FRIDAY, OCTOBER 20 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 22: Nominations closed. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, October 24 with GRSA. See “Racing Calendar” for full details. ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: Sunday, November 26 at Tara Raceway following the race meeting. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time).
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
When owner-trainer Paul Herry bobbed at Tara Raceway last Sunday with the little-known Garku Bale there were probably plenty who weren’t even aware that the maiden greyhound with stake earnings of $570 is a litter brother to the mighty Fanta Bale.
She’s the champion bitch who raced the previous night at The Meadows where she won the Top Cat Video Cup (725 metres) final, taking her record to 31 wins and 10 minor placings from 47 starts for stake earnings now approaching a million dollars.
At Tara Raceway for the first time, Garku Bale had raced on only 12 occasions for a couple of seconds in steady time at The Meadows back in late 2016 prior to a frustrating run of injuries that saw him off the scene for the first eight months of this year.
But a for sale advertisement placed last month for the son of $300,000 winner David Bale and the US bred Ucme Typhoon – a Victorian city middle-distance winner – caught the attention of Herry who figured that the lightly-raced black dog was probably worth a go at the asking price of $500.
Originally a reserve, Garku Bale gained a start from box two following the scratching of Brazen Blue in last Sunday’s Gordon Refrigeration Mixed Stake (600 m).
However, it was always going to be a tough introduction to Tara Raceway for Herry’s dog, especially with Hit The Runway racing in good form and looking well placed in the grade 4/5 middle-distance affair.
Hit The Runway ultimately ran out a comfortable winner in a quick 35.10 seconds while $50 chance Garku Bale ran a 12 length sixth although Herry was more than happy with the effort.
“I was happy with the way in which he handled himself and his actual time of 35.94 seconds should see him competitive in a lower grade of race,” he said.
Garku Bale will be back on Friday for Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting and looks much better placed in the Trackside Meats Stake, a 0-4 wins event over 600 metres.
He’ll be chasing a $415 first prize in the non-penalty race while Fanta Bale will be going around the following night at Wentworth Park for $6200 in a heat of the Sydney Cup (720 m).
But Friday won’t be about the money. Because if Garku Bale can open his winning account then Herry most certainly will head back to Mortlake feeling like a million dollars anyway.
Monday, October 2, 2017
After the running of the local SA Country Cup heat at Tara Raceway over 512 metres on Sunday afternoon, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club looks to be well represented in next week’s $7375 final (515 m) at Angle Park.
Making the trip to Adelaide for the final on Friday, October 13 – a night highlighted by the running of the Group 1 Adelaide Cup final – will be heat winner Colden Girl, owned by the Two Poms Syndicate and trained at Heathmere by Bea Bryant, together with runner-up Paraphernalia who is owned by Chris Johnson and trained by Jeff Guy of Horsham.
Despite a quick 29.77 seconds 512 metre Mount Gambier Cup heat win earlier this year, Colden Girl was a $19 chance from box six after several recent unplaced efforts at Warrnambool, Ballarat and Horsham.
But the black and white bitch ran right up to a quick trial at Tara Raceway last Tuesday morning when finding the front going out of the first turn and then holding off strong challenges from Paraphernalia and Fiorelli Rose to run her down.
And on the line, Colden Girl, who carved out a slick 30.04 seconds, had a nose to spare over Paraphernalia with a further half-length back to Fiorelli Rose.
Now, for the first time, after a long involvement in greyhound racing, Bea and Roger Bryant will head to Angle Park, to take in what is the biggest night of the year at the city track.
By Farmor Las Vegas x Soul Calibur, Colden Girl has raced on 37 occasions for seven wins and 11 minor placings, earning prizemoney of more than $13,000.
According to Bea Bryant, Colden Girl, despite having never raced at Angle Park, would not trial there as she believed the June 2014 whelping was experienced enough to handle the change of track.
“Besides Mount Gambier, she’s also raced at Sandown Park, The Meadows, Geelong, Horsham and Warrnambool so I think she should be able to adapt to Angle Park,” she said.
Paraphernalia, a son of Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco and whelped in April 2014, will head to Angle Park with a fair sort of record of 20 wins, 18 minor placings and more than $60,000 in prizemoney from 74 starts.
A dashing winner of last week’s Metal Worx Iron Dog final at Tara Raceway, the fawn dog was gallant in defeat on Sunday and will go into the Country Cup final with the advantage of having raced, and won, at Angle Park.
