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

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 24: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 28 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, November 25 with GRSA. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 1: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, November 26 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.

Greyhound Editor

Every win’s a bonus for David

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Eighteen months ago Saint David was mixing it with the best at Sandown Park, taking on greyhounds such as Beast Unleashed, Dyna Patty and Tornado Tears in the final of the $150,000-to-the-winner Launching Pad over 515 metres.

And while last Sunday’s meeting at Tara Raceway was a far cry from the bright lights of one of Victoria’s main tracks, Koroit owner-trainer Peter Byrne was more than happy to win the K9 Race Recovery Free For All (600 m) and pick up the $1225 first prize.

Saint David (No. 7) runs down Black Spring in the shadows of the post in last Sunday’s K9 Race Recovery FFA (600 m) at Tara Raceway.

In what was a similar middle-distance field the previous week, Saint David had run a close-up third behind dead-heaters Spinning Jakit and Cryer’s Plugger although Black Spring, back after a four-week break, was always going to be hard to beat in the K9 after he drew box one.

A clear leader in the Greyhound of the Year, Black Spring, owned and trained at Edenhope by Cap Abbott, quickly found the front while Saint David settled in second spot before finishing powerfully to score by a neck in 35.39 seconds with Banjo Fozz a further three lengths back in third spot.

A 29.39 seconds maiden winner at Sandown Park at only his second race start, Saint David went into the Launching Pad on the back of a heat and semi-final win but broke down in the final, Byrne of the opinion at the time that the black dog would probably never race again.

“He dropped a back leg muscle and was off the scene for six months,” he said. “To be honest, I reckon he’s done really well to even win another race, let alone four – one at Ballarat (545 m) and three at Tara Raceway (600 m).

“Every win’s now a bonus with him. He pulled up well after Sunday’s effort so I’m keen to come back to Tara Raceway for another 600 metre event – these days he hasn’t enough early pace for sprinting – or perhaps even to Sandown Park or The Meadows for the right middle-distance race.”

By Cosmic Rumble out of Mepunga Kirsty, a winner of eight races (four at Sandown Park), Saint David was bred by Byrne who has a 13-month-old litter by Mepunga Blazer to follow.

The ‘Thrill of the Chase’

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

A new television series to be launched on 7mate this Sunday at 10 a.m., Thrill of the Chase, will take free to air viewers inside greyhound racing in Australia.

The five-part series, produced in collaboration with Greyhound Racing Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, aims to celebrate and share the sport in Australia.

Thrill of the Chase will be hosted by SEN’s Jack Heverin, together with Liz Wheelan, James Van de Maat and Molly Haines.

President reflects on a successful year

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club Inc. president John Woodland’s report to members at last Sunday’s Annual General Meeting at Tara Raceway focused on a year of achievement.

He made special mention of a major upgrade to the kennel house and how no race meetings were lost while the upgrade was being undertaken. He also paid special thanks to the people who had been involved with the project.

The president also mentioned other projects that were undertaken during the year, including Fairthorne Forestry as the club’s major sponsor, the placement of a defibrillator in the clubrooms, the sale of greyhound accessories in the club office on race days and as a further promotion tool the maintaining of a Facebook page.

New races were introduced, including the Tara Trackstar and the Border Challenge (Mount Gambier v. Warrnambool), prices have been obtained for the erection of cover over the outdoor settings and club shirts with the MGGRC logo are now available at the track.

The Brook Group has been asked to provide Greyhound Racing SA with a proposal to install a computer for trial days at Tara Raceway. This would broadcast trial times onto on-course televisions in the kennel house, clubrooms and starting box televisions. It would also allow for a printout of each trial session.

And while Noel Perry has now taken over as MGGRC president for 2019-2020, the outgoing president can be well satisfied with his year at the helm.

Local greyhounds up to the challenge

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A stunning return to form for a “forgotten” greyhound and a keenly-contested Swallow Drive Meats Open Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway last Sunday has the Mount Gambier club looking well-placed as far as the forthcoming Border Challenge is concerned.

The inaugural Border Challenge will feature four runners each from the Warrnambool and Mount Gambier clubs clashing in a final – the winner to receive $4000, a trophy and a rug – over 450 metres at Warrnambool on Thursday, December 5.

Mason Bartlett (left), Steve Bartholomew and Robert Chuck with Galactic Destiny after her 512 metre best of day win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Galactic Destiny, out of the winner’s circle since the end of June, bounced back with a 5½ length win over Bereluke in the O’Brien Electrical Stake (512 m) in a best of day time of 29.71 seconds, Worrolong trainer Steve Bartholomew now keen to tackle the challenge with the daughter of Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball.

“A couple of 400 metre runs seemed to top her off nicely for her first 512 metres since August,” he said. “We were really pleased with her personal best time and all being well she’ll take on the challenge.”

Bartholomew also said that prior to the Mount Gambier heat/s on Sunday, November 24 there was a chance Galactic Destiny would have a run at Warrnambool, a track that she not yet raced at.

