SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, November 20 with GRSA. FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 30 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, November 26 with GRSA. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, November 27 with GRSA. PLEASE NOTE: The Time-Graded meeting scheduled for Friday, December 14 will now be run on WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12 with nominations closing at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Friday, December 7. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Mumbannar trainer Monty Wilson still remembers the day at the end of last year when Toolong breeder Phil Lenehan called him to see if would be interested in taking a well-bred giveaway greyhound called Gold Gem.
However, there was just one catch – and isn’t there always one when it comes to a giveaway? The daughter of US 50-race winner Kiowa Producer and Gold Chalice, who won 10 Victorian provincial races, had recently copped a suspension at Shepparton for unsatisfactory box manners.
“As I only train giveaway greyhounds I told Phil I’d have a go with her, figuring that her box manners surely weren’t so bad that she couldn’t be sorted out,” Wilson said.
Well, it depends what sort of time-frame you put on wayward greyhounds. Gold Gem last raced at Shepparton on November 27, 2017 and it would be another eight months before she resumed for Wilson at Tara Raceway on July 19.
On that occasion she ran third over 400 metres, well beaten, but according to her trainer it felt like a win to him and his wife Jen just to get the brindle bitch back on the racetrack.
“She was a really strange dog and to be honest, it took a long time just to get her confidence let alone trying her again in the starting boxes,” Wilson said.
And, it has to be said, the re-introduction to the fundamental process of entering the starting boxes from the back and coming out the front didn’t go all that well, at least initially.
“The first three times we tried her in the boxes was a disaster. In fact, as a last resort, Gold Gem was then booked in for box re-education at a Victorian breaking-in establishment.
“However, before she left we decided to give her one more try out of the boxes and it was at her fourth trip to the track that the penny finally dropped.
“Because of her suspension at Shepparton at the end of last year she was still required to run a satisfactory trial before she could race again so a couple of weeks later she passed with flying colours at Tara Raceway.”
For all that, it took Gold Gem 11 runs to finally open her winning account, with Wilson declaring it a “gem of a win”.
She virtually led all the way from box two in last Sunday’s Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway, eventually running out a 4½ length winner over Oriental Tiger.
“She was my twelfth win for the year and one of the most satisfying,” the beaming trainer declared.
Meanwhile, Lenehan-bred runners Black Spring, Spinning Jakit and Lektra Brandy, all out of Sandown Park distance winner Lektra Scarlett, look to hold a strong hand at Tara Raceway’s meetings on Friday and Sunday.
Black Spring, a son of Spring Gun, will make his debut over 600 metres on Friday afternoon from box eight in the JB Irrigation Stake and should appreciate the longer journey judging by the manner in which he’s been finishing off his sprint races.
Hampered by notoriously slow starts, Black Spring has won two races and run five minor placings from 13 starts over distances ranging from 450 metres to 515 metres, Edenhope owner-trainer Cap Abbott now hoping the November 2016 whelping can successfully make the step up in distance.
Litter brother Spinning Jakit, also trained by Abbott, was a winner at Tara Raceway over 512 metres in a smart 30.13 seconds on October 21, and will jump from box seven in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) on Sunday.
Possessing a racing pattern similar to that of his brother, Spinning Jakit’s clash with Mulan, an impressive 512 metre winner last Sunday, and speedster Maunganui Magic stepping up in distance for the first time, should make for an interesting lead-in to the main race of the day, the Newman McDonnell Memorial final (512 m).
Lektra Brandy, from an earlier Lektra Scarlett litter by KC And All, was an impressive 410 metre winner at Horsham on Tuesday night for Portland trainer Nifty Lenehan.
A sizzling 22.90 seconds winner at Tara Raceway in early September, Lektra Brandy, despite drawing box six, looks well placed in Sunday’s Gordon Refrigeration Mixed Stake (400 m).
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
When Serviceton greyhound Two Jobs opened up a handy break down the back straight in last Sunday’s Produce Store Mixed Stake over 600 metres it appeared as if her first win in seven months was coming up.
But it had been almost that long since Two Jobs had run over the middle-distance and approaching the home turn seasoned performer Tuscan Flex was preparing to throw out the challenge to the dog that had led virtually from box-rise.
Even half-way up the home straight, though, Two Jobs looked to be doing enough before a frantic finish had caller Jim Jacques, while staying with the long-time leader, anything but sure.
In the end the pair couldn’t be split. A dead-heat was posted, making it only the second at Tara Raceway this year for first-placing after Odd Boots and Xtreme Carnage had gone over the line together, also in a 600 metre event, on January 21.
