THURSDAY, AUGUST 6: Nominations closed. THURSDAY, AUGUST 13: Nominations close at 9 a.m. on Monday, August 10 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.
OWNERS AND MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC ARE NOW PERMITTED TO ATTEND RACE MEETINGS AT TARA RACEWAY. Catering, bar facilities and TAB now available.
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Punters brave enough to take the $1.75 on offer about Glenville Anna in Friday’s JB Irrigation Stake (512 metres) for maiden greyhounds had to endure a few anxious moments before lining up in the pay-out queue at Tara Raceway.
Owned and trained at Glenroy by Richard Clayfield, Glenville Anna went into the race – the first heat of a maiden series – on the back of five consecutive minor placings at the local track.
Having her eleventh start, this did look to be her race, especially when she stepped well from box two, but by the time the field headed out of the first turn Monty Wilson’s first-starter, Bushman’s Wish, was serving it up to the odds-on favourite.
In fact, heading down the back straight, Glenville Anna looked an odds-on chance to once again run second as Bushman’s Wish opened up a handy break.
However, the favourite rallied again in the home straight, eventually running out a three-quarter length winner over the Wilson-trained youngster in 30.99 seconds. Also through to Sunday week’s final are My Dad’s Dream and Bekim Lucy’s.
And while the winning time was nothing flash, Clayfield was more than happy to take the win – his fourth this season – and quick to point out that there is track record form in Glenville Anna’s pedigree.
She’s by the little-known sire Fully Advanced out of the Sinnott-bred All At Sea (Lonesome Cry x On Shore) who is a litter sister to Dub Me In, one-time Tara Raceway 512 metre record holder at 29.62 seconds.
Clayfield won four races at Tara Raceway with All At Sea who was then acquired by well-known Lara greyhound identity Ron McCullagh who had been looking for a bitch for Fully Advanced.
McCullagh had bred and owned the black son of Collision and Okay Supreme and enjoyed tremendous success with him – 73 starts for 22 wins, 27 minor placings and almost $170,000 in prizemoney.
Another well-known Lara greyhound man in Dennis Trewin then took over All At Sea for a second litter, this time using Okay Supreme’s litter brother Velocette, a winner of 26 races and almost $380,000 in prizemoney.
Gee She Roks had been trying even longer than Glenville Anna to win a race with eight minor placings coming from her 16 starts at Tara Raceway.
Allendale East trainer David Peckham had even resorted to a couple of 600 metre runs but switched the black bitch back to 512 metres for the Rock’s Retreat Stake, the second heat of Friday’s maiden series.
As it turns out, it was a good move. Gee She Roks went straight to the front from box three, eventually running out a 10 length winner over Summer Lad with a further 5¾ lengths back to odds-on favourite Shaniqua in a more than handy 30.48 seconds.
It was an effort that belied her race record with Peckham, who has trained 16 winners this year, claiming her tendency to run wide had cost her races in the past.
Gee She Roks is by Cape Hawke out of Freestyle Lass and is the first winner that has been bred by Ross Schurgott and the Viking Syndicate.
A daughter of Premier Fantasy x Mrs Trickett, Freestyle Lass – now a pet – was obtained on a loan basis for breeding after racing on only seven occasions for a minor placing.
Thursday, March 23, 2017
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club will move to ensure that next year’s Mount Gambier Cup is not run on the same weekend as the Mount Gambier Pacing Gold Cup as was the case earlier this month.
The greyhound club will also ensure that its Cup Calcutta does not clash with the pacing cup which was the case last year when both were run on the same night.
MGGRC secretary/treasurer Barry Shepheard said this week that the club was still keen to run the greyhound cup in March but would look to move it to later in the month.
“Our committee felt that with the pacing cup on the Saturday night and the greyhound cup on Sunday afternoon it made for a pretty hectic weekend so we’ll be looking at moving ours forward a couple of weeks if possible.
“Not that we were disappointed with our day, with record gate takings and on-course turnover up considerably on last year it was probably one of the best Mount Gambier Cup days that I have attended.
“And, of course, Greyhound Racing SA chairman, Michael Fabbro, really capped off a magnificent day for us.”
Shepheard was referring to Fabbro’s announcement at the cup presentation to Fabregal’s trainer Robyn Mackellar that next year’s cup would be a Listed race and carry $20,000 in prizemoney with the winner receiving $15,000.
