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

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, September 25 with GRSA. FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, October 1 (public holiday) with GRSA. SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, October 2 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.


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Smart Knocka gives it his best shot

Saturday, September 22, 2018

As far as Thursday night’s BGC Industrial Cleaning Supplies SA Derby final (515 metres) at Angle Park was concerned Mount Gambier greyhound Smart Knocka gave it his best shot for trainer Tracie Price.

He went into the final as the least experienced of the eight finalists but did Price, fellow owners Peter and Andrew Haines of WA and local greyhound racing proud when finishing second to Nervous An Weird in the Group 3 event.

Tracie Price (right) was all smiles after Smart Knocka had run second in Thursday night’s BGC SA Derby at Angle Park.

Smart Knocka never gave up as he chased the Ashlee Terry trained Nervous An Weird throughout, eventually going down by 1¾ lengths in 29.68 seconds, a still-smiling Price delighted with the effort.

“I thought Smart Knocka’s run was outstanding considering that it was only his eighth start in a race,” the trainer declared.

For Terry, based at Cranbourne South, it was the culmination of a big night after earlier the Derby winner’s litter sister My American Girl had won the Coffex Coffee SA Oaks – the classic winners by Barcia Bale out of Father Of Mine who won five short-course races on Victorian provincial tracks.

Spring Bridge, who ran third for Greg Board, is well remembered by local greyhound followers after his outstanding win in the Produce Store Feature Maiden (512 m) at Tara Raceway at cup time this year when winning by 16¼ lengths in a quick 29.63 seconds.

Price, after another long Thursday, backed up pretty well on Friday at Tara Raceway where Scully won the first race, the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (512 m), and took the trainer’s number of winners at the local track this year to 99.

There was more interest, though, in Smart Knocka and Price’s plans for the son of Knocka Norris and Who’s Doing What, a bitch that the leading trainer won 14 races with at Mount Gambier, Angle Park, Warrnambool, Strathalbyn and Gawler.

The BGC SA Derby presentation at Angle Park on Thursday night.

“At this stage I’m really keen to give him a crack at the UBET Adelaide Cup (515 m) – in 30 years of training this is a race that I’ve never had a runner in – heats of which will be run at Angle Park on Thursday, October 4,” he said.

“I know it’s another step up in class but I reckon Smart Knocka is getting better with every run and deserves a chance to run in the Group 1 series. Hopefully we can find our way into the $107,500 final on Friday, October 12.”

Price said he was also giving consideration to the Group 1 Feikuai Silver Chief classic which will be run over 525 metres at The Meadows on December 22, 29 and January 5, for male greyhounds whelped on or after June 1, 2016.

Then, looking further ahead, there is the Listed Mount Gambier Cup (512 m), a race Price has never won, his closest being third behind Banger Harvey in 2011 with Suzy’s Moment.

And, of course, there’s that 2015 Mount Gambier Cup when Who’s Doing What, after a brilliant 29.75 seconds heat win drew box one in the final and looked to be the one to beat before being scratched due to seasonal issues.

Who knows, maybe her son can make amends four years later. Now, wouldn’t that make for a good story?

Pictures: Kurt Donsberg

A great time to have a greyhound

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

After the Southern Greyhound Raceway conducts its final Strathalbyn Cup over 536 metres at Strathalbyn on Sunday, October 21 the gates will close and equipment and infrastructure will be transported to Murray Bridge in readiness for the opening of the new track.

And this will mark the end of an era in SA greyhound racing.

It seems like just yesterday on a cold Monday winter’s night in 1971 that licensed greyhound racing was conducted for the first time at Strathalbyn over 535 metres on a track that had been built inside the harness racing circuit.

It had been a long time coming, many participants previously racing greyhounds behind pilot dogs on makeshift tracks at Waterloo Corner, Campbelltown, Elizabeth, Murray Bridge and for a short time even on Thebarton Oval.

A page from an early Strathalbyn race book.

There were no licensed bookmakers back then, nor a TAB, just an illegal bookie operating out of the boot of his car and generally offering even money about every dog in the race.

Later, when the mechanical hare was legalised, non-betting meetings were conducted at Bolivar – Glen Schurgott winning the 1970 Adelaide Cup with Roman Holiday and later that year Ray Fewings’s Michelle Quick and Helen and Don Wenham’s Chari Sparu dead-heating in the SA Sprint Championship. Both events were run over 555 yards.

In the same year Strathalbyn ran two 585 yard “classics” – the St Leger which was won by Tiara Dellee while Miss McGrew won the Champion Puppy.

Whyalla was actually the first club to conduct licensed greyhound racing meetings in SA in 1971 prior to Strathalbyn, race meetings at Gawler and Angle Park soon following.

A large crowd attended Strathalbyn’s opening night, eager to see what this new sport of greyhound racing was all about, unfazed, it seemed, at having to queue up for a pie dished out from an old caravan that acted as the club’s cafeteria.

The greyhound fields were appearing in The Advertiser which also had its own greyhound writer, 5DN was broadcasting the races and six bookmakers were offering better than even money the field and had even come up with a new form of wagering called “concession”.

Greyhounds were now racing for a few dollars – few being the operative word, although no one seemed to really care – instead of a bag of kibble.

And there was a real buzz at the track on Friday nights when countless qualifying trials, called on-course by Peter McMonagle, were conducted by the Strathalbyn club.

Boom times followed for SA greyhound racing. Further race tracks sprung up at Port Pirie, Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, Kulpara, Barmera and Mount Gambier. Trial tracks at Morphett Vale, Echunga, Murray Bridge, Virginia and Two Wells. Many have since closed.

