The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21: Nominations closed. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 30 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, December 24 with GRSA. SUNDAY, JANUARY 6: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, December 31 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track. No trials December 25, January 1.

Mt G Greyhounds

Here’s one for the memorabilia buffs

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Google it all you like, but you’re unlikely to find too many references to the book Horses Dogs . . . and I.

Printed in Sydney in 1948, the 196-page racing and coursing digest – “this book must not be sold for less than one guinea” – was written by A. B. “Bossie” Cowell.

And the copy of Horses Dogs . . . and I referred to here is probably even rarer as on the cover is handwritten: “This book sole property of writer A. B. Cowell”.

Much of the book relates to horse racing but the final section on coursing and mechanical hare racing makes for interesting reading and includes an article on Bulwark, one of Australia’s greatest and fastest dogs that actually figures in Who’s Doing What’s pedigree – albeit far removed.

Cowell also writes on Besant, the most prolific and outstanding brood bitch of older days and all time, as well as Hall Of Famer Sam Bladon, Australia’s greatest coursing owner-trainer and breeder.

A page is devoted to dog racing (mechanical hare) in NSW and Tasmania and speed coursing in Victoria, Cowell noting that Victorians will need to avoid putting up with greedy proprietary clubs on tin-pot circus tracks, day in day out, and greyhounds racing until they get giddy.

He concluded by suggesting that the circus tracks, other than White City and Sandown Park, were only assisting short distances and that short distances assisted speedy squibs.

Interspersed among the articles were advertisements for on-course bookmakers including F. L. (Bricky) Williams, J. C. (Mo) Reynolds and Jock McDonald – “Harold Park and Wentworth Park Leger Leviathan. Any amount. Also Rooty Hill coursing”.

Stud dogs also figured prominently, Trion, sire of the wonder dog Chief Havoc, at Gunnedah for a fee of 10 guineas plus freight and Jean’s Dream, fee 10 guineas plus freight with bitches to be consigned to Central Railway Station, Sydney. Only natural matings back then, bitches often requiring to be freighted by rail to studmasters.

Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield remembers using the railways to freight greyhounds, although certainly not in the late 1940s.

Never one to throw out anything, he recently came across an Australian National Railways parcels consignment note dated October 1983 for a dog consigned to him at Penola from Ken Hunt at Tailem Bend.

“I can’t remember what the dog was but it was returned by rail at a cost of $11.40 after having been broken-in by Ken at Monteith,” Clayfield said.

Incidentally, Hunt was a member of the inaugural Adelaide Greyhound Racing Club (Angle Park) committee in 1972 while years later his daughter, Sandra, was a leading Queensland trainer.

Also surfacing recently out at Glenroy was a copy of Bill Alver’s Gold Guide Greyhound Form for a 14-race meeting at Strathalbyn on Saturday, January 11, 1986.

Clayfield was at the track – not sure whether he travelled there by train – to see his dog Rain Chant, trained by Doug Payne, run third in the Tom The Pom Maiden Stake over 319 metres. The Hall Of Fame trainer did, however, end the day with a treble.

And Morphett Vale trainer Mick Brogan – father of basketballer Michelle, who played in the WNBA for several years, and Dean, an AFL premiership player with Port Adelaide – landed a double with Mr. Excelsior and Stitchaway.

Winning the Burns Maiden Stake (416 m) was Morgan Lane, trained by 1964 South Adelaide premiership player Lester Ross who had also originally trained the super SA greyhound White Panther, a son of White Superoo and Simply Super and allegedly the result of an accidental mating.

Unplaced stakemoney boost for Sunday meetings

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Unplaced stakemoney of $50 a greyhound for all Sunday races at Tara Raceway will be introduced on December 2, replacing the current $20 which is solely a trainer payment.

This follows an announcement this week by Greyhound Racing SA Chairman, Grantley Stevens, who said the change took into consideration a number of circumstances that are unique to the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.

“This includes the fact that Mount Gambier is the only TAB track in SA yet to be allocated a weekly Category 2 meeting – the second-highest level of stakemoney for standard graded events,” he said.