And while Two Jobs had to fight hard in the home straight to salvage a dead-heat with Tuscan Flex, the fight was nothing compared to that of her trainer David Brodhurst who has been battling severe health issues this year.
Brodhurst missed last Sunday’s meeting through an unrelated matter but we’re pleased to report that he has responded to treatment, is now appearing much better in himself and looking forward to tomorrow’s meeting which sees Two Jobs contesting the Klaassens Contractors Stake over 512 metres.
From a handy litter by Cosmic Rumble out of the unraced Enlightment, Two Jobs, owned by Brodhurst’s wife Valerie, is a another story that highlights how sometimes a greyhound can turn things around.
Two years ago the 25 kilogram bitch won a maiden 447 metre event at Port Augusta in slow time before finding her way down to Serviceton from Adelaide as a giveaway in early in 2017.
However, in May of that year, after being short-listed for the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) due to some pretty ordinary performances at Tara Raceway, Two Jobs finally put it altogether for the Brodhursts.
While waiting for a GAP placement, Two Jobs lined up in a Friday afternoon time-graded 512 metre event, making a lie of her race record of one win from 26 starts when scoring by 10 lengths in a best of day 30.21 seconds – and putting a halt to any immediate re-homing.
In fact, since that day 18 months ago Two Jobs has gone on to win another seven races, not the least being last year’s Eric Lewis Memorial and the Koroit 600.
Kath Brooks, of Rupanyup, is Tuscan Flex’s sixth trainer and last Sunday’s shared win sees her sitting in seventh spot with 25 winners in the 2018 Ian Badger Leading Trainer Award.
By the Irish-bred sire Farley Blitz out of Gail Allen, a winner of 18 races and more than $55,000 in stakemoney, Tuscan Flex is owned at White Hills by 22-year-old Calum Blake, who purchased the blue dog via an online advertisement for $2000 after he had won two races at Wagga and two at Ballarat.
Tuscan Flex has since won another race at Ballarat and four at Tara Raceway for Blake whose older brother Aaron previously trained the dog and handled him for Brooks at last Sunday’s meeting.
And as the winners returned after clocking 35.60 seconds in the event for grade four and five greyhounds, it seems connections were only too happy to concede that the dead-heat had been a fitting result.
Monday, November 12, 2018
Leading trainer Tracie Price, of Compton, will hold a strong hand in this Sunday’s 33rd Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 metres) after four of his greyhounds – Lika Missile, Sophie’s Moment, Shae’s Magic and Banjo Lass – qualified at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon for the time-honoured final.
But his headline act was definitely the two-year-old Lika Missile, a son of Nitro Burst and Oh Cee Ya, which makes him a full brother from a later mating to Smart Missile, a winner of 12 races from 26 starts and $64,000 in stakemoney.
Lika Missile, who resumed last week with a fast-finishing second to Cool Number over 400 metres after a two-month break, led all the way from box six in Sunday’s first of three heats, running out a 5½ length winner over Lady Pippa in 29.78 seconds, a time that ultimately would be the best of the day.
Sophie’s Moment won her first 512 metre race in five months when leading all the way from box two in the second heat, eventually holding out kennel newcomer Shae’s Magic who got a long way back early before powering home and going down by a neck in a smart 29.94 seconds.
Giving Price the trifecta was Banjo Lass, assured of a spot in the final after running a 3½ length third and clocking 30.17 seconds.
Sophie’s Moment’s win also gave Price his fourth winner on the day, Maunganui Magic scoring a big win over Luca Flyer in a personal best 23.11 seconds in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 m) while Swift Limes edged out Springvale Alysa to win by a nose in the Winningformula.net.au Mixed Stake (512 m) in 29.88 seconds.
However, shortly after the running of the second heat of the memorial at 3.18 p.m., a power outage in Mount Gambier saw the final heat – and last race of the day – in danger of not being run, stewards deciding that if power had not been restored by 4 p.m. then the meeting would be abandoned.
This would have meant a blind draw to determine the final spots for the memorial but fortunately the power was back before 4 p.m. – not by much, mind you – and Brinza, trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, finally had a change of luck when finishing strongly to defeat Lone Star by 1½ lengths in 30.36 seconds.
Price last won the Newman McDonnell Memorial eight years ago with Teddy La Plume who defeated the Cass Billington trained Lisa’s Rule and Good Luck Chuck in 30.64 seconds on September 5, 2010, Billington winning the memorial the following year with Going Home.
And Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield, successful on Sunday with an impressive Mulan in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), will also be chasing his second memorial, this time with Lone Star, after Glenville Jester won the event in 2016 in what was part of a barnstorming two months of racing – seven wins and two seconds – for the black dog.
