FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 23 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 25: Nominations closed. SUNDAY, MARCH 4: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, February 27 with GRSA. FRIDAY, MARCH 9: Mount Gambier Cup supporting events heats. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, March 5 with GRSA. SATURDAY, MARCH 10: Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta at Tara Raceway. SUNDAY, MARCH 11: Mount Gambier Cup heats. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, March 6 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.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
It’s not that Chilly Kiss had been racing badly, because she hadn’t. Five starts this year for five minor placings suggested it was only a matter of time before she broke through for another win.
But surely last Sunday’s Metal Worx feature over 512 metres – a final that contained some pretty handy grade five greyhounds – wasn’t going to be the race that saw the daughter of Spring Gun and Chilly Babe finally break through for her first win since early November.
Punters certainly didn’t think so, Chilly Kiss going to the boxes a despised $66 tote outsider, although “only” $34 on fixed odds – these prices, mind you, despite running Sunday’s even money favourite, Signal Peak, to 3½ lengths in a heat the previous week.
As it turned out, reputations counted for nothing as Chilly Kiss flew the start from box five and was never headed, eventually running out a 5½ length winner over Blazing Moment and Xtreme Notice in a personal best time of 29.84 seconds.
Long-time Allendale East greyhound participant Connie Miller, who trains the brindle bitch for her Adelaide-based 16-year-old granddaughter Clarissa, would have loved to have been at Tara Raceway to savour this win.
However, she’s currently recovering at the Mount Gambier Hospital from a second hip replacement in only a matter of months.
Representing Miller on Sunday at Tara Raceway was David Peckham who admitted the win had come as a real surprise.
“She’d been going alright but I certainly didn’t rate her much chance in the grade five final,” he said. “Judging by the time she recorded today, though, a couple of recent 600 metre runs seemed to have topped her off nicely.”
Chilly Kiss has now won six races, two of those for Clarissa Miller – no doubt suitably impressed by the final’s added prizemoney – who took her over as a give away last October.
Speaking later in the week, Peckham said in view of Chilly Kiss’s sub-30 second win last Sunday they would probably run her in a heat of the forthcoming Mount Gambier Cup although a trip to Angle Park wasn’t out of the question in order that the young owner could catch up with her favourite greyhound.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Portland trainer Nicole Stanley’s record-breaking 111 winners at Tara Raceway last year had been the result of a real team effort.
Speaking last Sunday at Tara Raceway where she received the 2017 Leading Trainer and Greyhound of the Year awards, Stanley acknowledged the great support of her owners as well as her behind the scenes staff Lizzie and Tracey.
“Nifty (Lenehan) has also been a great help, especially as we have so many to trial on a regular basis, while the assistance of Mo Canala and Richard Clayfield on race days has been much appreciated,” she said.
She also confirmed Greyhound of the Year Fiorelli Rose had been retired and that the daughter of Premier Fantasy x Tarks Jewel would return to owners Angela Langton and Sue Smith and possibly be mated with Fernando Bale.
Fiorelli Rose won nine races for the year at Tara Raceway, including the Anniversary Cup, which Stanley described as the highlight of what had been a very successful year.
Meanwhile, the Stanley owned and trained Berry Bling, who won nine races as well as running 11 minor placings in a 38-start career, is shortly due on season and will be mated with leading sire Barcia Bale.
By Lochinvar Marlow x Lady Bling, Berry Bling won the 2016 SA Country Cup at Strathalbyn when representing the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Sunday’s Peter Rocket Summer Classic final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway was pretty much a repeat of last week’s first heat when Dynamite Danger led all the way, in the end hanging on by a neck to defeat Galactic Panther in 29.99 seconds.
This week Dynamite Danger once again found the front from box seven. And when Galactic Panther settled in second spot this was always going to be one hell of a classic, the leader giving it his all but this time going down by a head in 29.97 seconds – not much slower than Cryer’s Ricky’s race record of 29.96 seconds run back in 2015.
For long-time Worrolong greyhound trainer Steve Bartholomew this was one of his biggest wins while Compton trainer Tracie Price – second, third and fourth with his finalists – went agonisingly close to adding a Summer Classic to two previous Winter Classics.
A finalist in last September’s Winter Classic when giving away plenty in age, Galactic Panther has now raced on 12 occasions for seven wins and four minor placings.
By Irish-bred sire Milldean Panther out of three-race Tara Raceway winner Galactic Rumball, the classic winner was bred and is owned at Moorak by Robert Chuck who handed over the training of the black dog to Bartholomew in October last year.
