SUNDAY, MARCH 25: Nominations closed. SUNDAY, APRIL 1: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, March 27 with GRSA. SUNDAY, APRIL 8: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, April 3 with GRSA. See “Racing Calendar” for full details. HOT WEATHER POLICY: Please note that when the Mount Gambier temperature is forecast at 32 degrees or higher on a race day the kennels will be open a half hour earlier. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
There were a number of factors that contributed to the success of this year’s Mount Gambier Cup carnival, not the least being record prizemoney, record crowds and, of course, the Calcutta which is still being talked about.
The traditional Calcutta, sandwiched between the supporting events heats on the Friday and Sunday’s cup heats, also attracted a record crowd which in turn led to record payouts to the purchasers of the Mount Gambier Cup final placegetters.
In fact, the purchasers of the eventual winner, Xtreme Caution, collected more than $4000 for a modest outlay and promptly declared that they would be putting the money towards a greyhound.
Kevin “KD” Douglas, who kept things on an even keel, and auctioneer Chris Manser, who have both been involved with countless racing-code Calcuttas over the years, reckoned this was one of the best of its type that they had ever attended.
Adding to Sunday’s meeting was the return of distance racing, the Back To Distance Racing Mixed Stake the first 732 metre event to be run on cup day since 2014 when the Brendan Bunworth trained Maccaboy was successful in a time of 44.25 seconds.
“KD”, back again, this time to handle the on-course presentations and interviews, publicly extended a special welcome to Hoppers Crossing trainer Allan Meyer who had made the trip over with well-performed bitch Mick’s Angel to take on the local stayers.
Long-time trainer Meyer, who was at Tara Raceway for the first time, certainly liked what he saw especially after Mick’s Angel scored a brilliant victory in the staying event.
Later, the affable Meyer sought out “KD” to thank him for the welcome. A nice gesture and one appreciated by the master of ceremonies.
The Mount Gambier Cup aside, surely one of the highlights of the carnival was the performance of the Greg Board trained Spring Bridge in the Produce Store Feature Maiden final over 512 metres.
The win by the June 2016 son of My Bro Fabio and Tina Lee was as impressive as you could ever hope to see – a margin of more than 16 lengths and the 29.63 seconds winning time the fastest ever recorded at the track for a maiden event.
Who knows, Spring Bridge might even go on to Group 1 glory. And if he does, then rest assured we’ll be the first to point out this was the greyhound that kicked off his career at Tara Raceway.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
The month of March saw Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield’s stocks rise considerably after the arrival of the Adelaide-owned Cinnamon Rose who brought up her third win in succession at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
Clayfield’s first couple of months this year had been pretty miserable, Shore’s Last his only winner in early February, so when the opportunity presented itself to have a go with Cinnamon Rose he figured he didn’t have much to lose.
“It was actually a couple of things that fell into place and resulted in her finding her way down here,” Clayfield said.
“Cinnamon Rose was being trained by Reynella owner Ross Smith’s neighbour Wally Harkins but a new trainer was required when he went on an overseas holiday.
“So with Ross’s son Damien currently building at Penola and making quite a few trips down here from Adelaide they made contact to see if I would be interested, also believing that the finish-on-lure at Tara Raceway probably wouldn’t do her any harm.”
Previously a winner of two 388 metre events at Angle Park, Cinnamon Rose won on debut at Tara Raceway for Clayfield over 400 metres on March 9 and beat the grader when winning again two days later.
He then stepped her up to 512 metres on cup day in the Laser Electrical Stake, which resulted in another comfortable win after an early tussle with Dimora Flash.
Cinnamon Rose was purchased in November by Smith, a former successful breeder, owner and trainer who bred the 1983 and 1986 Mount Gambier Cup winners Magic Fame and Riverland Roy.
By US sire EJ’S Douglas, she’s out of 15-race winner Eustace Diamond, a daughter of Surf Lorian and Coulta Sandy who won 20 races and $56,000 in prizemoney.
Clayfield now has Cinnamon Rose engaged in box six in Sunday’s Gordon Refrigeration Stake (512 m), with the handy grade five field likely to be the February 2016 brindle bitch’s biggest test to date at Tara Raceway.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Allendale East-based Connie Miller, still the only trainer in the long history of the Mount Gambier Cup to have won the event in consecutive years, was back among the winners at Sunday’s cup day meeting at Tara Raceway.
