The Group 1 KCR Pet Transport Maturity Classic will be staged at The Meadows on Saturday night, 50 years after the race was first run and won back in 1970.
The inaugural edition of the Maturity Classic was held at Olympic Park and taken out by Phantom’s Heir. Since then, a number of big name sprinters have won the restricted age event over the years. The Honour Roll includes household names such as Temlee (1974), Brett Lee (2001), El Grand Senor (2010), Barcia Bale (2012), and Fernando Bale (2015).
Sennachie won last year’s Maturity Classic for trainer Steven Bruce White, and added his name to the illustrious list of champions who had previously reigned supreme in the Group 1 feature.
This will be the first year since the race’s inception that long-time Melbourne Greyhound Racing Association Chairman Eddie Caruana won’t be on track to watch.
“I remember distinctly the first winner, Phantom’s Heir, who was one of my favourites. I also remember buying a pup from the mating of the 1974 and 1975 winners,” says Eddie.
“The Maturity quickly established itself as a top race due to the quality of winners it produced. This year is one of the best finals, comparable to 2015, when Fernando Bale ran amazing sectionals in defeating Dyna Double One.”
As for Eddie’s tip in the big race on Saturday?
“Simon Told Helen. I haven’t seen a dog with such explosive speed in a long time. I made the mistake of not tipping him on top in the Great Chase last year, and the connections keep reminding me!”
Simon Told Helen has drawn Box 3 in the Final on Saturday night, a box which has provided six winners of the race over the years.
Box 1 has proven the most successful draw for the race, with 15 winners of the Maturity Classic having drawn the inside. One of the 2020 race favourites, Hard Style Rico, has come up with the red rug on Saturday night – and he’s the top pick for the race for legendary greyhound commentator Ron Hawkswell.
“What Simon Told Helen has been doing is outstanding – I only really split him and Hard Style Rico because of the draws,” says Ron.
“If Simon Told Helen finds the front, he’ll probably win, but if he dwells, I think Hard Style Rico could win it.”
Ron has called most of the Maturity Classics since around 1984, including some of the earlier editions held at Olympic Park, and the 1997 and 1998 editions held at Sandown.
“There have been a lot of great dogs that have won the race over the years; it’s hard to pick the standout!” says Ron.
“For me, it’s hard to split between Brett Lee and Fernando Bale. And not only were their race track performances amazing, their stud careers have been too.”