Shantung Tiger

Inductee Hall of Fame 2021

Red Brindle dog, whelped March 1995, (Shantytown — Westlee Silk), Owners Four C’s Syndicate, Trainer Richard Stamford

Hall of Famer Richard Stamford and his wife Jillian have had a litany of stars since the 1970s and have won most of the feature races in Tasmania, including three Hobart Thousands. Champions Double Time and Shantytown, and stars such as Brampton Park, Modern Diamond, Diamond Babwe, Jim Bowie and Stop Line have resided at their Westbury property; but it is the amazing Shantung Tiger, that will follow his trainer into the Tasmanian Hall of Fame.

In 1995, noted training couple Ross and Julie Lee, decided to mate their 1990 Hobart Thousand runner up Westlee Silk, with Richard Stamford’s marvellous Hobart Thousand winning sire Shantytown. The litter was whelped in March 1995, and the Stamford’s received a pup in lieu of the service fee.

The Stamford’s with 1988 State Champion Diamond Babwe
The Stamford’s with 1988 State Champion Diamond Babwe

When Richard picked up his black pup, Julie asked him to take a brindle dog and try to sell it for $400. Richard’s pup raced as Always Dark, an iron dog that went on to score 23 wins with 39 placings, including a 715-metre Heat and Final at Sandown. He syndicated the brindle pup to four colleagues, namely Mark Cartledge, Gary Connell, Peter Connell, and Rodney Cassidy. They raced this “unwanted” as the Four C’s Syndicate, naming him Shantung Tiger. To say it was the best $100 each one ever spent, would be a gross underestimation. Apart from Always Dark, other siblings to perform well were Davey’s Girl (17 wins) and Wynlee Sabre (10 wins). This trio were all hardy middle-distance specialists, but Shantung Tiger was something else altogether.

From day one at the track, Richard knew “Tiger” was special, and unlike many trainers, he certainly knew what “special” looked like. A lovely and very relaxed natured dog, he was set for a debut “plunge” at the Royal Showgrounds on 10 October 1996, at 19 months of age. Last away and badly checked, he would end up the stiffest of thirds, ironically behind his litter sister Davey’s Girl. Some 21 days on, he returned to Hobart and despite a slow start once again, simply destroyed his Juvenile opponents by 8 ¼ lengths, but this time a 2/5 favourite. At only start two, Tiger had announced himself as a serious player. More early trouble at start three, saw him 2nd to Kirt Kurl Star in his Heat of the Breeders Classic at Devonport, before he finally began well and thrashed his sister Davey’s Girl in the Semi-Final. Last to begin once more, he was forced to work too hard, in winding up 4th to star bitch Shanlea Image in that Breeders Final.

Shantung Tiger’s Hobart Thousand victory of 1997
Shantung Tiger’s Hobart Thousand victory of 1997

14 days later, and at only start number 6, Richard had many questioning his sanity, when he entered his young charge for the 1996 Hobart Thousand. Upgraded to Group 2 for the first time, Tasmania’s greatest race attracted only the very best from here and over the water, yet this pup hadn’t even won his Juvenile at White City. To compound matters further, he drew Tasmania’s grandest dog, Bombers A Flyer in his Heat. Whilst the latter duly won by 4 lengths at 5/1 on, Shantung Tiger stormed home from 6th early to finish a wonderful 2nd, with the 1995 Thousand winner Clint’s Pirate, relegated to 3rd. Despite his defeat, “Tiger” flagged to one and all, that he was a rare talent. His Semi-Final only re-iterated the Heat effort. Once more, he rattled home after a slow start, running 2nd to the mighty Stylish Teddy, who would go on to win 49 races. So, at just start 8, Shantung Tiger lined up in the 1996 Group Two Hobart Thousand. From box 1, he started a respectful 8/1 and produced another fabulous run, overpowering all bar Bomber’s A Flyer in finishing 2nd. Star Victorian and favourite Son Of Hilda was third, while champions such as Caitlyn Fox and Stylish Teddy were left in his wake. Richard Stamford’s hidden treasure had been unearthed! Losses for the budding superstar were about to become a rarity.

Richard Stamford had never been afraid to travel his better dogs. Crack stayers Modern Diamond and Majestic Wonder were multiple winners over 700+ metres in Melbourne, and Slick Bonus had won the rich Dapto Maiden. 34 days post-Hobart Thousand, he now took Shantung Tiger on what would be the first of six Mainland trips. On 22 January 1997, Tiger ran in the $10000 Young Guns Golden Sands Classic at the Gold Coast. Box six and a troubled passage saw him finish 8 lengths astern of Wendle in running 3rd.

