Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club hosted its most prestigious event of the year on Sunday as an impressive field of eight contested the 2024 Chief Havoc Cup final.

The four heats for the annual event were held a week earlier on Sunday, June 2, and the Charmaine Roberts-trained Cindy Keeping registered the fastest time with a 29.77 to qualify for the final.

The two-year-old was the only dog to finish with a sub-30-second time that night and she achieved that again in the final on Sunday when she won the race with a blistering time of 29.99, the fastest ever recorded in the Chief Havoc Cup final.

That victory saw Roberts, a Dubbo Greyhound Racing Club life member, win for the 27th time in Gunnedah and for the 782nd time in her career as a trainer.

Cindy Keeping jumped from box six in the 527-metre listed race, which was the eighth on the 12-race program, and she started well but was forced to settle for fourth early on after getting caught up behind the Jamie Bush-trained Julia Bush (box eight).

She quickly overtook Julia Bush but still trailed the Bush-trained Franky Bear (box two) and the Sydney Swain-trained Miss Zig Zag (box one) by a few lengths. Upon turning for home she had overtaken Franky Bear and was neck and neck with Miss Zig Zag.

Cindy Keeping then powered home down the straight to grab the lead late and win the race by a length to claim the $40,000 top prizemoney.

That took her total career earnings to $82,845.

It was her 27th start and her 10th victory, and she finished the night with a place rate of 81 per cent.

Miss Zig Zag ran home second and Frankie Bear placed third.

Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club president Geoff Rose was thrilled with the quality of the final and told the Gunnedah Times it was an enjoyable night all round.

“It was a great night and there was a big crowd there,” Rose said.

“It was a very cold night but it I think it was probably one of the biggest crowds we’ve had in five to 10 years.

“It was a very good field for the final.

“They’d won probably half a million dollars in prizemoney between them.

“The winner was very fast and it was good to see some locals in there too. One of the locals actually run third.”

The Chief Havoc Cup is run annually in memory of one of Australia’s best greyhounds to ever race.

Chief Havoc was a white and fawn dog, one of a litter of eight puppies (six dogs and two bitches) whelped in Gunnedah in September 1944. The future Chief Havoc, or Patches as he was known at home, was sold for eight guineas to Jack Millerd, a storekeeper of Carrol, at six weeks of age.

Chief Havoc raced 35 times for 26 wins, five seconds, and two thirds. He won on 14 of the 16 tracks at which he competed, all first up.

He raced twice at Wentworth Park, once over 550 yards and once over 750 yards, for two wins and contested seven races at Harold Park for five wins and one third.

He set nine track records and equalled seven others for a total of 16.

The Chief Havoc Cup final victory continued a memorable night for Roberts after she celebrated a trifecta in race five when Candice Keeping (box three), Tom Keeping (box one) and Angus Keeping (box eight) ran home first, second and third in the 527-metre Hopes Fuel fifth-grade race.

There was another final contested on Sunday night at the Gunnedah track as the 2024 Feral Franky Maiden Series final was run over 340 metres.

It was the fourth race of the night and was won by the Scott Farley-trained Walk The Talk (box five).

Farley, Roberts and Bush all finished the night with two wins each.

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