This will be the richest race ever run at Tara Raceway and is sure to attract some outstanding greyhounds.
Fabregal, incidentally, stamped the form of this year’s cup when running second in a heat of the Top Cat Video Traralgon Cup (525 m) and qualifying for Saturday night’s $67,000 Group 2 final.
Meanwhile, work has already commenced on the painting of the outside of the Tara Raceway clubrooms. Inside refurbishment, including a memorabilia area to highlight Mount Gambier’s rich greyhound racing history, is also planned.
Also planned are outdoor covered tables and seats in the playground area of the complex.
DOUBLE-HEADER CATERS FOR MOST
As is generally the case, nominations for the Sunday meeting of this weekend’s double-header have come up a bit thin with nine races and reserves for only one of those.
But with strong nominations for tomorrow’s 12-race lower-grade meeting at Tara Raceway it means 21 races will still be run with few greyhounds missing out on a start – something that does occur when the club runs only one meeting for the weekend.
And with greyhound racing scheduled for every Sunday and alternate Fridays during April, May and June once again there shouldn’t be too many missing out.
The three-month trial period will be interesting with Greyhound Racing SA able to have a good look at the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s nomination flow in regard to extra meetings as it prepares to frame the 2017-2018 racing season.
Sunday’s main race, the Greyhound-Data.com Mixed Stake (512 m), sees Portland trainer Nicole Stanley once again holding a strong hand with four runners – Fiorelli Rose looking well drawn in box two for her while kennelmate Hit The Runway finished well to run third behind Fear The Rascal at last Sunday’s meeting.
Mount Gambier Cup finalist Hutch looks well placed in box eight – the same box he defeated Blitz And Bolt from in the Summer Classic final – for Portland owner-trainer Robert Halliday in the Rock’s Retreat Stake (512 m) and should make amends for an unlucky fourth last Sunday.
Glencoe trainer Dean Fennell, after a quiet start to the year, will be hoping Whatta Moment can continue on his winning way in the ClassicBet Mixed Stake, the main 400 metre race of the day.
The son of Bit Chili x Devil Moon will be chasing his third win this month and looking to break a box eight hoodoo after previously racing from the outside box on five occasions for no wins or placings.
Whatta Moment held out class performer Future Past last week and faces another tough assignment on Sunday with Aston Morris, back after a six-week break but well drawn in box one, looking to win his fourth consecutive 400 metre event at Tara Raceway for Stanley.
A 400 metre feature grade five will also be run with Allendale East trainer David Peckham looking to hold a strong hand in each of the three heats with Thanks Captain, Maximum Bella and Raz’s Girl.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Horsham greyhound trainer Jeff Guy, after a quiet start to the year at Tara Raceway, will be hoping to turn things around at Friday’s meeting with a couple of well-bred young litter brothers.
In fact, they don’t come much better bred than Imperial Fox and Revel with the pair being by high profile sire Cosmic Rumble out of Proven Impala.
Cosmic Rumble’s winners are spread far and wide, with the Golden Easter Egg winner currently sharing the lead with Fabregas for sires’ honours at Tara Raceway while Proven Impala raced on 82 occasions for 31 wins and 21 minor placings with prizemoney totalling in excess of $360,000.
Whelped in March 2015, the brothers are owned by Nick Darragh, whose wife Larissa is heavily involved with the GAP (Greyhound Adoption Program) at Seymour in Victoria.
Darragh also owns Proven Impala and bred the litter, later entrusting Guy with the rearing of the nine pups.
And both owner and trainer will be hoping for better luck with the former champion’s second litter after her first, to Where’s Pedro, produced five bitches including Frac Geek who has won six races for Guy and Backflip Kitty who raced only once due to injury but from all accounts could have been anything.
“She had been running phenomenal trial times prior to racing so when she suffered the career-ending injury we ended up spending something like $6000 in veterinary bills in order to save her with a view to breeding,” Guy said.
Imperial Fox has drawn box eight in the second heat of Friday’s maiden series, the Rock’s Retreat Stake (512 metres), and comes into the race on the back of three minor placings at Ballarat and Bendigo after having run a good second behind Ruby’s Willow at Tara Raceway.
Revel will be racing at Tara Raceway for the first time but looks well placed in box one in the first heat of the grade six series, the winningformula.net.au Stake (512 m).
