Courtesy of www.thedogs.com.au:
Jay Is Jay’s time was not as quick as any of the five previous winners but the Queenslander’s performance to take out Friday night’s Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase was arguably the most tenacious and certainly among the most impressive.
Trained by Selena and Michael Zammit, Jay Is Jay appeared to stumble coming out of the boxes but railed into third place going through the catching pen behind outsider Cumbria Kid and his arch rival, the $2.40 favourite Postman Pat.
But Jay Is Jay, the $3.10 second favourite, got the better of Postman Pat leaving the back straight and dashed to the lead approaching the home bend.
He then staved off a late rally from Cumbria Kid to win by a half-length in 29.76, with Postman Pat a gallant third, a length away.
Jay Is Jay had attempted to quality in the regional series at Grafton but after he finished fourth in the September 24 final Selena Zammit recalled: “I told Michael if he can’t even finish third at Grafton how can he win the final at Wentworth Park?”
Undeterred, the Zammits brought Jay Is Jay to Sydney for the Wentworth Park qualifiers and after overcoming a first turn check to win his heat on September 30 in 29.93 he posted a flying 29.45 to land his “sudden death” semi-final on October 6.
Jay Is Jay’s victory represents a classic “family affair” situation as the dog is owned by Selena Zammit’s mother, Lillian Jones, and was named after her late husband, Selena’s father Jeff Jones.
Lillian Jones owns Kealoah, the dam of Jay Is Jay and the final greyhound her husband had trained.
The Zammit family have a long connection with racing as Michael’s brother Tony Zammit trained Trojan Tears, the 1993 NSW Greyhound of the Year, while their father, the late Sam Zammit, was a harness racing legend who won the first race conducted under lights at Albion Park in September, 1968.
Selena and Michael Zammit were understandably elated at snaring the $1 million cheque for the world’s richest greyhound race, but almost as excited was Steve Fitch, owner-trainer of the runner-up Cumbria Kid.
Fitch, who collected a not too shabby $100,000 for his dog’s mighty effort, was punching the air and waving to friends in the grandstand immediately after the race.