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

THURSDAY, JULY 9: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, JULY 16: Nominations close at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 13 with GRSA. WEDNESDAY AND SATURDAY TRIAL MORNINGS: For bookings please contact Barry Shepheard on 0419 824 512 before 6 p.m. on the day prior.  SATISFACTORY TRIALS: For bookings please contact Barry Shepheard on 0419 824 512.


Greyhound Editor

Fernando’s slick debut

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Tracie Price took the honours at last Thursday’s Tara Raceway meeting, leading in three winners – youngster Slick Fernando impressing on debut while Elle Limes and Wise Stella completed the Compton trainer’s fourth treble at the local track this year.

Slick Fernando, who is raced by Karen Price, in partnership with WA father and son owners Peter and Andrew Haines, led all the way from box five to defeat Glenville Rose by 4½ lengths in a quick 23.10 seconds in the Maiden Stake (400 m).

Part-owner Karen Price with Slick Fernando after his impressive debut at Tara Raceway last Thursday.

By Fernando Bale, the November 2018 brindle dog – bred by Tracie Price – is out of the third litter of Who’s Doing What, herself a winner of 16 races and a litter sister to 40-race winner Star Recall who won more than $445,000 in stakemoney.

Slick Fernando is a half-brother to Smart Knocka (by Knocka Norris) who won the 2018 Adelaide Cup Consolation (515 m) at Angle Park and the 2018 Winter Classic (512 m) at Tara Raceway.

Speaking after the race, Karen Price said they had high hopes for Slick Fernando after he had broken-in well.

“He went straight into the racing kennels when he returned from breaking-in and hasn’t put a foot wrong since then. He’s a lovely dog with a terrific temperament so hopefully he’ll now just keep on improving,” she said.

Elle Limes, off the scene with injury for three months this year, bounced back to winning form for local owner Bernie Bouchier when quickly finding the front in the Williams Crane Hire Stake before running out an emphatic 6½ lengths winner over Renmore in a best of day 23.05 seconds.

Elle Limes wins in a best of day 23.05 seconds (400 m) at Tara Raceway last Thursday.

The 31 kilogram brindle bitch is by Spring Gun out of the Price-trained Grimsby Girl who was a finalist in the 2016 Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) won by the Tara Raceway cups king Mojito Mayhem.

Litter brother Cryer’s Spring, a seven-race Tara Raceway winner trained at Apsley by Tom Cryer, is currently racing at Horsham due to the border closure and will contest a 410 metre final there on Tuesday.

Ben Price’s Wise Stella brought up her third win at Tara Raceway this year when coming from last early in the Greyhound-Data Mixed Stake (400 m), grabbing a half length win over Shannah’s Gift in 23.41 seconds after gaining a rails run turning for home.

The win by the nicely-bred daughter of Barcia Bale x Wise Penny gave the owner’s father his 36th success at Tara Raceway this year.

Trainer’s first winner is no slug!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Like A Slug, the greyhound that a bit over a month ago was in retirement at his owner Kerry Hawker’s Moorak property, caused the boilover of the day at Tara Raceway last Thursday when as a $34 chance he defeated odds-on favourite Squishy Pea in the Gordon Refrigeration Open Stake.

And while the recently-licensed Jason Newman, also of Moorak, has enjoyed recent success as a part-owner of the Murray Bridge Straight Track Cup finalist Call Me Billy, it was Like A Slug who gave him the thrill of training his first winner.

Like A Slug defeats Squishy Pea and Raw Luxury in yesterday’s Gordon Refrigeration Open Stake (400 m) at Tara Raceway.

Having his sixth start for Newman, the fawn dog quickly settled into second spot behind Raw Luxury in last Thursday’s 400 metre event before railing through on the home turn and duly squishing the Pea to win by a length in a personal best 23.08 seconds.

By Worm Burner, the SA sire of the moment, out of maiden bitch Miss Hodge, Like A Slug won three races at Tara Raceway for his breeder-trainer Peter Fulton of Ecklin South before Hawker purchased him for $2000 in early December.

She then handed him over to Edenhope trainer Captain Abbott who won with him at the local track in February before the going became a bit tough after the SA border was closed and Like A Slug was restricted to racing in Victoria.

Hawker eventually brought him back to Moorak, to all intents and purposes with retirement in mind. This was short-lived, though, after Newman approached her to see if she would be interested in him having a go at training the dog for her.

Trainer Jason Newman pictured at Tara Raceway yesterday with his first winner Like A Slug.

“I figured being a January 2018 whelping he was a bit young to be spending his days curled up in a lounge chair and, besides, he would be one more for the depleted local pool of dogs so Kerry was happy enough for me to have a go with him,” Newman said.

“I received terrific support from Greyhound Racing SA in relation to the processing of my owner-trainer licence because previously I had only been an owner.

“And it goes without saying that the whole family was over the moon after Like A Slug’s win. He’s a real favourite around the place, possessing the ideal temperament and a real pleasure to train.”

Based at Moorak for five years, the 38-year-old Newman had been involved with greyhound racing years ago when living in Tasmania. Close to 12 months ago he rekindled his interest as an owner and now as an owner-trainer he has four greyhounds in work.

Tara Raceway – Thursday, June 4, 2020

Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club president Noel Perry pictured in the Tara Raceway kitchen which is currently undergoing significant renovations in readiness for a return to post-COVID-19 non-restricted racing.

Eight years on and still participants are divided over the FOL

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.

Greyhounds at the conclusion of a race behind the finish-on lure at Tara Raceway.

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.

Trainer hoping for good run to continue

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.

General Max defeats Elle Limes (No. 8) and Rock It Fernando at Tara Raceway last Thursday and brings up a double for Dean Fennell.

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.

Bookending the meeting

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 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.

Bob’s remarkable journey continues for local trainer

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.

Owner-trainer Dita Mitchell with Bob Square Pants, back among the winners for the first time since last July.

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.

Tara Raceway – Thursday, May 28, 2020

Workers on a nearby power line enjoyed a birds-eye view of racing at Tara Raceway on Thursday.

Charlie Adcock of Kilburn, who acted as Lewiston trainer Kevin Bewley’s catcher on Thursday, pictured checking out the fields.

Banjo Fozz set to return to winner’s circle

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.

Banjo Fozz looks a top chance in Thursday’s Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (600 m) at Tara Raceway.

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.

Galactic Zeus (pictured) and Galactic Athena are now in the Lara kennels of David Geall.

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.

Local owners chasing straight track cup success

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 will go into Wednesday’s $10,000 Murray Bridge Straight Track Cup (350 m) as one of the top fancies after a brief stint as track record holder at last week’s meeting.

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.

David Peckham (left) and Jason Newman with Murray Bridge Straight Track Cup finalist Call Me Billy.

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 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.