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

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, February 19 with GRSA. SUNDAY, MARCH 3: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, February 26 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.


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Stanley’s cup stocks receive a boost

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

It was only a few weeks ago that Portland greyhound trainer Nicole Stanley was lamenting the fact that she really didn’t have anything for this year’s Group Listed Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup.

But her stocks, as far as the cup is concerned, received something of a boost at Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting when Wanchai Express ran out a seven length winner over the odds-on Cryer’s Plugger in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (512 metres).

Nicole Stanley with Wanchai Express, the quickest 512 metre winner at Tara Raceway since last July.

An impressive margin against a greyhound that had gone around Tara Raceway the previous week in 29.58 seconds and certainly an impressive winning time of 29.46 seconds – the fastest run at the track since Rockoon’s record-breaking 29.28 seconds last July.

At odds of $34, it’s probably fair to say that even Stanley didn’t see this win coming. Race caller Ray Fewings, generally good for an on-air quote or two, obviously didn’t either when he asked “was I calling the right dog or in fact the right race?”

Wanchai Express is raced by Adelaide owner Les Stewart who sent the son of Bit Chili and 15-race winner Aunty Chopper (also owned by Stewart) to Portland last August after the 36 kilogram black dog had won four races on Adelaide tracks.

Sunday’s win was his first at Tara Raceway since last October although Stanley had been successful with him at Warrnambool in December and at The Meadows the following month, Wanchai Express now nominated for Sandown Park tomorrow night.

“A run at Sandown Park should give us a fair idea of where we’re at with him,” she said. “Although, to be fair, his form leading into last Sunday’s race hadn’t been all that bad considering that at his past four starts he had raced at The Meadows and then three times at Angle Park’s Thursday night meetings.”

Verev, a 2018 Mount Gambier Cup finalist, pictured winning at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Stanley was also successful with Verev in the Winmore Greyhound Kennels Stake (512 m), the black dog taking the lead on the first turn before running away to a 4½ length win over the consistent Big Rough in 30.06 seconds.

Verev, who carries a US damline on his sire’s side through General Destini, is out of the US-bred dam Chasin The Dream, Sunday’s win his first over 512 metres at Tara Raceway since he defeated Bomber Creek in late March last year.

He was a finalist in last year’s Mount Gambier Cup after running second to Lektra Stomp in a heat, Stanley saying he was likely to line up again in this year’s cup, heats of which will be run on Sunday, March 24 and the final a week later.

For Stanley, the 2017 Mount Gambier leading trainer and runner-up last year to Tracie Price, Sunday’s double was her first at Tara Raceway since November 18 when she was successful with Miss Patchouli and Oh No Beta.

Livy set to break long run of outs

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Richard Clayfield pictured with Our Gal Livy’s dam All At Sea after her maiden win at Tara Raceway on November 17, 2013.

Time-graded racing returns to Tara Raceway tomorrow afternoon and Penshurst trainer Brendan Bunworth will be hoping that Our Gal Livy can break a long run of outs that stretches back to September 13, 2017.

Picked up as a giveaway by Bunworth at the beginning of the year, the daughter of Velocette and four-race Tara Raceway winner All At Sea (a litter sister to former local 512 metre record holder Dub Me In), looks well placed in tomorrow’s Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m).

Our Gal Livy ran a 4½ length third behind Verev and Big Rough on Sunday, finishing the race off in such a manner that would suggest she’s close to another win.

Taking in the meeting will be members of the Kingston Community Group, the Millicent Men’s Group and the locally-based Rainbow Club – all affiliated with the South East Regional Community Health Service.

Baby of the field whacks classy opposition in Summer Classic heat

Monday, February 18, 2019

Boom youngster Galactic Athena, after an impressive maiden 512 metre win last week in 29.74 seconds at her first race start, had no trouble in taking the next step at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon in heat one of the Summer Classic (512 metres).

Robert Chuck (left) and Steve Bartholomew pictured with Galactic Athena after her outstanding Summer Classic heat win at Tara Raceway on Sunday.

