THURSDAY, JUNE 4: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, JUNE 11: Nominations close at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 9 with GRSA. SATISFACTORY TRIALS: For bookings please contact Barry Shepheard on 0419 824 512.
PLEASE NOTE: UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE THERE WILL BE RESTRICTED ATTENDANCE AT ALL TARA RACEWAY MEETINGS. ONLY LICENSED PARTICIPANTS WITH GREYHOUNDS ENGAGED, CATCHERS AND ESSENTIAL STAFF WILL BE PERMITTED ENTRY. NO TAB AND NO CATERING ON TRACK.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
It was on Sunday, July 29, 2012 that the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club introduced racing behind the finish-on lure (FOL) at Tara Raceway – Hoop’s Tavern winning the first race for local trainer Connie Miller.
This followed a vote which resulted in club members pretty well split down the middle when it came to retaining the traditional catching pen or switching to the finish-on system which allowed greyhounds at the end of a race to catch a dummy lure. For many, obviously old habits die hard.
The decision to adopt the finish-on format in Mount Gambier brought the club into line with Angle Park and Gawler although Adelaide trainers later successfully lobbied for the catching pen to be re-introduced at Angle Park.
While Mount Gambier and Gawler still race behind the FOL, the majority of Australian tracks continue to conduct racing with a catching pen. Albion Park in Queensland tried the finish-on system but reverted to the catching pen.
A couple of exceptions are Geelong, currently racing behind the FOL, while NSW club Richmond conducted Sunday FOL meetings pre-COVID-19 and from all accounts received strong nominations.
Granted, for those watching a race on track the catching procedure can appear a little disorganised with greyhounds and catchers congregating around the lure.
But for all that, it’s probably fair to say that Mount Gambier’s decision to make the change to its catching procedure has resulted in turning around the fortunes of a number of greyhounds that had previously copped marring or failing to chase suspensions at non-FOL tracks.
There was a time when many Australian greyhounds with questionable traits turned their careers around after finding their way to New Zealand where the FOL is used exclusively.
A case in point is a greyhound called Platinum Marshal, purchased as a pup from Victoria by an Adelaide syndicate of five, only to be later hit by the realisation after breaking-in well that he had no real inclination to be a racing dog.
As a last resort they decided to send him to race in New Zealand – certainly not a cheap exercise – where he never put a foot wrong, racing on 99 occasions for 25 wins, 37 minor placings and close to $60,000 in stakemoney.
Eight years on, though, and not a lot has changed from a participant point of view at Tara Raceway – or any other Australian track it would seem. Some remain in favour of the FOL while others are still against it.
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
With three doubles in as many weeks at Tara Raceway, Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell will be hoping the good run continues at Thursday’s meeting.
Fennell is back with a team of nine after a “waterbag” trip to Gawler last Friday with Perseverance and her owner Michael Robinson.
Perseverance was at the northern track for the first time, facing a tough task when running into Boom Down, a winner of close to $300,000 in stakemoney and looking well placed in the Grade 5/6 event over 643 metres.
In the end it was Boom Down who scored a comfortable win for leading Adelaide trainer Ben Rawlings – Perseverance having no luck in the run after being very slowly away but better for the experience.
The daughter of Dyna Double One x Miss Freelove – a winner of two Tara Raceway 600 metre events from box eight during May – should find Thursday’s JB Irrigation Mixed Stake (600 m) more to her liking when she once again jumps from the outside.
Fennell, who has also taken over the training of several Victorian-owned greyhounds that were unable to regularly commute to Tara Raceway due to the border closure, was successful recently with Saint Maddie and Saint Tess.
Another of his Victorian visitors in Fernando Deeds, after two consecutive seconds, looks a top chance from box two in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m).
With 16 wins, 15 seconds and 28 thirds this year, Fennell sits in third spot behind David Peckham and Tracie Price in the Ian Badger Leading Trainer Award while Perseverance’s five wins has her placed second behind Squishy Pea.
