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

SUNDAY, APRIL 28: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, MAY 2 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, April 29 with GRSA. SUNDAY, MAY 5: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, April 30 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track. WORM BURNER PUPS FOR SALE: See “For Sale/Wanted”.

Mt G Greyhounds

Angle Park lights shine brightly for Dyna Quota

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Dyna Quota, picked up by Koo Wee Rup owner Glen Burns for $1000 after copping a 28-day suspension for marring at Cranbourne in early November, gave Tara Raceway regular Nicole Stanley of Portland her biggest win as a trainer when successful at Angle Park on Thursday night.

Nicole Stanley and Dyna Quota lead the way to the boxes for Thursday night’s SA Distance Championship at Angle Park.

A $7 chance, despite drawing box one, Dyna Quota turned in a solid staying performance, triumphant in the $10,000-to-the-winner SA Distance Championship (731 metres) by three-quarters of a length over Billy’s Bake in a time of 43.60 seconds.

The success has the daughter of Dyna Double One x Jayney Bale’s race record now standing at seven wins, 10 minor placings and $23,000 from 29 starts and completed a successful six weeks for connections after a $3000 win over 650 metres at Warrnambool in February and then a heat win leading into Thursday’s final.

Stanley has also won two staying races at Angle Park this year with another daughter of Dyna Double One in Ethics who missed the Distance Championship due to injury.

Interestingly, Greyhound Racing SA CEO Matt Corby paid tribute at Mount Gambier’s recent cup meeting to the number of trainers who travel countless kilometres to race their greyhounds – Stanley still recovering on Friday from a 14-hour round trip the previous day.

Dyna Quota defeats Billy’s Bake in the SA Distance Championship at Angle Park.

“It was a big day but sometimes it turns out to be all worthwhile as was the case with Dyna Quota who I thought had to do it pretty hard on Thursday night but in the end did us all proud.

“I have to say the trip home was nowhere near as arduous as some have been from previous Angle Park meetings when things haven’t gone to plan.

“The SA Distance Championship win was certainly my biggest on the track, upstaging Berry Bling’s win in the SA Country Cup in 2016,” said Stanley, Tara Raceway’s leading trainer in 2017 and currently sitting in third spot behind David Peckham and Tracie Price.

Stanley said she had received an out of the blue phone call last September from Burns asking if she was interested having a go behind the finish-on-lure with a dog called Shady Whip who had a couple of convictions against his name.

“He won a couple of races at Tara Raceway in December but before that Glen had been in touch again to see if I would be interested in a recent purchase of his – Dyna Quota, a winner at Healesville, Cranbourne and Warragul but with a marring conviction hanging over her.”

Burns told her Dyna Quota might win a couple of races at Tara Raceway, little realising that several months later the bright lights of Angle Park would be calling.

Pictures: Kurt Donsberg

Greyhound of the Month award for Galactic Athena

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Galactic Athena, the locally bred, owned and trained winner of last Sunday’s Group Listed Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) has been awarded the Greyhound Racing SA March Greyhound of the Month which now places her in the running for SA Greyhound of the Year.

And for those fortunate enough to have been on track last Sunday to see the 19-month-old bitch’s amazing performance when she ran down Slingshot Hammer to win in a race record time of 29.43 seconds the award would have come as no real surprise.

Robert Chuck and Steve Bartholomew with Galactic Athena who was awarded the March SA Greyhound of the Month award after winning last Sunday’s Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup at Tara Raceway.

In fact, so dominant was the effort that Galactic Athena was also awarded the March Run of the Month, the last local greyhound to win this award being Rockoon in July last year when he ran a Tara Raceway 512 metre track record time of 29.28 seconds.

By the Canadian-bred Paddy Whacker out of Galactic Rumball, who raced on only 21 occasions for three Tara Raceway wins, Galactic Athena is owned by the breeder, Robert Chuck of Moorak and trained at Worrolong by Steve Bartholomew who reported on Wednesday that she had pulled up pretty well.

“We had her checked out yesterday and I’m pleased to report that there wasn’t too much wrong with her,” he said.

“The plan is now to give her a couple of runs at Warrnambool over 450 metres as a lead-up to the heats of the Group 2 Warrnambool Cup which will be run on Wednesday, April 24 with the final a week later.

