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Sport Recreation

NSW Sweep Origin Series In Memory Of Terry Hill

GRNSW 3 mins read
NSW Greyhound Origin captain Laurie Daley with the Shield after NSW swept the Queenslanders at Albion Park on Thursday night.

Michael Maguire’s Blues didn’t get the job done in State of Origin last week, the NSW Sky Blues Women’s team couldn’t wrap up their Origin series a week ago either, but on Thursday night another NSW team exacted some revenge when they claimed the Origin title … the TAB Greyhound Origin title.

And this was emphatic. For the first time since the inception of the three-race series in 2018, it was 3-0 sweep to the winner, NSW winning the Distance race with Palawa King, the Sprint with Overflow Beau and then a thrilling Match Race with Mackenna.

While it was a joyous night for those dressed in blue, it was tinged with sadness. This night meant so much to greyhound devotee and rugby league legend Terry Hill who passed away seven weeks ago.

In recent years Hill has been captain of the NSW greyhound team. He loved his role and everyone picked on the NSW team loved Tezza. He wasn’t there in person but it was clear he was in spirit and the NSW victory meant that little bit more for all team members because of Terry Hill.

It was perfectly summed up by the man who stepped in to captain the NSW team, Laurie Daley.
 
"It's quite sad that he's not here to see what happened tonight," Daley said of his good mate. "I have known Terry for a long period of time and I have always known he was passionate about the dogs. He had a genuine love and genuine care for the greyhound industry. He's been a part of it since he was a little boy. 
 
"He would have been so excited to see from upstairs tonight NSW winning those three races."

There were similar emotions for the connections of Mackenna. Trainer Michelle Sultana’s partner Darryl Thomas grew up with Terry, and Mackenna’s owner George Alvaro worked with Terry at the Sydney Markets.

“It’s been an emotional night, but they knew they were going to come up here and do it for Terry,” said Michelle.

Just as he did 12 months earlier, The King, Palawa King gave NSW the perfect start winning the Distance Origin event.

In doing so and collecting the $100,000, the Jack Smith-trained superstar took his earnings past the magical $1 million mark and he’s done so without winning any of the lucrative $1 million, or $500,000 races.

“He’s amazing. To think he’s won over $1 million is unbelievable. I’m so proud. We’re so proud of him,” said Jack’s wife Maree.

“He did what I told him to do.”

She was referring to the way Palawa King, after missing the start as he always does, managed to dive along the rail and be third swinging for home the first time. He would be in front as they left the straight and while Queensland’s best Valpolicella – winner of the $500,000 Ladbrokes 715 last month at Newcastle - was chasing, they weren’t going to get past The King who posted 41.93s for the trip.

NSW filled the quinella with Fahey’s Magic running a super race to grab second 2½ lengths back with Valpolicella 1¼ lengths away in third, and with that placing, she too became a millionaire, taking her career earnings beyond seven figures.

NSW didn’t need to go to a decider this year. In the Origin Sprint the Craig Chappelow-trained Overflow Beau stormed out of the boxes, crossed to lead and his seven rivals would never get near him, going on to win in 29.59s and with that, the 2024 Greyhound Origin Shield belonged to the Blues.

Again NSW filled the quinella with Good Odds Cobber second albeit 5¾ lengths behind the winner, with local All Natural a further 3¾ lengths back in third.

“It’s a real honour to be selected in the first place and be part of a team race series is great,” Chappelow said. “There’s a great camaraderie between the NSW team and there is quite a bit of emotion tonight and it means a lot to do it in memory of Terry.”

Match racing quite often fails to live up to the hype but this one, between 2023 Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase winner Jay Is Jay and 2024 Ladbrokes Golden Easter Egg winner Mackenna, was an exception.

Mackenna led, Jay Is Jay stalked her then drove under her and took the lead up the back, matching stride to the home turn when they came together, and it looked like the Queenslander would lift, but it was Mackenna who surged to the line for a memorable victory by ¾ length in 30.00s.

“She is back to her best now,” Michelle said. “She copped a bump around the (home) turn and I thought Jay Is Jay was home, but she came from behind and she won.”

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