Rooster, another Victorian-owned greyhound, currently trained at Allendale East by David Peckham, appears well-suited in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (512 m) and gets his chance to break back into the winner’s list for Cape Bridgewater owner Scott Blacksell.
Sunday, May 31, 2020
Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield enjoyed his best day at Tara Raceway in more than 12 months when Fab Six and Rouse Rocket bookended last Thursday’s meeting with wins in the Progreyhoundtips.com Maiden Stake (400 m) and the Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (600 m).
It was on April 21 last year – the day that David Peckham’s Pirate’s Curse ran a 600 metres track record of 34.79 seconds – that Clayfield last came close to training a double after Slipper’s Kin won over 400 metres and Lone Star dead-heated with Cap Abbott’s Big Casey in the Open (512 m).
First starter Fab Six (pictured) handled himself pretty well for a 17-month-old pup having his first run under race conditions when, after always being on the pace, hung on to defeat another first starter in Cairnlea Jeff by a neck in 23.78 seconds.
Raced by Damien Smith of Reynella, Fab Six is by the Group 1-winning Aston Dee Bee out of Majestic Tale, a winner of 16 races at Hobart, Launceston, Devonport, Angle Park, Gawler and Strathalbyn.
Smith, when previously based at Penola, also bred the December 2018 litter of three dogs and seven bitches which were then reared by Clayfield. He retained a black bitch, now racing as Glenville Rose and looking to be a coming winner after running second to Huxley Bale in the following race.
Rouse Rocket (pictured right), whose only previous win had been over 400 metres, stepped up to the middle-distance journey for the first time and at his 13th start surprised when displaying sufficient early pace from box one to be in front with a lap to go.
From then on it was simply a matter of how the 35 kilogram black dog would run out the 600 metre journey. With little difficulty as it turned out, Rouse Rocket doing his best work in the home straight as he ran away to a 7¾ lengths win over Banjo Fozz in the good time of 35.46 seconds.
His win completed a successful few days for the Tracie Price-bred Peter Rocket x Headline litter after brother Burn Time was a nine length winner over 595 metres the previous Sunday at Sandown Park for Pearcedale owner-trainer Lisa Hellmuth.
Sweet On Me gave a good sight for part-owner David Peckham of Allendale East when running a two length second behind Lavish Pedro in track record time of 18.66 seconds in last Wednesday’s Murray Bridge Straight Track Cup final (350 m).
The leading trainer was then back among the winners on Thursday when Huxley Bale (pictured above), after four consecutive minor placings, finally broke through for his first win while Squishy Pea took the outright lead in the Greyhound of the Year when defeating kennelmate Keen One.
Huxley Bale, a son of US sire Dragon Fire (by legendary Australian greyhound Brett Lee out of US bitch Hoops Slamdunk) led all the way from box five in the Metal Worx Maiden Stake (400 m), eventually running out a 2¼ lengths winner in a personal best 23.41 seconds.
And Squishy Pea (right) led all the way from box one in the Trackside Meats Open Stake (400 m), running out a three length winner in a quick 22.92 seconds – the son of Fernando Bale x Secret Spell now leading Perseverance by four points in the GOTY.
Saturday, May 30, 2020
The feel-good story to come out of last Thursday’s greyhound meeting at Tara Raceway had to be that of Tarpeena trainer Dita Mitchell’s big black dog with the unlikely racing name of Bob Square Pants.
He was having his third run back, in race six, the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 metres), after having recently completed a mandatory satisfactory trial due to the length of time he had been away from the track.
Only fairly away from box seven, Bob Square Pants was able to find the front down the back straight before running away to a 3½ lengths win over Fernando Deeds in a more than handy 23.19 seconds – his first victory since July 2019.
The lightly-raced dog’s record currently stands at 16 starts for five wins and eight minor placings. By the end of the year he’ll be five years old, his race debut at Tara Raceway coming at three years of age.