“He’s racing well at the moment and certainly won’t need a trial at the track,” Guy said after the race. “I’m confident that he will give a great sight for the Mount Gambier club next week.”
Meanwhile, the SA Country Cup field was finalised with the running of the Gawler heat over 531 metres on Sunday night when the Troy Murray trained Winsome Summer finished strongly to defeat Colin Swain’s Mr. Arjay in a time of 31.21 seconds.
Previous heats at Strathalbyn and Port Augusta had resulted in Memory Assassin, Stick Figure, Aussie Steel and Croydon Boys qualifying for the final which will carry prizemoney of $5000, $1250, $625 and others $100 each.
Monday, October 2, 2017
Taking a line on McIvor Verna, the 732 metre staying debut of Cryer’s Plugger in Sunday’s Greyhound-Data Mixed Stake was, to say the least, pretty impressive.
A winner of four 600 metre races at Tara Raceway, Cryer’s Plugger had been drawn to clash with Silverali in a heat of the Destini Fireball Back to Distance Racing at the end of August but was scratched due to injury.
Silverali ultimately won the heat in a hand-timed 43.99 seconds while McIvor Verna was successful in the second heat in a hand-timed 44.00 seconds prior to bolting the final in a week later on a rain-affected track in 44.45 seconds.
On Saturday night, McIvor Verna was beaten just over five lengths in the Group 3 Top Cat Video Cup (725 m) final at The Meadows which saw Australia’s best stayers Fanta Bale and Burn One Down fight out the finish.
The next day Cryer’s Plugger gave notice of bigger and better things to come when he burst from the pack down the back straight to chase after the tearaway leader Gee She Roks, also making her distance debut.
And in the run home, the odds-on favourite Cryer’s Plugger was simply too strong, running out a seven length winner over Gee She Roks in a time of 44.03 seconds.
Owned by Margaret Cryer and trained by her husband Tom at Apsley, the winner is by Spring Gun out of Cryer’s Midget who never won beyond 512 metres but is by former top stayer Texas Gold who won 21 races ranging in distance from 535 metres to 771 metres.
Judging on Sunday’s effort, Cryer’s Plugger gives the impression of being an out and out stayer. As such, it’s now going to be interesting to see how Cryer goes about placing the January 2015 brindle dog in races of a suitable distance.
Thursday, September 28, 2017
A strong line-up in Sunday’s SA Country Cup heat at Tara Raceway should ensure that the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club is once again well represented in this year’s $7375 final which will be run at Angle Park on Friday, October 13.
Since the re-introduction of the Country Cup four years ago, Mount Gambier has figured prominently – Moorak Hope successful at Gawler in 2013 for Allan Holmes and Tracie Price while Berry Bling won last year’s event at Strathalbyn for Portland owner-trainer Nicole Stanley.
In the past, the Country Cup final alternated between Gawler and Strathalbyn and was run in conjunction with those clubs’ own cups.
However, in a bid to further lift the profile of the Country Cup, Greyhound Racing SA this year agreed to a recommendation from the Mount Gambier club that the final be run over 515 metres at Angle Park on the same night as the Group 1 Adelaide Cup final.
With the first two placegetters in Sunday’s 512 metre heat to represent Mount Gambier, both Paraphernalia and Frac Geek look well placed for Horsham trainer Jeff Guy.
Paraphernalia, a winner of $60,000 in prizemoney and fresh from Iron Dog success last Sunday, knows Angle Park, running Weekend Binge to 1¾ lengths in the 2016 Derby final as well as winning over 600 metres at the city track.
And Frac Geek, who strung together three successive wins over different distances at Tara Raceway earlier this month, looks well drawn on Sunday in box eight.
Back in 2014, Mount Gambier’s two Country Cup representatives at Strathalbyn were the David Peckham trained Bourne Again and Thanks Tubby with the latter representing the club again the following year at Gawler.
The Allendale East-based Peckham will be looking for a trip to Angle Park with Blitz And Bolt who earlier this year won three races at that track when being trained in Adelaide.
A winner of seven races this year at Tara Raceway, Blitz And Bolt has raced only once since returning, that run resulting in a 6¾ length fourth to Rowchester Star over 400 metres earlier this month.
Stanley’s best chance this year looks to be with Fiorelli Rose – currently sharing the lead in the local Greyhound of the Year award – who missed a spot in last year’s final when runner-up to Fear The Rascal in the second of two heats.