“We might be flying too high, I don’t know, but I reckon we’ve got to have a go. Later in the year there will be age-restricted events for her such as the SA Oaks and the Sandown Park Laurels as well as the Sapphire Crown Classic for bitches.”

Interestingly, Steve and Lee Bartholomew already have in their possession the inaugural Laurels sash won by Newman McDonnell’s Tara Princess in 1964. They reckon a sash of their own would complement the trophy cabinet very nicely.

Finally, ‘Junior’ gets his chance to crow

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Cape Bridgewater owner-trainer Scott “Junior” Blacksell had plenty to crow about at last Sunday’s Tara Raceway cup day meeting when Rooster finally broke through for his first win in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake.

Whelped in January 2017, the black dog made his debut at the local track at the beginning of this year but it wasn’t until start number 14 that success came his way in what could probably be considered an unsuitable 400 metre event.

Scott Blacksell and Jude Tait pictured with Rooster after his maiden win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Slowly away from box eight, Rooster set himself a fair task when well back early, before putting himself well and truly in the race at the top of the home straight and then finishing strongly to defeat School Report and Our Menace in 23.79 seconds.

The win was the first for the Cosmic Rumble x Manila Express litter which was bred at Edenhope by Cap Abbott who enjoyed plenty of success with the dam, a winner of 18 races for stakemoney in excess of $33,000.

For Blacksell and his partner Jude Tait, the win of Rooster – known as Trevor around the kennels – although coming as something of a surprise was certainly a rewarding experience.

“I really didn’t think he would have much chance over 400 metres because I reckon he’s better suited over a bit more ground,” Blacksell said. “As such, it was a great thrill to see him powering home in the straight over the short course.

“We purchased him as a four-month-old pup from Cap, then reared him and broke him in ourselves here at Tara Raceway so he has been a real hands-on project for a couple of years.”

Later in the day, Rooster’s kennelmate Rusty Sprocket fell in the South Eastern Hotel Mixed Stake (512 m) but bounced back at Wednesday’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway in the Stake (512 m) when leading all the way to hold out Ballet Creek by a nose in 30.22 seconds.

Rooster and Rusty Sprocket will now both be back at Tara Raceway on Sunday as will the former’s litter brother Tarragal, Blacksell and Tait hoping he can open his winning account at start number 13.

Abbott springs into action on cup day

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

While Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott, looking resplendent in his green tie, experienced little joy with his box six runner Big Casey in last Sunday’s Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup final it was a different story a couple of races later when Black Spring lined up in The Tankman 600.

THE TANKMAN 600: Ken Gillespie (representing The Tankman), Cap Abbott and his daughter Julie Ward, and GRSA CEO Matt Corby with Black Spring.

Sponsored by Allen and Kim Cram, who run the Mount Gambier family-owned water tank cleaning business known as the Tankman, this is the second year that the middle-distance feature has been run on cup day, last year’s event being won by Connie Miller’s Chilly Kiss in a time of 35.49 seconds.

Occasionally you get lucky and that’s what happened as far as Abbott was concerned, Black Spring advertised in September last year as a giveaway prior to racing, the wily long-time trainer quick to stake his claim on the son of Spring Gun and Lektra Scarlett, a Victorian city-winning stayer.

Black Spring has now been around 37 times for eight wins which includes success over 600 metres at Tara Raceway and Angle Park as well as a 731 metre win at Angle Park.

And after a two length third several nights’ earlier in a Special Event 650 metre at Warrnambool it probably wasn’t surprising when he went to the boxes on Sunday as an odds-on favourite.

MOUNT GAMBIER CUP CONSOLATION: Matt Corby, part-owner Chris Wright, Donna Budd and Marly 9 and Arabella 7 with Molly Coaster.

A notorious slow beginner, he jumped a little better from box three than is generally the case and actually had a couple of greyhounds behind him as the field headed into the home straight the first time around.

But he looked to have the field covered a long way from home and eventually ran out a four length Tankman 600 winner, also in 35.49 seconds, over early leader Bereluke and Giant Bale who finished the race off strongly.

In the following race, the Gambier Vets Stake (512 m), long-time Abbott kennel client John Dihm, a part-owner of Big Casey, was able to also enjoy cup day success when Bronte Jakit led all the way to defeat Bekim Instinct by 2¼ lengths in 30.24 seconds.