This time it was with Chilly Kiss, who came into the final of The Tankman 600 (600 m) feature grade five on the back of two 600 metre runs in the space of three days at the previous weekend’s meetings.
The three-year-old brindle bitch qualified for the final with a nine length third behind Big Rough in the Friday heats before fronting up again on the Sunday when running a 4¼ length second to Shiney Bling in a grade five bitches event.
And Chilly Kiss quickly dispelled any notions that the previous weekend could have taken the edge off her when flying the start from box eight in Sunday’s final, leading all the way to defeat Ernest Bale and Azumi Spice in a personal best time of 35.49 seconds.
The winner is raced by Miller’s 16-year-old Adelaide-based granddaughter Clarissa Miller who was unable to be on track to witness her dog’s second feature win at Tara Raceway this year.
Chilly Kiss, owned by young Miller since October, was successful last month in a feature grade five final over 512 metres when as a $34 chance she defeated Blazing Moment in 29.84 seconds.
By Spring Gun, Chilly Kiss is out of Chilly Babe, a Victorian city winner at Sandown Park and The Meadows. She was bred at Wagga Wagga by Matt Morris, also the breeder-owner of Sunday’s Mount Gambier Cup winner Xtreme Caution.
First-time sponsor, Allen Cram of tank cleaning business The Tankman, was on track for the presentation as was his Tankman truck, on display for promotional purposes.
Following the success of this year’s Tankman 600, the heat and final middle-distance series is now likely to be a part of the 2019 Mount Gambier Cup carnival.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Short-course specialist Baz’s Moment continued on his winning way at Tara Raceway on Sunday when turning in a brilliant effort in the Formula 400 Open final (400 m).
With both Oh No Beta, the even money favourite, and Baz’s Moment chasing a hat-trick of wins, the race had the potential to develop into a match race after the pair drew ideally in boxes one and eight respectively.
And that’s pretty well how things panned out with box eight Baz, trained by Tracie Price, displaying too much early pace for Nicole Stanley’s Oh No Beta before careering away to a 2½ length win in 23.14 seconds.
By Swift Fancy out of Which Class, last year’s leading local dam, Baz’s Moment is raced by Price in partnership with Baz Bruce who acquired a share in the September 2015 whelping just prior to breaking-in.
The black dog, now with a record of 15 wins and 19 minor placings from 47 starts, has proven to be a successful re-introduction to the sport for the Kongorong-based Bruce who had previously been involved more than 10 years ago.
Meanwhile, Colden Star, another smart chaser with a similar record to that of Baz’s Moment, found winning form again when leading all the way from box one in the Gambier Vets Open Stake (400 m), eventually defeating Tiger Bite Turbo by 4½ lengths in 23.27 seconds.
Trained at Heathmere by Bea Bryant, the daughter of Collision x Express Links had been having only her second run in four months with Sunday’s win being her first since last September when she was successful over 410 metres at Horsham.
Monday, March 19, 2018
Before a record crowd, Portland greyhound Xtreme Caution won Mount Gambier’s richest-ever race when leading all the way in the $22,000 Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
Trained by 51-year-old Brian Weis, the $14 chance Xtreme Caution made full use of box one, defying Lektra Stomp and Galactic Panther in the home straight to score by three-quarters of a length in 29.95 seconds – the fifth-fastest time recorded in the 22 cups run at Lake Terrace East.
For Weis, it was his second Mount Gambier Cup win, Drone successful in 2009 and also third the following year behind Kirkstall Jane. This year was his first cup finalist since 2010.
By Barcia Bale x Xtreme Gretel, Xtreme Caution is owned by the breeder, Matt Morris, a plasterer from Gumly Gumly, a suburb of Wagga Wagga.
Morris, through his association with leading Victorian trainer Robert Britton, had purchased Xtreme Gretel from a ready-to-race sale in Texas, the fawn bitch later winning seven races in the US before finding her way to Australia where she had only a handful of race starts.
The intention was always to breed with Xtreme Gretel although by the time she had whelped a litter of five dogs and five bitches to the high-profile sire Barcia Bale Morris would have been the first to concede that the exercise had been anything but cheap.