According to Guy, the black dog, who recently won his maiden over 425 metres at Bendigo in a smart 24.15 seconds, is probably capable of running sub-30 seconds if he can find the front.
“Look, at this stage they’re no superstars and have a lot to learn but they’re getting better with each run and what I like about them is that they’ll run through the proverbial brick wall.”
The litter has already enjoyed success this week with Black Impala, who at his second start won a 450 metre maiden heat at Shepparton on Monday night in a best of night 25.34 seconds for owner Joe Borg (Proven Impala’s trainer) and Cosgrove trainer Glenn Dainton.
ARABELLA FIGG STEPS UP IN DISTANCE
Arabella Figg, a terrific second behind Fabregal in the recent ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup (512 m), returns to Tara Raceway on Friday and will step up to middle-distance for the first time when jumping from box six in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (600 m).
Owned by Ian Cockerell of Buckley and trained at Southern Cross by Peter Byrne, Arabella Figg has since run seventh at The Meadows (525 m) and third over the 450 metre journey at her home track of Warrnambool.
But the daughter of Kinloch Brae and Finlandia is a litter sister to Sandown Park 595 metre winners Igor Karkaroff and Polijuice Potion, who collectively have amassed something like $250,000 in prizemoney, and gives the impression that the distance shouldn’t worry her.
Portland trainer Nicole Stanley has also stepped up Berry Bling in distance and she’ll jump from box seven in the same race at what will be only her second attempt over the middle-distance after a second to Jen Shen in average time last October.
Berry Bling was the fastest cup qualifier but two subsequent unplaced runs over 512 metres has seen Stanley perhaps looking for a race with less early speed for the predominantly on-pace chaser who has won eight races from 31 starts.
And the David Peckham trained Blitz And Bolt, winner of the Mount Gambier Cup Consolation (512 m), also takes on the middle-distance journey for the first time after finishing strongly to win a Mixed Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Allendale East greyhound Anti Dentite displayed some of the form that saw him win 22 races and more than $60,000 in prizemoney on Queensland tracks when he easily accounted for a classy field of grade five performers in the Gambier Vets Feature final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
Owned and trained by David Peckham, the black dog went straight to the front from box one and was never headed, eventually running out a 6¾ length winner in 30.22 seconds over Andy Graham’s Cee Rose Black and the winner’s kennelmate Sweeney Miss.
By Turanza Bale out of Sister Ping, a winner of eight races on NSW and Queensland tracks, Anti Dentite, by the middle of last year, had found himself in Adelaide where he won a couple of races at Angle Park.
But by December, connections had been looking to move him on and when he failed to meet the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) requirements Peckham was contacted to see if he wanted a giveaway greyhound to race at Tara Raceway.
“I figured with his pretty impressive record he might be worth a try down here, especially with the finish-on-lure in operation, although his early trials were certainly nothing flash and had me wondering whether I’d made the right call,” Peckham said.
By cup time, though, he was racing quite well with a fourth behind Mojito Mayhem in a cup heat and a subsequent second to kennelmate Blitz And Bolt in the consolation looking to be a good lead-in to the grade five series.
Peckham said he had been asked on several occasions as to the origins of the name Anti Dentite and that he had been unable to shed any light on its origins.
Well, it turns out former Toowoomba owner-trainer Mark Saal, who is a huge fan of the iconic US television comedy Seinfeld, had a couple of handy greyhounds back in late 2014 and named them Yada Yada Yada and Anti Dentite, names he had taken from the show’s episode titled “The Yada Yada”.
Earlier on Sunday, Peckham was successful in the Produce Store Mixed Stake (512 m) with recent Mount Gambier Cup Consolation winner Blitz And Bolt who finished too strongly in a busy finish for kennelmate Maximum Bella, having her first Tara Raceway start, and the ever-consistent Lyon Rose in 30.25 seconds.
Maximum Bella, a winner of nine races from 63 starts, hadn’t raced since the end of January and led pretty well everywhere but on the post, giving the impression that she should be better for the run.
Peckham finished the day with two wins, two seconds and two thirds and in what is one of the most interesting local trainers’ tussles in years stays in touch on 110 points behind Tracie Price and Nicole Stanley who share the lead with 122 points.
