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

THURSDAY, JANUARY 30 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, January 28 with GRSA. THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 6 (T/G): Best to worst grading. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, February 3 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. NO TRIALS: Please note there will no trials on Tuesday, February 4 due to track maintenance. SATISFACTORY TRIALS: For bookings please contact Barry Shepheard on 0419 824 512.


Greyhound Editor

Young trainer lands first winner

Friday, January 3, 2020

It’s taken a couple of years but 22-year-old Matt Basto landed his first winner yesterday when Sky Show was successful in the Gambier Vets Maiden Stake (400 metres) at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting.

Based at Manor Lakes – just down the road from Werribee – this was Basto’s third trip to Tara Raceway, Sky Show having put the writing on the wall for her first win when running a promising second at the Boxing Day meeting.

Matt Basto trained his first winner yesterday when Sky Show was successful in the Gambier Vets Maiden Stake (400 m) at Tara Raceway.

And while there’s not a lot of her – 24.3 kilograms at her last weigh-in – the white and black bitch quickly put herself in yesterday’s race with a quick get away from box one, losing the lead down the back to Dodgy Digger before running home strongly to score by a length in 23.61 seconds.

For the young media studies student, the win had made for a better start to the year than 2019 when his giveaway greyhound spent the better part of seven months sidelined due to a broken toe.

“To be honest, when she did return to racing she was finding the going pretty tough on Victorian tracks so late last year we decided to have a try at Mount Gambier. I’m certainly glad we did because the win was a tremendous thrill,” Basto said.

A big thrill also for his travelling companions – sister Lauren who turned 20 yesterday and dad Rod, a former marketing manager at the Glenelg Football Club and Greyhound Racing SA Operations Manager in the early 2000s.

By Destini Fireball out of Lektra Angie – a sub-30 second 512 metres maiden winner at Tara Raceway back in 2012 – Sky Show is a litter sister to Lektra Fireball, winner of last month’s Mount Gambier-Warrnambool Border Challenge and also to Lektra Rainbow a Warrnambool winner last week.

Syndicate purchases littermates with view to forthcoming Tara Raceway feature events

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Sweet On Me, unbeaten at her only four Tara Raceway starts, and litter brother Call Me Billy, a first-up winner at Thursday’s time-graded meeting, have been sold in a package deal for an undisclosed sum by Warrnambool owner Noel Mugavin to the Ross Schurgott-managed Nineofus Syndicate.

From the January 2018 litter by Barcia Bale out of Call Me Gee, Sweet On Me won three 512 metre races at Tara Raceway, all in sub-30 seconds, during December.

Call Me Billy opens his winning account at Tara Raceway on Thursday.

And Call Me Billy overcame a slow start from box seven in Thursday’s Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m) before taking the lead down the back and ultimately running away to a 2½ length win over Pa’s Chance in 30.28 seconds.

The sale now means that the pair will remain at Allendale East with Mount Gambier’s 2019 Ian Badger Leading Trainer of the Year, David Peckham, also a member of the Nineofus Syndicate and certainly relieved that the future of the pair has been shored up.

“Sometimes when a greyhound starts to perform well and it attracts some outside interest you’re just not sure where it’s all going to end. But in the case of Sweet On Me and Call Me Billy we’ll now be able to move forward and map out a plan for them,” Peckham said.

“Everything going to plan we’ll look at next month’s Summer Classic (512 m), an event for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2018, and then follow up with the Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) in March-April.”

Young guns set to fire in 2020

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Early indications are that 2020 could be a big year for greyhound racing in Mount Gambier.

Already, Sweet On Me, a January 2018 daughter of Barcia Bale and Call Me Gee has set the track alight over 512 metres at Tara Raceway, stringing together three wins in December in times of 29.86, 29.78 and 29.67.

Sweet On Me has set the track alight at Tara Raceway.

The black bitch is raced by Warrnambool breeder-owner Noel Mugavin and trained at Allendale East by David Peckham, the pair having combined 12 months ago to win five races at Tara Raceway with Rose Ali prior to her being sold to Rockhampton.

Sweet On Me is one of a number of locally-based young greyhounds able to take advantage of recently-introduced Juvenile racing, Peckham working the grades well by having her in one such race on Sunday – the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake (400 m).

An example as to the definition of a Juvenile greyhound is a January 2018 whelping will remain eligible for that grade until the end of January 2020. However, non-SA bred dogs are permitted to win only two Juveniles while SA bred dogs can win six.