And if Colden Girl can recapture the form that saw her win a Mount Gambier Cup heat earlier this year in 29.77 seconds then Heathmere couple Bea and Roger Bryant could well be hitting the highway to Adelaide.
Meanwhile, Aussie Steel and Croydon Boys have booked a trip to Angle Park after the running of the Port Augusta heat (503 m) on Saturday afternoon.
Aussie Steel is trained at Whyalla by Graham Brown while Michael Stewart made the long trip from Palmer with Croydon Boys who had failed to qualify in the Strathalbyn heat of the Country Cup.
By Elite State, Aussie Steel is out of 22-race winner Mighty Chaos who made a trip to Tara Raceway for the 2013 Mount Gambier Cup but failed to qualify when finishing unplaced in a heat behind Baurna Paddy.
Brown, a long-time participant, was heavily involved in the Whyalla Greyhound Racing Club as was his father Max, who held the seat of Whyalla for the Australian Labor Party from 1970 to 1985.
The Whyalla club was actually the first track to run registered greyhound meetings in SA in 1971 on its grass track and under lights during the summer months before closing more than 30 years later.
But greyhound racing in Whyalla heralded the beginning of a halcyon era for the sport in SA and saw the emergence of Laurie King’s mighty North Kinta (Kinta’s Son x Canavan Queen) – inaugural winner of the SA Derby in 1971 and one of the best dogs to come out of the north.
Wednesday, Sepember 27, 2017
Local greyhound breeder-owner Don Nunn and Compton trainer Tracie Price for the second successive year have combined to win the Life Members FFA (512 metres) with one of the Fear Zafonic x Shannah’s Star litter.
Last year it was with Fear The Rascal who defeated Fiorelli Rose by a head in what would be the first of consecutive Life Member second placings for her while at Tara Raceway last Sunday afternoon litter brother Shannah’s Might came from behind to record an impressive win.
Away only fairly from box eight, Shannah’s Might was caught wide going out of the first turn before unleashing a powerful run down the back straight and railing through on kennelmate Swift Limes and the Nicole Stanley trained Fiorelli Rose approaching the home turn.
From there on the striking-looking 35½ kilogram black dog simply powered away, eventually defeating Fiorelli Rose by 6½ lengths with three-quarters of a length back to Swift Limes in third spot in 30.32 seconds.
The win was the culmination of a terrific month for Shannah’s Might who raced on five occasions for four wins and a second and has now put himself in the mix for Greyhound of the Year honours.
With six wins, seven seconds and one third at Tara Raceway this year he has charged into contention – 39 points seeing him placed only three points behind the joint leaders Baz’s Moment and Fiorelli Rose.
The trainer’s wife, Karen, was delighted with the win. It’s obvious he’s her favourite.
“We were going to put him into the Greyhound Adoption Program after he’s finished racing,” she said. “But because he’s such a beautiful dog I think there’s a fair chance he will finish up as the family pet out at Compton.”
Life membership of what is these days known as the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club Inc. goes back to 1978 with Col Sims the inaugural life member.
Five years later, with mechanical hare racing by then up and running, eight-time club president Newman McDonnell was awarded the club’s second life membership.
To this day, annual memorial races are run in their honour – the Val and Col Sims Maiden Memorial in January and the Newman McDonnell Memorial in November.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
Horsham greyhound Paraphernalia’s fourth placing in the first round of the Metal Worx Iron Dog (600 m) a couple of weeks ago was something of a surprise considering the well-bred son of Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco is a former two-time track record holder over the journey.
But the fawn dog was still able to grab a spot in the three-distance series final after holding out a determined Hit The Runway to win a 400 metre second round heat in a very quick 22.83 seconds.
Trained by Jeff Guy, Paraphernalia joined kennelmate and leading point scorer Frac Geek in last Sunday’s Iron Dog final with the kennel looking to hold a strong hand in the 512 metre decider.
And while Frac Geek was away well from box two, Paraphernalia quickly cut down from the eight, finding the front going into the first turn and from then on never looking in any danger of defeat.
Hit The Runway looked a chance in running of giving Nicole Stanley consecutive Iron Dog victories after Old Jock’s success last year but Paraphernalia still had 1¾ lengths to spare on the line while Bekim Lucy’s made up plenty of ground to finish third in a best of day 30.06 seconds.
Paraphernalia, also a winner at The Meadows, Sandown Park, Angle Park, Ballarat, Horsham, Warrnambool and Bendigo, has now won 20 races from 72 starts while Guy has trained 16 winners at Tara Raceway this year.