That was back in December 2018 when he led all the way over 400 metres to win by 10¼ lengths in 22.96 seconds – then the second-fastest maiden winner ever behind Wise Stella who had run 22.89 seconds.
At the time Mitchell, over the moon with the win, had said Bob Square Pants had been off the scene due to injury for something like six months and that she hadn’t really expected him to ever race, let alone win in that sort of time.
He followed up with another win at his next start, however by March 2019 he was back on the injured list and off the scene until June. A couple of wins followed in July before a further setback in August resulted in him being sidelined until April this year.
Bob Square Pants is by Banjo Boy out of Jeanie’s Wish, a daughter of Go Wild Jack and maiden bitch Groupie, who was purchased by Mitchell as a five-month-old pup for $100 before winning four races on Victorian tracks.
The win last Thursday continued Mitchell’s good run at Tara Raceway this year – five wins, 11 seconds and 12 thirds resulting in her sneaking into the top 10 trainers’ list.
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Four-year-old grade four greyhound Banjo Fozz, trained at Tarpeena by Dita Mitchell, looks well placed to return to the winner’s circle at Tara Raceway on Thursday when she contests the Klaassens Contractors Grade 4/5 Mixed Stake (600 metres).
A solid second last week behind Perseverance over 600 metres at Tara Raceway, Banjo Fozz’s last win was back in November when she defeated Spinning Jakit in a Mixed 4/5 (600 m) at the local track for owner-trainer David Brodhurst.
With the border currently closed and Brodhurst residing two kilometres east on the Victorian side at Serviceton he opted to place the black bitch with an SA trainer in order that she could continue to race in Mount Gambier.
Mitchell has now raced Banjo Fozz on four occasions with her past three starts resulting in minor placings behind pretty handy local performers Rock It Fernando and Vossy over 512 metres before stepping up in distance last week.
Tipping the scales at a sizeable 31 kilograms and picked up in June last year by Brodhurst for $600 after running second in a maiden at a time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway, she’s now won five races.
Banjo Fozz is by Banjo Boy out of Fire Stricker, a winner of only one race (at Shepparton) from 13 starts, but beautifully bred, being by Bombastic Shiraz out of 21 race winner Tasman Queen who collected $230,000 in stakemoney.
Fire Stricker’s litter also includes handy performers Blur, a winner up the straight at Healesville today, Tat James and Tat Warby who is also racing on Thursday, at Shepparton.
Hardest for Banjo Fozz to beat is probably the Clint Alleway owned Our Airman, trained at Lewiston by Kevin Bewley who is back again with another team of nine after a win last week with Crisis Time, also raced by Alleway.
By the little-known Our Toyman, who has sired nine litters, Our Airman has won only two races – at Ballarat and Bendigo – from 57 starts but has run 19 minor placings. A repeat of a 35.53 seconds effort when finishing third at Angle Park over 600 metres in March should see him right in the mix.
Meanwhile, Moorak owner Robert Chuck reports that littermates Galactic Athena and Galactic Zeus have been transferred to the Lara kennels of David Geall, best known in recent times for his success with Up Hill Jill (38 wins, $884,000) and My Redeemer (25 wins, $682,000).
By Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball, Galactic Athena, who won the 2019 Mount Gambier Cup, strung together four wins for trainer Steve Bartholomew at Tara Raceway during April while Galactic Zeus has raced only once for a 22.91 seconds 400 metre win at Tara Raceway in July last year.
Galactic Mojo, another member of the talented litter, returns to racing on Thursday after a five-month injury break, having last won at Tara Raceway over 512 metres back in November last year when defeating litter brother Galactic Titan in 29.94 seconds.
The brindle bitch, a winner of five races from 13 starts, takes on a fair sort of field in her comeback in the Trackside Meats Open Stake (400 m) – Squishy Pea and Keen One looking two of the hardest to beat.
