By Neil Brown
The mighty Zoom Top what a greyhound, for those lucky enough to see her race the “ Fawn Flash “ left a lasting impression. You have to ask the question has there ever been a better greyhound grace our tracks? I don't think so for sheer versatility she stands alone as the best ever. It's amazing that she raced some 35 years ago but the legend lives on and so it should. I count myself privileged to have seen her race and win the N.C.A. Cup at Sandown Park in 1969. The night of the heats was the night I met an idol an icon. I got to pat the champion and chat with her owner-trainer-breeder the late Hec Watt. In my teens at the time I position myself in the owner-trainers car park selling form guides, there was no way I was going to miss out being close to the champion, what a thrill it was, one I'll never forget.
Whelped August 1966 by Black Top from Busy Beaver she was one of five pups bred at Rossmore by Hec and Leah Watt. All the pups in the litter won races with her sister Busy's Charm an outstanding greyhound in her own right, she won 52 races.
Zoom Top commenced racing at just 14 months of age she won a maiden over 500 yards at Goulburn on October 21,1967 first prize $10. In that early race period she won just seven races of her first 21 starts. She raced very green and was competing against older dogs in top grade when most pups would be starting their careers. Her greatness was about emerge on March 16, 1969 over 732 at Harold Park she lead most of the way for a hollow victory by 15 lengths in 43.50, just .30 outside the long standing track record.
Trainer Hec Watt then decided to run her in the Wentworth Park Gold Cup. In a stunning victory over Only Ten she gave him five lengths lead and won by two. The following week Zoom Top defeated Only Ten again, this time at Harold Park. She ran 43.30 just .10 outside Bright Pleasure's track record. It was only the third time a greyhound had run that quick a time at Harold Park. Following those victories Zoom Top won at Muswellbrook in their championship over 548 and the Association Cup over 732 at Harold Park. She then ran a gallant second in the Winter Stake final over 457 meters following up two days later to record track record time at Beenleigh over 795 meters, returning to Grafton to win the Cup there over 402. She again won at Grafton over the 675 meters followed by a top grade win at Harold Park over 457. All of the above races took place in the space of 21 days.
If that wasn't enough Hec Watt put her over the 292 metre straight course at Richmond for the Oaks she won the heat and final in 16.10,just .20 outside the track record. Zoom Top finished the year off with wins in the Dapto Silver Collar 507 metres, Sydney Cup over 722 at Wentworth Park in track record time of 43.20.
Then in front of 14,000 people won the St.Leger over 530 metre at Wenty establishing a new Australian record for stake earnings of $17,798 and won the first of her two NSW Greyhound of the Year titles.
Zoom Top's race performances of 1968 is an example of what she was capable of and how versatile a greyhound she was. Any distance, any track, any surface it all came the same to “Sweetie”.
In 1969 the situation was similar winning feature events all over the country in track record times being adored by all that came to see her race.
A number of the feature wins over the longer journey she won for a second time like her 50 th race win from 96 starts in 1969 was the Association Cup final. Watt answered many requests to take Zoom Top to different tracks and areas such was the demand for her presence she hardly let anyone down creating new figures on most occasions. She raced as brilliant through her 100th start as she did in the early part of her career. Zoom Top broke the Newcastle record in the final of NSW District Distance Championship and at her 100 th start equaled the track record for 676 metres at Maitland. Later winning her second successive Queensland Distance Title at Beenleigh over 795 metres breaking her own track record while notching her 11 th straight distance victory.
In the twilight of her grand career in 1970 she broke her own 457 metre record at Temora, won a top grade sprint at Olympic Park in time just .30 outside the record and went within .10 of the eight-year-old Orange 494 track record. On March 14,1970 Zoom Top won race number 68, when she took out the Singleton Gold Cup over 640 metres. Five starts later her long and remarkable career came to an end when she ingloriously finished last at Wentworth Park over 722 metres. She had severely pulled a muscle in her back leg.
Zoom Top raced 136 times for 68 wins, 25 seconds and 14 thirds. She won an Australian record $59,032 in prizemoney. In today's terms it may be the equivalent of over $400,000 or even more in prizemoney. She contested 64 races over distances 617 to 695 metres for 39 wins, 13 seconds and five thirds. She was unplaced just seven times of these two were fourths and three could be attributed to injury. Zoom Top raced on 27 different tacks, winning on 24 of them, she set or equaled 15 track records and won races from 292 metres to 795 metres, winning from every box including boxes nine and ten at Richmond when the club raced up the straight.
Zoom Top made 17 of the 21 major finals she contested winning 11. Those wins included Wentworth Park Gold Cup 68, 69 Association Cup 68, 69 Richmond Oaks 68, Dapto Silver Collar 68, Sydney Cup 68, Summer Cup 68, NSW St Leger 68, Olympic Park Distance Championship 69 and NCA Cup at Sandown 69.
Zoom Top died of a stroke at the age of 13 and was buried under a fruit tree on the Watt's property at Ballina in northern New South Wales . Very few past champions are mentioned in the same breath as Zoom Top perhaps only Chief Havoc. One thing is for certain we will never see the likes of her again.
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