Away quickly from box three, the brindle bitch led all the way to defeat Vermouth, a recent Angle Park 515 metre winner in a quick 29.80 seconds, and Rose Ali, previously unbeaten in her three starts at Tara Raceway and a last start winner over 512 metres at Tara Raceway in 29.72 seconds.

In a remarkable performance, Galactic Athena ran out an 8¼ length winner in 29.61 seconds. “29.74 last week, 29.61 today – cop that!” was race caller Ray Fewings’s take on the race for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2017.

Also remarkable is the fact that the August 24, 2017 daughter of Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball doesn’t turn 18 months of age until Sunday, the day when Galactic Athena takes on Vermouth, Rose Ali, Bourne Thanks, Maunganui Magic, Cee Sprite, Banjo Bad Boy and Galactic Mojo in the 2019 Summer Classic final.

She’s owned by Robert Chuck, 60, of Moorak and trained at Worrolong by Steve Bartholomew, 59, long-time mates who combined last year to win the Summer Classic with Galactic Athena’s half-brother Galactic Panther (by Irish-bred sire Milldean Panther).

Chuck won three races at Tara Raceway with Galactic Rumball – purchased as a pup from Bartholomew – in what was an injury-interrupted 21-start career before breeding two litters with the daughter of Cosmic Rumble x Elite Touch, the second to the Canadian-bred Paddy Whacker who has sired just under 40 litters in Australia.

For Chuck, never afraid to look outside the square, the decision to use Paddy Whacker was interesting, the subsequent litter by the All American currently his last registered in Australia.

“To be honest, I was impressed with his breeding (Heart Rumble x Spicy Candy) and his race performances in the US. Also, I was looking to try and breed some strength into the pups,” he said.

Part-owner Connie Miller with Bourne Thanks, into the Summer Classic final after winning the second heat.

Chuck’s next breeding venture is likely to be with Galactic Cat, a winner at Tara Raceway, Bendigo, Traralgon, Warrnambool and Horsham and a half-sister to Galactic Athena, with the sire of choice being the US sire Flying Stanley.

And with future breeding in mind, he has also purchased straws to Dragon Fire (Brett Lee x Hoops Slamdunk) and a son Blazin Wildfire (out of Tin Nee Ann).

But short term it’s all about Galactic Athena and this Sunday’s Summer Classic final to be followed by a campaign that includes the Group Listed Murray Bridge Cup (455 m) and Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) next month.

“Subject to everything going to plan we’re looking at running her at Murray Bridge on March 3 and then tackle the cup heats there on Friday, March 8,” said Chuck, whose first individual success came 12 years ago when the Robert Halliday bred Galactic Storm was successful at Tara Raceway over 277 metres in 16.99 seconds.

“The plan is then to run her in the Mount Gambier Cup, heats of which will be run on Sunday, March 24 with the final the following week.”

Bourne Thanks made it two wins in a row at Tara Raceway when railing through on the home turn and running out a two length winner over Maunganui Magic with a further three-quarters of a length back to Cee Sprite in the second heat of the classic.

Part-owned by David Peckham and Connie Miller and trained by the former at Allendale East, Bourne Thanks is by Barcia Bale out of Thanks Tubby. And while her winning time was something like 16 lengths slower than the first heat it was a race marred by plenty of interference.

Banjo Bad Boy was an impressive winner of heat three of the Summer Classic for Karen and Tracie Price.

Banjo Bad Boy looked pretty good when leading all the way from box six in the third and final heat of the classic, running out a 6½ length winner over Galactic Athena’s litter sister Galactic Mojo in 30.10 seconds.

Purchased from well-known owner Andrew Varasdi by Karen and Tracie Price of Compton after winning a maiden at Goulburn last September, the white and black son of Banjo Boy x Banjo Bewdy, according to connections, had always shown potential.

“Initially he was simply terrible in the kennels,” Karen Price said. “But I think he just needed time to mature because he’s certainly a different dog now.”

Price is yet to win a Summer Classic, coming close last year with Dynamite Danger who ran second to Galactic Panther. By Dyna Double One x Mepunga Jayelle, Dynamite Danger is now racing in New Zealand where he has won six races.