Bartholomew was at Mount Gambier’s first greyhound racing meeting conducted at Glenburnie in 1979 when he was running the race results from the judge’s tower to George Kay’s broadcast box.
By the following year he was hands-on with greyhounds and has been involved ever since, so much so that he is now in his ninth term as president of the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.
His involvement with Chuck goes back more than 25 years when they were workmates at the Lakeside Mill. They’re still workmates to this day, with Chuck actually missing Sunday’s Summer Classic final due to work commitments.
Twelve years ago a syndicate formed by mill workers raced a dog called Modern Joy. Chuck was a member of the syndicate, the venture introducing him to greyhound racing along with a fair amount of success.
Bred by Bartholomew, Galactic Rumball is also the dam of Faster Bolt, successful at Warrnambool last Thursday night and now boasting a record of eight wins and two minor placings from 13 starts.
Faster Bolt, of which Chuck is a part-owner, is the fastest 400 metre maiden winner at Tara Raceway with a time of 22.98 seconds run back in October. This saw him quickly transferred to Camperdown trainer Steve Elsum with a view to chasing some of the bigger money on offer at Victorian tracks – so far it seems to be working.
And earlier in the day, Bartholomew and his wife Lee were successful with Azumi Spice who flew home to defeat tearaway leader Cryer’s Jed by a neck in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) in 30.11 seconds.
Bred by the Bartholomews, Azumi Spice is by Cosmic Chief out of Azumi Touch who is a litter sister to Galactic Rumball – a good day all round for a breed that traces back to the highly successful Mugavin line.
So with previous Summer Classic winners – Cryer’s Ricky, Menzel Boys and Hutch – all pressing on to the Mount Gambier Cup and all reaching the final, the obvious question for Bartholomew was whether Galactic Panther would go down the same path at Tara Raceway next month.
“We probably will,” he said. “He’d obviously have to find a bit but I reckon there’s still plenty of improvement in him yet.
“We’d also like to get him over the border to tracks such as Horsham and Warrnambool and see how he measures up.
“And then there’s the Angle Park April Breeders Prelude (2) which is a lead-up to the Group 3 Howard Ashton in May. This is a series that Chucky is obviously keen to tackle as he’s already made the mandatory payments along the way to fulfil the entry requirements.”
It’s also a series that Chuck knows all about – Galactic Viper winning the Howard Ashton for him in 2015 and picking up $25,000 when trained in Victoria by David Geall.
Chuck will now also be able to look to next year’s Winter Classic with members of Galactic Rumball’s second litter, this time by the Canadian-bred Paddy Whacker, whelped in August last year.
This year’s Summer Classic also carried a service to Peter Rocket, donated to the winning connections by Keith and Lisa Hellmuth of Pearcedale.
Peter Rocket, by Where’s Pedro x Belron Blue, raced on 67 occasions for 22 wins and 29 minor placings. All told, he raced in 15 Group finals, winning the Group 1 Dapto Megastar and the Group 2 Horsham Cup.
And a year after winning the Summer Classic in 30.30 seconds, the Robert Halliday trained Hutch lined up on Sunday from box three in the Greg Martlew Autos Mixed Stake (512 m), bouncing back with a 3¾ length win over Swift Moment in 29.59 seconds and putting himself right in Mount Gambier Cup contention.
The last word, though, on the Summer Classic probably should go to winning trainer Steve Bartholomew after his wife Lee could hardly contain herself as Galactic Panther slowly but surely closed the gap on Dynamite Danger in the closing stages of the age-restricted classic.
“She’s an important part of the team so I guess we can’t begrudge her letting off a bit of steam.”
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Good news for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club is that Fabregal is set to return next month in a bid to become Tara Raceway’s first Group Listed winner and in doing so the first greyhound to win back-to-back Mount Gambier Cups.
In last year’s cup, run over 512 metres, the outstanding daughter of Fabregas and Allinga Aye Jay defeated Arabella Figg and the 2016 winner Mojito Mayhem in race record time of 29.78 seconds for Adelaide trainer Robyn Mackellar.
However, Mackellar then announced she had suggested to Tumby Bay owner Terry McCallum that Fabregal would probably be better off in Victoria, the result being she was placed with Lyn Smith who trains in partnership with Ben Divirgilio in the farming district of Nambrok in Central Gippsland.
Now a rising four-year-old, the black bitch continues to race in top form, winning at Warrnambool and Bendigo in best of the night times earlier this month, taking her overall record to 45 wins and 22 minor placings from 81 starts for prizemoney of $213,000.