Chuck had previously been associated with Geall back in 2014-2015 when he trained Galactic Viper for him – the son of Velocette x Magic Elite winning five races on Victorian tracks as well as the 2015 Group 3 Howard Ashton (515 m) at Angle Park.
And how about the effort of New Zealand trainer Lisa Cole and her team at Hatrick last week after Bigtime Bee won the 12th race and resulted in them training the card – the first time the feat has been achieved.
The night also saw the kennel, which had 52 runners, bring up its 700th winner for the current season.
This is obviously some sort of operation with 600 greyhounds – pups, break-ins, racing dogs, breeding stock and retirees – on the property. And with 100 pups recently broken-in, it’s a fair bet the winners will continue to come.
Sunday, May 24, 2020
The decision of connections to place littermates Sweet On Me and Call Me Billy with leading Adelaide greyhound trainer Ben Rawlings of Lewiston paid dividends last Wednesday when the pair won their way through to this week’s inaugural $10,000 Murray Bridge Straight Track Cup final (350 metres).
Sweet On Me, winner of the Summer Classic at Tara Raceway earlier this year, was an easy straight track cup heat winner, clocking a record 18.78 seconds that actually stood for only 18 minutes before Lavish Pedro lowered the time to 18.76 seconds in the following heat.
A winner of 15 races in NSW, Lavish Pedro was having his first SA start for long-time West Croydon participant Richard Stasiak who was associated with a terrific greyhound called Lignite back in the 1970s.
Call Me Billy, a $41 chance, qualified for the final with a hard-fought victory over Danyo’s Sarah in the final heat when clocking 19.03 seconds and in doing so wrapped up a good day for the Barcia Bale x Call Me Gee litter.
Several minutes earlier, at The Meadows in Victoria, litter brother Nadali, owned by the breeder Noel Mugavin of Warrnambool and trained at Lara by Robert Britton, overcame early trouble to score a really good win over 525 metres.
Both Sweet On Me and Call Me Billy were purchased from Mugavin early in their careers – the former now raced by the Adelaide-based Nineofus Syndicate and David Peckham of Allendale East while the syndicate races Call Me Billy in partnership with Jason Newman of Moorak and Peckham.
The pair has drawn boxes three and seven respectively in Wednesday afternoon’s final which can be viewed on Sky Racing or the TAB App.
Following up last Thursday, Peckham continued his successful run as a trainer at Tara Raceway after Squishy Pea, Keen One and Dyna Alistair were winners at the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s 11-race meeting.
Squishy Pea, who is also raced by the Nineofus Syndicate, brought up his sixth win at the track this year when taking over the running from the consistent Raw Luxury turning from home before winning by two lengths in a personal best 22.88 seconds in The Border Watch Open Stake (400 m).
Keen One finished strongly to defeat Fernando Deeds by 1¼ lengths in a time of 23.33 seconds in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (400 m) and gave Tarpeena owner Malcolm Keenan his third win this year with the black dog.
And Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman’s Dyna Alistair also ran a personal best 29.77 seconds in the JB Irrigation Mixed Stake (512 m) when leading all the way to defeat a gallant Dusty Pearl by three lengths.
Saturday, May 23, 2020
For John Little it was a case of Velocity Luna breaking a lengthy run of outs for the Kongorong greyhound trainer when leading all the way last Thursday in the Winningformula.net.au Maiden Stake (400 metres) to defeat Huxley Bale by three lengths in 23.54 seconds.
Little’s win at Tara Raceway’s 11-race meeting was his first since November 7 last year when Springvale Alysa brought up her 22nd success prior to being retired later that month.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with the Queensland-bred Velocity Luna’s breeding, her sire being the Group 1 winning Zambora Brockie while her dam is Velocity Shirl, a Group 3 winner over 600 metres at Albion Park.
A litter sister to Velocity Bettina, a winner of 13 races from 29 starts in Queensland for $110,000 in stakemoney, Velocity Luna was picked up as a giveaway from Darawank in NSW by Little as a ready to race prospect in February.
