THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, December 16 with GRSA. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, December 17 with GRSA. FREE TRIALS (for members/$10 non-members): Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track. SATISFACTORY TRIALS: For bookings please contact Barry Shepheard on 0419 824 512.
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Saturday, December 14, 2019
It took a few runs, but Black Moscato finally found winning form at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting last Thursday when leading all the way in the Klaassens Contractors Maiden Stake (400 metres) to defeat Dancing Rose by three lengths in 23.73 seconds.
The win, which came at the November 2017 whelping’s ninth start, was also the first at the local track for Moorak owner Jason Newman whose last success at a greyhound track had come “some years ago” in Hobart.
And Newman was the first to admit after the race that Black Moscato, purchased from Victoria in October when still unraced, had been destined to be placed in the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP).
“To be honest, we’d been looking at GAP because she just didn’t seem interested in racing, eight previous race starts resulting in only a couple of minor placings. She certainly looked a lot better today, though, when running a personal best so she’s probably warranted a reprieve,” he said.
By Blazin’ Bomber, a winner of 27 races and more than $250,000 in stakemoney, out of 13-race winner Punch It, Black Moscato was the first leg of an early double for Allendale East trainer David Peckham.
Sweet On Me, in his kennels since last month, was having her first start at Tara Raceway in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m), the black bitch having raced only once previously at Sandown Park over 515 metres in September.
Well fancied from box one in last Thursday’s maiden event, Sweet On Me settled in third spot down the back before unwinding a strong finishing burst to score by 2¾ lengths over Sigrid The Proud in 23.54 seconds.
By Barcia Bale out of Call Me Gee, a winner of $53,000 and a finalist in the 2017 Group 1 Sapphire Crown final (515 m) at Sandown Park, Sweet On Me was also the first leg of a two-track double for the litter – Aston Stock winning his maiden at Warrnambool on Thursday night.
It was also a case of Peckham and Warrnambool owner Noel Mugavin combining for further success at Tara Raceway on the back of Rose Ali who won five races in the first three months of this year prior to being sold to Queensland connections.
Meanwhile, Sweet On Me, a January 2018 whelping, gives the impression that she’ll be better suited over more ground and should be well placed in February’s Summer Classic, a 512 metre event for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2018.
Rose Ali ran second in this year’s Summer Classic final to Banjo Bad Boy after finishing third in a heat behind subsequent Mount Gambier Cup winner Galactic Athena.
Thursday regular Wade Green, of Rockbank, brought up his 36th winner at Tara Raceway this year when Fried White Bait overcame a slow start from box eight to storm home and grab Go Taylah in the shadows of the post for a nose win in the Swallow Drive Meats Stake (400 m) in 23.72 seconds.
Probably of most interest as far as Fried White Bait is concerned is his sire Bobniak, who was whelped 24 years ago but through the wonders of modern science sired this litter after Melos Girlfriend had been inseminated in April 2017.
Bobniak, by the imported Farloe Melody out of Paris Match, was the 1997 NSW Greyhound of the Year. All told, he raced on only 19 occasions for 16 wins prior to being retired to stud.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Former boom youngster Smart Knocka, winner of last year’s Winter Classic at Tara Raceway and the Adelaide Cup Consolation at Angle Park, will return to Tara Raceway for the first time in 13 months to take on a heat of Sunday’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 metres).
Raced by Tracie Price in partnership with the Haines family of WA and trained by the former at Compton, Smart Knocka last raced in Mount Gambier in November last year when defeating Springvale Alysa over 512 metres in a best of day 29.72 seconds.
Subsequently a winner at the end of January over 450 metres at Ballarat in a best of night 25.20 seconds, the son of Knocka Norris x Who’s Doing What was then sidelined by injury until winning first-up at Horsham in October over 410 metres.
Smart Knocka, who finished unplaced in a heat of the Ballarat Cup (450 m) last Saturday night, has drawn box six in a the second of two heats of the Christmas Cup and will clash with last year’s winner Hutch (box five), another greyhound on the comeback trail.
Trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, Hutch ran Wanchai Express to a length at Tara Raceway last Sunday, the long-time trainer looking to hold a strong hand in the cup after Rotate, who has drawn box two in the first heat, won impressively on the same day.
Price also has three well-bred littermates – High Fly Dorothy, Rocketline and Tandiki – stepping out for the first time in heats of the Peter Whitehead Memorial Maiden (400 m).
