SUNDAY, MARCH 4: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, February 27 with GRSA. FRIDAY, MARCH 9: Mount Gambier Cup supporting events heats. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, March 5 with GRSA. SATURDAY, MARCH 10: Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta at Tara Raceway. SUNDAY, MARCH 11: Mount Gambier Cup heats. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, March 6 with GRSA. See “Racing Calendar” for full details. HOT WEATHER POLICY: Please note that when the Mount Gambier temperature is forecast at 32 degrees or higher on a race day the kennels will be open a half hour earlier. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Mt G Greyhounds
Saturday, February 24, 2018
There was a time when Ernest Bale was mixing it with some of the best greyhounds in the land – Dyna Double One, Bruce Tycoon, Moreira, Dundee Osprey and Dalgetty, to name but a few.
In fact, by the time leading Adelaide owners Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman purchased the son of Turanza Bale x Cara Bale close to two years ago, the 18-race winner had collected more than $100,000 in prizemoney.
But six months after the sale, Ernest Bale was still sitting on the sidelines after sustaining a serious injury, trainer Barry Shepheard recalling he had suggested to the owners at the time that perhaps the black dog might benefit from a holiday in the country.
“He arrived here at Glencoe in early 2017 but it took a long time to get him right, what with trying to keep him fit and sound at the same time. Actually, it wasn’t until June that he had his first race start at Tara Raceway,” Shepheard said.
“By November, while he was still racing alright, he hadn’t won a race and the owners were looking to place him as a pet.
“As it turned out, that particular weekend Ernest Bale had run third so I said to Tim and Matt if they didn’t want to continue with him then I was prepared to carry on – a suggestion they were happy to go along with.”
By the time Ernest Bale, who will turn five in August, lined up from box six in last Friday’s The Border Watch Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting he had raced at the track on 17 occasions for seven minor placings.
A $14 chance, Ernest Bale was slowly away but gained a nice rails run through the first turn and from then on took the short way home, eventually running out a four length winner over early leader Derivation – his first win since March 31, 2016 at Sandown Park.
While Shepheard has certainly had bigger wins than this at Tara Raceway, he certainly found it hard to conceal his delight at Ernest Bale’s best of day 30.16 seconds win.
“I reckon that’s one of the most satisfying wins I’ve ever had,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rupanyup trainer Kath Brooks, who landed a treble at the November 17 time-graded meeting, went one better on Friday with a career-best four winners after Iroquois Sharman, Call Me Crazy, Stella Story and Annie Bell were successful.
And Amanda Darmanin’s Ruby’s Cheekstar brought up her second win for the month when the $18 chance defeated fellow outsider Mr Perfect by a head in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m) in 23.61 seconds.
The win completed a good week for the Cape Hawke x Jamaican Ruby litter after Robert Walsh’s Ima Caravan at last Sunday’s meeting had scored an impressive 4½ length win in the Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (600 m) over litter sister Ruby’s Willow in a quick 35.15 seconds.
They were timely wins for Jamaican Ruby, a 600 metre winner at The Meadows, who earlier this month whelped three dogs and five bitches to Banjo Boy.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
Finniss trainer Lauren Harris returns to Tara Raceway on Sunday for the first time in a couple of years, bringing Tullabung Betty, Farmin and Stack The Aces for a look at the track with a view to returning for next month’s Mount Gambier Cup carnival.
And she should get a fair idea of where she’s at with Tullabung Betty, a 29.79 seconds 515 metre Angle Park winner earlier this month, when the daughter of Dyna Tron x Hidden Assets takes on a top field from box seven in The Border Watch Open Stake (512 m).
The line-up includes cup contenders Hutch and Lektra Stomp, both recent sub-29.60 second winners, along with Zuma Creek, who ran a good third behind Trouper and Riveting in a hot 27.01 seconds over 485 metres at Horsham on Tuesday.
Farmin, raced by Fabregal’s owner Terry McCallum, looks well placed from box eight in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (512 m) for grade six greyhounds.
The 35 kilogram son of Djays Octane x Kiowa Angel recently ran a best of night 30.84 seconds at Gawler over 531 metres before pushing last week’s Angle Park St Leger winner Victa Louise to a couple of lengths at Gawler on Tuesday afternoon.
And Stack The Aces hasn’t been given any walk-up start, drawing box five in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (512 m) which includes the Ray Fewings’s trained Paua To Kapau who defeated Tullabung Betty at Angle Park last week.