SYNDICATE SUCCESS CONTINUES
No one seems to be quite sure how many owners are in the syndicate that races Bluestone, winner of the winningformula.net.au Stake (400 m) at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
It’s probably around the 20 mark with many of them having previously been involved with a greyhound called Spangher who won five races.
Deb Hicks and Trev Finnis, involved in both ventures, were on track to see Bluestone win his first local race at his seventh Tara Raceway start.
Also on track to witness the blue dog lead all the way and win by six lengths in a quick 23.10 seconds was fellow syndicate member Jeff Cranage who had not previously raced a greyhound but after Sunday’s impressive effort is now probably wondering why.
By 32-race winner Kalden Komoto out of WA bitch Frantic Fusion, Bluestone was selected for the syndicate by Hicks’s husband Craig who found the 32 kilogram dog advertised for sale for $3000 on Greyhound-Data after having won four races at Angle Park and Gawler.
The win was the second leg of a running double for Portland trainer Nicole Stanley who previously had been successful with Hay Miss in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m).
Hay Miss had lined up from box three in a more than handy field that included Mount Gambier Cup finalist Hutch but was never headed after quickly finding the front, eventually running out an 8¼ length winner in a best of day 29.88 seconds – the first time she had broken the 30-second barrier at Tara Raceway.
And while she can be hard to catch at times, the daughter of Bekim Bale x Miss Stackhouse – a winner of 18 races and $32,000 in prizemoney – has been a handy little money spinner for connections, winning seven races from 32 starts.
A bag of five winners, two trebles and five doubles in less than three months of racing highlight Stanley’s terrific year so far at Tara Raceway.
Thursday, March 16, 2017
A bag of four winners last Friday – his second this year at Tara Raceway – has seen Compton greyhound trainer Tracie Price take a narrow lead over Nicole Stanley, of Portland, in this year’s Leading Trainer award.
And with five of those eight winners being bred at Compton, Price, along with wife Karen and Milla Laddrak and John Dargue, of Ozenkadnook, should be well pleased that three litters to commence racing this year out of Hey Sexy Lady (who has since died of cancer), Stylish Moment and Which Class have all produced winners.
Also sharing in the kennel’s success last Friday was WA father and son team Peter and Andrew Haines who own Gangster Of Love (Magic Sprite x Hey Sexy Lady) a smart winner of the Metal Worx Maiden Stake (512 metres) by five lengths in a quick 30.02 seconds.
They also raced Hey Sexy Lady, a winner of 13 races, and trained for them for much of her career by Price who has enjoyed a successful partnership with the pair over the past few years.
In fact, that success continued through to race five, the South Eastern Hotel Mixed Stake (600 m), when the team combined again to win with Gargle It who defeated kennelmate Lyon Rose in 35.15 seconds – the fastest time run this year at Tara Raceway.
By champion Irish sire Spiral Nikita, Gargle It is out of West On Bluebird who also lacks nothing when it comes to pedigree, being a litter sister to the former champion stayer Miata, along with Deville and Sure As.
But according to Price it could be that the best is still to come with high hopes for three dogs and two bitches whelped in January 2016 by Fabregas out of Who’s Doing What.
From a local point of view, it could be said that Who’s Doing What is probably better known for the race she didn’t win rather than the 14 she did for Price and the Haines’.
Back in 2015, Price looked a good chance of winning his first Mount Gambier Cup when, after a brilliant heat win, Who’s Doing What drew box one in the final.
It’s now history how she came on season on the eve of the race and how rookie trainer Ben Boers gained a start with his reserve runner Lots Of Yap and duly won the cup.
“The Fabregas youngsters will be going off to breaking-in next month,” Price said. “They’re nice pups but I tell you what, her next litter – four dogs and one bitch by Knocka Norris – are probably the best looking pups we’ve ever bred.”
By High Earner x No Recall, Who’s Doing What is from an outstanding litter that includes Star Recall, a winner of 40 races and $445,000 in prizemoney.
In pup, and due to whelp out at Compton next month, is Lucy’s Moment, the dam of Blazing Moment, currently racing in WA and a winner of five races.
This is an interesting mating, with Milla Laddrak and Karen Price using a straw from the 1997 whelping Master Havoc.
By Head Honcho x Wee Sal, Master Havoc raced on 70 occasions for 23 wins and 23 minor placings before running his last race in September 2000.