And connections of greyhounds whelped on or after January 1, 2018 are now looking at next month’s Summer Classic (512 m), first run in 2015 and boasting a fair sort of honour roll – Cryer’s Ricky (Tom Cryer), Menzel Boys (Lisa Rasmussen), Hutch (Robert Halliday), Galactic Panther (Steve Bartholomew) and Banjo Bad Boy (Dean Fennell).

Interestingly, Banjo Bad Boy defeated Rose Ali and subsequent Mount Gambier Cup winner Galactic Athena in last year’s final while the previous four classic winners had all reached the Mount Gambier Cup final the following month.

Willie Vossen and Michael Robinson (right) with Tara Raceway Boxing Day winner Tandiki who they purchased as a pup from the Price kennels at Compton. Also pictured are Tracie Price and Jake and Callum.

Local legends Michael Robinson and Willie Vossen have put their faith in the local product and already have reaped some rewards with their purchases of SA bred stock from Tracie and Karen Price of Compton.

Of particular interest is the Price-trained Tandiki, a May 2018 daughter of Peter Rocket and Headline, a bitch with plenty of strength that won over 595 metres at Sandown Park, 600 metres at The Meadows and 660 metres at Ballarat.

Tandiki won her maiden over 400 metres on Boxing Day at Tara Raceway, taking over the running from Banjo Bliss off the back and, despite using plenty of the track, running home strongly to win by 5¾ lengths in a quick 23.10 seconds after posting a first split of 10.86 seconds.

She’ll be back over 400 metres again on Sunday, having drawn box one in the Swallow Drive Meats Stake, while Robinson and Vossen’s Vossy, an April 2018 daughter of Dyna Double One x Miss Freelove, will take on Sweet On Me in the Juvenile.

Vossy’s litter sister Perseverance, owned outright by Robinson and trained at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, is another one that looks well placed from a Summer Classic point of view, the black bitch winning in a best of day 29.76 seconds over 512 metres at Tara Raceway last month.

Connections should get some idea of where they’re at when Perseverance lines up from box two in Sunday’s New Year Open Stake (512 m) and takes on Squishy Pea and Smart Knocka who recently ran the quinella in the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup.

General Max . . . a perfect-aged Summer Classic contender.

The Fennell-trained General Max, a January 2018 whelping and another perfectly-aged classic contender, will also take on Sunday’s Juvenile, the brindle dog now well-seasoned after having raced on 23 occasions for six wins.

Raced by Ebony Janz and Hayden Fennell, the Victorian-bred General Max is by Worm Burner out of Miss Hodge. The couple also races litter brother Beat Max Bazza, a Tara Raceway winner last Sunday and another one to contest this Sunday’s Juvenile.

Black Spring is Tara’s top dog

Monday, December 30, 2019

While Cryer’s Harper recently got to within three points of Black Spring in the 2019 Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year, the award was quickly sorted out at Tara Raceway’s Boxing Day meeting.

It was on this day that Black Spring, owned and trained at Edenhope by Cap Abbott, pulled out a personal best 29.72 seconds when defeating China Catch ‘Em by 6¾ lengths in the Fairthorne Forestry Mixed Stake (512 metres).

Cryer’s Harper didn’t race on Boxing Day so the fact that she would clash with Black Spring at the final meeting of the year on the Sunday had no bearing on the Greyhound of the Year – some interest centring in her step-up in distance.

Black Spring brings up his 13th win for 2019 at Tara Raceway for Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott and in doing so clinches the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year award last Thursday.

The daughter of Spud Regis and Cryer’s Midget had never won over 512 metres – all of her 21 wins coming at 400 metres – her last run over the longer distance being back in July last year.

Not surprisingly, Cryer’s Harper had little trouble in finding the front in the five-dog Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake, opening up a big break down the back before eventually running a three length third behind Nitro Missile and Molly’s Wally, with Black Spring in fourth spot.

By Spring Gun out of Lektra Scarlett, Black Spring raced at Tara Raceway on 34 occasions during 2019 for 13 wins, nine seconds and fourth thirds (74 points) over 512 metres, 600 metres and 732 metres.

Previous GOTY winners in recent years have included 2016 Old Jock (Nicole Stanley), 2017 Fiorelli Rose (Nicole Stanley) and 2018 Paraphernalia (Jeff Guy).

Black Spring, who joined Abbott’s kennels prior to commencing racing in September 2018, was a model of consistency at the local track during 2019, leading the GOTY at the end of April and May before regaining the lead in August and never being headed from that point on.

The leading sire at Tara Raceway during 2019 was Barcia Bale (107 wins) while Cryer’s Midget, with 34 wins, was the track’s leading dam for the second consecutive year – her influence at the track now having spread over the past four years.

