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Sport Recreation

QUEENSLAND’S JAY IS JAY WINS THE LADBROKES MILLION DOLLAR CHASE

GRSNW 3 mins read
Selena and Mick Zammit celebrate Jay Is Jay's win the in the Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase Final.

It’s amazing what a good night sleep can do. For Selena and Mick Zammit, that sleep, and the subsequent decision made in the cold light of day, became worth $1 million at Wentworth Park on Friday night.

The Zammit’s star sprinter Jay Is Jay – named after Selena’s late father Jeff Jones – became the first Queensland greyhound to take out the $1 million Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase Grand Final.

Mick and Selena were both overcome with emotion after the victory, before Selena revealed they had virtually ditched plans to contest the series after Jay Is Jay finished a disappointing fourth in the Grafton Regional Final in late September.

“We went to Grafton and we couldn’t run third and we were like, well if we can run third at Grafton we can’t win a million dollar race,” Selena said.

“Those were our thoughts on the way home. We were pretty dejected. We were like, nope, forget it we’re not doing it. Then we slept on it, and then plan B went into action, and … here we are.”

Plan B was to head to Sydney and go through the hard way, trek to Wentworth Park each week, first for the city qualifiers which he won, then back again six days later for the semi-final which he again won, and then return to Sydney a week on, for the final of the world’s richest greyhound race, which Jay Is Jay won.

Jay Is Jay wasn’t the best to begin and was in fact sixth passing the winning the post the first time, but while several dogs fanned on the turn he stuck to the rail and was soon on the heels of the leaders, Cumbria Kid and Postman Pat.

Heading up the back Cumbria Kid left the fence and Jay Is Jay saw his chance and took the run, surging to the front, and then staving off the finishing burst of Cumbria Kid to win by ½ length in 29.76s, with Postman Pat a length away in third.

“I just can’t believe it,” Mick said. “I didn’t watch the start. I thought it won’t do me any good if he comes out slow, then I watched into the back and he was in a good position and I thought we’re  a chance to run a hole, but he just chases, it’s amazing.

“I just can’t believe it. This is extremely special. I’m going cry. I’m going to put Chris Waller to shame.”

Wentworth Park was the scene of a previous big success for Mick when he trained Tar Dinn to win the 1995 Group 1 National Futurity. That win was surpassed on Friday night.

“By a mile,” he said when asked if this was now his biggest win. “How many people win a $1 million race?”

Jay Is Jay is owned by Selena’s mother Lillian Jones. Her late husband Jeff raced and trained Jay Is Jay’s dam Kealoah, and following his passing she was raced by Mick and Selena.

The win takes Jay Is Jay’s record to 18 wins from 34 starts with a further eight placings, and he now has earned just over $1.3 million in prizemoney.

On the biggest racenight on the calendar, several other features were decided.

The $100,000 Sydney Cup went to the John and Minnie Finn-trained Zipping Vanessa, the $100,000 Masters Meteor went to Fernando Hunter, owned by leading jockey Brenton Avdulla who is currently riding in Hong Kong. Trainer Michelle Sultana said after the race that the curtain now comes down on a marvellous career for Fernando Hunter.

The Million Dollar Chase Maiden was taken out in dazzling style by Jason Magri’s Zipping Megatron who clocked a stunning 29.42s, the fastest time posted on the night while the night’s other feature was the Young Star Final, again won in impressive fashion by Peter Lagogiane’s Rocket Riot in 29.64s.

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