Lucy’s Moment is by Bombastic Shiraz x Barely A Moment and traces back to Laddrak’s foundation bitch, Milla’s Wish, a daughter of Head Honcho and Sobbing Sal (New Tears x Wee Sal).
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Carrying the same surname as the New Zealand racing driver, Glencoe greyhound Van Gisbergen finally found top gear at Tara Raceway last Friday.
Contesting the second heat of the Gambier Vets Feature Grade Five (512 metres), Van Gisbergen turned in a dominant performance from box seven to lead all the way for a 5¼ length win – his first in four months – over Shannah’s Might in a best of day 29.92 seconds.
It’s probably fair to say that neither trainer Barry Shepheard nor owners Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman had seen this win coming after the black dog, despite trialling well, had failed to really flatter at his first three Tara Raceway race starts.
By Magic Sprite out of Black Sambuca – a half-sister to Blonde Caviar, the dam of the “McIvor” dogs – Van Gisbergen arrived in the South-East in early January after having won two 520 metre races at Lismore and two over the 610 metre journey at Grafton.
But he also arrived with three strikes against his name, subsequently cleared, although only up to 599 metres.
“He’s run a pretty handy 35.46 seconds for the 610 at Grafton (the record is 34.89 seconds) so I wouldn’t mind getting him in a 600 metre event at Tara Raceway,” Shepheard said.
“The only problem is he still has to run a satisfactory trial over that distance and I’m struggling to find a few runners to go around with him in order to satisfy stewards’ requirements.”
And perhaps it’s Tara Raceway, one of only two tracks in Australia to conduct racing behind the finish-on-lure, that has assisted Van Gisbergen to find winning form again.
As Bruce Teague, writing in Australian Racing Greyhound, noted: “The FOL allows the dogs to complete their mission. Chasing is what they are all about. With the FOL they can succeed in that. With a conventional lure system, they can’t. Why wouldn’t they chase better with the FOL? It makes for a fun afternoon for them.”
Joining Van Gisbergen and Shannah’s Might in Sunday’s $2100 Gambier Vets final will be Sweeney Miss and Master Tron.
Mount Gambier owner-trainer Ken Feltus landed his first Tara Raceway win this year when Lil Arthur defeated Cee Rose Black, Brazen Beau and Anti Dentite in heat one of the feature grade five.
Away well from box four, Lil Arthur couldn’t match the early pace of Brazen Beau but took over the running down the back straight and held off a fast finishing Cee Rose Black and the early leader to win by a half length in 30.50 seconds.
The winner, a four-year-old by Cosmic Chief out of Ocean Magic – a litter sister to 2012 Mount Gambier Cup winner Rich Shiraz – has now won 13 races overall with two for Feltus who took over the black dog late last year.
And while his winning time was somewhat slower than Van Gisbergen in the second heat, Feltus was more than happy with the effort.
“Lil Arthur had been finding plenty of trouble in 400 metre events so I decided to bite the bullet and try him for the first time over the 512 metre journey,” he said.
“He hadn’t trialled over the distance or even trialled post to post so I reckon he’s still got a bit of improvement in him.”
The minor placegetters’ trainers wouldn’t have been too disappointed with the efforts of Cee Rose Black and Brazen Beau, either.
Cee Rose Black, which hadn’t run a place since last winning at Tara Raceway back in late January, pleased Portland trainer Andy Graham with the manner in which she finished off the race.
And Brazen Beau, another one having her first start over 512 metres, surprised Team Williams by the manner in which she battled on in the home straight, going down by only 1½ lengths.
Time-wise it’s hard to go past Van Gisbergen in Sunday’s final although the box draw hasn’t done him too many favours as he’ll jump from the six.
The David Peckham trained Anti Dentite and Ralph Patzel’s Master Tron, short-priced favourites in their respective heats, scraped into the final after both running fourth.
But they’ve drawn well – Anti Dentite in one and Master Tron next to him – boxes that both greyhounds have excellent records from.
Despite disappointing in last week’s heats, they both performed extremely well at Mount Gambier Cup time and a repeat of that sort of form should see them right in the mix.
The Gambier Vets Feature Grade Five final is one of the highlights of what looks to be another outstanding 12-race card at Tara Raceway on Sunday.
