Photo credit: Clint Anderson/BlueStream Pictures
West On Augie was awarded the WA Greyhound of the Year at last night's function at Crown Casino after a stellar season of chasing that included a Group 1 victory in Melbourne.
The Chris Halse-trained star raced on 36 occasions during the 2018 season for 20 wins and five placings, but it was his signature victory in the National Sprint Championship at Sandown that clinched honours as Western Australia’s best chaser for the year.
Up against a star-studded line-up, West On Augie, flew the local flag proudly to claim the $75,000 first prize and become the first Western Australian greyhound to win the National Sprint Championship since 1997.
West On Augie, who won eight of 15 feature races, including the Group 2 WA Derby in 2018, has won $284,385 in prize money with a further $47,500 in Westchase bonuses.
Luke Townsend, who played a pivotal role in West On Augie’s Melbourne victory, was awarded the Young Achiever of the Year.
The 30-year-old was West On Augie’s handler at the National Championships and regularly accompanies greyhounds for the Halse kennel when they venture to the east coast.
Townsend is recognised as a professional and passionate member of the WA greyhound industry and he is a deserving winer of the award.
David Hobby was awarded Leading Trainer for the second consecutive year. He prepared 288 winners.
Respected former trainer John Carmody took out the prestigious Gerry O’Keefe Achievement Award.
The popular Irishman has been a long-time stalwart of WA greyhound racing after commencing as a trainer in the mid-1970s.
He has consistently finished in the top 10 of trainers each season and entered his name in the history books when he trained the very first winner at the new Mandurah track in 1979 with Niki Ninny.
Carmody also trained charity greyhound On The Case, a chaser that helped aid the recovery of police officer Matt Butcher after he was seriously injured in the line of duty.
Carmody retired from training at the end of last season, but is still a regular attendee at local meetings and maintains a passionate interest in the sport.
Prominent breeder Michelle Romer, who is also recognised for her dedication to the wellbeing of greyhounds, was presented with the Kerry Vernon Award for Excellence in Greyhound Welfare.
Channel Nine’s Dr Garnett Hall claimed the Greyhound Racing Media Personality award for his outstanding feature on ‘Goose’, a retired greyhound from Greyhounds As Pets.
Best Greyhound Racing Feature Story went to Chips and Trains Running in Memory of Brave Pippa written by Julio Santarelli, which told an emotional story about how the young greyhound, Chips and Trains, was named in memory of Pippa Rea, who tragically died after a brave battle with brain cancer.
“It has been a big year for greyhound racing in Western Australia and we anticipate an even bigger year for 2019, when the State hosts its 9th National Championships at Cannington,” said Ms Charlotte Mills.
“We look forward to showcasing Western Australian greyhound racing to both interstate and international guests.”