“The decision also recognises that the club is arguably the least-favoured by the amended schedule of racing that will be implemented from the commencement of racing at the Murray Bridge facility on December 19.

“The scheduling of Sunday meetings at both Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge will require trainers to choose one over the other.”

Stevens said that GRSA was hopeful that the introduction of the $50 unplaced stakemoney would help to strengthen the current rate of nominations for the Mount Gambier Sunday timeslot and that the SA greyhound industry should be working towards equitable circumstances being in place across all clubs.

“We believe this initiative at Mount Gambier will bring the club into closer alignment with the other TAB tracks.”

Stevens also said that the GRSA board has identified the critical importance of having three strong regional clubs in SA, underpinned by a fair and balanced approach towards both stakemoney levels and infrastructure support for each.

When the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club is allocated a weekly Category 2 meeting, the Sunday unplaced money will revert to standard industry levels at the time.

Bungaloo Syndicate success continues at Tara

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Springvale Alysa’s personal best winning run of 29.79 seconds in last Sunday’s Produce Store Open Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway has the Bungaloo Syndicate now looking at next month’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 m).

This is the syndicate that comprises local greyhound owners John Little, Liz Newberry and Kevin Mullan with Little, a relative newcomer to the training ranks, seemingly not doing too much wrong in that area.

Heats will be run on Sunday, December 16 with the final at the Tara Raceway Christmas meeting on Friday, December 21.

Springvale Alysa defeats Bereluke in last Sunday’s Produce Store Open Stake (512 m). Also pictured are Paraphernalia (7), Ben Nevis and Cryer’s Plugger.

The Christmas Cup, first run in 2011, is always a keenly-contested affair with the Nicole Stanley trained Hit The Runway successful last year while Tracie Price’s Who’s Doing What, dam of current star local youngster Smart Knocka, won the 2014 cup in a race record time of 29.77 seconds.

And it’s a fair bet the Bungaloo Syndicate is also setting its sights on next March’s 2019 Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup (512 m), this year’s event being where their successful year actually began.

Back in March, Little and Mullan were at the Saturday night Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta, steering clear of the higher-priced big names lining up in the heats the following day and looking to bid on one of the cup “lesser lights”.

“In the end we were able to secure Xtreme Caution who was grouped in one of the lower brackets and not really expected to figure on Mount Gambier Cup final day,” Little recalled this week.

“But his second behind Blazing Moment in a heat the next day was good enough to get him through and when he drew box one in the final we started to get half-excited.”

It’s now history how the Brian Weis-trained Xtreme Caution led all the way to win the cup and how the Bungaloo Syndicate collected more than $4000 from the Calcutta auction.

“We decided we’d put the proceeds of the Calcutta to ‘good use’ and promptly took on the task of looking around for a performed greyhound that was for sale,” Little said.

“Initially we settled on a bitch called Dyna Quail. There wasn’t much of her but she was by Fernando Bale and had recently won a maiden at Angle Park in 29.88 seconds. However, that deal quickly fell through.

Kevin Mullan (left), Liz Newberry and John Little with Springvale Alysa.

“As it turned out, the dog that had run second to Dyna Quail was on the market. She had been beaten a fair way but was well bred and besides, if we purchased her then there would be some change from the Calcutta windfall.”

That dog, of course, was Springvale Alysa, a March 2016 daughter of Dyna Double One and Springvale Cool, a winner of 18 races and dam, from an earlier litter by Bekim Bale, of Springvale Carla and Springvale Cooke who collectively won 25 races and more than $80,000 in stakemoney.

Upon relocation to Little’s Kongorong kennels in April, Springvale Alysa promptly vindicated the syndicate’s decision by winning two races at Tara Raceway and then following up with a another win at Warrnambool.

Fair enough, there’s been a couple of hiccups along the way but Springvale Alysa has since gone on to win a further six races this year, is now in top grade at Tara Raceway and is more than holding her own for the Bungaloo Syndicate.

And if things go to plan, come next March Little and Mullan will be back for the Saturday night Calcutta, the only difference being that they will be bidding on their own dog.