Melton trainer Simon Payne wrapped up a couple of good weeks at Tara Raceway when Molly Coaster finished in her customary strong fashion to defeat Nirimba Pirate by 2¾ lengths in the Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup Consolation (512 m).

Payne had been over a fortnight prior for his first-ever look at Tara Raceway, Molly Coaster, with the cup in mind, impressing with a 29.70 seconds graded win.

A week later he returned for the heats, the daughter of Fabregas x Reiko Bale running third behind Pure White Evil and certain to return for the consolation after kennelmate Schultz’s A Rebel won a heat of the Formula 400 and litter brother Diesel’s A Rebel stormed home to run second and also qualify for the final.

THE FORMULA 400: GRSA Chief Financial Officer Gavin Bosch and Dean Fennell with Whatta Knocka.

Diesel’s A Rebel ultimately ran second in the final, beaten 2½ lengths by the Dean Fennell trained Whatta Knocka in 23.29 seconds – Chris Wright, who races Molly Coaster in partnership with Paul Giddings, in charge of the team after Payne was unable to make the trip due to family commitments.

Whatta Knocka, raced by Karen Price and Andrew and Peter Haines, was one of four runners Fennell had in the Formula 400 final, the son of Knocka Norris chasing Cryer’s Harper until the home before taking over and then holding out Diesel’s A Rebel.

The win was Fennell’s second Formula 400 success, Cerrone defeating litter brothers Cryer’s Fred and Cryer’s Ricky in the 2016 event in a time of 23.15 seconds.

At the corresponding meeting four years ago it was Whatta Knocka’s dam, Who’s Doing What, who had drawn box one in the Mount Gambier Cup final after running a flying 29.75 seconds in a heat the previous week.

It’s now history how Who’s Doing What was scratched after coming on season and how Lots Of Yap gained a run as a reserve and won the cup.

Cup winner punches above her weight . . . and how!

Monday, April 1, 2019

At 19 months of age, many greyhounds have yet to even race – let alone win.

Not so the local hope Galactic Athena who at start number six was lining up from box two in Sunday’s Group Listed Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.

One lap to go in the cup and Slingshot Hammer, Pure White Evil and Galactic Athena are already well placed.

And while the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club may not have attracted quite the crowd it would have hoped for, it did attract the dogs – this year’s cup final surely one of the strongest ever in the 39 year history of the event.

There’s no doubting Galactic Athena, a 31 kilogram daughter of Paddy Whacker and Galactic Rumball, deserved her place in the $15,000-to-the-winner final after a quick 29.58 seconds heat win over Nirimba Pirate the previous week.

But seasoned Group race performer Slingshot Hammer – Lara connections Deborah Coleman and Rob Camilleri looking to further boost his considerable earnings of more than $100,000 – did look the one to beat after his 29.45 seconds heat win.

Galactic Athena finishes over the top of Slingshot Hammer for a memorable Mount Gambier Cup win.

He was short, though, at $1.70. Pure White Evil, another heat winner, was tempting at $4.80 and Galactic Athena even more so at $7.

Colville, trained at Tarpeena by Allen Williams, had been the last local greyhound to win the Mount Gambier Cup and that was six years ago – Galactic Athena’s breeder-owner Robert Chuck of Moorak and trainer Steve Bartholomew of Worrolong hoping to improve on last year’s cup final effort when half-brother Galactic Panther ran third behind Xtreme Caution and Lektra Stomp.

The only bitch in the race and attempting to become the youngest-ever winner of the cup, Galactic Athena was only fairly away but by the time the field had made its way safely out of the first turn she had worked into second spot after railing through on Pure White Evil.

Giving them all something to chase, though, was Slingshot Hammer, away quickly from box one and mid-race travelling smoothly, Galactic Athena and Pure White Evil looking likely to fill the minor placings.

It was a winning embrace for Galactic Athena’s owner Robert Chuck from trainer Steve Bartholomew.

Slingshot Hammer, having his final run before heading to Sydney for the Golden Easter Egg, turned for home in front but was unable to withstand Galactic Athena’s unbelievable finish which saw her score by a half length in a race record time of 29.43 seconds.