Earlier in the day, Springvale Alysa gave them something to chase in the Open when establishing a handy break mid-race over Azalea Monelli who eventually held out kennelmate Dyna Naitch to win by a half head with a further half length back to the early leader – the trio all breaking 30 seconds.

The Border Challenge will alternate annually, next year’s series final run at Tara Raceway over 512 metres. Warrnambool’s heat/s will be run on Thursday, November 28 with conditions of entry for both tracks varying and appearing on the clubs’ respective websites.

Meanwhile, after another good month, Azalea Monelli is still a clear leader in the 2019 Tara Trackstar No. 2 – for the best performed greyhounds at Tara Raceway between the beginning of July and the end of December.

Azalea Monelli (No. 2) scores a narrow win over Dyna Naitch and Springvale Alysa at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

The leading qualifiers as at October 27 are: Azalea Monelli (49 points); Bourne Thanks 31; Dyna Naitch 30; Cruising By, Springvale Alysa 29; Lektra Phyliss, Silent Jacko 26; Black Spring, Saucy Sav 25; Banjo Fozz, Zuberi 24.

The top eight point scorers nominated will contest the 512 metre Trackstar on Sunday, January 5.

Azalea Monelli is trained at Allendale East by David Peckham who will head into Thursday’s meeting with 98 winners after another bag of four last Sunday.

He will win this year’s Ian Badger Trainer of the Year award and add another title to his previous three, the main interest now focusing on whether he can finish anywhere near Tracie Price’s record-breaking 137 winners of last year when 79 meetings were run at Tara Raceway.

And putting that record in perspective, it’s only fair to point out that already there have been 77 race meetings conducted this year. By the time the semaphore board lights are turned off for the final time this year on Sunday, December 29 that tally will be 95.

Four new committee members

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Following last Sunday’s Annual General Meeting, there have been four new additions to the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club Inc. committee – Dita Mitchell, Jason Newman, Jude Tait and Christine Yourgules.

Noel Perry, newly-elected president, will accompany John Woodland to Adelaide for the quarterly Members of Company meetings at Angle Park.

In other club news, Gambier Vets will soon relinquish its long-time role as race day veterinarians at Tara Raceway.

Taking over in December will be well known Western District veterinary surgeon Craig Finlayson, qualified for 25 years and well-versed in the greyhound.

Too good to be True

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Dunolly training team Rick Boehm and Sandra Elmes were running hot on and off the track at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting last Thursday afternoon.

Not only was the weather warm, but the couple’s greyhounds also were on fire with Magic Octagon, True and Lil Black Jess all successful.

Sandra Elmes with Magic Octagon, the first of three winners the Dunolly training team.

But True, having his first start at the track, was the standout, the black dog making short work of the 1-4 wins field in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 metres) when leading all the way to defeat Rooster by 8½ lengths in a pretty tidy best of day 29.92 seconds.

The giveaway’s win, his third since joining the Dunolly kennels in July, came on the back of a best of night performance earlier in the week at Shepparton where he won over 450 metres in 25.54 seconds.

By the US sire KC And All out of Benta Bale, a winner of 16 races and $90,000 in stakemoney, True is from a handy litter that also includes Boogie Shoes, a winner the previous day up the 350 metre straight at Murray Bridge.

Magic Octagon brought up his third 400 metre win at Tara Raceway in the space of six weeks when finishing strongly, after settling in second spot early, to defeat Close To Carnage by 4¼ lengths in 23.41 seconds in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m).

He’s nicely bred, being by Black Magic Opal out of proven producer Reiko Bale whose previous litter, by Fabregas, included Molly Coaster, winner of this year’s Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup Consolation (512 m).

Paul and Doug Hammerstein with Jacobite Hammer after his all the way win.

And a win by Lil Black Jess, who came from second early to take the lead off the back before running out a 2½ length winner over early leader Pillar Creek in 23.78 seconds in The Border Watch Stake (400 m), took Boehm and Elmes’ tally of Tara Raceway wins this year to 23.

Time-wise, Jacobite Hammer wasn’t all that far behind True when leading all the way to win the only other 512 metre event on the program, the Stake, in 30.13 seconds for Forest Reefs breeder and part-owner Jo Kerr who races the brindle dog in partnership with trainer Doug Hammerstein.

A Thursday regular with son Paul, the Ararat-based Hammerstein, who has now won eight races with Jacobite Hammer, a son of Swift Fancy x Moonshine Whippy, said the win would have been a great tonic for his wife Jeanette, currently not in the best of health and watching the race from home.

Charlton trainer Kevin Ashton has come up with another interesting greyhound in the form of Nitro Gee who came from well back in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 m) to defeat Hawkie by a half length.

Finally, a photo for No Photos and trainer Wade Green.

The nicely-bred son of Kinloch Brae and Nitro Cee (a winner of 18 races and $110,000 in stakemoney) is the dog that was sold for $12,750 at last November’s Ready2Race sale at Bendigo.

Nitro Gee subsequently won races at Bendigo and Warragul the following month before losing all form. In September he was picked up by Ashton as a giveway, running two minor placings prior to the win.