Three Mount Gambier Cup finalists – Thanks Captain, Colden Girl and Hutch – return for the meeting with the Peckham-trained Thanks Captain, well boxed in the eight in the Allestree Holiday Units Mixed Stake (512 m), taking on Hit The Runway who will be attempting to win three straight at the track for Nicole Stanley.
Colden Girl, trained by Bea Bryant, will take on a pretty handy field from box eight in the Produce Store Mixed Stake (512 m) while Robert Halliday’s Hutch, who will race at Warrnambool tomorrow night, doesn’t look too badly placed in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m).
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Cap Abbott, the 70-something greyhound trainer, was at Tara Raceway on Saturday morning in time for the start of the 9 o’clock trials after making the 120 kilometre trip from Edenhope.
He’s the bloke who draws the line at catching his own dogs when they’re trialling over 512 metres but makes a quick 150-metre dash from the 400 metre boxes around to the catching area when his charges are tackling the short course distance.
“He’s puffing more than I am,” said Abbott of the dog he was leading off the track after he had previously put three others through their paces and knocked up something like 450 metres in doing so.
Twenty-four hours earlier he had also been at Tara Raceway with a team of four for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s 12-race programme.
The day didn’t start off all that well for Abbott and in fact had become even worse by race nine, the Allestree Holiday Units Stake (400 m), after Judge Jed, when partaking in a preview for the race, jumped up and scratched him quite extensively on the arm.
But by race 12 the unperturbed trainer was ready for a last roll of the dice with Just Like Fire, a daughter of Barcia Bale x Dyna Gee, in the winningformula.net.au Stake (400 m).
Raced by the Craig Trickett-managed Chasing Gold Greyhound Syndicate, the black bitch had been in Abbott’s kennels since January, winning first-up for him at Strathalbyn over 319 metres before posting a best of day 23.03 seconds win (400 metres) at Tara Raceway in late February.
In Friday’s grade five sprint, Just Like Fire led all the way from box three to defeat Lektra Excess by 3¾ lengths in another best of the day time of 23.06 seconds.
The win was Abbott’s fifth at Tara Raceway this year and now sees him sitting in sixth spot on the Leading Trainers’ list.
And tomorrow he hits the highway again, this time travelling to Adelaide with a team of four, including Just Like Fire, for the Angle Park meeting.
MAKING EVERY POST A WINNER
It wasn’t that Cee Sunrise’s form was all that bad – on the contrary, five wins and three minor placings from only 21 starts doesn’t make for a bad strike rate.
But after unplaced runs at her past three starts Portland owner-trainer Andy Graham had found himself in the wilderness for a couple of months with the daughter of Cosmic Chief and Cee Anna Rose.
So when she gained a start from box three in Friday’s Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (400 m) she needed to make every post a winner – no easy task considering her grade five status and some of the opposition’s higher rankings.
Reputations counted for nothing though as the $50 chance Cee Sunrise quickly wrested the lead from Whatta Moment and then held off an unlucky Galactic Viper to win by a neck in 23.52 seconds.
The win was Graham’s second this year at Tara Raceway after Cee Sunrise’s half-sister Cee Rose Black (by Collision) had won in January.
Cee Anna Rose, who is by Bombastic Shiraz out of Graham’s prolific-producing bitch Senni Wendy, raced on only 18 occasions for six wins (including two at The Meadows) and nine minor placings.
Last month she whelped a third litter – four dogs and two bitches – to high profile sire Magic Sprite.
TRAINERS ON A ROLL
Scott Blacksell, of Cape Bridgewater, is better known at Tara Raceway for helping out successful Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, currently in second spot on the Leading Trainers’ list, with her large team on race and trial days.
But from an owner-trainer point of view Blacksell is on something of a roll himself after Travel Ticket, who he took over from Stanley last month, was successful on cup day prior to Money Back Zac opening his winning account at Friday’s meeting.
Money Back Zac was away well from box one in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 m) and looked anything but a dog that had yet to run a place in eight starts as he careered away to a 6¼ length win in a more than handy 23.48 seconds.
By Cosmic Chief, the black dog is out of Our Vera, a winner of six races and trained for most of her 23 starts by Blacksell.
Speaking after the win, Money Back Zac’s trainer said the dog had been plagued with bad box draws since making his debut last October.
“He’d been finding trouble every time he ran from poor draws but on Friday he showed his true ability when finally drawing a decent box,” he said.