Brinza was the second leg of a double for Halliday, his first since June 7 when Brinza and Sudden Call were successful, after Spirited Bingle, always on the pace, stormed home for an outstanding win over the ultra-consistent Ramified in the Gambier Vets Stake (400 m) in a rarely-run 22.92 seconds.
Halliday picked up the beautifully bred daughter of Collision and Kokoda Spirit (a litter sister to Guru Doll, the dam of Brinza) back in March after an out of the blue call from Junortoun breeder Mark Morrissey to see if he was interested in training her – the only catch being that she had failing to chase convictions hanging over her head from Bendigo and Horsham.
But Halliday has now won eight races, including one at Angle Park, with the black bitch, the only downside being a dropped back muscle that saw her off the scene from the beginning of July to mid-September.
“Sandown Vet Clinic veterinarian Alistair Smith did a terrific job of getting her back on the track but Mark and I are now looking at breeding with her, Fabregas possibly the sire of choice,” he said.
Meanwhile, Greyhound of the Year leader Oh No Beta failed to add to his tally of 52 points when finishing fifth behind Spirited Bingle.
However, Paraphernalia edged to within a point when running third behind Swift Limes, staging a big effort after being last down the back straight before finishing strongly to go down by 2½ lengths.
And Swift Limes has issued a late challenge, moving into fourth spot on 47 points (eight wins, six seconds and three thirds) after Sunday’s meeting.
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Koroit trainer Peter Keane, something of a Tara Raceway regular over the past couple of months, was quickly into stride at last Sunday’s meeting when Cool Number scored an impressive win in the second race, the JB Irrigation Stake (400 metres).
Having only his second race start in four months, the black dog led all the way from box four, eventually running out a three length winner over a fast-finishing Lika Missile in 23.39 seconds, much to the delight of part-owners Lindsay Brookes and Gary Thomson who were on course.
Raced under the banner of the Many Winners Syndicate, which also includes Keane, his sister-in-law Bev Keane and Graham Dix, Cool Number was purchased by the syndicate for $1000 after running second over 390 metres at Warrnambool in January.
By Magic Sprite out of Cover Girl, a Victorian provincial winner of six races, he started his career in Tasmania where he won his maiden at Launceston, the Many Winners Syndicate landing their first race with Cool Number at Warrnambool in April, last Sunday being their second win with the dog.
And as the day progressed things got even better for Keane. In fact, from a training point of view, last Sunday turned out to be his most successful day at a greyhound track in close to 29 years.
My Mandara, a son of Mepunga Geordie and State Chill, who won nine races at Warrnambool, was always on the pace from box two in the Greyhound-Data.com Mixed Stake (400 m), railing through approaching the home turn and running out a 2¼ length winner over Spirited Bingle in 23.32 seconds.
Owned by the breeder, Debbie Wright of Port Fairy, My Mandara’s win came on the back of some consistent recent efforts at Tara Raceway and Warrnambool, Keane previously successful with the fawn dog at the local track in late September.
So come the last race, the Klaassens Contractors Stake (400 m), and the Keane-trained Speedy Scar, despite being off the scene for a while, was expected to go well from box one.
Speedy Scar quickly took up the running, Keane’s treble looking pretty safe a long way from home although in the end Dimora Bekim made him work for his three winners when digging deep in the home straight and running the leader to a head in 23.44 seconds.
And it was another winner for Brookes who owns Speedy Scar outright after purchasing the son of Nitro Burst x Lektra Candy as a pup for $1500 from Koroit breeder Nick Sheehan.
Keane’s first and only other training treble was at Warrnambool on December 30, 1989 when Star Profile (Roy Trease x Young Propriety) won over 450 metres, Linda Michelle (Bowetzel x Bridarlin) was successful in the Jean Walsh Memorial (680 m) and the beautifully bred Sydney Kate (Shining Chariot x Sydney Dingaan) scored at her first start.
Sydney Kate, incidentally, was a litter sister to Immortal Flash, who as a five-year-old and with 98 starts to his name, won the 1993 Mount Gambier Cup at Glenburnie.
Speaking at Tara Raceway last Sunday, Keane said he still had a vivid recollection of that first treble.
“Yes, I still remember the night well because the treble clinched the 1989 Warrnambool trainers’ premiership for me,” Keane said.
He trained his first winner in 1982 and since then has handled some more than handy dogs including the locally-bred Miami Mike, a son of Tempix and Kori Spot, who won over 732 metres at the old Olympic Park track in Melbourne.
