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Saturday, March 28, 2020
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club could be back racing at Tara Raceway on Thursday week (April 9), albeit with a reduced number of races.
This follows a phone hook-up meeting yesterday between Greyhound Racing SA and industry participants from around the state, including MGGRC club manager Barry Shepheard and president Noel Perry to discuss further strategies in response to the COVID-19 virus and canine gastroenteritis.
Speaking after the meeting, Perry said it was the club’s aim to try and keep racing at least once a week while virus and border restrictions were in place.
“In view of everything that’s going on at the moment the racing schedule will obviously open up and the provision will be there to move meetings around,” he said.
“Our club wants to continue to put on a show and with no current exemption for western Victorian trainers to cross the border to race their greyhounds it’s quite feasible that we could be running eight-race programs.
“With several of the larger kennels in the district likely to be back racing shortly after being hit with canine gastroenteritis, we’re hopeful of being able to manage with the local dogs we’ve got and run a weekly meeting.
“Mount Gambier greyhound meetings are all about scheduling, GRSA Chief Financial Officer Gavin Bosch reporting that Thursday turnover at Tara Raceway meetings was something like 20 per cent higher than Sunday.
“With this in mind we’re looking to try and run a weekly Thursday graded meeting until such time as things ‘get back to normal’ and we’re able to switch back to racing twice a week on Thursday (time-graded) and Sunday.”
Also discussed during the hook-up was the flattening of prizemoney at all tracks which would see the scaling down from first place to a minimum payment for last.
And any country cup scheduled prior to June 30 this year will be cancelled (rather than postponed), meaning for the first time in 40 years the Mount Gambier Cup will not be run.
Meanwhile, the Ross Schurgott-managed Nineofus Syndicate landed its second treble this year when Silent Jacko, together with littermates Sweet On Me and Call Me Billy, all displayed plenty of early pace to win at Murray Bridge on Friday for Allendale East trainer David Peckham.
The syndicate’s last treble had been at Tara Raceway in February when Our Man Zed, Sweet On Me and Silent Jacko had been successful for Peckham – Friday’s wins the first for the leading local trainer at Murray Bridge.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Even though leading local trainer David Peckham, of Allendale East’s Bourne Kennels, nominated 17 greyhounds for Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting it wasn’t enough for the meeting to proceed.
This was the second Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club meeting to be cancelled in the past three weeks due in part to the canine gastroenteritis outbreak and more recently coronavirus-related border closures.
Peckham, who had 13 runners for four winners at last Sunday’s 11-race meeting, said Tara Raceway would always receive his full support.
“All of us who are involved in greyhound racing in the region need to throw our support behind the MGGRC in order that the sport can return as quickly as possible to how it was prior to the virus outbreaks when we were running two meetings a week at Tara Raceway,” he said.
With the Murray Bridge Greyhound Racing Club extending nominations until Tuesday for Friday’s meeting, Peckham was able to implement an either/or clause on his nomination forms in the likelihood of Mount Gambier not conducting a meeting this Sunday.
“I looked at Murray Bridge as a second preference with a few of my better dogs but when there was no announcement regarding the extending of nominations at Mount Gambier I thought the meeting was going ahead.
“That wasn’t to be, though, an announcement coming out later in the day to say the Mount Gambier meeting had been cancelled due to a lack of nominations. In the end, I found myself with nine runners at Murray Bridge on Friday,” he said.
Friday’s runners include his winners from last Sunday – Bourne Blackjack, Dyna Alistair, Dyna Carnie and Call Me Billy – along with Our Man Zed, Sweet On Me, Silent Jacko, Squishy Pea and Fabs You Go.
And as far as Peckham is concerned, he’ll be hoping for a case of third time lucky at the Murray Bridge track when he attempts to open his winning account with what appears to be a very strong line-up.
Meanwhile, with news filtering through last Sunday of the forthcoming Tuesday border closure, several Victorian trainers went out on a winning note, including Tara Raceway regulars Robert Halliday and Kevin Ward.
Conductor, raced by Mark Morrissey of Junortoun, was having his first race start for Halliday after joining his litter brothers Rotate and Local Brew – winners of six races and three races respectively – at the trainer’s Portland kennels last month.