Meanwhile, there will be plenty of interest in Sunday’s Metal Worx Mixed Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway with Springvale Alysa looking hard to beat again from box two and Jeff Guy’s Paraphernalia, well boxed in one, desperately needing points to stay in touch with Oh No Beta for Greyhound of the Year honours.

The Nicole Stanley trained Oh No Beta, currently four points clear, has drawn box six in a tough Williams Crane Hire Open Stake (400 m) on Sunday although her 2018 Anniversary Cup winner Ben Nevis should appreciate the drop back to grade five company in the Trackside Meats Stake (512 m).

Trainer’s surprise McDonnell Memorial result

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Leading local trainer Tracie Price’s win in last Sunday’s Newman McDonnell Memorial final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway came as no real surprise. After all, he supplied half the field, three of them in the top order of betting.

What did come as a surprise, though, was the performance of Banjo Lass, the fourth of Price’s finalists and at double-figure odds after having run just one third placing (to qualify for the final) from five starts over 512 metres.

Banjo Lass defeats Shae’s Magic and Brinza in last Sunday’s Newman McDonnell Memorial final (512 m) at Tara Raceway.

Generally regarded as a short-courser, the beautifully-bred Banjo Lass – a winner of five races this year at the track over 400 metres – was transferred to Price’s Compton kennels in March by prominent NSW owner Andrew Varasdi.

By Knocka Norris, the March 2016 black bitch is out of Sandown Park and The Meadows winner Banjo Star, a litter sister to Varasdi’s former top chaser Banjo Boy who is now a successful sire.

Not surprisingly, Banjo Lass showed plenty of early pace from box seven in Sunday’s 33rd running of the memorial, matching motors early with another outsider in Rusty Sprocket before finding the front down the back straight and then holding off all challenges to win in 30.06 seconds.

Race favourite was the Price newcomer Shae’s Magic, formerly trained by Ryan Tugwell at Finniss. Also not surprisingly, the 35 kilogram black dog set himself a fair task after settling well back early from box six before working home well out wide to go down by 1½ lengths.

On the pace throughout was Robert Halliday’s four-year-old Brinza who maintained his consistent form with a 2½ length third placing while $41 chance Rusty Sprocket gave plenty of cheek when finishing fourth for Scott Blacksell.

Tracie and Karen Price, Les McDonnell, Margaret Considine and Bill Ward pictured with Banjo Lass after her win in the Newman McDonnell Memorial.

With 128 Tara Raceway winners this year – many bred on his property – Price’s operation is considerable. At the presentation he thanked his team of workers. He thanked the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club and he thanked McDonnell family representatives Margaret Considine and Les McDonnell for their continued support of the race.

“Their support for more than 30 years of the Newman McDonnell Memorial and for the lovely trophy that always comes with the race is really appreciated by owners and trainers,” he said.

“Those of us involved in greyhound racing today owe a great debt to people such as Newman McDonnell. I’m sure he would be suitably impressed at the progress that has been made since racing commenced all those years ago at Glenburnie.”

Price’s race quinella with Banjo Lass and Shae’s Magic was the second time in two years that a trainer has provided the memorial winner and runner-up – only a half-head separating Richard Clayfield’s pair of Glenville Jester and Slipper’s Shadow in 2016.

It was also the second time that Price had won the memorial, Teddy La Plume, a son of Go Wild Teddy x Sun La Girl, successful in 2010.

Handling the presentation on Sunday was Bill Ward, MGGRC life member and president of the club between 1991 and 1997. Ward was also on the South East Greyhound Racing Club committee in 1979 when greyhound racing commenced at Glenburnie and Newman McDonnell was president.

And new to Tara Raceway since the McDonnell family was last at the track is the club’s memorabilia display – of much interest to them and highlighted by black and white considerably enlarged photographs on the back wall featuring participants and greyhounds of a bygone era.

Oh no, time at the top was short-lived

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

While Paraphernalia has enjoyed a successful year at Tara raceway, winning 11 races – three more than any other greyhound – it wasn’t until last Sunday’s meeting that he finally joined long-time Greyhound of the Year leader Oh No Beta on 52 points.