But for all the greyhounds that have passed through his kennels over the years, Keane still reckons Hoppy’s Girl (Tangairn x Sydney Gem) is the best he’s trained.
She won six races at Olympic Park and Sandown Park, and one over 550 metres at Ballarat, before proving to be a prolific producer.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
For 73-year-old trainer Kevin Ashton, wins don’t come much better than that at Tara Raceway last Friday when Cement Socks overcame the odds and brought up her first win in 17 months.
Having her first start for three months in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (400 metres), the daughter of Stagger x Hippy Chic quickly worked into second spot behind Penny La Moment, taking over the running off the back after the leader found trouble and eventually won by three lengths.
Fair enough, this was only a grade five time-graded race and the winning time of 24.10 seconds was nothing special. But as far as Ashton was concerned it was all about the win.
His involvement with the litter – Stagger, a winner of 64 races and more than $200,000 in stakemoney from 137 starts, and Hippy Chic a Sandown Park winner – goes back to late 2016 when he picked up Tipping Woody who early in 2017 won three successive races at Tara Raceway.
A couple of months later Cement Socks joined Ashton’s Charlton kennels after having won six races at Warragul and Traralgon, the black bitch then promptly winning at Tara Raceway and Shepparton for her wily trainer with 43 years’ experience.
And then on a cold winter’s night on June 26, 2017 Ashton and Jan Neil, his partner of 23 years, undertook the 2½-hour drive to Ballarat with Cement Socks who, after looking a winning chance turning for home in the 450 metre event, took a heavy fall.
Ashton takes up the story.
“It was a nasty fall that resulted in a broken leg and initially we rated her no chance of ever racing again. A year later though, somewhat amazingly, she was back on the track, resuming at Horsham before a close-up fourth followed at Tara Raceway.
“But Cement Socks’s third run back turned out to be another disaster when she fractured a metacarpal – here we go again, another three months off prior to last Friday’s return to racing.
“It’s certainly been a frustrating 17 months but it was a great thrill to finally see her win again after we’d put so much work into her.”
And the last word on the Rosemont Syndicate-owned Cement Socks goes to Jan Neil, who declared: “She’s just got so much courage.”
Involved with greyhounds prior to meeting up with Ashton and claiming a combined total of 80 years’ experience between the pair when it comes to the longtails, Neil said one of their better greyhounds in the 1990s was Favoured Spirit, winner of the 1996 Roy Maidment Memorial.
“A couple of other pieces of trivia for you,” Ashton said. “We won the final race at the old Robinvale track with a greyhound called Explosive Law in 2001 and Carrara Lad has been retired.”
By Mantra Lad x Dadda Poppa, Carrara Lad, at Charlton since a three-month-old pup, is one of the oldest winners at Tara Raceway, successful there on June 7 this year when just six weeks short of his sixth birthday.
“While he was certainly no champion, he was a wonderfully sound and durable greyhound that gave us a lot of fun,” Ashton said of Carrara Lad, who raced on 158 occasions for 11 wins and 38 minor placings.
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Smart Knocka was always going to be the main attraction at last Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting – and once again he confirmed his rating as the best greyhound to come out of the south east in a long time.
By Knocka Norris out of Who’s Doing What, he was having only his third start at his home track, his other two runs resulting in heat and final wins of August’s Peter Rocket Winter Classic.
Compton trainer Tracie Price opted for a softer option last Sunday after Smart Knocka’s recent arduous Adelaide campaign which saw him tackle the SA Derby, the UBET Adelaide Cup and the Gawler Gold Cup – and clock up plenty of kilometres into the bargain.
Mind you, Smart Knocka, owned by Price in partnership with Andrew and Peter Haines of WA, handled himself pretty well, running second in the Derby and winning the Adelaide Cup Consolation.
His return to Tara Raceway saw him jump at the prohibitive odds of $1.15 in the Williams Crane Hire Mixed Stake (512 m), with him quickly putting the issue beyond doubt when beginning well from box eight.
John Little’s Springvale Alysa, normally a good beginner, ensured the pace was on early when initially finding the front from box three before Smart Knocka took over the running into the back straight.
From then on, interest was only in time and margins, the blue dog ultimately running out a 4¾ length winner over Springvale Alysa with a further 2¼ lengths back to Monty Wilson’s Drysdale Creek.
The minor placegetters’ efforts were full of merit especially considering the winner’s time of 29.72 seconds, the fastest run at Tara Raceway since Smart Knocka’s former kennelmate Rockoon – now back with owner Keith Hellmuth – ran a record-breaking 29.28 seconds on July 1.