By Peter Rocket, who sired his first Tara Raceway winner last Thursday when Magnet Force was successful, the trio is out of the well-bred Headline (Barcia Bale x Raya Riot), a winner of 16 races on Victorian tracks.
And Portland trainer Nifty Lenehan has a couple of interesting littermates in Hostile Savage and Hostile Raven lining up for the first time in heats of the memorial – the December 2017 pair by Hostile out of Sweet Savage, a daughter of prolific producer Rustic Reeta.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Following Greyhound Racing SA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson’s consultation with owners and trainers at Tara Raceway last Thursday, further time-graded changes will now be trialled at Tara Raceway in January.
Currently, for the Thursday time-graded fixtures greyhounds are grouped subject to race wins – Maiden 0 wins, Novice 1-4 wins and Open 5+ wins – with the non-penalty events graded “worst to best”.
However, the meetings on January 9 and 23, while still retaining the current grouping procedure, will be graded “best to worst” which, according to Mathieson, would cater for a different mix of greyhounds.
“One of the problems we seem to be running into with Thursday time-graded racing in Mount Gambier is that the same greyhounds – win, lose or draw – seem to be going around most weeks while some of the ‘middle of the road’ dogs are missing out on Thursday and Sunday,” he said.
“What we are proposing is the grading of greyhounds that are time-rated 5 or more while those with a rating of 4.75 or less, in other words the better dogs, will not be considered but will be guaranteed a run at the following Sunday meeting.”
Mathieson also said that another advantage of grading “best to worst” was that all races (generally 12) could then include reserves – not the case when grading “worst to best”.
Five time-graded meetings will be run at Tara Raceway next month, the other three, on January 2, 16 and 30, to be graded under the current system.
Tuesday, December 10, 2019
It was a big day for long-time Mount Gambier greyhound racing identity Michael Robinson after the April 2018 Dyna Double One x Miss Freelove littermates Vossy and Perseverance were successful at last Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting.
Vossy, trained at Compton by the breeder, Tracie Price, for Robinson and fellow local owner Willie Vossen, was having her first race start when lining up from box one in the Fairthorne Forestry Maiden Stake (400 metres).
And the fawn bitch handled herself pretty well, quickly shaking off Miss Classique before running away to a 3½ lengths win in a slick 23.19 seconds – a time that possibly surprised even her connections.
The win also presented Price and the owners with an extra $1000 to supplement the $610 first prize, the SA-Bred maiden bonus being shared between the breeder and owners.
Robinson’s first involvement with greyhounds goes back to 1976 and a dog called Habba’s Pride while Vossen’s first dog was Kate’s Hope in 1985 although it wasn’t until early 2015 that the pair joined forces and purchased a pup from Price.
“We took a fancy straight away to a black bitch pup by Bekim Bale out of Lucy’s Moment and between 2016 and 2018 she raced on 67 occasions as Bekim Lucy’s, winning 11 races including one over the distance (731 m) at Angle Park,” Robinson said.
Then, back in early 2018, the pair was out at Compton, once again looking at pups and in particular a litter out of a bitch called Miss Freelove.
“A mad chaser and beautifully bred (Smooth Fancy x Casey’s Angel), she’d won one race at Cannington and three at Mandurah but from all accounts had been lucky to race at all after sustaining severe injuries as a pup in a yard accident,” Robinson said.
“Willie liked this fawn bitch (later to race as Vossy) and I was agreeable to go in with him although there was a black bitch pup that really took my fancy, mainly because her markings were similar to those of Bekim Lucy’s.
“And while Willie was quite happy to settle for the fawn pup I wanted that black one right or wrong so in the end I purchased her myself for $2000.”
Now racing as Perseverance, and trained for Robinson at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, the black bitch lined up from box eight in the Produce Store Grade Five final (512 m), looking to add to her record of three wins from 12 starts at the track.
But she generally makes it hard for herself. Another slow start saw her last early and with still a fair amount of work to do at the half-way mark. She has a fair sort of motor, though, as borne out by her eventual three lengths win in 29.76 seconds – a time that definitely would have surprised connections.
Meanwhile, Miss Freelove, a litter sister to other winning producers in Miss Betsy and Someday Lady, whelped her second litter on November 13, this time to Mepunga Blazer who is attracting plenty of attention from breeders.