Nifty Lenehan with Greyhound of the Year leader Oh No Beta.

This came about after the Jeff Guy trained 134-start veteran picked up one point when running third behind Springvale Alysa and Bereluke in the Produce Store Stake (512 m).

But before the day was over, Nicole Stanley’s Oh No Beta, at his 103rd start, had led all the way in the Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (400 m) to bring up his eighth win at Tara Raceway this year and pick up another four GOTY points.

And Robert Halliday’s Redda added further interest to the award last Sunday when successful in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m), a win that saw him move into third spot on 49 points.

Redda has certainly been given plenty of chances to pick up GOTY points this year, having gone around 40 times at Tara Raceway, while Oh No Beta has raced locally on 29 occasions and Paraphernalia 20.

Discounting time-graded meetings, there are only five meetings remaining for genuine GOTY contenders to pick up points, Stanley now looking to be in the box seat to land a third successive title after Old Jock and Fiorelli Rose were successful in 2016 and 2017 with total points of 71 and 67.

First time trip pays dividends

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Victorian trainer Debbie White’s decision to give a couple of her greyhounds in Janray Tigerlily and Blackpool Remi a look at a new track paid dividends at last Friday’s Tara Raceway time-graded meeting.

Based close to Bacchus Marsh at Parwan, White drew box one with both of her winning runners, the unconventionally-bred Janray Tigerlily running down early leader Neb’s Horse to win the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 metres) by a half length in 23.75 seconds.

Debbie White with Blackpool Remi, the second leg of a winning double at Tara Raceway last Friday.

This was the first time in Mount Gambier for the trainer, involved in the sport for more than 30 years and who relocated to Victoria from NSW about three years ago.

A maiden winner at Healesville in September, this was the second win for Janray Tigerlily, a daughter of the virtually unknown sire Keyser Soze (Surf Lorian x Current Dream) – a winner of seven provincial Victorian races – while the dam, Janray Arcadia, raced on only 14 occasions for two third placings.

Giveaway greyhound Blackpool Remi lined up in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m) with only one win – at Geelong back in August – from 33 starts, although there had been plenty of minor placings along the way.

Raced by Brian and Peter Wilson, the nicely-bred daughter of Barcia Bale and Wentworth Park winner Paua And Jewels had no trouble in adapting to the new surrounds, leading all the way when defeating Knocka’s Moment by 1¾ lengths in a handy 23.38 seconds.

The win completed White’s first double since relocating although there had been previous dual winners at tracks such as Wentworth Park, Richmond, Nowra and Dapto.

Speaking after the win she said she believed Blackpool Remi had been lacking confidence and figured a run on another track behind the finish-on-lure might help to turn her fortunes around.

“There’s a bit of winning form around the litter and this one has also got her share of ability but has just been racing with no luck,” she said.

White, who has a dozen dogs in work, said that now she had discovered Tara Raceway there was a strong chance she would return.

“The green grass surrounds help to make this a stunning complex,” she said. “I couldn’t believe the look of the place as I drove in this morning.”

The WA bush chaplain John Dihm and Cap Abbott, the septuagenarian trainer from Edenhope, teamed up for another win last Friday, this time with Pool Hall in the JB Irrigation Stake over 600 metres.

Trainer Cap Abbott with Pool Hall and Kerry Hawker with Black Spring after the kennelmates ran the quinella in the JB Irrigation Stake (600 m) at Tara Raceway last Friday.

Having her first start over the middle-distance journey at Tara Raceway, Pool Hall showed good pace from a favourable box seven draw before taking over the running down the back straight from Cindy La Moment.

From then on the only danger was going to be kennelmate Black Spring, having his first start over 600 metres and in the end doing a good job to be beaten only 2½ lengths in a handy 35.34 seconds – Abbott saying later that he had also been really happy with the second placegetter’s run.

By My Bro Fabio out of Book Of Days, Pool Hall, also a winner at Goulburn, Angle Park and Gawler prior to being taken over by Abbott, was bred at Ballalaba – 90 kilometres from Canberra – by Craig Sheridan, a long-time friend of Dihm.