Portland trainer Brian Weis also landed a winner on cup day with Lektra Munster and followed up again on Friday with Spring’s Over in the ClassicBet Stake (512 m).
By Spring Gun x Gone Baby Gone, Spring’s Over led all the way from box one, holding out Chuck McIvor to win by 1¼ lengths in 30.32 seconds.
Owned at Lake Albert, a suburb of Wagga Wagga, by Matt Morris, Spring’s Over and his litter sister Miss Zorro joined Weis’s kennels late last year and had both won at Warrnambool prior to Friday’s success.
The owner and trainer had previously successfully combined in 2013-2014 to race Spring’s Over’s half-brothers In This Way and Out This Way (by Premier Fantasy) who collectively won 13 races.
Earlier, on Friday, in the Metal Worx Maiden Stake (512 m) Morris and Weis had Chilly Kiss engaged from box seven in what would be her first Tara Raceway start.
By Spring Gun out of Gone Baby Gone’s half-sister Chilly Babe – a multiple Victorian city winner at both Sandown Park and The Meadows – Chilly Kiss had been placed on three occasions from six starts at Sandown Park and looked the one to beat.
But the $2.70 favourite never got into the race after missing the start hopelessly, although there’s most certainly a Tara Raceway win in the 25 kilogram bitch if she can jump in the same manner as she did at Sandown Park last month when running second.
Weis has now trained four winners, along with 10 minor placings, this year at Tara Raceway and is equal ninth on the Leading Trainers’ list.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Worrolong greyhound Sookie’s Lad landed his first feature race win in a 57-start career when successful in last Sunday’s Formula 400 Sprint (400 metres) at Tara Raceway’s Mount Gambier Cup meeting.
Sookie’s Lad, who turned four years old earlier this month, settled in a forward spot from box two and after railing through on the home turn finished too well to defeat Ming Men Shen by a neck with a further half-length back to Slipper’s Chance.
By Premier Fantasy out of Sookie, a winner of 14 races and a litter sister to the Group-winning Kilty Lad, Sookie’s Lad is owned locally by Craig Hicks and trained by his father-in-law Steve Bartholomew.
The win made this year’s cup day even more special for Bartholomew, president of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club, who handled Tara Topar, the inaugural cup winner in 1981, and has not missed a cup meeting in the ensuing 36 years.
And while Sookie’s Lad has now won 10 races and recorded 26 minor placings his trainer recalls that the black dog’s racing career back in July 2015 looked to be all but over after only 23 starts.
“He suffered a nasty foot injury at the end of a 400 metre race and was off the scene for six months,” he said.
“It actually required two bouts of surgery and to be honest at the time we doubted whether he would ever race again as the foot developed a deformed appearance.
“We were keen to persevere, though, as Sookie’s Lad had always shown potential and was a keen chaser. Not the fastest greyhound we had at the time but a pleasure to have in the kennels.”
And as a testament to the dog’s fortitude – and connections’ patience – he won upon returning to racing at the beginning of 2016 with a further four wins to follow prior to last Sunday’s cup-day success.
The Formula 400 was first run in 2015 when Tom Cryer’s Cryer’s Fred was successful, while last year’s event was won by the Dean Fennell trained Cerrone.
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY
Last year’s cup day 600 metre feature, the Fireball, was won by the Phil Lenehan owned and trained Lektra Kelly.
This year the middle-distance feature was run as the Blue Lake 600 and it was Lenehan’s brother, Neville, or Nifty as he is better known, who was successful with King Obama.
By Kinloch Brae x Obama’s Girl, King Obama had defeated the highly-rated Texas Titan over 600 metres at Tara Raceway last month and as such had jumped a long odds-on favourite in his heat.
But the 35 kilogram black dog never fired a shot after finding plenty of trouble from box three and ultimately went down by 15 lengths to Lektra Kelly’s half-sister Lektra Destiny.
That effort saw King Obama relegated to a reserve, although as luck would have it there was a scratching and he lined up from box two in Sunday’s $2000 final.
And it was pretty clear a long way from home that Nifty Lenehan was going to win his first feature race as a trainer – he actually struggled with the presentation dais procedure – when King Obama careered away to a six length win in a personal best time of 35.60 seconds.
Not that there hadn’t been success in the past with Lenehan, now 51, enjoying heady times back in the late 1990s when he raced Star Of Mine.