And the Halliday-bred son of General Destini x Guru Doll never looked in any danger of defeat when leading all the way in the Winningformula.net.au Maiden Stake (400 metres) to defeat Crackerjack Jaws by five lengths in 23.70 seconds.
General Destini was a litter brother to Destini Fireball, the sire of later winner Akuma Fireball, while Guru Doll is a litter sister to 2013 SA Oaks winner Kokoda Spirit and former Tara Raceway 400 metre record holder Star Doll.
Mount Moriac-based Ward brought up his second win this month at Tara Raceway with Go Rosie who came from a fair way back in last Sunday’s Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m) to defeat Black Moscato by three-quarters of a length in 23.60 seconds.
A giveaway greyhound after winning a maiden at Warrnambool last December, Go Rosie is by Cosmic Rumble out of Mepunga Rosie, a winner of 17 races and more than $125,000 in stakemoney.
Whelped in September 2017, Go Rosie is a member of a pretty handy litter that includes Mepunga Isla (7 wins, $24,000 in stakemoney), Driftin’ Away (10, $44,000) and Mepunga Maggie (11, $54,000).
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Not surprisingly, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s meeting set down for Sunday (March 29) at Tara Raceway has been cancelled due to a lack of nominations.
This follows the SA State Government’s announcement this week regarding cross border movement which means Greyhound Racing SA is currently unable to accept nominations from interstate trainers for any forthcoming race meetings.
Immediately, this has impacted on racing at Mount Gambier which historically has relied upon a large percentage of Victorian trainers bringing their greyhounds to Tara Raceway for both Thursday and Sunday race meetings.
However, impacted Victorian participants will be able to continue to race in their state, having access to the relatively close tracks of Warrnambool, Horsham and Ballarat.
GRSA Racing Manager Shaun Mathieson said the SA State Government had also stated that there would be some exemptions from the cross border restrictions.
“Residents who live near the border and make frequent crossings for essential goods and services can be classified as exempt.
“So, if an interstate trainer can gain specific exemption from the SA Government to race his or her greyhounds in SA during the coronavirus cross border movement ban, then GRSA will accept their nominations subject to the appropriate documentation being presented by the trainer.
“GRSA, on behalf of these interstate trainers, has sought clarification about specific exemption and we’ll update participants when we receive information,” he said.
Mathieson also said GRSA would continue to program Sunday meetings at Mount Gambier but understood those meetings were likely to struggle for nominations with only SA trainers currently eligible.
“In support of local trainers affected by Mount Gambier not racing on Sundays, GRSA will immediately introduce the Remote Trainer’s Fee of $75 to assist GRSA trainers whose registered premises are located more than 150 kilometres from their nearest accessible race track.”
Further to on-track attendance at all current SA greyhound meetings is this week’s announcement that until further notice only licensed trainers with greyhounds engaged, catchers and essential staff will be granted access.
Meanwhile, Greyhound Racing NSW this week announced a temporary closure of 70 per cent of racing venues across the state and the lock down of seven strategically selected zoned regions outside of Sydney.
Participants will be able to race only in their zoned region at one of the following tracks: Bathurst, Bulli, Dapto, Dubbo, Richmond, Grafton, The Gardens (Newcastle), Goulburn, Gunnedah and Wagga.
Racing will cease at Wentworth Park for the immediate future to avoid any exposure to metropolitan Sydney with GRNSW working on staging approximately 15 meetings a week across the designated venues.
No more than 50 participants will be allowed at a given venue at any one time and no interstate greyhounds or trainers will be permitted to race in NSW.
And in New Zealand, all three codes will cease racing for at least the next 28 days.
Monday, March 23, 2020
The coronavirus restricted attendance sign at the Tara Raceway greyhound track entrance said it all – until further notice only essential staff and licensed participants and catchers will be permitted entry at race meetings.
And it certainly was a desolate Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon that gave an impression of bleak emptiness. More like one of those non-betting picnic meetings conducted all those years ago prior to the introduction of legalised greyhound racing when all the winners received a bag of kibble.