All four members of the September 2015 litter have won races – Bad Ronnie at Goulburn and Dapto, Book Of Luck recently at Wentworth Park and the 40 kilogram Big Casey, part-owned by Dihm and set to join Abbott’s kennels this week after winning at Goulburn and Bulli.

Serendipity Gold concluded a good week for the Richard Boehm/Sandra Elmes training team when winning in best of day time on Friday.

The wins of Lil Black Jess and Serendipity Gold at Friday’s meeting wrapped up a big week for the Dunolly training team of Richard Boehm and Sandra Elmes.

The Boehm-trained Lil Black Jess was involved in a terrific tussle with Giveaway Fury and Banana Honeybear in The Border Watch Maiden Stake (400 m), eventually winning by a head in 23.95 seconds.

And later, in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), Serendipity Gold continued his outstanding time-graded form at Tara Raceway for Elmes with an outstanding 5¼ length win over Cosmic Creek in 29.87 seconds – a time that would be more than competitive at a Sunday meeting.

This was the pair’s second double for the week, the Elmes trained Avatar Maximus successful over 410 metres at Horsham on the Tuesday prior while Boehm won with Avatar Minty, also over 410 metres, later in the night. Both winners paid dividends in excess of $20.

A gem of a win for patient trainer

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mumbannar trainer Monty Wilson still remembers the day at the end of last year when Toolong breeder Phil Lenehan called him to see if would be interested in taking a well-bred giveaway greyhound called Gold Gem.

Gaining her confidence. Monty Wilson and Gold Gem becoming acquainted at Mumbannar.

However, there was just one catch – and isn’t there always one when it comes to a giveaway? The daughter of US 50-race winner Kiowa Producer and Gold Chalice, who won 10 Victorian provincial races, had recently copped a suspension at Shepparton for unsatisfactory box manners.

“As I only train giveaway greyhounds I told Phil I’d have a go with her, figuring that her box manners surely weren’t so bad that she couldn’t be sorted out,” Wilson said.

Well, it depends what sort of time-frame you put on wayward greyhounds. Gold Gem last raced at Shepparton on November 27, 2017 and it would be another eight months before she resumed for Wilson at Tara Raceway on July 19.

On that occasion she ran third over 400 metres, well beaten, but according to her trainer it felt like a win to him and his wife Jen just to get the brindle bitch back on the racetrack.

“She was a really strange dog and to be honest, it took a long time just to get her confidence let alone trying her again in the starting boxes,” Wilson said.

And, it has to be said, the re-introduction to the fundamental process of entering the starting boxes from the back and coming out the front didn’t go all that well, at least initially.

“The first three times we tried her in the boxes was a disaster. In fact, as a last resort, Gold Gem was then booked in for box re-education at a Victorian breaking-in establishment.

Jen and Monty Wilson with Gold Gem after her maiden win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

“However, before she left we decided to give her one more try out of the boxes and it was at her fourth trip to the track that the penny finally dropped.

“Because of her suspension at Shepparton at the end of last year she was still required to run a satisfactory trial before she could race again so a couple of weeks later she passed with flying colours at Tara Raceway.”

For all that, it took Gold Gem 11 runs to finally open her winning account, with Wilson declaring it a “gem of a win”.

She virtually led all the way from box two in last Sunday’s Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway, eventually running out a 4½ length winner over Oriental Tiger.

“She was my twelfth win for the year and one of the most satisfying,” the beaming trainer declared.

Meanwhile, Lenehan-bred runners Black Spring, Spinning Jakit and Lektra Brandy, all out of Sandown Park distance winner Lektra Scarlett, look to hold a strong hand at Tara Raceway’s meetings on Friday and Sunday.

Black Spring, a son of Spring Gun, will make his debut over 600 metres on Friday afternoon from box eight in the JB Irrigation Stake and should appreciate the longer journey judging by the manner in which he’s been finishing off his sprint races.

Hampered by notoriously slow starts, Black Spring has won two races and run five minor placings from 13 starts over distances ranging from 450 metres to 515 metres, Edenhope owner-trainer Cap Abbott now hoping the November 2016 whelping can successfully make the step up in distance.

