Or Catra a deadset winner

Or Catra a deadset winner

TOP DOG: Cameron (left) and Damien Hallinan (right) with 2011 NSW Greyhounds Brood Bitch of the Year Or Catra. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0305brood1ORANGE owner-breeder Martin Hallinan describes his recent success at the 2011 Betfair NSW Greyhound Of The Year gala event as a “deadset honour.”

Hallinan, along with wife Fiona, cleaned up at the annual event, taking home the 2011 Brood Bitch of the Year award thanks to Or Catra, the 2011 Stayer of the Year gong with Zipping Lad, a dog which then went on to win the coveted NSW Greyhound of the Year prize.

The victory gives Zipping Lad’s trainer, the Central Coast-based Jason Mackay, his third NSW Greyhound of the Year award having trained previous winners Texas Gold (2005) and Big Sam Banner (2002).

The gong cements Mackay’s status as one of the country’s best trainers.

But for Hallinan, taking home the award at a lavish ceremony at the Sydney Hilton on Friday night was a massive surprise.

“It’s a deadset honour,” Hallinan said.

“It’s an achievement. There’s no money involved, it’s just the achievement of it all.

“It’s an accolade awarded by seven or eight pressmen. You just don’t know who they’re picking until his name is called out. It was a big relief. I was very excited.”

Zipping Lad out-polled the two other nominees, He Knows Uno and Oaks Road, for the major honour.

Based at Mackay’s kennels, Zipping Lad’s first start was in April 2011.

Nicknamed the ‘Super Stayer’, Zipping Lad put together six straight wins over 600 metres, including a fantastic come-from-behind victory in the NSW Distance Championship at Wentworth Park in August.

He then contested the Group One National Distance Championship at Albion Park before returning to Wentworth Park in October where he came second in the Group Three Sydney Cup.

Zipping Lad ran in the final of the Group One Bold Trease Cup at Sandown before finally being rewarded for his terrific form with a brilliant win in the Group Three Summer Cup in December.

He then returned to Victoria in the last week of the year, finishing second in the Group One Sale Cup, a race Hallinan admits Zipping Lad probably should have won.

“But since April he has been very consistent,” he said.

If his success at group level was not enough, Zipping Lad also broke the 618 metre track record at Richmond and the 715 metre record at The Gardens.

The Hallinan’s award-winning brood bitch Or Catra also drew praise on the night.

“It’s a really big honour for us. She has produced great dogs,” Hallinan said.

In another coup for the region, Cudal breeders Dennis and Anne Barnes’ former sprinter Fancy Dean won the 2011 Sprinter of the Year.

Fancy Dean is now part-owned by Socceroo Tim Cahill.

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