A winner of 14 races, Stack The Aces is a son Bella Infrared and Honky Tonk Girl who is a litter sister to Red Lesta, the sire of another cup contender in Print The Money.
Harris was last at Tara Raceway in 2016 when she ran second in the Mount Gambier Cup behind Mojito Mayhem with Danyo’s Frank after earlier in the day going down by a head with Danyo’s Tom in the Fireball (600 m) to Lektra Kelly.
Meanwhile, Dennington trainer Dustin Drew said this week he was hopeful of having Dream Future – a 29.82 seconds Silver Chief heat winner at The Meadows – ready for the Mount Gambier Cup.
The son of Barcia Bale and Greysynd Elite has raced on 24 occasions for nine wins, six minor placings and $29,000 in prizemoney.
“He’s had a few injury problems but I think he’s over those now and I should have time to get a Tara Raceway trial into him prior to March 11,” he said.
Drew also said that Solitary Girl, a 23.02 seconds 400 metre maiden winner at Tara Raceway and a winner at Sandown Park last Sunday over 515 metres in 29.44 seconds, was still “some chance” of contesting the cup.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
The eagerly anticipated clash of litter brothers Cryer’s Bob and Cryer’s Plugger in last Sunday’s Back To Distance Racing (732 metres) at Tara Raceway certainly didn’t disappoint.
Raced and trained by Margaret and Tom Cryer of Apsley, the sons of Spring Gun and Cryer’s Midget went into the race undefeated over the distance – Bob successful in December and again in early February while Plugger had won at his only run over the stayers’ course back in October.
And Cryer’s Plugger, having his first run back at Tara Raceway for Cryer after a change of kennels and a stint of racing on Victorian tracks, lost no friends when chasing his brother throughout, eventually going down by a length in 43.78 seconds – a time second only to that of Nellie Noodles’ 43.45 seconds run on March 27, 2011.
A couple of days later, Moyston trainer Peter Franklin was at the Tara Raceway trials and a suggestion put to him was that a clash over 732 metres between McIvor Verna and the Cryer brothers would be worth the price of an admission ticket.
The Franklin-trained McIvor Verna holds the Tara Raceway 600 metre record at 34.84 seconds, is undefeated in two starts over 732 metres at Tara Raceway and is a Victorian city winner at Sandown Park and The Meadows.
“To be honest, I reckon the earliest Verna could be back here would be June. I’m looking at the Super Stayers at The Meadows, then the Association Cup and Gold Cup at Wentworth Park, followed by the Lizrene and Sandown Cups in May,” he said.
“Mind you, I certainly wouldn’t mind Plugger and Bob coming along for the ride with Verna.”
Unfortunately, Franklin’s odyssey has commenced with McIvor Verna being drawn as a reserve in a red hot first heat of Saturday night’s Super Stayers.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
It’s not that Chilly Kiss had been racing badly, because she hadn’t. Five starts this year for five minor placings suggested it was only a matter of time before she broke through for another win.
But surely last Sunday’s Metal Worx feature over 512 metres – a final that contained some pretty handy grade five greyhounds – wasn’t going to be the race that saw the daughter of Spring Gun and Chilly Babe finally break through for her first win since early November.
Punters certainly didn’t think so, Chilly Kiss going to the boxes a despised $66 tote outsider, although “only” $34 on fixed odds – these prices, mind you, despite running Sunday’s even money favourite, Signal Peak, to 3½ lengths in a heat the previous week.
As it turned out, reputations counted for nothing as Chilly Kiss flew the start from box five and was never headed, eventually running out a 5½ length winner over Blazing Moment and Xtreme Notice in a personal best time of 29.84 seconds.
Long-time Allendale East greyhound participant Connie Miller, who trains the brindle bitch for her Adelaide-based 16-year-old granddaughter Clarissa, would have loved to have been at Tara Raceway to savour this win.
However, she’s currently recovering at the Mount Gambier Hospital from a second hip replacement in only a matter of months.
Representing Miller on Sunday at Tara Raceway was David Peckham who admitted the win had come as a real surprise.
“She’d been going alright but I certainly didn’t rate her much chance in the grade five final,” he said. “Judging by the time she recorded today, though, a couple of recent 600 metre runs seemed to have topped her off nicely.”
Chilly Kiss has now won six races, two of those for Clarissa Miller – no doubt suitably impressed by the final’s added prizemoney – who took her over as a give away last October.