And what’s the betting that it won’t be long before Robinson and Vossen are out at Compton again, checking out the four dogs and four bitches?
Sunday, December 8, 2019
Mortlake trainer Peter Franklin and his trusty sidekick John Gale, of Ballarat, were back on Thursday for Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting with what looks to be a promising type in Montaya.
Bred in the purple, the 31½ kilogram black bitch is by Barcia Bale out of Blonde Caviar’s second and final litter – her first, by Bella Infrared, producing former Tara Raceway 600 metre record holder McIvor Verna.
Selected as a pup by Gale’s granddaughter, Victorian state basketballer Taya Chisholm – hence the “taya” tag in the racing name – Montaya became the first of the litter to race when lining up from box five in the Winningformula.net.au Stake (400 m).
And following a moderate start and early interference, she was left with a bit of work to do as another big bitch in Elle Limes bowled along in front, looking to open her winning account at start number two.
But turning for home, Montaya took the inside running before going on to a strong 2¾ lengths win – perhaps not all that surprising given that Blonde Caviar had been a winner at The Meadows over 600 metres and at Horsham (570 m) – in an impressive 23.44 seconds.
The winner is raced by the Mojito Syndicate which is managed by Gale and also includes Franklin and Damien Walter of Bendigo. And wouldn’t they love to be associated with another Mojito Mayhem?
Speaking after the race, Gale, who now has Blonde Caviar as a pet, said it hadn’t been all plain sailing with Montaya who he described as a dog that was not fazed by anything.
“About six months ago we were having a few doubts about her future due to some metacarpal problems but hopefully that is all behind her. We’re hoping that she can now go on to bigger and better things.”
Later in the day, Josh McDonald, of Murtoa, won his first race at Tara Raceway when Magnet Force held out a fast-finishing Roswitha Girl in The Border Watch Stake (400 m) to win by a neck in 23.57 seconds.
McDonald purchased Magnet Force, a daughter of Peter Rocket and Maisy Mac (a litter sister to the Group 1-winning Zambora Brockie), as a pup from Dennington breeder Ray Drew.
Part of the winner’s prizemoney will now go to Beyond Blue, an organisation raising awareness of men’s mental health.
Things got even better for McDonald come race eight, the Rock’s Retreat Stake (512 m), when Lilly An’ Page overcame interference down the back straight to go on for a powerful two lengths win over Just Kenny in 30.37 seconds.
This was only the third start for McDonald with the daughter of Deville x Nubian Princess, the black bitch having previously experienced issues at Horsham and Warrnambool but obviously enjoying racing behind Tara Raceway’s finish-on lure.
Saturday, December 7, 2019
It took a while – several years in fact – but the Border Challenge finally kicked off at Warrnambool on Thursday night.
This was a joint venture of the Warrnambool and Mount Gambier greyhound racing clubs, the host club’s president Mick White and manager Craig Monigatti making the visitors most welcome. Greyhound Racing SA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson had also thrown his support behind the series, describing it as a great concept.
The concept had been to run heats – with some restrictions applied – at both tracks with four greyhounds from each club then lining up in a $4000-to-the-winner final over 450 metres.
However, Mount Gambier suffered an early setback when Galactic Titan had been scratched, leaving the club with three finalists – Wanchai Express (Nicole Stanley), Galactic Mojo (Steve Bartholomew) and Flash Jackie (David Peckham).
The host club supplied the favourite, the Phil Lenehan owned and trained Lektra Fireball, and he was always going to be hard to beat from box two after a stirring win over Adam Richardson’s Super Panda in a heat the previous week.
But it was the Ray Drew trained Aston Sultan who led into the home straight of the Border Challenge final before Super Panda took over running and looked set to turn the tables on Lektra Fireball who was finishing strongly after peeling to the outside turning for home.
Lektra Fireball is bred to run a strong 450 metres, being by former Group 1 distance dog Destini Fireball out of Lektra Angie (a daughter of Elektra), and he just kept coming, eventually grabbing victory by the narrowest of margins in 25.48 seconds.
Super Panda once again was gallant in defeat while Aston Sultan gave it his best shot when running a 1½ length third. Best of the Mount Gambier runners was Wanchai Express who was far from disgraced when finishing fourth.
From the clubs’ point of view the inaugural Border Challenge had gone well, Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president Noel Perry congratulating Warrnambool on the staging of this year’s inaugural event and saying that he looked forward to next year’s running at Tara Raceway.