Springvale Alysa on the cups trail

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Kongorong greyhound trainer John Little will be hoping for further improvement from Springvale Alysa when he returns to Murray Bridge on Sunday night with his Tara Raceway top grade bitch for the Sky Racing Stake (455 metres).

The daughter of Dyna Double One x Springvale Cool led all the way from box one to win a grade six final over 455 metres at Murray Bridge last Sunday night in 25.77 seconds from Spring Taylor and Bob Square Pants, trained at Tarpeena by Dita Mitchell.

Springvale Alysa . . . on the cups trail.

With a $2800 first prize, Springvale Alysa’s win was Little’s biggest success at a greyhound track, so much so that he’s now looking at next month’s lucrative cup carnivals at both Murray Bridge and Mount Gambier.

“I’m hoping she can continue to keep on improving and if that’s the case then Sunday night will be her last run at the track prior to the Murray Bridge Cup heats on Friday, March 8,” he said.

Little said Springvale Alysa would in all likelihood have a run at Tara Raceway prior to returning to Murray Bridge next month to chase Group Listed success in the Daish Irrigation & Fodder Murray Bridge Cup (455 m) and put herself in the mix for bonuses that are associated with the two cups.

The Murray Bridge Cup final will be run on Sunday, March 17 while the Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup heats (512 m) are to be run a week later at Tara Raceway with the final on Sunday, March 31 – Greyhound Racing SA having introduced two $5000 bonuses to link both $22,000 events.

Purchased from Adelaide as a maiden performer almost 12 months ago, Springvale Alysa has turned out to be a top buy for Little and his fellow Bungaloo Syndicate partners Liz Newberry and Kevin Mullan, the black bitch having now won 13 races.

Calling home another winner

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Weblec Nic, a winner of a couple of races at Sandown Park, as well as Geelong and Murray Bridge, looked well placed at Tara Raceway from box one in last Sunday’s South Eastern Hotel Stake, a 512 metre event for grade six greyhounds.

Weblec Nic pictured winning at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

As things turned out, the race went pretty much to plan, Boston Quay opening up a handy break down the back but Weblec Nic always looking comfortable in second spot before railing through on the home turn and running away to a 2¼ length win in 30.00 seconds.

The winner is by Barcia Bale out of Weblec Rose, herself successful on eight occasions for $43,000 in stakemoney for owners Neville Loechel and Jeff Weber who also race Weblec Nic in partnership with Jane McNicholl under the banner of the Fair and Square Syndicate.

Loechel and Weber also enjoyed tremendous success with Weblec Rose’s litter sister Weblec Belle, the daughter of Dyna Tron x Snow Excuse winning 27 races and $263,000 in stakemoney.

The pair also raced another litter sister, Weblec Angel, who won five races at Tara Raceway when trained locally by David Peckham from late 2014 through to mid-2016.

Weblec Nic is trained at Williamstown by Ray Fewings, who in effect killed three birds with one stone when down here last Sunday to call the Mount Gambier greyhound meeting for RadioTAB and Sky Racing.

Val Brodhurst with Dare To Do.

When he makes the occasional trip to Tara Raceway for calling duties he generally brings a dog or two with him to race – often going home with a winner – while he is also able to catch up with local participants in his role as industry representative on the Greyhound Racing SA board.

A couple of races later, in the Produce Store Stake (512 m), David and Val Brodhurst won their first race with Dare To Do who has been in their Serviceton kennels since July last year.

Well drawn in box one and well placed in a 0-2 wins event, the black bitch made a mess of the start before gaining a nice rails run and finding the front going into the back straight, eventually holding out Miss Patchouli to win by three-quarters of a length in a personal best time of 30.31 seconds.

Purchased for $1100 after winning a maiden at Warragul last May, the daughter of Goodesy and Sandown Park winner White Heart was the Brodhursts first winner since Two Jobs dead-heated with Tuscan Flex at Tara Raceway on November 11.

Unbeaten youngsters to clash in Summer Classic heat

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Heats of the 2019 Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s Summer Classic (512 metres), for dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 1, 2017, should kick off in sizzling fashion on Sunday afternoon at Tara Raceway.