Speaking later in the week, Peckham said in view of Chilly Kiss’s sub-30 second win last Sunday they would probably run her in a heat of the forthcoming Mount Gambier Cup although a trip to Angle Park wasn’t out of the question in order that the young owner could catch up with her favourite greyhound.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Portland trainer Nicole Stanley’s record-breaking 111 winners at Tara Raceway last year had been the result of a real team effort.
Speaking last Sunday at Tara Raceway where she received the 2017 Leading Trainer and Greyhound of the Year awards, Stanley acknowledged the great support of her owners as well as her behind the scenes staff Lizzie and Tracey.
“Nifty (Lenehan) has also been a great help, especially as we have so many to trial on a regular basis, while the assistance of Mo Canala and Richard Clayfield on race days has been much appreciated,” she said.
She also confirmed Greyhound of the Year Fiorelli Rose had been retired and that the daughter of Premier Fantasy x Tarks Jewel would return to owners Angela Langton and Sue Smith and possibly be mated with Fernando Bale.
Fiorelli Rose won nine races for the year at Tara Raceway, including the Anniversary Cup, which Stanley described as the highlight of what had been a very successful year.
Meanwhile, the Stanley owned and trained Berry Bling, who won nine races as well as running 11 minor placings in a 38-start career, is shortly due on season and will be mated with leading sire Barcia Bale.
By Lochinvar Marlow x Lady Bling, Berry Bling won the 2016 SA Country Cup at Strathalbyn when representing the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Sunday’s Peter Rocket Summer Classic final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway was pretty much a repeat of last week’s first heat when Dynamite Danger led all the way, in the end hanging on by a neck to defeat Galactic Panther in 29.99 seconds.
This week Dynamite Danger once again found the front from box seven. And when Galactic Panther settled in second spot this was always going to be one hell of a classic, the leader giving it his all but this time going down by a head in 29.97 seconds – not much slower than Cryer’s Ricky’s race record of 29.96 seconds run back in 2015.
For long-time Worrolong greyhound trainer Steve Bartholomew this was one of his biggest wins while Compton trainer Tracie Price – second, third and fourth with his finalists – went agonisingly close to adding a Summer Classic to two previous Winter Classics.
A finalist in last September’s Winter Classic when giving away plenty in age, Galactic Panther has now raced on 12 occasions for seven wins and four minor placings.
By Irish-bred sire Milldean Panther out of three-race Tara Raceway winner Galactic Rumball, the classic winner was bred and is owned at Moorak by Robert Chuck who handed over the training of the black dog to Bartholomew in October last year.
Bartholomew was at Mount Gambier’s first greyhound racing meeting conducted at Glenburnie in 1979 when he was running the race results from the judge’s tower to George Kay’s broadcast box.
By the following year he was hands-on with greyhounds and has been involved ever since, so much so that he is now in his ninth term as president of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.
His involvement with Chuck goes back more than 25 years when they were workmates at the Lakeside Mill. They’re still workmates to this day, with Chuck actually missing Sunday’s Summer Classic final due to work commitments.
Twelve years ago a syndicate formed by mill workers raced a dog called Modern Joy. Chuck was a member of the syndicate, the venture introducing him to greyhound racing along with a fair amount of success.
Bred by Bartholomew, Galactic Rumball is also the dam of Faster Bolt, successful at Warrnambool last Thursday night and now boasting a record of eight wins and two minor placings from 13 starts.
Faster Bolt, of which Chuck is a part-owner, is the fastest 400 metre maiden winner at Tara Raceway with a time of 22.98 seconds run back in October. This saw him quickly transferred to Camperdown trainer Steve Elsum with a view to chasing some of the bigger money on offer at Victorian tracks – so far it seems to be working.
And earlier in the day, Bartholomew and his wife Lee were successful with Azumi Spice who flew home to defeat tearaway leader Cryer’s Jed by a neck in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) in 30.11 seconds.
Bred by the Bartholomews, Azumi Spice is by Cosmic Chief out of Azumi Touch who is a litter sister to Galactic Rumball – a good day all round for a breed that traces back to the highly successful Mugavin line.
So with previous Summer Classic winners – Cryer’s Ricky, Menzel Boys and Hutch – all pressing on to the Mount Gambier Cup and all reaching the final, the obvious question for Bartholomew was whether Galactic Panther would go down the same path at Tara Raceway next month.
“We probably will,” he said. “He’d obviously have to find a bit but I reckon there’s still plenty of improvement in him yet.
“We’d also like to get him over the border to tracks such as Horsham and Warrnambool and see how he measures up.