His Iron Dog finalists will be back in Mount Gambier on Sunday for the SA Country Cup heat but not before the former South Aussie – and Crows tragic – has taken in the Adelaide-Richmond clash at the MCG on Saturday.
DISTANCE RACING RETURNS
Distance racing over 732 metres will return to Tara Raceway on Sunday when the Greyhound-Data Mixed Stake is run.
The Barry Shepheard pair of Lektra Destiny and Trademark Jet look well placed while the interesting runner is Iron Dog finalist Cryer’s Plugger who, after winning four 600 metre races, will be having his first start over the journey for Tom Cryer.
The last 732 metre race run at Tara Raceway was early in the month when McIvor Verna won the Destini Fireball Back to Distance Racing final for Moyston trainer Peter Franklin.
McIvor Verna will now take on two of Australia’s best stayers in Fanta Bale and Burn One Down when she contests the $25,000-to-the winner Group 3 Top Cat Video Cup (725 m) at The Meadows on Saturday night.
Monday, September 25, 2017
Glenroy greyhound trainer Richard Clayfield, who won the first race ever run at Tara Raceway with Bright Option on January 25, 1997, landed his biggest win at the track on Sunday afternoon when Solitary Lad was successful in the Destini Fireball Winter Classic final (512 metres).
Rated only an outside chance at $20, Solitary Lad worked quickly across from box seven to find the front going out of the first turn and from then on was never headed, eventually defeating Xtreme Carnage and Lektra Stomp in 30.55 seconds.
Owned by Ann Sinnott of Yambuk, Solitary Lad is by Lonesome Cry out of Up And Away and was one of five members of the litter in the $3000 final.
This was the fourth running of the classic, this year being for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2015. It was also the first time Clayfield had had a runner in the series.
Speaking after the race, Clayfield was full of praise for the brindle dog which was whelped in November 2015 and also most appreciative of Tom and Ann Sinnott’s support.
“Back in early July Tom had said to me one morning at the trials that he would give me a good dog to train. Solitary Lad, unraced at the time, turned out to be the dog and he promptly won the John Reid Memorial for us.
“I’ve had a lot of dogs over the years but I would have to say that Solitary Lad is one of the most fearless I’ve ever had. Nothing seems to faze him,” Clayfield said.
Xtreme Carnage, who opened his winning account at his fifth race start last week in a heat of the classic, ran a terrific race for Wagga owner Matt Morris and Portland trainer Brian Weis.
A December 2015 whelping by Barcia Bale out of Xtreme Gretel – a US-bred daughter of Stan’s Boy Flyer x Xtreme Hustler who did most of her racing in the US before being brought to Australia – Xtreme Carnage finished strongly to run Solitary Lad to a length and give Weis his second classic runner-up.
But for all that, it wasn’t a bad day for Morris and Weis with Spring Ripper quickly finding the rails from box six in The Border Watch Mixed Stake (600 m) before finishing powerfully for a 2½ length win over the front-running Fascinated in 35.65 seconds.
Then, in the following race, the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (512 m), Spring’s Over gave Galactic Spirit a fair start down the back before grabbing her close to home and subsequently holding out the fast finishing kennelmate Big Rough to win by a half head.
Lektra Stomp, who went to the boxes an odds-on favourite after drawing the two, was only fairly away and, while never really troubling Solitary Lad or Extreme Carnage, worked home well for a 2¾ length third.
The next age-restricted race to be run at Tara Raceway will be the Peter Rocket Summer Classic (512 m), in February next year for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2016.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
A chance start for reserve runner Rusty Sprocket in the ClassicBet Maiden Stake (400 metres) at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting on Friday resulted in the 17-month-old bitch winning at her first race start.
Whelped in April 2016, Rusty Sprocket, along with litter sister Crikey Creeky – who also made her debut in the same race – are currently the youngest racing at Tara Raceway, 16 months being the minimum age that a greyhound can compete in an official race.
But, despite her immaturity, the winner handled herself pretty well, overcoming an ordinary start from box eight and then quickly rounding up the field before running away to a comfortable 4¼ length win in 24.05 seconds.
Owned and trained by Scott Blacksell of Cape Bridgewater, the win was the first for the popular Tara Raceway regular since March when, in the space of five days, he had been successful at Tara Raceway with Travel Ticket and Money Back Zac.
By Fabregas out of Guru Doll, Rusty Sprocket and Crikey Creeky – who made up ground to finish fourth on Friday – were purchased by Blacksell at four months of age in a three-pup deal from Portland breeder Robert Halliday.