This was a win from an August 2017 whelping that would have attracted attention Australia-wide with both the runner-up and third placegetter Pure White Evil also eclipsing 2017 winner Fabregal’s previous race record of 29.78 seconds.

For Bartholomew, a life member of the MGGRC, it was a win a long time coming. He handled the inaugural Mount Gambier Cup winner Tara Topar back in 1981 at Glenburnie and in the ensuing 39 years has reached the final with his own dogs on several occasions.

And Sunday’s win, he said, was a real team effort.

“I really have to thank my wife Lee for all the work she puts in with the dogs. Also I need to acknowledge the efforts of Ken Gillespie who comes out and helps us and, of course, Chuckie for giving me Galactic Athena to train.”

The cup presentation. From left, Rob Camilleri (Slingshot Hammer), Grantley Stevens (GRSA), Scott Blacksell (Fairthorne Forestry), Robert Chuck and Steve Bartholomew with Galactic Athena, Matt Corby (GRSA) and Andrew Paraskevas (Pure White Evil).

Bartholomew said they would now target the forthcoming Warrnambool Cup (450 m) with Galactic Athena.

“At this stage we’re looking at giving her a run at Warrnambool prior to the cup to see how she handles the one-bend track and go from there,” he said.

Heats of the Group 2 event will be run on Wednesday, April 24 with the $47,000-to-the-winner final on Wednesday, May 1.

Galactic Titan leads all the way to defeat Spring Value in the Produce Store Feature Maiden final.

Occasionally you have one of those days. Earlier on Sunday, the Chuck owned and trained Galactic Titan, a litter brother to Galactic Athena, lined up in the Produce Store Feature Maiden (512 m), the final, to be honest, looking to be a race in two between the brindle dog and Kevin Mugavin’s Spring Value.

GRSA Strategic Projects Manager Scott Wuchatsch with Robert Chuck and Galactic Titan.

Spring Value had impressed with a 30.06 seconds win in his heat the previous week while Galactic Titan, at his first race start, had raced greenly but still won the other heat in considerably slower time.

But a week can be a long time in greyhound racing, Chuck’s 35 kilogram dog obviously deriving plenty from the run went straight to the front from box seven, eventually holding out Spring Value to win by 1¾ lengths in 30.08 seconds.

The impressive efforts of Galactic Titan and Spring Value in Sunday’s long-running Produce Store Feature Maiden came on the back of last year’s event when Spring Bridge ran 29.63 seconds and served notice of bigger and better things to come.

And while on a somewhat lower key, greyhound racing will return to Tara Raceway on Wednesday afternoon for a 12-race time-graded meeting.

Six-dog racing twice a week at Tara Raceway

Thursday, March 28, 2019

In association with SA’s other two-turn tracks – Angle Park and Gawler – the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club is to commence a trial of six-dog racing from May at Tara Raceway.

To be labelled G-Six Racing, the three-month trial will also correspond with the introduction of weekly Thursday afternoon meetings at Tara Raceway which will replace the current fortnightly Wednesday afternoon fixtures.

The Thursday meetings, which are set to commence on May 2, will cater for time-graded greyhounds while the weekly Sunday meetings will remain as Category 3.

Following the introduction of six-dog races, greyhounds will jump from boxes 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8 and carry the corresponding rugs, with reserves remaining 9 and 10.

A Greyhound Racing SA spokesman said the introduction of six-dog racing would be an ideal opportunity for the sport to weigh up the outcomes which will arise from a different presentation of the sport.

“Tabcorp is supportive of the trial and will keep us informed of the wagering appeal of the six-dog format and the extent to which this type of racing is suited to particular race designs.

“There will be no reduction in stakemoney for the six-dog format, meaning that greyhounds will race against less opposition for the same stakes.

“If the format is adopted across a longer term it will generate overall stakemoney growth of more than $1m annually for owners and trainers.”

Support features to boost cup day meeting

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Sunday’s outstanding Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup final will be complemented by four top supporting features, kicking off with the Formula 400 and followed by the Produce Store Maiden, Cup Consolation and The Tankman 600.

Melton trainer Simon Payne looks to hold a strong hand in the 400 metre Formula 400 with litter brothers Diesel’s A Rebel and Shultz’s A Rebel, the former appearing to be well boxed in the eight after running Ramified to a half head in a quick 23.16 seconds in a heat last week.

