy. She’s not a bad little bitch, she just needs things to go her way and she was pretty brave out in front.”
Queen Wok knocking off 2022 Casino Cup runner-up Respectability and Group 1 placegetter Go Bears on her way to a 29.82 victory.
The daughter of Aston Dee Bee and Len’s Pick now a 14-time winner for Landrigan.
“Her and the brother, Blazing Bob, have been great. He has had 24 wins and won $57,000 in prizemoney. And their littermate Rushforth Ally, who I picked up and brought back for Dessie Winters, goes good as well,” Landrigan added.
Rushforth Ally with Des Winters during The Thunderbolt series earlier this year
Rushforth Ally most noted for his runner-up finish in June’s Thunderbolt final at Grafton behind Vamoose.
The 67-year-old Landrigan now looking forward to the “biggest race of his career”.
“She’ll need a lot of luck in the final but she’s desperate for the inside, so Box 1 is a big help. I’m not confident though as Magistrate and Dino’s Way ran pretty good time and will be hard to beat, but she’ll be there to pounce if anything happens in the race,” he added.
2023 Million Dollar Chase (MDC) Consolation runner-up Magistrate running another notable race for Greg Stella, stopping the clock in 27.47 in his heat win over Group 2 Blacktop winner Nangar Lucy.
“He got a little bit of room to move and the final margin, almost five lengths in the end, surprised me to be honest because Nangar Lucy is a quality bitch,” Stella said.
“But she hadn’t raced there before and it’s a tricky track. Magistrate came through the MDC series at Casino and I gave him another trial before the heats of the Cup to remind me of the place.”
The winner of more than $330,000 in career earnings drawing Box 3 for the final and looking to continue his impressive run of 11-straight top two finishes.
“There’s a lot more depth and speed in the final so the closer we are to the fence the better, we’re pretty happy with Box 3,” Stella added.
“We knew he had speed when we got him but we didn’t know he’d turn out the way he has. He’s just so consistent, he backs up very week and always puts himself in the race. There’s faster dogs than him around but he’s probably earned his right as one of the better dogs in our state and he’s one of the best dogs we’ve ever had in over 30 years in the game.”
In the other heats, Gypsy Joker (Robert Cooke), Magic Secret (Barbara Beach), Canya Exclusive (Michelle Lill) and Edge Gambler (Patrick Lavis) all won their way through to the $25,000 decider.
And Dino Way (27.46) qualified fastest for Mick Lalicz who will be hoping to at least get on the podium in 2023 after Rapid Ripple and Sauve Ripple ran fourth and fifth in last year’s race.
Dino Way finished 0.75 of a length ahead of Fahey’s Magic who also progressed from the heats for Tyson Barton.
The final of the 2023 Group 3 Casino Cup will be held on Friday, November 24.