Meanwhile, Black Spring and Cryer’s Harper may well clash again in the forthcoming Tara Trackstar No. 2 (512 m), a one-off race to be run on Sunday, January 12 for the best performed eight greyhounds at Tara Raceway during July and December 2019.

Obviously, for a variety of reasons, some legitimate contenders have fallen by the wayside while Apsley trainer Tom Cryer has yet to make a decision on Cryer’s Harper in regard to the Trackstar.

But for all that, more than 400 greyhounds have accumulated Trackstar points at Tara Raceway over the past six months and as such there will be no shortage of contenders for the race which rewards connections who have supported the track over the past six months.

Among those also in contention are Dyna Naitch, Banjo Fozz, General Max, Silent Jacko, Squishy Pea, Zuberi, Rotate, Usain Insane, Close Your Eyes, Danyo’s Cally, Loroupe and Missing Mate.

Connections with greyhounds under consideration for the Trackstar will be contacted this weekend in order to ascertain their intentions. Those interested will be required to nominate for the event.

Tara Raceway – 29/12/2019

Margaret and Tom Cryer, of Apsley, pictured at Tara Raceway’s final meeting of the year on December 29 with Adelaide family members Locke, Yolande and Tarni Pearce.

Heather Perry, of Mount Gambier, celebrated her birthday by winning the Swallow Drive Meats meat tray at Tara Raceway last Sunday, the same day Nitro Missile won the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake for her husband Noel.

Tara Raceway – 26/12/2019

Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell pictured with his designer socks, recently released to coincide with his training of 50 winners at Tara Raceway in 2019.

Greyhound Racing SA chairman Grantley Stevens was on barbecue duty at Tara Raceway’s Boxing Day meeting.

Peckham wraps up big year with week of winners

Sunday, December 29, 2019

With Squishy Pea’s Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup win a week ago, followed by four winners at Thursday’s Boxing Day meeting and then another three at Tara Raceway’s final meeting of the year on Sunday, Allendale East greyhound trainer David Peckham couldn’t have ended the year much better.

Christine Yourgules (Flash Jackie), Melissa Freitag, Jason Newman and David Peckham (Squishy Pea) pictured after the last race for the year at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

All told, 23 doubles, nine trebles, four winners on six occasions and a couple of bags of five at the Mount Gambier track during 2019 went a long way towards him winning the Ian Badger Leading Trainer award with 128 firsts, 101 seconds and 79½ thirds.

For the 45-year-old Peckham, this year’s trainers’ title is his fourth, after consecutive wins in 2012, 2013 and 2014, although this year was his first in which he trained 100 winners.

“That milestone came on Sunday, November 3 when Right Above It won at Tara Raceway. And that really was a great thrill,” he said.

When pressed for highlights of the year, Peckham rated Pirate’s Curse’s 600 metre track record of 34.79 seconds on April 21, the win in the inaugural Tara Trackstar with Flash Jackie and last week’s win with Squishy Pea as three memorable moments.

“To be honest, though, the whole year has gone above and beyond all my expectations. I’m most appreciative of the owners who have got behind me and the kennels. Also I need to pay special thanks to ‘Team Peckham’ – Christine Yourgules, Jason Newman and Melissa Freitag – for their help with the racing team of 20 greyhounds.”

Peckham now has his sights set on the forthcoming Summer Classic as a lead-in to the Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup, the leading trainer, it could be said, having come a fair way since 1990 when he led in his first winner at Glenburnie with Magic Bundy.

Bakali Jet impresses in first-up win

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Bullengarook greyhound Bakali Jet couldn’t have been more impressive than when winning the Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 metres) for owner-trainer Leland Medcraft at Tara Raceway’s Christmas meeting.

Leland Medcraft and Kate Jackson with impressive 400 metre winner Bakali Jet at Tara Raceway on December 22.

Having his first start at the track, the black dog led all the way from box eight to defeat Pack It In by 2¼ lengths in 22.98 seconds, a time that even upstaged a couple of Tara Raceway’s short-course specialists in Cryer’s Harper and Faster Bolt who were successful later in the day.

An April 2017 whelping, Bakali Jet is a member of a handy litter by Collision out of NSW city-winning bitch Ursula, Medcraft picking this one up as a giveaway prior to his first race start back in February when running second at Cranbourne.

Bakali Jet has now raced on nine occasions for five wins and four minor placings, Medcraft saying that he’s the quickest dog he’s had in his 10-year involvement in the sport, however also pointing out that there had been a few hiccups along the way.