“And then there’s the Angle Park April Breeders Prelude (2) which is a lead-up to the Group 3 Howard Ashton in May. This is a series that Chucky is obviously keen to tackle as he’s already made the mandatory payments along the way to fulfil the entry requirements.”
It’s also a series that Chuck knows all about – Galactic Viper winning the Howard Ashton for him in 2015 and picking up $25,000 when trained in Victoria by David Geall.
Chuck will now also be able to look to next year’s Winter Classic with members of Galactic Rumball’s second litter, this time by the Canadian-bred Paddy Whacker, whelped in August last year.
This year’s Summer Classic also carried a service to Peter Rocket, donated to the winning connections by Keith and Lisa Hellmuth of Pearcedale.
Peter Rocket, by Where’s Pedro x Belron Blue, raced on 67 occasions for 22 wins and 29 minor placings. All told, he raced in 15 Group finals, winning the Group 1 Dapto Megastar and the Group 2 Horsham Cup.
And a year after winning the Summer Classic in 30.30 seconds, the Robert Halliday trained Hutch lined up on Sunday from box three in the Greg Martlew Autos Mixed Stake (512 m), bouncing back with a 3¾ length win over Swift Moment in 29.59 seconds and putting himself right in Mount Gambier Cup contention.
The last word, though, on the Summer Classic probably should go to winning trainer Steve Bartholomew after his wife Lee could hardly contain herself as Galactic Panther slowly but surely closed the gap on Dynamite Danger in the closing stages of the age-restricted classic.
“She’s an important part of the team so I guess we can’t begrudge her letting off a bit of steam.”
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Good news for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club is that Fabregal is set to return next month in a bid to become Tara Raceway’s first Group Listed winner and in doing so the first greyhound to win back-to-back Mount Gambier Cups.
In last year’s cup, run over 512 metres, the outstanding daughter of Fabregas and Allinga Aye Jay defeated Arabella Figg and the 2016 winner Mojito Mayhem in race record time of 29.78 seconds for Adelaide trainer Robyn Mackellar.
However, Mackellar then announced she had suggested to Tumby Bay owner Terry McCallum that Fabregal would probably be better off in Victoria, the result being she was placed with Lyn Smith who trains in partnership with Ben Divirgilio in the farming district of Nambrok in Central Gippsland.
Now a rising four-year-old, the black bitch continues to race in top form, winning at Warrnambool and Bendigo in best of the night times earlier this month, taking her overall record to 45 wins and 22 minor placings from 81 starts for prizemoney of $213,000.
Since changing kennels Fabregal has won 11 races, including wins at Sandown Park and The Meadows and will line up tomorrow night from box two in a heat of the Floodfawn Classic (525 m) for bitches at Traralgon – next week’s final carrying $7000 to the winner.
Floodfawn, bred and owned by Arthur Cooper and trained by Peter Giles, boasts a Traralgon record like no other greyhound – 15 wins from 15 starts, a track record and a Traralgon Cup in 2001. All told, she raced on 110 occasions for 39 wins and 41 minor placings.
By Awesome Assassin out of Floodgate, Floodfawn herself produced a number of top class greyhounds including Flashing Floods, a Victorian Greyhound of the Year.
Speaking earlier this week, Divirgilio said Fabregal was a definite Mount Gambier Cup starter provided there were no issues after she had contested the Floodfawn Classic.
“We’re really looking forward to getting over to Mount Gambier with her and hopeful that she can go back-to-back,” he said. “We’ll also be looking to bring over a couple of others that should be competitive.”
Meanwhile, Phil Lenehan’s Lektra Stomp, who made his Mount Gambier Cup intentions pretty clear last Sunday with a 29.57 seconds win, will line-up from box one over 500 metres at Bendigo tomorrow afternoon.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club 2017 Leading Trainer and Greyhound of the Year awards will be presented at Tara Raceway’s race meeting on Sunday afternoon.
Receiving her first Leading Trainer award will be Portland-based Nicole Stanley who led in 111 winners, 91 seconds and 85 thirds for a total points score of 710.
Her outstanding year included one day of five winners, three other days with four winners, along with nine trebles and 21 doubles – two of her bigger winners being Fiorelli Rose in the Anniversary Cup and Hit The Runway who won the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup.
In what was an interesting tussle for Greyhound of the Year honours, Fiorelli Rose with nine wins, 11 seconds and nine thirds (67 points) defeated Baz’s Moment (62) and Scorpion (58).
Another Stanley-trained greyhound, Old Jock, won the 2016 Greyhound of the Year.