In a response that would have pleased club officials, the first of three heats will see unbeaten youngsters Rose Ali and Galactic Athena – the only runners in the series to have broken the 30 second barrier – clash from boxes seven and three respectively.

Rose Ali clocks a quick 29.72 seconds for the 512 metre journey at Tara Raceway on February 6.

Rose Ali, a March 2017 whelping by My Bro Fabio x Born Ali, is owned by highly successful Warrnambool breeder-owner Noel Mugavin and trained at Allendale East by David Peckham who is probably still pinching himself over a recent phone call he received asking him if he wanted to train the then unraced black bitch.

In the space of three weeks Rose Ali has won her only three races at Tara Raceway, the last one on February 6 in a quick 29.72 seconds which at the time had been the fastest at the track since Rockoon’s record-breaking run of 29.28 seconds back in July last year.

There was an air of expectancy about the track last Sunday when Galactic Athena, a fair lump of a bitch at 31.5 kilograms, headed to the boxes for her first race start with trainer Steve Bartholomew of Worrolong.

This was one of the dogs from the Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball litter that from all accounts had been trialling very quick times at the track. Many there last Sunday were aware of that and were keen to have a look at her under race conditions.

And she didn’t disappoint. Quickly away from box eight, Galactic Athena was never going to be beaten, eventually running out a 6¼ length winner over her litter sister Galactic Mojo (lining up in Sunday’s third heat) in 29.74 seconds.

Robert Chuck of Moorak bred and owns both the winner and runner-up. Did we detect just the slightest hint of excitement from Chuckie after the race? Surely not! Well, if we did then Galactic Athena must have the makings of one hell of a dog.

Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball pups pictured at Worrolong back in November 2017.

Interestingly, the winning time was the second-fastest maiden run at Tara Raceway, eclipsed only by Greg Board’s Spring Bridge – who certainly went on to bigger and better things – when running 29.63 seconds in the Produce Store Maiden at cup time last year.

Also interesting is the age of the Galactic pair, whelped in August 2017 (a perfect age for the Winter Classic run in August) and giving away up to seven months of age as the youngest dogs to ever contest the Summer Classic. However, as the old saying goes, they’re always old enough if they’re good enough.

Galactic Rumball’s first litter, by Milldean Panther, produced Galactic Panther, winner of the 2018 Summer Classic, Chuck certainly having no regrets in using another imported sire in Paddy Whacker for his bitch’s second, and final, litter.

He was an interesting choice, being Canadian bred, US raced and with a smattering of Australian, Irish, English and US blood. Paddy Whacker, a tough, sound and determined dog, raced 113 times for 37 wins and was a multiple track record breaker.

Adding further interest to heat one of the Summer Classic will be the appearance of Vermouth, a March 2017 son of Barcia Bale and Cocktail Party, and trained by the well-respected Lauren Harris of Finniss.

Vermouth has raced on 15 occasions for four wins, all at Angle Park over 515 metres with a best time of 29.80 seconds last Thursday night likely to put him right in the mix.

Steve Bartholomew (right) with Galactic Athena and Robert Chuck with Galactic Mojo after the litter sisters had run the quinella in last week’s maiden 512 metre event at Tara Raceway.

Harris also has Just Kenny, an April 2017 son of Kinloch Brae x Glass Roof, jumping from box eight in the second heat. The black dog has raced on only five occasions for three wins, all at Murray Bridge.

Leading trainer Tracie Price has won three Winter Classics but is yet to win a Summer Classic although he went close last year with Dynamite Danger who went down by a nostril.

The seasoned Maunganui Magic, with six wins from 19 starts to her name, looks well placed for Price in the second heat from box three, while in the third heat Portland trainer Nicole Stanley’s pair of Candy Chimes and No Song should figure prominently from boxes one and eight respectively.

The Summer Classic has an interesting history. First run in 2015, it was won by reserve runner Cryer’s Ricky, trained by Tom Cryer. The following year the Lisa Rasmussen trained Menzel Boys was successful. In 2017, Robert Halliday’s Hutch won the classic and last year Chuck and Bartholomew combined to win with Galactic Panther.

All four classic winners then went on to contest the Mount Gambier Cup the following month, with all reaching the final.

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