For all intents and purposes there was to be no catering at any of the SA restricted attendance greyhound meetings although Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president Noel Perry had been keen to have something on hand for trainers making the long trip to Mount Gambier.
As such, Perry, who later in the day was rewarded with an overdue win with Our Menace in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 metres), attended to the travelling trainers’ needs – along with committee members Jude Tait and Scott Blacksell – with a much-appreciated barbecue.
Six Victorian trainers – Robert Halliday, Kevin Ward, Cap Abbott, Andy Graham, Kevin Mugavin and Tom Cryer – were successful at Sunday’s meeting, the over-the-border influence once again highlighted at Tara Raceway.
With news later filtering through that SA would be closing its borders tomorrow in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, from a South-East greyhound racing point of view another testing week is on the cards.
Meanwhile, leading trainer David Peckham, of Allendale East, took the honours at Sunday’s 11-race program with Dyna Alistair, Bourne Blackjack, Call Me Billy and Dyna Carnie – his third bag of four this year and taking his number of winners in 2020 at Tara Raceway to 36.
Four-year-old Dyna Alistair, a son of Kelsos Fusileer x Xylia Allen, had yet to win at Tara Raceway over 512 metres but the black dog never looked in any danger of defeat in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake when defeating Black Spring by seven lengths in 30.00 seconds.
And litter brother Dyna Carnie brought up a litter double for owners Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman when leading all the way in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Mixed Stake (512 m) to defeat kennelmate Squishy Pea by 4¾ lengths in a best of day 29.60 seconds.
Another four-year-old in Bourne Blackjack, also owned by Peckham, led all the way in the Greg Martlew Autos Mixed Stake (400 m), defeating kennelmate Missing Mate by three lengths in 23.42 seconds.
Now a winner of three races at Tara Raceway this year, Bourne Blackjack is a son of Barcia Bale out of Striking Viking, a winner of 14 races at the local track and the inaugural 600 metre record holder at 35.38 seconds.
Call Me Billy, a Summer Classic heat winner last month and third in the final behind his litter sister Sweet On Me, found the going a bit easier in Sunday’s JB Irrigation Stake (400 m) after an unplaced run in a recent heat of the Murray Bridge Cup (455 m).
A long odds-on favourite, the son of Barcia Bale x Call Me Gee took the lead off the back and despite using plenty of the track in the run home was too good for Push Start by 3¾ lengths in 23.45 seconds.
Portland trainer Andy Graham enjoyed a change of luck in the Rock’s Tavern Stake (400 m) when Akuma Fireball finished strongly to defeat Coffey Road and Fabs You Go by a nose in 23.68 seconds.
The win, which resulted in Akuma Fireball maintaining a one point lead over Dyna Carnie in the Greyhound of the Year, came after earlier in the day the Graham-trained Kohli Bay had narrowly gone down by a head to Our Menace and Clyde Jakit in a time of 23.72 seconds.
Once again, there will be no racing at Tara Raceway this Thursday, the next meeting programmed for Sunday (March 29).
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
It was an interesting week for local greyhound racing. First it was the fast-approaching time-honoured Mount Gambier Cup that found itself moved to late May/early June once the effects of canine gastroenteritis and the coronavirus took hold.
And for the first time in more than two years there was no racing last Sunday at Tara Raceway after nominations fell short due to the canine virus.
Then, on Wednesday the opening of the Tara Raceway kennel house by the Hon. Corey Wingard, Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, was cancelled as was the following day’s time-graded meeting.
This Sunday’s meeting held up, though, 11 races programmed but to be run with restricted attendance after Greyhound Racing SA this week determined that all SA greyhound meetings for the time being would be attended only by licensed participants with greyhounds engaged at the meeting, catchers and essential staff.
While there will be no tote in operation, there will be catering and bar facilities on course.
The postponement of the Bourne Kennels Mount Gambier Cup will work in favour of some and perhaps disadvantage others – depending on how their greyhounds are travelling at the time.
In what should be a terrific contest, let’s hope that the five greyhounds – Rotate, Dyna Carnie, Silent Jacko, Spring Value and Squishy Pea – lining up in Sunday’s Winmore Greyhound Kennels Mixed Stake (512 metres) are still at the top of their game come the end of May.