Protecting his young charge, Richard waited another 40 days before fronting up in the Launceston Breeders Classic. A tardy start didn’t prevent him scoring a 10 ½ length Heat win as a 5’s on favourite, but it, and a massive midrace check did end his series when 3rd in the Semi-Final to future Hobart Thousand placegetter Market Force. Ten days on, Shantung Tiger blitzed his opposition in an Easter Plate Heat at Hobart, before producing the run of a champion, when overcoming huge problems to reel in Rogue’s Hood and take the 1997 Easter Plate Final.

The prestigious Illingworth Classic was next at White City. He actually led, when flogging the brilliant Olympic Vision by 8 ½ lengths in his Heat, before overpowering class bitch Shanlea Image in his Semi victory. Luck deserted the Tiger when it mattered most, when checked out of his kennel mate Brampton Park’s Final, eventually winding up in sixth.

The “Tiger” (far left) storming to victory in the 1997 Gold Coast Cup Heat
The “Tiger” (far left) storming to victory in the 1997 Gold Coast Cup Heat

Raising the bar once more, Richard headed back to Melbourne for a stint at the 1997 Maturity Classic at Sandown. His blossoming reputation saw him start at 1/2 favourite in his Heat, in which he overpowered Timon by 3 lengths, posting a useful 30.11. He was a luckless Semi 4th to overall Series winner in Running Gold but proved he could match it with Australia’s elite.

Back home, he posted blistering Grade 4 wins at Devonport and Hobart, before a tilt at the Tasmanian Derby. Taking over late in the Heat, he raced away in dispatching Inner Blaze by 5 lengths in a slick 30.97. Despite starting a raging hot 2/5 favourite, a third straight Final would elude him after early strife; finishing 3rd to Goldtrac in the White City Tasmanian Derby of 1997. Heading to Hobart Shantung Tiger first careered away from Ultimate Two in a Best 8, before steaming home to an Invitation win over the crack bitch Caitlyn Fox.

Forever on the lookout for Interstate glory, Richard Stamford headed back to the Gold Coast, but this time against Australia’s sprinting royalty. On 23 July 1997, he produced a career-best performance in his Heat of the Gold Coast Cup. In a runaway 5 ½ length victory, he not only ran a best of the Heats 25.50, for the 457 metres, but relegated multiple track record holder, and future famous sire, Awesome Assassin into looking second rate. A less savoury passage in the 1997 Gold Coast Cup Final, saw the Tiger wind up a 4 ½ length 3rd behind the great Roanoke, with Foxpro 2nd. The 25.69 was 0.19 slower than Shantung Tiger’s series-best time.

14 days on, he confirmed his “now champion” tag, coming from last early in a Royal Showgrounds Invitation, to beat classy duo Starlight Hotel and Foxtel Fire by 4 ¼ lengths. Home losses were now a rarity as he kept raising the bar. He led throughout in a dazzling 30.71 Heat win of the 1997 Nationals at White City, before a heart-breaking two to one on 2nd, in the National Sprint State Final behind Kid Nelson, after a tragic level of interference early on.

When Shantung Tiger thrashed the 1996 Devonport Cup winner Ginger’s Charm in a 452 metre Devonport Invitation on 11 September 1997, no one could have thought he would only have 13 more starts. He was only 2 ½ years old! What he was about to achieve in those 13 runs, sealed his greatness. The Tasmanian Gold Cup now beckoned. So dominant was he on home soil, he started between two’s on and eight’s on at every one of those local starts. From fourth away, he blazed to victory in his quick 4 ¼ length Heat win, posting 25.97. Despite having to call on his best navigational skills, Shantung Tiger comfortably dispatched star chaser Stylish Teddy in his ’97 Gold Cup Final win, by 1 ¾ lengths in 26.00.