“Look, he’s a field-shy sort of dog and he has found himself in a spot of bother at a couple of Victorian tracks which is why I decided on a trip to Tara Raceway,” he said.

“I’d been here before, but not to race, and thought that the finish-on-lure might help him. I also decided to try racing him in blinkers for the first time and everything seemed to go well.”

Medcraft, who has six greyhounds in work, also has an involvement in harness racing, while back in the 90s the family had raced thoroughbreds – probably none better than Shiva’s Revenge who ran second to Let’s Elope in the 1991 Melbourne Cup.

Montaya in action at Tara Raceway.

Meanwhile, later in the day, Mortlake trainers Peter Franklin and Peter Crawley continued their winning run at Tara Raceway when Montaya, Drogheda County and Easter Orchid were all successful over 512 metres.

Franklin, who had won a maiden with Montaya earlier in the month over 400 metres, stepped the daughter of Barcia Bale x Blonde Caviar up in distance, the black bitch winding up down the back before running out a two length winner over Oscar The Scout in 29.94 seconds.

And Franklin, who has trained Tara Raceway track record holders over three different distances, believes Montaya could be his best dog yet.

“I was really pleased with her effort today,” he said. “I’d now like to get her to the city and see what she can do prior to looking to return here for the Mount Gambier Cup in March-April.”

Easter Orchid defeats Raw Luxury and Missing Mate.

Crawley continues to do well with greyhounds raced by the Sue Smith-managed Champagne Partners Syndicate – Drogheda County making it three wins in succession when leading all the way in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake to defeat Jackie Dee in 30.18 seconds.

The syndicate then backed up in the following race, the Swallow Drive Meats Stake, with Easter Orchid, looking for two wins in succession, leading all the way to score by a half length over Raw Luxury in 30.27 seconds.

By Barcia Bale x Full Noise Turbo, Easter Orchid is a half-sister to Hit The Runway, winner of the 2017 Christmas Cup for Portland trainer Nicole Stanley.

Black Spring set to clinch GOTY title

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Versatile greyhound Black Spring – a winner of 12 races this year at Tara Raceway over 512 metres, 600 metres and 732 metres – can clinch the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year award with a placing in Thursday’s Fairthorne Forestry Mixed Stake (512 m).

Cap Abbott and Black Spring . . . right in contention for the Greyhound of the Year.

With two meetings remaining this year, Black Spring, owned and trained at Edenhope by Cap Abbott, leads short-course specialist Cryer’s Harper by three points.

And with the 13-race 400 metre winner not nominated on Thursday a first or second by Black Spring will see him win the 2019 title outright, irrespective of Sunday’s results.

The Abbott-trained son of Spring Gun x Lektra Scarlett is not ideally suited over 512 metres however the G-SIX six-dog format will suit as will a considerable drop in class to that he encountered in last Sunday’s Christmas Cup.

But all is not lost yet for Cryer’s Harper, owned and trained at Apsley by Tom and Margaret Cryer. A win by the daughter of Spud Regis x Cryer’s Midget at Sunday’s December 29 meeting would put her in front provided Black Spring fails to run a place at either of the two remaining meetings.

However, as it turns out, the two GOTY contenders will clash on Sunday in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake with the only problem for Cryer’s Harper now being that it is over 512 metres – a distance she has only ever run over on three occasions without winning.

Margaret Cryer with Santa Sprint winner Cryer’s Harper.

From a GOTY point of view, one cannot help but think how much more interesting the conclusion perhaps could have been had Cryer’s Harper been running in Thursday afternoon’s Produce Store Open Stake (400 m).

Thursday will also see the re-introduction of Juvenile racing at Tara Raceway – the South Eastern Hotel Juvenile Stake (400 m) attracting a pretty handy line-up of greyhounds that are under two years of age at the end of December.

The Tracie Price trained Elle Limes, after an all-the-way win in last Sunday’s Peter Whitehead Memorial Maiden (400 m) in a quick 23.18 seconds has drawn box one but will run into some seasoned performers here.

And Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield looks to hold a strong hand with December 2017 litter brothers Turn To Fab (pictured) and Pack It In, who performed well at last Sunday’s meeting – the former winning a grade five in 23.26 seconds and Pack It In clocking 23.14 seconds when running second to Bakali Jet.

Missing Mate, boasting a personal best 23.07 seconds, is another well-placed December 2017 whelping for Allendale East trainer David Peckham while Perseverance, unsuited by the distance but well-seasoned with 15 starts to her name will be finishing the race off strongly for Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell.