SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26: Nominations closed. SUNDAY, MARCH 5: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, February 27. See "Racing Calendar" for full details. TUESDAY AND SATURDAY TRIALS: 9 a.m. (SA time). NO TRIALS this Saturday due to extra meeting.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
Lewiston-based trainer Robyn Mackellar will be hoping for a case of third time lucky when her star bitch Fabregal contests this year’s $10,000 ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres), heats of which will be run at Tara Raceway on Sunday.
From a greyhound racing point of view a fair bit has happened for Mackellar in the three years since she was at Tara Raceway and Dee Dee Corsair led the cup field down the back straight before running a gallant second to Veetee Express in a near race record 29.82 seconds.
She returned again the following year with another strong team, reaching the final with Barnes Bay and Lobo Loco who finished third and fourth respectively behind Lots Of Yap.
With a record of 56 starts for 32 wins and 18 minor placings and $150,000 in prizemoney, Fabregal will jump from box eight in the final heat as one of the best credentialled greyhounds to contest the Mount Gambier Cup since Banger Harvey was successful in 2011 for Robert Britton.
Owned by Terry McCallum of Tumby Bay, Fabregal is by Fabregas out of Allinga Aye Jay, a winner of only one race at Strathalbyn but boasting a superb pedigree and a pretty handy half-brother in Worm Burner.
Allinga Aye Jay was trained at Langhorne Creek by Yvonne King who also will be at Tara Raceway on Sunday for the cup with Harry Aztec who won the Eric Lewis Memorial (600 m) at Tara Raceway in 2015 when trained by Kevin Ashton.
The well-travelled Fabregal – she won the Queensland Futurity and was placed in the WA Oaks – will be having her first look at Tara Raceway, an unforgiving track at the best of times for newcomers.
And with record cup nominations, which necessitated eight heats, there’s no margin for error with only the winners advancing to Sunday week’s final while the “near-misses” will contest a $2000 consolation.
Leading local trainer Nicole Stanley, who reached last year’s final with Old Jock but is yet to win a Mount Gambier Cup, will be looking to upstage Fabregal with box three runner Hit The Runway, unraced on the track but reported to have recently trialled well there.
By Oaks Road x Full Noise Turbo, the January 2015 brindle dog ran a sparkling 29.49 seconds over 515 metres at Sandown Park in December and a repeat of that effort would put him right in the mix.
Moyston trainer Peter Franklin will return with Mojito Mayhem in a bid to claim consecutive Mount Gambier Cups – something that has never been achieved in the 36 years that the cup has been run.
Mojito Mayhem last raced in December when fourth in the Christmas Cup final at Tara Raceway but if he can recapture the form that saw him brilliantly win a heat of that event then he should be more than competitive from box three.
Lining up in the same race from box two is Nussin Much, a lightly-raced son of Kinloch Brae and Goldie Bale and trained at Cooke Plains by Paul Barry who 16 years ago won the Mount Gambier Cup with Explosive Doll in a then race record time of 30.24 seconds.
There’ll be plenty of interest in heat five of the cup with the Robert Halliday owned and trained youngster Hutch lining up from box one and facing a fair rise in class.
Whelped in April 2015, the son of Premier Fantasy x Cairnlea Elle was an impressive heat and final winner of the recent General Destini Summer Classic (512 m) but runs into Jeff Guy’s Tara Raceway 600 metre record holder Paraphernalia in box two.
Adding further interest to the heat is box eight runner Ruff State who has won 26 races and $47,000 in prizemoney for Lewiston trainer Ken Gill – no stranger to Tara Raceway at cup time.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Compton trainer Tracie Price, who won the 2015 Produce Store Maiden (512 metres) with Mega Moment, looks to hold a strong hand in Friday’s heats at Tara Raceway with nine runners.
The meeting, which is the start of the Mount Gambier Cup carnival, will be highlighted by three heats of the feature maiden, two heats of the Blue Lake 600 (600 m) and two heats of the Formula 400 (400 m).
And the action really heats up at Sunday’s meeting when eight heats of the ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) will be decided.
Mainly, Price’s maiden runners are from the Magic Sprite x Hey Sexy Lady and Swift Fancy x Which Class litters – Hey Sexy Lady, a former WA chaser, winning the majority of her 13 races at Tara Raceway.
One exception, though, is September 2015 first-starter Rumbling Moment who has drawn box seven in the third heat.
By leading sire Cosmic Rumble, Rumbling Moment is out of first-time dam Stylish Moment who created a huge impression when winning over 512 metres on debut by 20 lengths in 29.98 seconds at the local track back in May 2014.
A daughter of Spring Gun x Nicky’s Moment, Stylish Moment later won the inaugural Winter Classic (512 m) before being retired after only 25 starts.
In the second heat, Tarpeena trainer David Williams – his father Allen won the 2014 series with Dr Danny – will rug up an interesting runner in the form of another first-starter in Miss Legality, a June 2015 whelping who has drawn box four for the Ward Leicester-managed Southern Bar Boys Syndicate.
Out of the unraced Rellim Lilly, Miss Legality is by Red Lesta who gave the syndicate the ride of their lives when going around 120 times for 22 wins and 34 minor placings for prizemoney of more than $55,000.
The son of Bombastic Shiraz x Bar Crusher ran fourth in the final of the 2010 Group 1 Maturity at The Meadows behind El Grand Senor before finishing his career with local trainer Ralph Patzel at Tara Raceway where he won over 400 metres in early 2013.
Red Lesta has only the one litter on the ground with Miss Legality’s litter brother Print The Money winning on debut at Geelong and since running two minor placings.
NEWCOMERS TO TEST WATER IN BLUE LAKE
Despite drawing box six, Penny Eagle looks well placed in the first heat of the Blue Lake 600 (600 m) for David Williams.
By Glen Gallon out of 2012 Mount Gambier Cup finalist Keep Looking, the black bitch’s last win was at the end of January when she defeated King Obama over the middle-distance journey.
Gargle It has made it pretty tough for Penny Eagle at her past two outings but she doesn’t run too many bad races and as such should be lining up in the $2000 final on Sunday week.
A couple of interesting middle-distance newcomers in the race are McIvor Neville and Cee Jay’s Heart who have drawn boxes seven and eight respectively.
McIvor Neville, a son of Bella Infrared x Blonde Caviar, and winner of this year’s Sims Memorial (512 m), is trained at Moyston by Peter Franklin who believes the best won’t be seen of the striking-looking fawn youngster until he steps out over more ground.
And Mount Gambier trainer Willie Vossen has stepped up Cee Jay’s Heart in distance after the 24 kilogram bitch finished strongly to win a 512 metre maiden last Sunday.
King Obama’s consistency was rewarded when he finally broke through for his first win in nine months after defeating the long odds-on chance Texas Titan at last Sunday’s meeting.
Trained at Woolsthorpe by Nifty Lenehan, King Obama looks well placed in the second heat and should make it through to the final along with Odd Boots, Spotted Gunn and Lady Vixyma.
Monday, February 20, 2017
According to Mount Gambier hobby owner-trainer Willie Vossen, Sunday’s win by Cee Jay’s Heart was the result of a real team effort.
Lining up from box five in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (512 m), the diminutive black bitch was slowly away and looked anything but a $4.80 chance as the field charged into the back straight.
But off the back Cee Jay’s Heart started to make ground and after finding a rails run turning for home finished full of running to defeat Summer Sprite by 1½ lengths in 31.41 seconds on a rain-affected track.
The win, which came at her 13th start, was the first for part-owner Jodie Freeman and Vossen’s first in almost five years when Kamarooka Girl had been successful over 400 metres at Tara Raceway on July 29, 2012.
By Bekim Bale x Lucy’s Moment, Cee Jay’s Heart, along with litter sister Bekim Lucy’s, had been purchased as a pup from Compton breeder Tracie Price who races litter brother Blazing Moment, successful at Cannington in WA early last week.
But while Blazing Moment quickly set the track alight, the same couldn’t be said for Cee Jay’s Heart who at the half-way point of her breaking-in found herself on the way back to Mount Gambier with a report that she was no good.
Vossen, involved in greyhound racing for 17 years, wasn’t prepared to give up that easily, though, and it was here that long-time local trainer Ralph Patzel stepped in.
“Ralph offered to give her some education behind a drag lure on the Tara Raceway slipping track and she just progressed from there,” Vossen said.
Also lending a hand has been Michael Robinson, a former greyhound steward and Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club life member.
“Michael comes out most mornings to help work my three dogs and his assistance has been invaluable.”
Bekim Lucy’s, after five unplaced runs at long odds, worked home well to run a 2¼ length third behind her kennelmate/litter sister.
Vossen shouldn’t have to wait another five years for his next winner.
Monday, February 20, 2017
It’s not too often that a brood bitch and one of her pups race on the same programme.
But, at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon, 5½-year-old Hot Genetics went around in the Metal Worx Masters Stake prior to her 22-month-old son Last Outlaw fronting up in the following race, the Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 metres).
Both mother and son are owned and trained at Altona Green by Malcolm Davis, with Hot Genetics, who 12 months ago whelped a second litter, to Vee Man Vane, boasting a record of nine wins and 29 minor placings from 95 starts.
A daughter of Bit Chili x Cool Genetics, the black bitch’s last win had been at Tara Raceway back in August last year when she won the inaugural Masters event for older greyhounds in a time of 23.49 seconds.
Jumping from box two in Sunday’s 400 metre event, Hot Genetics chased reserve runner Red River Rufus, trained at Coleraine by Bob Wombwell, throughout to eventually go down by 1¾ lengths in 24.06 seconds.
By Talk’s Cheap, Last Outlaw went to the boxes a well-supported favourite on the strength of two wins and three minor placings from only seven starts on Victorian provincial tracks.
Despite having never raced at Tara Raceway, the black dog looked a top chance in the grade six race after having clocked a pretty handy 24.23 seconds when running second over 425 metres at Bendigo nine days ago.
And after finding trouble early, Last Outlaw worked to the front down the back straight, finishing the race off with all guns blazing in 23.77 seconds – an effort that saw him go one better than mum.
Last Outlaw is one of four of the litter to have won with Davis obviously pleased with the way the youngsters are progressing.
“Envy Heist has won three races and Apex Pro and Down Mexico Way two each,” Davis said. “Actually, Down Mexico Way defeated Last Outlaw by seven lengths over 425 metres at Bendigo in a quick 24.01 seconds.”
Interestingly, he spared no expense when it came to the rearing of the litter.
“To be honest I couldn’t find anything that suited my needs in Victoria so I ended up sending the pups to George Zammit in Queensland.
“He’s got 40 acres up there and I couldn’t have been happier with the way the pups came back.”
Davis said he was now likely to return to Tara Raceway in several weeks’ time with other members of the Talk’s Cheap x Hot Genetics litter.
Thursday, February 16, 2017
No one really knew whether Ivor Dowdell, of Yahl, was actually the world’s oldest licensed greyhound trainer.
Although, when he trained his last winner, He Gone, back on September 11, 2015 at Tara Raceway at the age of 93 there weren’t too many disputing Mount Gambier’s claim.
Even Tara Raceway bar manager Dawn Kay had got into the act and set up a race day reserved table “for the world’s oldest greyhound trainer” – Dowdell and his companion Josie Virgo became part of the furniture!
Ivor Dowdell died last week, ending an involvement in greyhound racing that commenced in 1985 when his son Des – Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president in 1990-91 – gave him a dog to train.
A carpenter by trade, he was born in Mount Gambier and with the exception of service in Borneo during World War II and a short stint in Northam (WA) he spent most of his life in the district.
Dowdell always reckoned his best greyhound had been Regal Gem, a son of Pop Gun x Delphi Dazzle, and bred by his son.
When trained in Victoria, Regal Gem had run fourth to Enfield in the 1991 Maturity classic final at Olympic Park.
Locally, there had been plenty of winners at the old Glenburnie track – with Dapto Bob winning a Greyhound of the Year – prior to greyhound racing relocating to Lake Terrace East.
In more recent times Dowdell and Virgo had enjoyed success with My History, a winner of nine races at Tara Raceway.
And while he had been absent from the track since the middle of last year in what was one of greyhound racing’s sorrier stories, most will fondly remember Ivor Dowdell as the world’s oldest greyhound trainer and one of the sport’s real gentlemen.
TIME GRADING FOR TARA
Greyhound Racing SA’s Racing Department is continuing to investigate options to provide ongoing racing opportunities for greyhounds of all abilities.
According to GRSA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson the next step in the grading system is to provide a framework that analyses a greyhound’s true ability – speed or time – and places them accordingly.
“All greyhounds nominated for one of these meetings will receive a time rating figure which is based on an average of their actual run time over the past few starts,” Mathieson said.
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club is now looking at using time grading at its Tara Raceway Friday meetings on April 7 and 21.
Outlining the conditions this week, Mathieson said the meetings would be graded “worst to best” with grade four or higher not considered.
“Maiden, grade six and grade five, over any distance, will be considered with all races being non-penalty and paying Pathway prizemoney.”
Mathieson said each grade would be graded separately with reserves determined by the grader taking into account the suitability for the fields drawn.
The MGGRC has been allocated extra Sunday meetings on April 9, May 7 and June 4.
TWO PUPS FOR YOUNG GUNNER
David Peckham, of Allendale East, reports that Young Gunner has whelped two black dogs to Shakey Jakey.
By Bombastic Shiraz x Oxley Magic, the durable Young Gunner raced on 116 occasions for 10 wins and 48 minor placings, collecting almost $37,000 in prizemoney along the way.
She wound up her racing career at Tara Raceway where she won over both 400 metres and 512 metres after having previously recorded multiple 595 metre wins at Sandown Park.
