GCA - Greyhound Clubs Australia

Tenthill Doll

By Neil Brown

When it comes to the history of greyhound racing the mighty Tenthill Doll will be remembered as one of most astute purchases of all time. Prominent Sydney owner Ray Richards, following the advice of trainer Harry Sarkis negotiated the sale of the young Tenthill Doll after only 13 starts in her home state of Queensland . Her owner-breeder Merv Laffey agreed to the purchase price of $20,000 in May 1995. The deal was sealed after the black bitch had set a track record in a 600-meter grade five at Albion Park she ran 35.21. It was her fifth win to that point of her career and followed wins over 457 and 557 at Toowoomba.

Laffey had raced the dam Tenthill Flyer (Chariot Supreme x National Queen) with some success and her first litter to Amerigo Man had produced fellow Hall of Famer and Queensland superstar Flying Amy. Laffey had sold Flying Amy as a pup to Eric Tedford who raced the champion in partnership with Ron and Mavis Ball. Laffey chose boom Victorian sire Malawi 's Prince for her second mating and the litter consisting of two dogs and three bitches and was whelped in March 1993.

Tenthill Doll's career had commended under the guidance of Queensland mentor Jim Gallaway and she first raced on the 30 th of October 1994 winning a qualifying trial over 457 at Toowoomba. She ran second in the final and it wasn't until her fourth start over 457 at Parklands on the Gold Coast that she broke her maiden status winning in a best of the day 25.89. Tenthill Doll won again there at her eighth start in 25.79 before her trio of wins prior to the sale.

Call it luck, good fortune or a very keen eye for what might be a champion. But at the time $20,000 was a top offer for a greyhound after only 13 starts, with you consider most of her form had been on Queensland country tracks.

Richards sold a half share in Tenthill Doll to his friend Matthew Vallti the pair had raced a number of dogs together but nothing would live with the enjoyment they were about experience racing a greyhound that stamped herself as one of the very best chasers of all time.

And what an outstanding career it was, a read of Tenthill Doll's statistics emphasis her greatness. 56 starts, 31 wins, 10 seconds and 7 thirds. At her time of retirement Tenthill Doll set the Australian record for stake earnings $382,660. She raced well on all tracks but had an outstanding record at her favorite track Wentworth Park , 26 starts for 16 wins and 7 placings. She joined the New South Wales elite Zoom Top, Winifred Bale and National Lass all Hall of Famers by winning two NCA Greyhound of the Year awards in 1995 and 1996, in both those years she recorded the fastest time recorded over 520m at Wentworth Park.

“Sally” is the only greyhound in history to hold three metropolitan track records concurrently, Wentworth Park (29.92), Sandown Park (29.65) and Cannington (30.67). She was also the first greyhound to win three group one events in succession, the 1996 Golden Easter Egg, Perth Cup and Australian Cup finals. Tenthill Doll was also runner-up in the 1995 Melbourne Cup, Top Gun and Bob Payne Winter Stake. Sally's other credits included winning the Penthouse Cup at Wentworth Park and finishing third behind her half sister Flying Amy in the 1995 Eukanuba Cup at Albion Park. In what might have been a fairy tale end to her career she raced for the last time in the 1997 Golden Easter Egg she finishing sixth. Unfortunately Injuries had taken their toll and after beginning well she was to fade and went down gallantly beaten only 5 ¼ lengths behind Victorian Bahama Image. If she had been successful in running either first or second Tenthill Doll would have retired as the world's highest stake winning greyhound. She fell short only by a small amount to American superstar Mo Kick, who won an astounding 109 races, earning $314,067US.

Tenthill Doll will be remembered for her tenacious chasing ability. She could both lead a top class field of sprinters or in turn give them a start and run them down. For this writer her most famous win was staged at Sandown Park in the final of the 1996 Australian Cup. Giving tear away leader Proper Tears a start most thought impossible to overcome her never say die attitude saw her lunge on the line securing victory in what was an outstanding performance. For part owner Ray Richards nothing surpassed her incredible win in the Easter Egg of the same year.

“I think it was her best win, like most we thought she couldn't possible win down the back straight but she never gave up and flashed home to win right on the line. It was such a pleasure to race her, Matthew and I have always felt blessed to have had the opportunity to have been associated with one of this country's great greyhounds.” Richards said.

Richards love and passion for “Sally” was reflected in his emotional acceptance speech the night Tenthill Doll was inducted into the Hall Of Fame on the 3rd of September 1999 in Sydney .

Since her retirement she has whelped three litters to Light Of Fire, Head Honcho and Bearabilty with smart Queensland sprinter Springtime Magic the best of her pups to race so far.

Yes, Tenthill Doll will long be remembered as one of the all time greats and deservedly takes her place in the AGRA Hall of Fame.


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