Blacksell, who recently donated a clothes dryer to the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, later gave the third, yet unnamed pup, to local greyhound handler and catcher Mo Canala for her 16th birthday earlier this year.
It was a well-bred present, Fabregas a leading sire and Guru Doll winning at Angle Park and Sandown Park as well as being a litter sister to Angle Park Oaks winner Kokoda Spirit and Star Doll, a former 400 metre track record holder at Tara Raceway.
Blacksell, 53, rates his best greyhound as the Halliday-bred Our Vera, a Sandown Park winner who raced during 2009-10. But his involvement in the sport goes back much further than that with well-known Portland greyhound man Ray Keating introducing him to the dishlickers some 30 years ago.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
A favourable box two draw in Sunday’s Destini Fireball Winter Classic final (512 metres) should work in Lektra Stomp’s favour as he attempts to give the Lenehan family of Toolong their second successive classic win at Tara Raceway.
Successful last year with Lektra Munster, who had been trained at the time by Phil Lenehan, Lektra Stomp will be looking to make amends for an unlucky third behind Xtreme Carnage and Sizzle Em Up in last Sunday’s first heat.
Speaking earlier this week on behalf of the family, Lenehan said Lektra Stomp’s 29.67 seconds win over 512 metres in late August had made him the fastest dog they’ve ever raced at Tara Raceway.
“He is a fast dog because he’s also one of only a few we’ve had that have broken 30 seconds for the 525 metre journey at The Meadows,” Lenehan said.
Lektra Stomp is actually the third-fastest greyhound to go around Tara Raceway this year – only former record holder Brazen Bomber (29.55 seconds) and current record holder Mojito Mayhem (29.52 seconds) running quicker.
And Lenehan believes the July 2015 son of Walk Hard is well-placed to run a forward race in what is the best Winter Classic final field assembled in its four-year history.
“With Xtreme Carnage, not the quickest of beginners, drawn in box one I reckon Lektra Stomp is a good chance of finding the rails going into the first turn and that should give him every chance,” he said.
This year’s Winter Classic winner will also receive a service to the former super stayer Destini Fireball, a winner of five Group 1 races and more than $640,000 in prizemoney.
Interestingly, Lektra Stomp’s dam Lektra Angie (Trewly Special x Elektra) – a sub-30 second 512 metre maiden winner at Tara Raceway in late 2012 – whelped a litter of two dogs and five bitches in May this year to Destini Fireball.
This had come about as a result of Norm and Janis Rinaldi previously donating a service to their 25-race winner for the Fireball 600 which had been run on Mount Gambier Cup day in 2016 and won by the Lenehan owned and trained Lektra Kelly.
“These are really nice pups so I’m hopeful there’s another Elektra among them,” he said.
Elektra was the staying bitch who won a Group 1 Galaxy, a Group 2 Sale Cup as well as 27 other races for prizemoney in excess of $255,000 and from where the “Lektra” prefix emanated from.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Allendale East breeder David Peckham was in Adelaide last night to attend a Breeder Focus Group session conducted by Greyhound Racing SA.
The session had been convened to explore the industry’s thinking in relation to breeding and discuss the manner in which GRSA could introduce additional support to breeders.
Representing GRSA at the meeting, attended by breeders from as far away as Whyalla and Mount Gambier, were CEO Matt Corby and Strategic Projects Manager Scott Wuchatsch.
Corby told the breeders that the number of SA litters bred – 61 last year – would need to rise to at least 100 in order to sustain the level of racing and as a result it was proposed that more money would be channelled into breeding.
“Our aim is to increase the rewards to overshadow the negatives we are now forced to deal with,” he said.
Peckham said those in attendance believed the grading criteria for SA-bred greyhounds, the SA-bred bonuses, breeder’s rebates and a national recognition of competitiveness of the SA-bred greyhound all helped to promote the local product.
However, they also believed there were too many pay-as-you-go SA-bred feature races, that there was a chronic lack of whelping and rearing facilities in SA, and a Greyhound Adoption Program waiting list for re-homing that was far too long.
Those at the meeting were also critical of what could be perceived as “red tape” and a lack of respect at administration level.
Peckham said the findings of the meeting would now be forwarded to the GRSA board.
In summarising, Corby said breeders were the cornerstone of the industry and that fact needed to be reflected in industry strategy as greyhound racing pushed forward towards a new and prosperous future.