For all that, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s decision to delay the running of the cup surely was the correct one given what’s going on at the moment.
Meanwhile, after a couple of months’ delay, Kongorong trainer John Little finally has his 23 kilogram first starter Velocity Luna into a race, the daughter of Zambora Brockie and Velocity Shirl drawing box one in Sunday’s Winningformula.net.au Maiden Stake (400 m).
Picked up off Greyhound-Data by Little for the Bungaloo Syndicate, the black November 2017 bitch is a member of a handy litter that includes Group 3 winner Velocity Bettina who has won 10 races from 22 starts for $89,000 in stakemoney.
Little also reports that he recently purchased via an on-line auction a straw to the former top stayer Forty Twenty, a son of Big Daddy Cool and Westend Kaitlyn.
A winner in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, WA and SA, the white and black dog went around on 79 occasions for 37 wins and 24 minor placings for stakemoney of $182,000.
Forty Twenty has sired only two litters – some handy types coming out of Bree The Weapon while Gunnadoo Swinger’s litter is yet to race.
With 13 runners at Sunday’s meeting, leading trainer David Peckham, of Allendale East, looks set for another big day – six winners his best-ever effort on February 16 this year.
He looks to hold a strong hand with Dyna Carnie, Silent Jacko and Squishy Pea in the main race while box one runner Fabs You Go is drawn to run another big race in the Rock’s Tavern Stake (400 m).
The Peckham-trained Missing Mate, chasing his first win in two months, gets his chance from box eight in the Greg Martlew Autos Mixed Stake (400 m) as does Call Me Billy, returning to his home track after two unplaced runs at Murray Bridge.
And Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott, currently sitting in third spot on the leading trainers’ list, will be hoping his 2019 Greyhound of the Year Black Spring can open his 2020 winning account when he takes on a grade five field in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (512 m).
Black Spring, a winner of 18 races, looks more suited by the six-dog field than the distance, with the one to beat being another Peckham-trained runner in Dyna Alistair who will be chasing his third successive win.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Greyhound racing returns to Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon but with restrictions in place that mean only essential staff and licensed participants with runners engaged and catchers will be permitted entry to the track.
These restrictions, which came into effect this week, will apply to all SA greyhound tracks until further notice.
Matt Corby, Greyhound Racing SA Chief Executive Officer, said that the move was a direct effort to protect the wellbeing of industry participants, staff and the general public from contracting the coronavirus.
“Greyhound Racing Victoria and Greyhound Racing WA this week implemented a policy of limiting attendance at all race meetings.
“We believe it is now time to follow suit and place the same attendance restriction on all SA greyhound racing tracks.
“And it goes without saying that GRSA appreciates the acceptance of these measures by all participants and supporters of greyhound racing in SA.”
While catering and bar facilities will be available at Sunday’s meeting there will be no on-course TAB in operation.
Meanwhile, Tara Raceway time-graded meetings programmed for today and next Thursday (March 26) have been cancelled.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Shanlyn Georgie, who went down narrowly to Silent Jacko at Tara Raceway in early January, made amends last week when Longwarry greyhound trainer Nicole Lund returned for the time-graded meeting.
Backed in from $2 to $1.40, Shanlyn Georgie did give her backers an early scare, though, after an ordinary start from box seven in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (400 metres).
However, the black bitch experienced little difficulty in finding the front down the back straight before finishing the race off strongly for a six length win over kennelmate Tibby Shore in 23.14 seconds – one of the faster times of the day.
For Lund, involved in the sport virtually all her life, this was her fourth win with the Shannon and Lyn Larsen owned Shanlyn Georgie – at Longwarry since last December and previously successful for her at Warrnambool and Ballarat.
Boasting a more than handy overall record of 14 wins, 32 minor placings and close to $50,000 in stakemoney, Shanlyn Georgie is by Fabregas out of Shanlyn Flossy, a granddaughter of Shanlyn Maddy.
Shanlyn Maddy when mated with Token Prince back in 2005 produced Shanlyn Prince, winner of the 2007 Melbourne Cup. He was part-owned by Shannon Larsen’s late father, Robert.