Since changing kennels Fabregal has won 11 races, including wins at Sandown Park and The Meadows and will line up tomorrow night from box two in a heat of the Floodfawn Classic (525 m) for bitches at Traralgon – next week’s final carrying $7000 to the winner.
Floodfawn, bred and owned by Arthur Cooper and trained by Peter Giles, boasts a Traralgon record like no other greyhound – 15 wins from 15 starts, a track record and a Traralgon Cup in 2001. All told, she raced on 110 occasions for 39 wins and 41 minor placings.
By Awesome Assassin out of Floodgate, Floodfawn herself produced a number of top class greyhounds including Flashing Floods, a Victorian Greyhound of the Year.
Speaking earlier this week, Divirgilio said Fabregal was a definite Mount Gambier Cup starter provided there were no issues after she had contested the Floodfawn Classic.
“We’re really looking forward to getting over to Mount Gambier with her and hopeful that she can go back-to-back,” he said. “We’ll also be looking to bring over a couple of others that should be competitive.”
Meanwhile, Phil Lenehan’s Lektra Stomp, who made his Mount Gambier Cup intentions pretty clear last Sunday with a 29.57 seconds win, will line-up from box one over 500 metres at Bendigo tomorrow afternoon.
Thursday, February 15, 2018
The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club 2017 Leading Trainer and Greyhound of the Year awards will be presented at Tara Raceway’s race meeting on Sunday afternoon.
Receiving her first Leading Trainer award will be Portland-based Nicole Stanley who led in 111 winners, 91 seconds and 85 thirds for a total points score of 710.
Her outstanding year included one day of five winners, three other days with four winners, along with nine trebles and 21 doubles – two of her bigger winners being Fiorelli Rose in the Anniversary Cup and Hit The Runway who won the Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup.
In what was an interesting tussle for Greyhound of the Year honours, Fiorelli Rose with nine wins, 11 seconds and nine thirds (67 points) defeated Baz’s Moment (62) and Scorpion (58).
Another Stanley-trained greyhound, Old Jock, won the 2016 Greyhound of the Year.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Merbein South trainer Jamie Quinlivian had done it all before, on several occasions, making the long trip to Tara Raceway without a lot of success and then facing what always seemed an even longer trip home.
Quinlivian travels thousands of kilometres every year with his greyhounds, due to the remote location of Merbein South (just down the road from Mildura) from a greyhound track point of view.
There was a time when he wouldn’t have been too badly situated – tracks being located at Robinvale (Victoria), Wentworth (NSW) and Barmera (SA). These days, though, his closest tracks are Gawler and Horsham, both four hours away.
In Mount Gambier last Sunday for heats of the Peter Rocket Summer Classic (512 metres) and the Metal Worx Feature Grade Five (512 m), the 46-year-old trainer clinched a final spot in the classic after Serene Machine ran fourth in the first heat.
And then in the second heat, Quinlivian pulled off one of the upsets of the day when Shot Thru, a $23 chance, finally gave him his first winner at the track and his second Summer Classic finalist – Serene Machine and Shot Thru later drawing boxes eight and four respectively for this Sunday’s final.
Shot Thru, a daughter of My Bro Fabio and Geelong maiden winner Lainey Bale, actually did a good job to win the heat in 30.50 seconds considering it was her first run on the track.
Away only fairly from box three, she still had plenty of work to do mid-race although off the back the black bitch had put herself right in the race, finishing too well in the home straight for Monarto South trainer Tony Hinrichsen’s pair of Breemelia Swift and Assertive Fury (a half-brother to his 2016 Summer Classic winner Menzel Boys).
Quinlivian said he believed Shot Thru – a litter sister to Tritt Tritt who has won seven races from 10 starts and prizemoney of more than $18,000 on Victorian tracks – had her share of ability.
“I actually reared her from nine months of age for Charles Mercieca and Mark Mihailovic, receiving in return a one-third share in her,” he said.
“And when she won first-up at Horsham over 410 metres back in September last year I thought she was probably worth sending to Melbourne to be trained but that didn’t work out and she was back home again by January.”
Later in the day, Quinlivian’s Bessie Belle went down by a nostril to Blazing Moment in the first heat of the Metal Worx Feature Grade Five although litter brother Signal Peak made amends in the second heat with an impressive 29.91 seconds win over perennial placegetter Chilly Kiss.
Both are into the final on Sunday, as is Monster Foxy – all being out of Quinlivian’s prolific producer Rustic Reeta who raced on only 19 occasions for two wins, both in the space of a week in mid-December 2012 at Ballarat and then Tara Raceway where she won over 400 metres in 23.90 seconds.