Weis’s association with Morris came about in late 2013 when the NSW breeder-owner had been looking for a trainer for a couple of litter brothers that he had bred called Out This Way and In This Way, Weis later winning 13 races with the pair and cementing a successful partnership that ultimately led to Sunday’s Mount Gambier Cup.
Weis, who is currently training six of the “Xtreme” litter for Morris, makes no secret of the fact that he believes the cup winner, in his kennels since October last year, still has plenty of improvement in him.
“To be honest, I believe his potential is untapped,” he said. “I still reckon his condition is not quite right and as such there should be more improvement to come. I’ll talk to Matt this week and it could be that he will go back to Wagga Wagga for a break.”
For Weis, it had been a case of being reasonably confident in his cup heat the previous week but after being run down by Blazing Moment and qualifying for the final on the strength of one of the fastest seconds, he was the first to concede that the black dog would probably have the job ahead of him.
“I have to admit, though, after he drew box one in the final I thought that he might be some chance if the race was run to suit,” he said.
Sunday’s cup win was a tremendously popular result with Weis a regular at Tara Raceway for a number of years.
“I can remember when we used to come over here to get the kibble money, such was the standard of racing. That’s not the case today, though, with the class of greyhound now significantly better.
“But for all that, this is beautiful club and I love coming here.”
Weis also paid tribute to the support of his family – wife Sally and daughters Mandy and Sam.
“And I suppose I should mention my granddaughters, Alex and Zoe, they try to help.”
The cup winner collected $15,000 for connections, along with a service to the Group 1 winning champion Worm Burner. Also cashing in on the win were the Calcutta purchasers who collected more than $4000 after Xtreme Caution’s win.
Looking at the minor placegetters, the Phil Lenehan trained Lektra Stomp, lining up from box five on the back of a track record run the previous week in a heat, found himself well back early after a tardy start before storming home for second while Galactic Panther was always handy, eventually being beaten by only 1½ lengths for trainer Steve Bartholomew.
Blazing Moment was another finalist well back early before working home strongly to finish fourth for Tracie Price. And race favourite, the locally-owned Print The Money, who once again drew a big crowd of supporters to the track, finished on in fifth spot.
Meanwhile, Hutch, who never really got into the race last week when finishing fifth behind Print The Money and failing to qualify for the final, made amends in the Mount Gambier Cup Consolation.
Trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, Hutch, who was a finalist in last year’s cup, led all the way to defeat hot favourite Henry in a best of day 29.56 seconds.
Distance racing over 732 metres made a welcome return to the programme at Sunday’s Mount Gambier Cup day meeting – for the first time since 2014 when Brendan Bunworth’s Maccaboy was successful in 44.25 seconds.
The interesting runner in the Back To Distance Racing Mixed Stake was the Victorian stayer Mick’s Angel who was over to try and outstay the local distance dominators Cryer’s Bob and Cryer’s Plugger, both trained by Tom Cryer.
Trained at Hoppers Crossing by Allan Meyer, Mick’s Angel came across with a pretty fair record of 11 wins, 32 minor placings and more than $80,000 in stakemoney although she had never seen the track.
And when Cryer’s Bob, a winner of three distance races at Tara Raceway, took over the early running and Mick’s Angel settled well back, the visitor’s task looked to be tough, to say the least.
But turning for home, Cryer’s Bob had had enough while Mick’s Angel, who was just warming up, pulled out to make her run, powering home to defeat Cryer’s Plugger by three lengths in 43.94 seconds.
By Kilty Lad x Seabrook Lass, the black bitch is owned by Faye Craig, who picked her out as a pup, Meyer training her for all of her 81 starts.
Meyer was at Tara Raceway for the first time on Sunday, glad that he had listened to Paul Carmichael – trainer of Tara Raceway Anniversary Cup winners Black Presence and Calm Presence in 2006 and 2009 respectively – who had suggested they make the trip over for the distance event.
“I’ve often meant to come over here but never got around to it,” Meyer said. “So when Paul suggested we come for the cup day meeting and for a change dodge running into the million dollar dog Fanta Bale I thought it was probably a good idea.”
Involved in the sport for 30 years, Meyer said Mick’s Angel had now become the first dog to win more than 11 races for him.
Monday, March 19, 2018
Murray Bridge trainer Greg Board reckoned Spring Bridge’s 16¼ length win in the Produce Store Feature Maiden final (512 m) on Sunday in 29.63 seconds – the fastest maiden time ever recorded at Tara Raceway – didn’t come as any real surprise.