By Head Honcho x Hoppy’s Star, Star Of Mine went around on 64 occasions for 23 wins and 18 minor placings and more than $74,000 in prizemoney.
Lenehan derived extra pleasure from Sunday’s success as he also bred the winner. He now has high hopes for Obama’s Girl’s next litter – by Cosmic Rumble and 16 months old.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Ross Schurgott and members of the Viking Syndicate had no luck in last Sunday’s ClassicBet Mount Gambier Cup final with Thanks Captain but they quickly regrouped for the following race – a $2000 cup consolation (512 metres).
Late last year, together with Allendale East trainer David Peckham and Connie Miller, Schurgott had bought into the former NSW-based Blitz And Bolt who now looks to have been a pretty reasonable buy at only $1500.
The David Pringle-bred son of Cosmic Rumble x Moonshine Sally found himself in a more than handy consolation after a half-length second to Harry Aztec in a cup heat the previous week.
And despite two excellent seconds prior to that behind Hutch in the Summer Classic and Gargle It, Blitz And Bolt jumped from box seven on Sunday at around the $16 quote.
Peckham also had Anti Dentite engaged in the consolation after he had run a handy fourth behind Mojito Mayhem the week before at what had been his first Tara Raceway 512 metre hit-out.
A son of Turanza Bale x Sister Ping, the black dog landed in Mount Gambier late last year after stints in Queensland and Adelaide where he had raced on 84 occasions for 24 wins and prizemoney totalling more than $60,000.
Away well from box four, Anti Dentite was in front going out of the first turn and took advantage of some interference to open up a handy break over his kennelmate down the back straight.
But approaching the home turn, Blitz And Bolt was looming ominously. And this is where the Viking Syndicate factor came into play.
Appropriately decked out in their Viking Syndicate shirts, the members boisterously punched home the Bolt in such a manner that on the line he had 4¾ lengths to spare over Anti Dentite in a personal best time of 30.02 seconds.
Currently involved in an interesting three-way go for training honours with Nicole Stanley and Tracie Price, Peckham concluded the three-meeting Mount Gambier Cup carnival with five winners – a running treble on the opening day followed by a cup heat win with Thanks Captain and the consolation quinella last Sunday.
One of the treble winners was Still We Believe, a lightly-raced son of Heston Bale x Tandar Lass, who had won at Geelong and Bendigo before successful on debut at Tara Raceway over 400 metres in a tidy 23.25 seconds for Schurgott and the Viking Syndicate.
The purchase of the black dog from Victoria came via the internet advertising site Greyhound-Data and was the result of the syndicate re-investing some of the proceeds from the sale of a couple of pups by Barcia Bale out of their former 600 metre record holder Striking Viking at last year’s Angle Park auction.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
With six runners in Sunday’s Produce Store Feature Maiden final (512 m) it was always going to be a fair bet that Compton breeder-trainer Tracie Price would at least win the event if not make a clean sweep of the affair.
Price had provided the quinella in the three heats with the standout being Magic Sprite x Hey Sexy Lady youngster Summer Storm, a 7½ length winner in a best of day 29.98 seconds.
But the switch in the final from the inside to the outside brought about the August 2015 whelping’s undoing. Starting a warm favourite from box eight, Summer Storm found trouble wherever he went and did a good job to finish fourth.
Meanwhile, kennelmate Rumbling Moment, a son of Cosmic Rumble and former smart bitch Stylish Moment, appreciated the switch from the outside to the inside when railing through on the first turn and then defying the opposition to run him down in a time of 30.66 seconds.
Rumbling Moment, who had been grabbed on the line at his first race start in a heat the previous week, now looks a likely type for the August-run Winter Classic, a race his dam won in 2014.
Gee She Roks upset the Price clean sweep when, despite using plenty of the track, she finished strongly to grab second spot for Ross Schurgott and David Peckham who must be wondering whether the daughter of Cape Hawke x Freestyle Lass will ever win a race after having now run eight minor placings from 14 starts.
Baz’s Moment, who won a heat on debut for Barry Bruce and Price, ran another good race to finish third with the son of Swift Fancy x Which Class giving Kongorong-based Bruce a successful re-introduction to greyhound racing.
Price also enjoyed plenty of cup carnival success, training six winners over the three meetings.