Ramified defeats Diesel’s A Rebel and Spirited Bingle (partly hidden) in the first heat of the Formula 400 last Sunday.

The long-running Produce Store Maiden (512 m) has once again attracted an interesting line-up for the final, main interest focusing on Robert Chuck’s Galactic Titan and Kevin Mugavin’s Spring Value.

Galactic Titan, a litter brother to cup finalist Galactic Athena, should be better for last week’s first-up 30.42 seconds heat win when he raced very greenly from box one – an outside draw on Sunday perhaps likely to suit.

Spring Value impressed when winning the other heat by six lengths in 30.06 seconds, his two-time Mount Gambier Cup-winning trainer saying the son of Spring Gun x Magic Matese did show some promise.

“The rest of the litter can’t run 500 metres,” he said. “And while Spring Value has been slow to mature I reckon given another six months he could be up to city class.”

Spring Value looks to be one of the top chances in Sunday’s Produce Store Feature Maiden final.

The Mount Gambier Cup Consolation (512 m) is always a good race, Hutch – a Mount Gambier Cup finalist in 2017 – winning the race last year in 29.56 seconds, a time considerably quicker than that of the Mount Gambier Cup.

And the Robert Halliday trained winner of 24 races should be some chance again this year after working home well for a two length third in a cup heat last week behind Aston It Is at what was his first race in two months.

Cap Abbott will hold a strong hand in the 600 metre Open feature, The Tankman 600, with litter brothers Black Spring and Spinning Jakit – both coming off 512 metre runs at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Black Spring, in particular, is well served over the middle-distance having won three races and run two minor placings from five starts over the 600 metre journey with a best time of a quick 35.06 seconds.

There was no cup runner this year for Tom Cryer but Cryer’s Harper will contest the Formula 400 final and Cryer’s Bob, with a personal best of 35.15 seconds, looks one of the main dangers to Black Spring.

Tara Raceway regulars chasing first cup success

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Worrolong trainer Steve Bartholomew was at the first Mount Gambier Cup, back in 1981 at Glenburnie. In fact, he’s been at every cup – all 38 of them.

But he’s still looking for his first cup success, a greyhound called Habit, a grandson of the inaugural winner Tara Topar, giving him his first finalist in 1993 when running seventh behind Immortal Flash.

Steve Bartholomew (left) and Robert Chuck with their top local cup hope Galactic Athena.

In 1996 he reached Glenburnie’s last cup final with Moorak Flyer who ran fourth behind Colin Ian prior to finishing sixth to Ashanti Gem at the Lake Terrace East venue’s inaugural cup the following year.

Also into the 1997 final for Bartholomew was Charles, a son of Knockash Chief and Habit’s litter sister Tara Pixie. Then, in 2001, So Gentle ran a two length third behind Explosive Doll in what was then a race record 30.24 seconds.

It would be 16 years before he reached another Mount Gambier Cup final, this time in last year’s first Group Listed event with Galactic Panther, a son of Galactic Rumball, a bitch that had been bred at Worrolong.

Raced by long-time mate, Robert Chuck of Moorak, Galactic Panther, the youngest and least experienced of all the finalists, ran a great third in the final behind Xtreme Caution and Lektra Stomp.

Fast forward 12 months and Chuck and Bartholomew are back for another crack at the cup, this time with Galactic Panther’s half-sister Galactic Athena – lining up in Sunday’s final at an even younger age and, with only five starts to her name, even less experience.

The 19-month-old brindle bitch faces a tough test in Sunday’s final from box two. But she could well be something special and as far as Bartholomew is concerned worth waiting 39 years for.

Portland trainer Nicole Stanley will rug up her fourth consecutive Mount Gambier Cup finalist on Sunday with Wanchai Express who will jump from box seven.

Old Jock, a Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year, was unplaced in 2016 as were Berry Bling, an SA Country Cup winner, and Verev in the following two cups.

Wanchai Express pictured with trainer Nicole Stanley.

But Stanley’s involvement in the cup goes back somewhat further, Wagsalini, a daughter of Trousers and Rokana, running sixth behind Bay Rhode in 2004 and Waymy (Rating One x Gemtrea Pixie) seventh to Ripin Ruby the following year.