Litter brother Spinning Jakit, also trained by Abbott, was a winner at Tara Raceway over 512 metres in a smart 30.13 seconds on October 21, and will jump from box seven in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) on Sunday.

Lektra Brandy on her way to a 22.90 seconds 400 metre win at Tara Raceway.

Possessing a racing pattern similar to that of his brother, Spinning Jakit’s clash with Mulan, an impressive 512 metre winner last Sunday, and speedster Maunganui Magic stepping up in distance for the first time, should make for an interesting lead-in to the main race of the day, the Newman McDonnell Memorial final (512 m).

Lektra Brandy, from an earlier Lektra Scarlett litter by KC And All, was an impressive 410 metre winner at Horsham on Tuesday night for Portland trainer Nifty Lenehan.

A sizzling 22.90 seconds winner at Tara Raceway in early September, Lektra Brandy, despite drawing box six, looks well placed in Sunday’s Gordon Refrigeration Mixed Stake (400 m).

Connections happy to settle for a dead-heat

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

When Serviceton greyhound Two Jobs opened up a handy break down the back straight in last Sunday’s Produce Store Mixed Stake over 600 metres it appeared as if her first win in seven months was coming up.

But it had been almost that long since Two Jobs had run over the middle-distance and approaching the home turn seasoned performer Tuscan Flex was preparing to throw out the challenge to the dog that had led virtually from box-rise.

Dead-heaters Two Jobs and Tuscan Flex go stride for stride in the run to the line at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Even half-way up the home straight, though, Two Jobs looked to be doing enough before a frantic finish had caller Jim Jacques, while staying with the long-time leader, anything but sure.

In the end the pair couldn’t be split. A dead-heat was posted, making it only the second at Tara Raceway this year for first-placing after Odd Boots and Xtreme Carnage had gone over the line together, also in a 600 metre event, on January 21.

And while Two Jobs had to fight hard in the home straight to salvage a dead-heat with Tuscan Flex, the fight was nothing compared to that of her trainer David Brodhurst who has been battling severe health issues this year.

Brodhurst missed last Sunday’s meeting through an unrelated matter but we’re pleased to report that he has responded to treatment, is now appearing much better in himself and looking forward to tomorrow’s meeting which sees Two Jobs contesting the Klaassens Contractors Stake over 512 metres.

From a handy litter by Cosmic Rumble out of the unraced Enlightment, Two Jobs, owned by Brodhurst’s wife Valerie, is a another story that highlights how sometimes a greyhound can turn things around.

Two years ago the 25 kilogram bitch won a maiden 447 metre event at Port Augusta in slow time before finding her way down to Serviceton from Adelaide as a giveaway in early in 2017.

However, in May of that year, after being short-listed for the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) due to some pretty ordinary performances at Tara Raceway, Two Jobs finally put it altogether for the Brodhursts.

Valerie Brodhurst and Aaron Blake with dead-heaters Two Jobs and Tuscan Flex.

While waiting for a GAP placement, Two Jobs lined up in a Friday afternoon time-graded 512 metre event, making a lie of her race record of one win from 26 starts when scoring by 10 lengths in a best of day 30.21 seconds – and putting a halt to any immediate re-homing.

In fact, since that day 18 months ago Two Jobs has gone on to win another seven races, not the least being last year’s Eric Lewis Memorial and the Koroit 600.

Kath Brooks, of Rupanyup, is Tuscan Flex’s sixth trainer and last Sunday’s shared win sees her sitting in seventh spot with 25 winners in the 2018 Ian Badger Leading Trainer Award.

By the Irish-bred sire Farley Blitz out of Gail Allen, a winner of 18 races and more than $55,000 in stakemoney, Tuscan Flex is owned at White Hills by 22-year-old Calum Blake, who purchased the blue dog via an online advertisement for $2000 after he had won two races at Wagga and two at Ballarat.

Tuscan Flex has since won another race at Ballarat and four at Tara Raceway for Blake whose older brother Aaron previously trained the dog and handled him for Brooks at last Sunday’s meeting.

