Emotions flow for following ‘Women in Racing’ features

By Jason Adams

Plagiarise and Let’s Win Coin gave the Ennis and Sharp families an evening to remember by taking out the Judy Hayley Memorial and GOTBA Karen Leek Memorial respectively at Sandown Park last night.

They were the two feature events on a night which recognised ‘Women in Racing’ celebrating the outstanding role they play in all codes.

Plagiarise was faultless in the Judy Hayley Memorial as she began well and overcame a wide draw to win comfortably. It was a triumph of significant sentimental value for trainers Brooke and Jamie Ennis (pictured with handler Emma Wardlaw).

“I feel like I’ve won a Group race, this is one we’ve always wanted to win,” said Jamie Ennis.

The late Judy Hayley played a strong role in introducing Ennis to the sport and has led the husband wife combination to being one of the more successful kennels in Australia.

“She lived with our family for a period of time and gave me my first job when I was in my late teens. She was very close with my family and meant a lot to us. To win a race in her honour is really special not only for Brooke and I but my parents as well.”

The Judy Hayley Memorial is named in honour the popular Melbourne Cup winning trainer who passed away in 2012.

Later in the night Let’s Win Coin was dominant in the GOTBA Karen Leek Memorial for trainers Jessica and Jason Sharp. She jumped as the popular pick and performed accordingly to win by 5½ lengths from Whistling Bullet and Snapper Smith.

“It’s a great honour to win this event. Karen was a stalwart of the sport, she did a lot for women in racing and everyone looked up to her.”

Karen Leek passed away in tragic circumstances in 2020 but will forever be an icon of greyhound racing. Last year she was inducted into Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Hall of Fame for her contribution in many aspects of the sport.

The night also featured the inaugural Marg Thomas Award for the most outstanding female contribution to the sport. It was awarded to Dawn Johnson – see Dawn’s story below.