And maybe the black dog that led all the way last Thursday to win the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) – only his second win in 43 starts and his first for many months – had been well-named back in January 2017.

Racing as No Photos, and these days owned and trained by Wade Green of Rockbank, he certainly hadn’t bothered too many race track photographers since his first start back in April 2017 at Bulli.

But for Green, who also supplied the runner-up, Dust Up, this had been a framed photograph 2½ years in the making.

Tara Raceway – 24/10/2019

Sandra Elmes pictured with True, cooling off under the water spray after winning the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m) in a best of day 29.92 seconds at Tara Raceway on Thursday.

Memorial race has a long history

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Newman McDonnell Memorial is one of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s longest-running feature events.

He was there at the public meeting held in the Mount Gambier City Hall on September 14, 1972, was one of the inaugural committee members of the South East Greyhound Racing Club and almost seven years later was president of the club when greyhound racing first commenced in the south east at the Glenburnie race track.

Lektra Stomp wins the 2017 Newman McDonnell Memorial in a race record time of 29.69 seconds.

And long before that, in 1964, he had owned the inaugural winner of the Sandown Laurels – Tara Princess (Chief Zephyr x Oliveen) – Glenburnie and later the Lake Terrace East track both taking the name Tara Raceway.

Newman McDonnell died on November 15, 1985 at the age of 81, the first memorial being run 12 months later and won by Kenzel Lad. Subsequent memorials to be conducted at greyhound racing’s original track were: 1987 Bozie Flyer, 1988 Irkanda Leo, 1989 Invercoe Riot, 1990 National Ribbon, 1991 Foxtrot Oscar, 1992 Bush Pepper, 1993 Larradinya, 1994 Wild Welcome, 1995 Colin Ian and 1996 Ashanti Gem.

This year marks the 34th running of the memorial, heats to be conducted on Sunday, November 10 for grade five greyhounds over 512 metres with the final a week later.

Camo’s Lucky, trained at Penshurst by John Cameron, won the first memorial conducted at a TAB meeting in 2012 while Allendale East trainer David Peckham’s Bourne Again is the only greyhound to have won consecutive memorials – in 2013 and 2014.

Other recent winners include 2015 Boris Bekim (Brian Fish), 2016 Glenville Jester (Richard Clayfield), 2017 Lektra Stomp (Brian Lenehan) and 2018 Banjo Lass (Tracie Price).

Dead-heaters to clash again in the K9

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Cryer’s Plugger and Spinning Jakit, who dead-heated for first in last Sunday’s Rock’s Retreat Free For All (600 metres), will clash again in this Sunday’s middle-distance K9 Race Recovery FFA at Tara Raceway.

In fact, five of the original nominated greyhounds from last week will be going around again in the one-off final after being re-nominated for Sunday when the K9 failed to attract sufficient entries to run at least two heats.

Spinning Jakit (No. 5) and Cryer’s Plugger dead-heat over 600 metres at Tara Raceway last Sunday followed closely by Saint David (7), Spring Spinner (4) and Banjo Fozz.

And this should make for another terrific race after only 2¾ lengths separated the dead-heaters and Saint David, Spring Spinner and Banjo Fozz at the end of last week’s keenly-contested event which was won in 35.44 seconds.

The only greyhound missing is Bisenti – Black Spring back from a minor injury and taking the spot after Edenhope owner-trainer Cap Abbott rolled the dice and threw in a nomination in the hope of gaining a start.

The son of Spring Gun and Lektra Scarlett has won nine 600 metre races at Tara Raceway, Abbott looking to hold a strong hand with Black Spring and litter brother Spinning Jakit – the trainer having now been involved in two first place dead-heats this year after Big Casey and Lone Star (Richard Clayfield) couldn’t be separated at Tara Raceway on April 21.

Kerry Hawker and Margaret Cryer pictured with Spinning Jakit and Cryer’s Plugger.

For a long time now it’s been a case of disregarding Tom Cryer-trained greyhounds at your own peril. Case in point, Cryer’s Plugger, a rising five-year-old with 29 wins from 108 starts but having disappointed at his past couple of starts over the middle-distance journey.

But the brindle dog quickly took up the running last week from box one and had the race won outright everywhere but in the shadows of the post while the Peter Byrne owned and trained Saint David finished the race off nicely for a two length third.

Serviceton owner-trainer David Brodhurst said Banjo Fozz didn’t have a lot of luck in the run but he was more than happy with the effort considering it was only her second 600 metre start.

And Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, fresh from a Horsham 410 metre win on Tuesday night with Bereluke, heads to Gawler tomorrow for heats of the Gawler Stayers Cup (643 m) with Spring Spinner and Dyna Quota. The $8500 final will be run on Sunday week in conjunction with the Group 3 Gawler Gold Cup (531 m).

The K9 Race Recovery FFA is being sponsored by Peter Bryce of Winning Post Supplies. A new product release, K9 Race Recovery for Greyhounds comes in a 200 ml bottle – no fuss, no mixing and ready to pour into a bowl.