The 21-month-old son of My Bro Fabio x Tina Lee, after an average start from box two was in front going out of the first turn and from then on it was always going to be a matter of how far, Go Saints and Rocking Doll filling the minors.
Speaking at the presentation, Board, who previously enjoyed tremendous success with Spring Gun, said that the time hadn’t really surprised him as Spring Bridge had trialled sub-29.60 seconds at the track leading into the cup carnival.
“I think he could be something special,” he had said after the black youngster won a heat the previous week in 30.02 seconds, an effort that attracted plenty of attention from around Australia and New Zealand.
Based in Murray Bridge for nine months, Board, who still has greyhound interests in NSW, said he was looking to breed four litters in SA in the coming year in order to take advantage of the SA-bred breeding incentives.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Greyhound racing in Mount Gambier has come a fair way since Tara Topar picked up $500 for connections after winning the inaugural Mount Gambier Cup, run over 479 metres at Glenburnie in 1981.
Sunday’s 38th Mount Gambier Cup, these days run over 512 metres, at Tara Raceway will be the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s first Group Listed race and with total prizemoney of $22,000 the richest greyhound race ever conducted in Mount Gambier.
From a locally bred, owned and trained point of view there will be plenty of interest in Blazing Moment and Galactic Panther, in the hands of long-time participants Tracie Price and Steve Bartholomew – both still chasing their first Mount Gambier Cup success.
And then of course there’s the great story surrounding Print The Money, trained at Avalon in Victoria by Michelle Mallia-Magri but bred and owned locally by Don Gordon, Ward and Diesel Leicester, Rohan Von Stanke and Dion Pannenburg under the banner of the Southern Bar Boys Syndicate.
The exuberant syndicate, desperate to win the home-town cup, had worked hard to convince Mallia-Magri to contest the event with Print The Money, runner-up in last December’s Group 1 Hobart Thousand.
Actually, husband John Magri, speaking after last Sunday’s outstanding heat win, said that they had known little of the Mount Gambier Cup until reading on the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing website that the owners had been keen for the dog to come to Mount Gambier for the cup.
Favourite for the cup, despite drawing box five, will be Lektra Stomp, a dog that had been threatening to break the Tara Raceway track record for a few weeks and finally did so in his cup heat with a run of 29.45 seconds.
Lektra Stomp is trained at Toolong by Phil Lenehan who had a finalist in the 2010 cup and will be looking to emulate the success of his father Brian in 1993 with Immortal Flash. A nice touch would be to see Lenehan snr on track for Sunday’s Listed race.
Jeff Guy, the Horsham publican-turned greyhound trainer, returns for a second crack at the cup with Paraphernalia, a wonderfully durable greyhound that will line up for start number 99 on Sunday. After a personal best 29.71 seconds heat win maybe he’s not a year too late.
Megellas Fairy is back for the final for Nambrok trainer Lyn Smith who took over the training of Fabregal after her Mount Gambier Cup win last year. Smith has been training Megellas Fairy for several months for Traralgon owner Terri-Maree Morris, no stranger to big race success through the deeds of Jesaulenko, a winner of $400,000 in prizemoney.
Box one runner Xtreme Caution is drawn to run a bold race for the Portland-based Brian Weis who is the only trainer in the final’s line-up to have previously won a Mount Gambier Cup – with Drone in 2009. And another Portland trainer, Nicole Stanley, who rolled the dice with last week’s $60 chance Verev, has found herself with a finalist for the second consecutive year following Berry Bling in 2017.
Prizemoney break down for Sunday’s cup is $15,000, $4000, $2000 with unplaced runners receiving $200. The winner will also receive a service to the Group 1 winning champion Worm Burner, donated by Cameron and Yvonne Butcher.
With the grassed surrounds of Tara Raceway looking immaculate, excellent catering, TAB and bar facilities, a free pick 6 and children’s playground, along with some outstanding greyhounds racing for record prizemoney, the Mount Gambier Cup is certainly the best meeting of the year.
If you didn’t know there was even a greyhound track on Lake Terrace East, or if you only intend taking in one greyhound meeting this year, then Sunday’s 12-race programme is the one to be at.
Pictures: Todd’s Photographics