And as the winners returned after clocking 35.60 seconds in the event for grade four and five greyhounds, it seems connections were only too happy to concede that the dead-heat had been a fitting result.

Trainer set for second McDonnell Memorial

Monday, November 12, 2018

Leading trainer Tracie Price, of Compton, will hold a strong hand in this Sunday’s 33rd Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 metres) after four of his greyhounds – Lika Missile, Sophie’s Moment, Shae’s Magic and Banjo Lass – qualified at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon for the time-honoured final.

Lika Missile took time honours in yesterday’s Newman McDonnell heats run at Tara Raceway.

But his headline act was definitely the two-year-old Lika Missile, a son of Nitro Burst and Oh Cee Ya, which makes him a full brother from a later mating to Smart Missile, a winner of 12 races from 26 starts and $64,000 in stakemoney.

Lika Missile, who resumed last week with a fast-finishing second to Cool Number over 400 metres after a two-month break, led all the way from box six in Sunday’s first of three heats, running out a 5½ length winner over Lady Pippa in 29.78 seconds, a time that ultimately would be the best of the day.

Sophie’s Moment won her first 512 metre race in five months when leading all the way from box two in the second heat, eventually holding out kennel newcomer Shae’s Magic who got a long way back early before powering home and going down by a neck in a smart 29.94 seconds.

Sophie’s Moment pictured after winning the second heat of the McDonnell Memorial.

Giving Price the trifecta was Banjo Lass, assured of a spot in the final after running a 3½ length third and clocking 30.17 seconds.

Sophie’s Moment’s win also gave Price his fourth winner on the day, Maunganui Magic scoring a big win over Luca Flyer in a personal best 23.11 seconds in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 m) while Swift Limes edged out Springvale Alysa to win by a nose in the Mixed Stake (512 m) in 29.88 seconds.

However, shortly after the running of the second heat of the memorial at 3.18 p.m., a power outage in Mount Gambier saw the final heat – and last race of the day – in danger of not being run, stewards deciding that if power had not been restored by 4 p.m. then the meeting would be abandoned.

This would have meant a blind draw to determine the final spots for the memorial but fortunately the power was back before 4 p.m. – not by much, mind you – and Brinza, trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, finally had a change of luck when finishing strongly to defeat Lone Star by 1½ lengths in 30.36 seconds.

Robert Halliday’s Brinza qualified for the McDonnell Memorial final after winning the third and final heat.

Price last won the Newman McDonnell Memorial eight years ago with Teddy La Plume who defeated the Cass Billington trained Lisa’s Rule and Good Luck Chuck in 30.64 seconds on September 5, 2010, Billington winning the memorial the following year with Going Home.

And Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield, successful on Sunday with an impressive Mulan in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), will also be chasing his second memorial, this time with Lone Star, after Glenville Jester won the event in 2016 in what was part of a barnstorming two months of racing – seven wins and two seconds – for the black dog.

Brinza was the second leg of a double for Halliday, his first since June 7 when Brinza and Sudden Call were successful, after Spirited Bingle, always on the pace, stormed home for an outstanding win over the ultra-consistent Ramified in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m) in a rarely-run 22.92 seconds.

Halliday picked up the beautifully bred daughter of Collision and Kokoda Spirit (a litter sister to Guru Doll, the dam of Brinza) back in March after an out of the blue call from Junortoun breeder Mark Morrissey to see if he was interested in training her – the only catch being that she had failing to chase convictions hanging over her head from Bendigo and Horsham.

Spirited Bingle clocks a flying 22.92 seconds when defeating Ramified in the Gambier Vets Open Stake (400 m).

But Halliday has now won eight races, including one at Angle Park, with the black bitch, the only downside being a dropped back muscle that saw her off the scene from the beginning of July to mid-September.

“Sandown Vet Clinic veterinarian Alistair Smith did a terrific job of getting her back on the track but Mark and I are now looking at breeding with her, Fabregas possibly the sire of choice,” he said.