Wanchai Express, who found his way over to Portland in August last year after having previously been racing in Adelaide, has been something of an enigma although Stanley said she believed the black dog was now racing better in a field.

“There was a time when he wouldn’t go around a dog but would wait for a rails run that often never came,” she said. “But he has shown this year that he has plenty of ability after running 29.46 seconds at Tara Raceway.”

By Bit Chili, Wanchai Express is out of Aunty Chopper, a winner of 15 races and $26,000 and who traces back to Miss Cleopatra on the dam’s side as does fellow cup finalist Pure White Evil.

Aunty Chopper, these days a family pet, was raced by Adelaide owner Les Stewart, who also owns Wanchai Express. A long-time stalwart, he first became interested in greyhound racing when it was being conducted in Whyalla.

“I used to enjoy also taking in meetings at Port Lincoln and Port Pirie,” he said. “Now, disappointingly, I see that Port Augusta is also to close this year.

“I really enjoy the country racing and I’m hoping to be able to get down for Sunday’s final and cheer on Wanchai Express.”

Stewart leased out Aunty Chopper for her Bit Chili litter, taking a pup in return which turned out to be Wanchai Express, a winner of four races in Adelaide before joining Stanley’s kennels from which he has won a further six races at The Meadows, Tara Raceway and Warrnambool.

Big Casey is Cap Abbott’s third Mount Gambier Cup finalist.

Cap Abbott, of Edenhope, is in to his third Mount Gambier Cup final, this time with Big Casey, raced by one of his long-time owners in John Dihm in partnership with Craig Sheridan.

His cup involvement goes back to 2007 when Cape Arrow ran second to Army Officer prior to one of her offspring in White Arrow finishing unplaced in Kirkstall Jane’s 2010 cup.

A former NSW greyhound, who at one stage early in his career raced at a hefty 41 kilograms, the son of My Bro Fabio x Book Of Days has won four races at Angle Park and Tara Raceway since joining Abbott’s kennels in November.

Big Casey is into the final from box six after running a pretty handy second to Slingshot Hammer, Abbott saying that he is happy with the draw and keen to talk up the dog’s chances for Sunday.

“For sure, I’m happy enough with box six. I reckon he’ll stay out wide, scout around them on the first turn after there’s interference on the inside and then finish the race off well for a top three finish.

“Look, we’re in there and he’s a good dog. He’s been set for the Mount Gambier Cup and now we’re in the final. I couldn’t be happier,” he said.

And while Abbott is yet to win a Mount Gambier Cup, he can lay claim to Melbourne Cup success, winning the 1974 event at Sandown Park with the NZ-bred Kwik Metal, purchased as a pup for $30.

The owner who always finds a positive

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

It was a good day for Parwan greyhound trainer Paul Abela after Cavatron and Aston It Is both won their way into the final of Sunday’s Group Listed Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.

Little wonder Abela, a full-time trainer for 20 years, was singing the praises of the Mount Gambier track. And he was also singing the praises of Cavatron’s owner, Dean Baker of Shepparton.

Cavatron pictured with trainer Paul Abela who also has Aston It Is engaged in Sunday’s Mount Gambier Cup final.

“Dean’s one of those owners who can always take a positive out of any of his dogs’ races. Only recently Cavatron disappointed in a race at Sandown Park and I wasn’t overly happy,” Abela said.

“He soon found a positive with the run, though, and I thought then, if only there were more owners like him.”

In Abela’s kennels since 15 months of age, Cavatron is by Dyna Tron out of She’s Our Caviar, a winner of nine races and $14,000 in stakemoney.

It’s turned out to be a more than handy litter with Cavatron having now won 12 races for $36,000 in stakes while Baker also races litter brother Startron who has won 23 races and $56,000 in stakemoney.

So handy, in fact, that in mid-2018 Baker mated She’s Our Caviar for a second time to Dyna Tron with the resultant litter producing three dogs and three bitches.

And so passionate is the owner about his greyhounds that members of the Baker family will be making the trip to Mount Gambier this weekend to cheer on Cavatron in the Mount Gambier Cup.

Abela has also developed a solid working relationship with leading owner Ray Borda who races Aston It Is, the pair previously combining to enjoy plenty of success with Aston Dinnigan, a winner of 16 races and $52,000 in stakemoney prior to whelping two dogs and three in February this year to US sire KC And All.