Some time later Quinlivian acquired her for breeding. Ask him what the attraction was and he’s got no idea. All he knows is that, after a mating with Cape Hawke, more than 100 winners followed with the rest now being history.
So the trainer, who has done pretty well for someone involved in the sport for only four years, left the track on Sunday with wife Lydia, along with a couple of winners and the prospect of having to do it all again this Sunday.
Mind you, the trip home from Mount Gambier last Sunday wouldn’t have seemed anywhere as near long as some of those of the past.
But Lydia Quinlivian could be missing this week as there’s plenty happening at the moment at Merbein South – Rustic Reeta has an 11-pup 10-week-old litter by Sulzanti while Sweet Savage, a litter sister to Signal Peak and Bessie Belle, whelped eight dogs and five bitches six weeks ago to Hostile.
And as if that’s not enough, well-performed staying bitch Tahlo is in pup to Worm Burner.
Time honours for the classic heats went the way of the Tracie Price-trained Dynamite Danger who led all the way from box seven, holding out Galactic Panther in the run to the line to win by a neck in 29.99 seconds.
Both dogs should be further improved, Dynamite Danger having only his second run over 512 metres and Galactic Panther his first race start since mid-December, although he had been trialling well.
While the former found plenty on his first-up effort over the distance at Tara Raceway a week prior, the improvement wouldn’t have come as any real surprise to Price who had been talking up the classic chances of the son of Dyna Double One x Mepunga Jayelle for several weeks.
What might have surprised him though was the effort of kennelmate Same Scenario who found something like a 16-length improvement on her previous 512 metre efforts when running a 1½ length third and clocking 30.10 seconds.
The nicely-bred daughter of Fabregas and Who’s Doing What, a distant third down the back straight behind Dynamite Danger and Galactic Panther, worked home well and will add even more interest to what should be a terrific Peter Rocket Summer Classic final on Sunday afternoon.
Monday, February 12, 2018
Four weeks out and Toolong greyhound trainer Phil Lenehan’s Mount Gambier Cup prospects have been considerably boosted by the return to the kennels of the enigmatic Lektra Forrest and by the performance of his litter brother Lektra Stomp at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
By Walk Hard x Lektra Angie, Lektra Stomp, an odds-on favourite when narrowly beaten the previous week by Odd Boots at Tara Raceway, lined up from box eight in a smart Open field as a $3.30 chance behind a couple of other cup prospects in Zuma Creek and Hutch who shared favouritism at $3.10.
In direct contrast to last week, the white and black dog quickly found the front in the 512 metre event and was never ever going to be beaten, eventually running out a 7½ length winner over Odd Boots with a further three lengths back to Zuma Creek.
But it was the winning time that told the story – 29.57 seconds. This is the third-fastest time ever recorded at the track, bettered only by the Jeff Guy trained Brazen Bomber’s then-record run of 29.55 seconds on June 11 and then Mojito Mayhem’s current record of 29.52 seconds recorded a week later for Peter Franklin.
The win completed a good weekend for Lenehan at Tara Raceway after Bluey Moran and Lektra Menzel had been successful at Friday’s time-graded meeting.
Lektra Forrest, a fair lump of a dog that tips the scales at around the 36 kilogram mark, has raced on 29 occasions on Victorian tracks for seven wins and $27,000 in prizemoney, running times at The Meadows, Sandown Park and Ballarat that would make him more than competitive at Tara Raceway.
Mortlake trainer Peter Crawley confirmed that Zuma Creek, a son of Fabregas x Skye Creek, and a 29.66 seconds winner at Tara Raceway on Australia Day, was being set for the cup.
And Crawley could also have a strong second-string in the form of Bomber Creek, a younger half-brother (by Magic Sprite) to Zuma Creek – an impressive 29.97 seconds maiden winner on Australia Day and looking even better on Sunday in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m) with a 9¼ lengths win in 29.88 seconds.
Also on the cup trail is Blazing Moment who wrapped up another big day for Compton trainer Tracie Price after Cindy La Moment, Baz’s Moment and Dynamite Danger had been successful earlier in the day and taken his winning tally for the year to 18.
Blazing Moment, a 37 kilogram son of Bekim Bale x Lucy’s Moment, is slowly but surely finding form again after major surgery forced him off the scene for much of the latter part of 2017.
A Darwin Cup finalist in early August last year, Blazing Moment was having his first run over 512 metres in close to six months in the first heat of Sunday’s Metal Worx Feature Grade 5.
And in a deceptive finish, the big black dog – in an effort that should top him off nicely for this Sunday’s final – was able to get the decision by a nose over the Jamie Quinlivian trained Bessie Belle in 30.05 seconds.