Parklands Derby win of 1997
Parklands Derby win of 1997

Only 8 days later, Richard flew his wonder dog to Geelong for a tilt at the rich Geelong Cup. Traffic issues saw the Tiger run 3rd to Inger Town in his Heat, and when he ventured back a week later, was beaten a nose in the Geelong Cup Consolation by top Queenslander, Say No More. Six days on, it was on to the Northwest Coast for the 1997 Devonport Cup. His 25.93 Heat win over Gerard’s Fault by 5 lengths, was a best of night, despite missing the kick. At two’s on from box 5 in the big one, and again flopping the start, Shantung Tiger won running away to win the 1997 Devonport Cup by 3 ½ lengths. The great dog left stars like Ginger’s Charm, Shy Toby, and Friendly Flyer in his wake.

13 days later, Richard Stamford decided to take this mighty chaser to the Gold Coast once more, for a crack at his highly vaunted Parklands Derby. So relaxed and easy natured was this brindle champion, they simply flew up on the day of the Heats, in which his weight was only 0.1

1997 Hobart Thousand contestants.
1997 Hobart Thousand contestants.

below what he was in the Devonport Cup Final. Such was his reputation by now, Tiger started a 2/5 favourite from box eight, and easily dealt with a top field, beating Alby Two Shows by 1 ¾ lengths in a best of day 25.62. A week later, and following the same preparation, Shantung Tiger started a 6/4 favourite from box 5 in the star-studded feature. Midfield early, he simply raced away from the home turn, in a mighty victory by 2 lengths over Rocking Rambo, in the 1997 Parklands Derby. His time was a scintillating 25.43 for the 457 metres.

A year earlier, Shantung Tiger had stunned all, when as a mere pup, he had beaten all bar Bomber’s A Flyer in the Group Two Hobart Thousand. Now, at 2 years and 9 months of age, it was his chance to claim Tasmania’s famous race. His 4 December 1997 Heat was simply a procession. Taking over at the halfway mark, he raced away from Rising Empire in a 6 length, 6/1 on, best of night 26.08. A week later his Semi win was less simple. An ordinary getaway, followed by a severe check had the thrill-seekers who took the 5/1 on, looking for heart tablets; but as champions do, he regained his composure and still won running away from Big Denver by 3 ½ lengths. The Tiger drew the ideal inside alley in the Group Two Hobart Thousand Final, and despite some early tightening, showed great heart to overrun the Ted Medhurst pair Conrod and Market Force.

2021 Hall of Fame Inductee -- Shantung Tiger
2021 Hall of Fame Inductee — Shantung Tiger

Now proven at any level, Richard headed to Sandown 10 days later for a crack at the Group One Melbourne Cup. Following a Qualifying 2nd to Totally Ablaze, he was run out when a luckless Heat 4th behind Split The Bill. 24 days later Shantung Tiger returned to Hobart and toppled Mexican Port at 8/1 on. This was his pipe opener for the upcoming Launceston Cup.

Shantung Tiger’s Launceston Cup Heat run on 9 February 1998 would be the saddest end to a wonderful career. A raging favourite, the mighty dog shattered a hock before the winning post the first time, and to see him complete the entire course was testament to his bravery.

This superior chaser was only 2 years and 11 months when his stellar racing career ended. In Tasmania, he started 34 times for 23 wins and 8 placings. Interstate, he raced 10 times for 4 wins, 4 placings and 2 fourths. He ran 2nd then 1st in back-to-back Hobart Thousands, won a Gold Cup, a Devonport Cup, and Easter Plate, as well as the Parklands Derby. It’s little wonder he was the 1997-98 Tasmanian Greyhound of the Year.

Despite extremely limited opportunities at Stud, Shantung Tiger still left an impression. To Painted Vintage, he produced quality performers Gitchy Goomy and Lunawanna. The former won 18 over all distances, ran 2nd in a Laurels and was a useful broodie. The latter won 7, including the Tasmanian Oaks, and was a top broodbitch, with stars Little Marsh, Cape Bruny and Wooreddy amongst others.

The Stamfords bred a quality litter out of Wee Pirate. It included Power Of Three (25, and an Ivory Classic), Capetown Tiger (14, all distances), China Tiger (8, 3rd in a Medley, 2nd in an Ivory Classic), plus Riotous Tiger (8) and Shantung Pirate (6). Other Shantung Tiger winners included Feraro Mick (11, and an Illingworth Classic 3rd), Midnight Tiger (8), Bendeco Boy (7), Trick Shot Rick (7) and Feraro Knight (5)

This lovable champion spent his post-race days enjoying life at Richard and Jillian’s Westbury property. His magnificent career now elevates him into the Tasmanian Greyhound Hall of Fame.

By Greg Fahey


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