And it was a timely win given that the Price camp is now preparing for Who’s Doing What’s third litter – this time by Fernando Bale.
Monday, November 5, 2018
A second placing behind Ramified in Sunday’s Rock’s Retreat Mixed Stake (400 m) sees seasoned chaser Oh No Beta maintaining a two point lead in this year’s Greyhound of the Year award – a lead that he held between March and July and again from September onwards.
And it was an opportune second-placing given that later in the day Paraphernalia turned in a terrific effort in The Border Watch Mixed Stake (512 m) to narrowly defeat Swift Limes in a quick 29.97 seconds and move into second spot in the GOTY award.
Oh No Beta, who last won at Tara Raceway on September 9, has raced at the local track on 27 occasions this year for seven wins, 10 seconds and four thirds for a total of 52 points, Portland trainer Nicole Stanley chasing her third successive Mount Gambier GOTY title after Old Jock and Fiorelli Rose.
All told, the four-year-old Oh No Beta, a son of Lochinvar Marlow and National Futurity winner Sometimes Speedy, has raced on 101 occasions for 26 wins and 30 minor placings.
Paraphernalia, trained at Horsham by Jeff Guy, has now won 11races from 18 starts at Tara Raceway this year and that’s more wins than any other greyhound. Together with three second-placings, the fawn dog has accumulated 50 points.
Another seasoned chaser, Paraphernalia, a 4½-year-old son of Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco, has raced on 132 occasions for 34 wins and 30 minor placings.
Excluding time-graded meetings, there are seven race meetings remaining in this year’s racing season.
Sunday, November 4, 2018
Doubles to Edenhope greyhound trainer Cap Abbott, Kath Brooks of Rupanyup and Mount Moriac regular Kevin Ward highlighted last Friday’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway.
For Abbott it had been another busy week, his trusty red van carting greyhounds to Adelaide to race on Monday and Thursday at Angle Park prior to the trip to Mount Gambier with a couple of well-bred giveaways in Onya Jakit and Dodge Coupe.
They had found their way to Edenhope via well known Victorian greyhound identity Paul Westerveld after the pair – at the time unnamed – had undergone pre-training and considered to be not up to city standard.
Raced by long-time kennel client John Dihm, Onya Jakit, at only his third start, led all the way to defeat Lil Black Jess by 1¼ lengths in 23.95 seconds in the Laser Electrical Stake (400 metres).
By Fernando Bale, the brindle dog is out of Molly Monroe, a daughter of Bartrim Bale x Witch Fantasy and a city winner at Sandown Park, The Meadows and Hobart.
They don’t come much better bred than Dodge Coupe, a son of Kinloch Brae and Secret Spell (Bartrim Bale x Wicked Witch), Secret Spell racing on 43 occasions for 23 wins and stakemoney of more than $276,000.
A litter brother to Aston Geisha, a winner of her first five starts in Victoria, Dodge Coupe was still chasing his first win after 11 starts when lining up from box four in last Friday’s Metal Worx Stake (400 m).
And after overcoming an ordinary start, the black dog was able to find the front down the back straight, eventually running away to a 5½ length win over Ranger Bay in a more than respectable 23.50 seconds, an effort that possibly surprised even his trainer.
Both of Abbott’s winners trace back on the dam’s side to Star Witch who in 2002 raced 29 times for 17 wins and $89,000 in stakemoney.
Owners Calum and Aaron Blake continue to have a bit of fun with the Brooks-trained Fairground, Love A Chat and Hopsing – all members of a litter by Fabregas out of 16-race winner Lolly Bale which were picked up not long after they commenced racing by the brothers.
Fairground led all the way from box one in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 m), clocking 23.64 seconds when defeating Love A Chat by 6¼ lengths while Hopsing took over the running off the back in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m), before registering a 2¼ length win over Midnight Ruby in 23.88 seconds.
Handling the trio on Friday was another Blake brother in Khris who was pretty excited after Fairground’s win but even more so after Hopsing won later in the day. “The Donkey Boys are back in town,” he exclaimed.
Last Princess led all the way in the Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (600 m) to defeat Midgey by two lengths in 36.32 seconds and bring up her fourth middle-distance win at the track for Ward.
Don’s Machine’s keenly-contested win in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m) over Don’s Just Under in 23.74 seconds was Ward’s first double since August 10 when Last Princess and Don’s Machine had previously been successful on the same day.
The meeting continued a good year at Tara Raceway for last Friday’s successful training trio with Abbott having now trained 38 winners, Brooks 24 and Ward 21.