Her win came at her sixth start at Tara Raceway on the back of a couple of minor placings, Little conceding that the black bitch does have a major hang-up.
“There’s no doubt about her, she certainly has a mind of her own and can be very difficult to walk on the collar and lead,” he said. “In fact, there are times when she digs the toes in and simply refuses to walk. Thankfully, she hasn’t put the brakes on going to the boxes on race day . . . yet!”
Actually, Little went very close to landing a double last Thursday, Renmore chasing Ramified throughout before going down by a head in 23.69 seconds in the Rock’s Tavern Stake (400 m).
And speaking of a lengthy run of outs. Ramified, owned and trained at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, had last won 13 months ago when running a best of day 23.11 seconds (400 m). A week later the black dog suffered a back leg muscle injury and was off the scene for the next seven months.
Now only three runs short of 100 starts, the rising five-year-old was the first leg of a double for Fennell who later in the day was successful in the Swallow Drive Meats Mixed Stake (600 m) with Perseverance.
This was her second impressive middle-distance win in as many weeks at Tara Raceway, the daughter of Dyna Double One x Miss Freelove now sharing the Greyhound of the Year lead with Squishy Pea.
Perseverance’s win was also the start of a couple of good days for local owner Michael Robinson who on Friday was successful at Gawler with litter sister Vossy, raced in partnership with Willie Vossen and now trained at Lewiston by Troy Murray.
The nicely-bred Turn To Fab, after a luckless run behind Vossy at Tara Raceway’s previous meeting, won his first race in four months for the Green Cloth Syndicate and Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield.
Away well from box seven in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (512 m), the black dog quickly settled into second spot behind early leader Super Fay – looking for her third win in as many weeks – before railing up on the home turn and running out a 1½ lengths winner in 30.21 seconds.
By Fabregas, Turn To Fab is out of Mermaid Princess, a winner of 14 races, including three at Tara Raceway in 2015 and a litter sister to Dub Me In who ran a record 29.62 seconds over 512 metres at the track in March 2014.
And Clayfield tells the story of an old mate from Penola who always backs Turn To Fab.
“Seems he had misplaced his glasses when the time came to place the bet, the result being he ended up backing the six in race six instead of the seven in race seven. So he missed out on Turn To Fab’s $6.50 dividend, instead having to settle for a winning ticket on Ramified who paid $34.”
Back at Tara Raceway for the first time since the end of February was Lewiston trainer Kevin Bewley, another one taking advantage of the lifting of restrictions on intra-state travel, and enjoying success early in the day in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m) with Crisis Time.
Having his first start for Bewley, Crisis Time, a maiden winner at Murray Bridge in February, handled himself well for a dog having his first look at the track, leading all the way from box five to defeat a fast-finishing Pa’s Chance by three-quarters of a length in 23.38 seconds.
By Barcia Bale out of 12-race winner Panda Bale’s first litter, Crisis Time is raced by Glenelg schoolteacher Clint Alleway who recently purchased the black dog from Adelaide owner Tim Aloisi.
Panda Bale has since whelped a second litter, this time by Fernando Bale, which is currently being reared at Bourne Kennels at Allendale East.
Clint Trengove, another Lewiston trainer to hit the highway, followed up in the next race, the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m), with a win by Raylene Bale who chased Angelo’s Entity into the home straight before finishing strongly for a half length win in 23.22 seconds.
The dark brindle bitch is owned by Trengove’s nephew, Jack Trengove of Broken Hill, the trainer later saying that Raylene Bale’s previous owner had since been on the phone looking to buy her back after last Thursday’s win.
Trengove, accompanied by wife Shelley and son Harrison, completed a good day when Stitch ‘Em Milli led all the way in the Bourne Kennels Stake (512 m) to defeat the Bewley-trained Lektra Style by three lengths in a quick 29.88 seconds.