Fastest cup heat winner Slingshot Hammer pictured with Deborah Coleman.

By Turanza Bale out of Sweet It Is, Aston It Is is a winner of 18 races and $58,000, Abela full of praise for the dog that 12 months ago looked unlikely to race again after being sidelined with injury for five months.

“To be honest, he did a terrific job to come back. And I’m expecting a big run from him on Sunday. Actually, I reckon he’s ready to jump out of the ground,” he said.

Another first-time visitor to sing the praises of Tara Raceway was Lara trainer Rob Camilleri, even more so after Slingshot Hammer’s best of day 29.45 seconds Mount Gambier Cup heat win.

“This is a terrific place you’ve got here and the people are so friendly. I don’t think it will take much to get me back here again,” said Camilleri who was accompanied by fellow trainer Deborah Coleman.

Camilleri, involved in the sport for 45 years, said the Coleman-owned Slingshot Hammer, purchased after running second in the Group 3 Queensland Cup (600 m) in January, generally goes better second up at a track.

The son of Fernando Bale x Little Hammer goes into Sunday’s Group Listed final from box one as an odds-on favourite and as the winner of a Group 3 Cranbourne Classic as well as reaching the finals of  a Silver Chief, Richmond Derby and Geelong Cup – all Group 2 events.

The pair is also enjoying success with She’s Gifted, a winner of 17 races from 36 starts for stakemoney of $175,000.

Waterloo Monelli was a fast-finishing second in his cup heat for Tony Rasmussen.

And leading Adelaide owners Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman will be hoping the Tony Rasmussen trained Waterloo Monelli can give them their first Mount Gambier Cup success.

Involved in the sport for seven years, Aloisi and Lehman – family friends – currently own something like 14 greyhounds, Waterloo Monelli purchased from WA two months ago.

“Having tried to win the Mount Gambier Cup before, we knew it was always going to be hard for him first-up on the track but he got around safely when running second in his heat and should now be better for the run when he lines up in the final on Sunday,” Aloisi said.

Rasmussen, who has never won a Mount Gambier Cup, will be missing on Sunday as he is currently taking a break, Aloisi bringing a team of four down for the meeting.

Aloisi and Lehman will be chasing their second Group success on Sunday after Honcho Monelli was successful in last November’s Group 3 Gawler Gold Cup.

Trainer to stick with winning routine

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cranbourne South trainer Andrew Paraskevas is unlikely to be at Tara Raceway on Sunday to see Pure White Evil take on a top field from box three in the Group Listed Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup (512 metres).

Speaking earlier this week he said he was great believer in sticking with a winning routine.

“Lee (Rowe) has taken him over to Tara Raceway twice in the past month and both times things have worked out well with Pure White Evil winning a heat of the cup last Sunday in 29.66 seconds after several weeks’ earlier having won in 29.65 seconds,” he said.

Pure White Evil pictured winning a cup heat last Sunday.

Paraskevas was quick to concede that Slingshot Hammer would be the one to beat from box one although he believed his dog wouldn’t be disadvantaged by his draw.

“I think he’s better drawn inside and if he could find the front then I reckon he would be hard to get around. But he’s had two runs on the track so probably his chances will now really hinge on how much improvement there is in the other finalists that had their first look at the track last Sunday.

“Look, I rate Pure White Evil as a nice honest dog but certainly not a genuine Group performer,” he said.

Paraskevas has been training full-time for five years, prior to that operating on a hobby basis with his father John who is still involved in the sport.

In fact, it was John who back in late 2007 came up with the idea of breeding a litter with Brandeen Misty who had won a couple of races at Temora prior to previously whelping four litters for other breeders.

The Paraskevas’s subsequently mated her with Brett Lee, one of the offspring later to race as Father Of Mine, a winner of five races over short courses.

John Paraskevas obviously had seen something in the line that he liked because Father Of Mine, when later mated, did pretty well with her first two litters while her third, to Barcia Bale, includes Pure White Evil along with My American Girl, Nervous An Weird and Eye Got It.

Eye Got It won last week’s inaugural Murray Bridge Cup with Andrew Paraskevas now in line for a $5000 Greyhound Racing SA trainer’s bonus if Pure White Evil is successful on Sunday afternoon.