Shakey Jakey, a son of Collision and Kiacatoo Pearl, raced only once, running a record 29.07 seconds when winning by 22¼ lengths over the 520 metres at Wentworth Park on April 6, 2014.
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Steve Bartholomew, of Worrolong, still remembers the first greyhound racing meeting run in Mount Gambier.
That was back on Saturday, July 21, 1979 out at Glenburnie where greyhound meetings would ultimately continue to be conducted inside the racecourse over distances of 289 metres, 476 metres and 667 metres for the next 18 years.
That was also the day that Bartholomew’s wife, Lehanne, was in labour with Elysia.
But he was rostered at the greyhound track for the opening meeting. After all, someone had to run the official results from the judge’s tower to George Kay in the broadcast box.
As it turned out, Bartholomew was back at the hospital in plenty of time as his daughter wasn’t born until just after midnight.
These days he’s not required to run the results to the broadcast box but in the ensuing 37½ years there haven’t been too many roles Bartholomew hasn’t filled at both Glenburnie and later at Lake Terrace East’s Tara Raceway.
And last Friday his commitment to greyhound racing in the South-East was recognised at the glittering 2016 Greyhound of the Year night which was held in the Nixons Function Centre at the Gawler greyhound track.
Accompanied by his wife, along with Elysia and her partner Tim Manterfield, Bartholomew received an Outstanding Achievement Award for services to greyhound racing.
Now 57, the father of three (Debra and Stephen are also involved in the sport) and grandfather of six, is currently the president of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, a position he has held since 2009-10.
Proud daughter Elysia said that there had never been a time in her life that her father had not been helping out with something at the track, often taking time off work to do so.
“I doubt there would be too many people more dedicated to greyhound racing than Dad,” she said.
Awarded MGGRC life membership in 1998, Bartholomew has filled other roles such as track maintenance, race starter, treasurer, long-serving committee member and lure driver.
In addition, he’s also been the local earbrander since 1995 and was a slipper when coursing was conducted at Mil Lel.
And one of the first to offer congratulations at Sunday’s race meeting was Connie Miller, of Allendale East, who received an Award Of Merit for services to greyhound racing from the SA Greyhound Racing Board in the early 1990s.
Bartholomew, who well remembers a time when greyhound racing in Mount Gambier was fighting for survival, said he was very proud to be recognised with the achievement award.
“I certainly feel honoured, but local greyhound racing owes a huge debt to many people. Those of us who have been involved for any length of time can only marvel at the way the sport has gone ahead at Tara Raceway.”
However, it’s not all glamour at the top. In what was a far cry from the glitz and glamour of a few nights earlier, the president was back at Tara Raceway on Tuesday morning, driving the lure for the trials.
TEXAS TITAN TO ADD INTEREST TO MEETING
Classy sprinter-stayer Texas Titan will add plenty of interest to Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting when he takes on a field of grade four and five greyhounds from box eight in the ClassicBet Mixed Stake (600 metres).
Although now 4½ years old, Texas Titan continues to race well, having won over 531 metres at Gawler last month in a smart 30.75 seconds.
From the incredibly successful Vapour Whirl x Foot Luce litter, the black dog has raced on 93 occasions for 28 wins, 33 minor placings and $146,000 in prizemoney.
Texas Titan has never raced at Tara Raceway although owner-trainer Nathan Wilson, of Parilla, has previously enjoyed feature race success at the track with litter sister Sunday Shoes.
Another member of the litter, Oakvale Destiny who retired with earnings of $280,000, whelped a litter of two dogs and six bitches to High Earner last October for Wilson’s wife Kerri.
Meanwhile, local trainer Tracie Price is dropping Gargle It back to 512 metres with a view to assessing the black dog from a Mount Gambier Cup point of view.
The former WA chaser has been most impressive at his past two starts over 600 metres, comfortably winning both in fast times.
By Spiral Nikita out of West On Bluebird – a litter sister to former super stayer Miata – Gargle It will jump from box six in The Border Watch Stake.
Price will also be hoping for a forward showing from another Mount Gambier Cup contender in Fear The Rascal who will step out for the first time this year in the South Eastern Hotel Free For All (400 m).
The son of Fear Zafonic x Shannah’s Star will take on a smart field of short-coursers, including Nicole Stanley’s Aston Morris who will be looking for his fourth successive win at Tara Raceway.
However, a plus for Fear The Rascal is that he is ideally drawn in box eight.
Price announced this week that his main cup contender Flying Flutter, a recent 29.66 seconds 512 metre winner at Tara Raceway, had been retired after experiencing further difficulties with post race distress syndrome.