Meanwhile, Greyhound of the Year leader Oh No Beta failed to add to his tally of 52 points when finishing fifth behind Spirited Bingle.

However, Paraphernalia edged to within a point when running third behind Swift Limes, staging a big effort after being last down the back straight before finishing strongly to go down by 2½ lengths.

And Swift Limes has issued a late challenge, moving into fourth spot on 47 points (eight wins, six seconds and three thirds) after Sunday’s meeting.

Playing it cool at Tara Raceway

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Koroit trainer Peter Keane, something of a Tara Raceway regular over the past couple of months, was quickly into stride at last Sunday’s meeting when Cool Number scored an impressive win in the second race, the JB Irrigation Stake (400 metres).

Having only his second race start in four months, the black dog led all the way from box four, eventually running out a three length winner over a fast-finishing Lika Missile in 23.39 seconds, much to the delight of part-owners Lindsay Brookes and Gary Thomson who were on course.

Speedy Scar brings up a treble for Peter Keane at Tara Raceway last Sunday when defeating Dimora Bekim, Luca Flyer and Cryer’s Sid in the final event.

Raced under the banner of the Many Winners Syndicate, which also includes Keane, his sister-in-law Bev Keane and Graham Dix, Cool Number was purchased by the syndicate for $1000 after running second over 390 metres at Warrnambool in January.

By Magic Sprite out of Cover Girl, a Victorian provincial winner of six races, he started his career in Tasmania where he won his maiden at Launceston, the Many Winners Syndicate landing their first race with Cool Number at Warrnambool in April, last Sunday being their second win with the dog.

And as the day progressed things got even better for Keane. In fact, from a training point of view, last Sunday turned out to be his most successful day at a greyhound track in close to 29 years.

My Mandara, a son of Mepunga Geordie and State Chill, who won nine races at Warrnambool, was always on the pace from box two in the Mixed Stake (400 m), railing through approaching the home turn and running out a 2¼ length winner over Spirited Bingle in 23.32 seconds.

Owned by the breeder, Debbie Wright of Port Fairy, My Mandara’s win came on the back of some consistent recent efforts at Tara Raceway and Warrnambool, Keane previously successful with the fawn dog at the local track in late September.

So come the last race, the Klaassens Contractors Stake (400 m), and the Keane-trained Speedy Scar, despite being off the scene for a while, was expected to go well from box one.

Speedy Scar quickly took up the running, Keane’s treble looking pretty safe a long way from home although in the end Dimora Bekim made him work for his three winners when digging deep in the home straight and running the leader to a head in 23.44 seconds.

Peter Keane (right) with Cool Number, Lindsay Brookes (left) handles Speedy Scar while Gary Thomson is pictured with My Mandara.

And it was another winner for Brookes who owns Speedy Scar outright after purchasing the son of Nitro Burst x Lektra Candy as a pup for $1500 from Koroit breeder Nick Sheehan.

Keane’s first and only other training treble was at Warrnambool on December 30, 1989 when Star Profile (Roy Trease x Young Propriety) won over 450 metres, Linda Michelle (Bowetzel x Bridarlin) was successful in the Jean Walsh Memorial (680 m) and the beautifully bred Sydney Kate (Shining Chariot x Sydney Dingaan) scored at her first start.

Sydney Kate, incidentally, was a litter sister to Immortal Flash, who as a five-year-old and with 98 starts to his name, won the 1993 Mount Gambier Cup at Glenburnie.

Speaking at Tara Raceway last Sunday, Keane said he still had a vivid recollection of that first treble.

“Yes, I still remember the night well because the treble clinched the 1989 Warrnambool trainers’ premiership for me,” Keane said.

He trained his first winner in 1982 and since then has handled some more than handy dogs including the locally-bred Miami Mike, a son of Tempix and Kori Spot, who won over 732 metres at the old Olympic Park track in Melbourne.

But for all the greyhounds that have passed through his kennels over the years, Keane still reckons Hoppy’s Girl (Tangairn x Sydney Gem) is the best he’s trained.

She won six races at Olympic Park and Sandown Park, and one over 550 metres at Ballarat, before proving to be a prolific producer.