Tibby Shore, engaged at Warrnambool on Thursday night after making up plenty of ground last week behind Shanlyn Georgie, is another nicely-bred dog, being by Kinloch Brae out of Betty Baker, a member of the successful Barcia Bale x Raya Riot litter.
A winner of 11 Victorian provincial races, Betty Baker is a litter sister to Headline, the dam of promising local youngsters Tandiki and Rocketline.
Saturday, March 14, 2020
These days, you never know who’s going to bob up at a Tara Raceway time-graded meeting.
Take last Thursday, for instance. Local greyhound and pacing identity Ken Feltus, previously at the track nine months ago (for racing purposes) with Quick Sensation, was back with the same dog to contest the Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 m).
Quick Sensation is the well-bred son of Bombastic Shiraz and Smashing Amy – a granddaughter of the legendary Flying Amy – that Feltus, together with Michael and Norma Juda, picked up off Greyhound-Data back in May 2017 after a provincial win at The Meadows.
At the time it looked to be fair sort of purchase but soon after arriving in Mount Gambier the black dog came down with salmonella poisoning – on the drip for a week and a touch and go proposition, according to Feltus.
Quick Sensation did return to the track, subsequently winning five races for the trio – his last one at Tara Raceway in January 2019 before a shoulder injury sustained in a race in June prompted Feltus to virtually retire the then five-year-old.
“We’d take him for walks but basically he was just free ranging around the back yard, although he gave the impression he still wanted to run,” he said.
“In the end I decided to put him back in work, giving him a month or so of solid galloping as a lead-up to a satisfactory trial which he was required to run because he’d been off the scene for more than six months.
“And when he went around in 23.53 seconds (400 m) I figured he was probably still capable of winning another race or two at Tara Raceway.”
So, by now a rising six-year-old – they’re rarely still going around the track at that age – Quick Sensation lined up last Thursday from box five, quickly finding the front and then holding out Cougar Icon to win by 1¼ lengths in 23.57 seconds.
“I thought he would win if he could cross them,” Feltus said. “That’s how the race panned out and believe me I’m more than happy with the win.”
Meanwhile, brood bitch Lots Of Yap took her number of winners at Tara Raceway this year to 11 – two clear of Bonnie’s Secret on the leading dams’ list – after Lots Of Nitro opened his winning account in the Winningformula.net.au Maiden Stake (400 m).
On the back of three previous unplaced runs at Tara Raceway and Warrnambool, the Ben Boers trained son of Nitro Burst quickly rounded up early leader Serendipity Luck down the back before going on to an eight length win over that greyhound in 23.31 seconds.
Six of the seven May 2018 youngsters have now won, the Portland trainer previously successful with Burst Of Yap and Nitro Yap and believing that last Thursday’s winner could well develop into the best of the litter.
“He showed good early dash when being broken-in and while he had been well beaten at his first three starts all he needed was a clear run to show what he is capable of,” said Boers, who also trained Lots Of Yap, winner of the 2015 Mount Gambier Cup.
It turned out to be a busy day for Boers who that night had Burst Of Yap and Nitro Yap engaged at Warrnambool, the latter running a good third over 450 metres as did litter sister Bay Me, trained by Andy Graham, also of Portland.
Friday, March 13, 2020
A change of dates for this year’s Mount Gambier Cup series, originally scheduled to commence at Tara Raceway on Sunday, March 29, were released today.
This follows a response to the Greyhound Racing SA release earlier this week in relation to the Canine Gastroenteritis that is affecting participation in the South East.
In view of subsequent current restrictions that have been imposed, GRSA, following consultation with the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, opted to move the Group Listed Bourne Kennels Mount Gambier Cup series to late May/early June.
The Calcutta will now be conducted at Tara Raceway on the Saturday night of May 30 with the cup heats (512 metres) and Produce Store Feature Maiden heats (512 m) run on Sunday, May 31.
The finals of these two events will be run on Sunday, June 7 along with the one-off Tankman 600 Open (600 m) and the Formula 400 Open (400 m). Also conducted on this day will be the Mount Gambier Cup Committee Consolation.