It’s a fair bet they won’t be dishing out pies from an old caravan at Murray Bridge’s new two-track complex, likely to commence racing in early 2019.

But those who remember Strathalbyn’s opening night, along with standing room only when Gawler kicked off and the traffic jams that came with Angle Park’s first night, will probably still tell you that the 70s was a great time to have a greyhound.

Two heats for SA Country Cup

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Fresh from success in last Sunday’s Metal Worx Iron Dog final (512 m) at Tara Raceway, the well-travelled Paraphernalia now looks a strong chance of making it back to Angle Park on Friday, October 12 as one of two Mount Gambier heat winners for the SA Country Cup (515 m).

Paraphernalia defeats Noosa Parade and Aeroplane Mo in last Sunday’s Metal Worx Iron Dog final.

The 125-start veteran, together with Colden Girl, represented the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club in last year’s Country Cup final at Angle Park, having no luck in running when finishing a 2¾ length fourth to Stick Figure.

Trained at Horsham by Jeff Guy, Paraphernalia – a finalist in this year’s Mount Gambier Cup – will go into Sunday’s second 512 metre heat ideally drawn in box one after having carved out a quick 29.99 seconds last Sunday.

Theo’s Thunder and Blazing Moment fight out the finish of the Williams Crane Hire Mixed Stake (512 m) last Sunday.

The Tracie Price trained box seven runner Blazing Moment, also a finalist in this year’s Mount Gambier Cup when finishing a 1¾ length fourth to Xtreme Caution, has raced on only eight occasions since then but, after missing the start, ran a big race last Sunday to finish a 1½ length second to Theo’s Thunder.

Price won the 2013 SA Country Cup final at Gawler with Moorak Hope while Nicole Stanley, who has Big Lebowski  jumping from box two in the second heat on Sunday, was successful in 2016 at Strathalbyn with Berry Bling.

Portland trainer Brian Weis has Theo’s Thunder engaged in box eight in the first heat which will also see the return of Robert Halliday’s 17-race winner Hutch who has been off the scene since early June with a toe injury.

Addison finally finds a way

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

It’s taken a while, but the local Longneck Racing Syndicate owned Addison’s Way finally broke through for her first Tara Raceway win when successful at last Sunday’s meeting.

Addison’s Way defeats Our Bro Pedro, Big Lebowski (6) and Seabrook Noisey (5) in last Sunday’s Produce Store Stake (512 m).

Not that the 20-member syndicate, managed by Adam Mackereth, hadn’t enjoyed success with the former NSW bitch as she had previously won two races at Angle Park along with one at both Gawler and Strathalbyn for them prior to joining the manager’s kennels back in March.

But after running several minor placings at Tara Raceway for Mackereth, Addison’s Way found her way out to Worrolong and Steve Bartholomew who in 2015 had trained the syndicate’s Sir Stanley for two local wins over 400 metres.

Kerry, Summer, Adam and Coco Mackereth were all smiles after Addison’s Way’s win.

Bartholomew also encountered a few setbacks with Addison’s Way, a daughter of Barcia Bale and the Victorian city-winning bitch Zoenah’s Entity, although after three recent consecutive minor placings the black bitch looked well placed from box seven in last Sunday’s Produce Store Stake (512 metres).

And after hitting the front going into the back straight she was never really going to be beaten, eventually running out a 1¾ length winner over Our Bro Pedro in 30.21 seconds – much to the delight of Mackereth’s family members on track, including wife Kerry and daughters Coco, 12, and Summer, 10.

It was also a big day for Bartholomew, Addison’s Way the first leg of what turned out to be a winning treble after Azumi Spice, a daughter of Cosmic Chief and Azumi Touch, and her younger half-sister Dusty Pearl (by Dyna Tron) were also successful for the club president.

Azumi Spice was the second leg of a winning treble for Steve Bartholomew at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Azumi Spice, a $15 chance, was particularly impressive, finding the front down the back straight and then powering away for a 7¼ length win in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m) in a personal best time of 30.00 seconds.

The treble was Bartholomew’s first since Sunday, January 25, 2015 when he had won with Penny Blossom, Spangher and Sookie’s Lad – all members of the Premier Fantasy x Sookie litter.

Meanwhile, Azumi Spice has drawn box seven in the first heat of Sunday’s Mount Gambier division of the SA Country Cup (512 m) and Addison’s Way box four in the second heat.

The two heat winners will represent Mount Gambier in the $7375 final against representatives from Gawler, Strathalbyn and Port Augusta at Angle Park over 515 metres on Adelaide Cup night (Friday, October 12).

Back to back Iron Dog titles for Paraphernalia

Monday, September 17, 2018

Veteran Horsham greyhound Paraphernalia continued his outstanding year at Tara Raceway on Sunday when winning a keenly-contested Metal Worx Iron Dog final (512 metres).

The Metal Worx Iron Dog presentation. From left: Greyhound Racing SA industry board member Ray Fewings, trainer Jeff Guy and Bill Ward, Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club life member and former president with Paraphernalia.

Trained by Jeff Guy, the 4½-year-old son of Big Daddy Cool and Scrappy Coco went into the final as second highest point scorer after a second placing over 600 metres and a 400 metre win last week.

Chasing back to back Iron Dog titles, Paraphernalia stalked the speedy Haddi Bale until the home turn where he railed through to take the lead and then held off a fast finishing Noosa Parade and Aeroplane Mo who finished strongly down the middle of the track.

The win was the fawn dog’s ninth at Tara Raceway this year, two more than any other greyhound, and with 40 points now sees him issuing a strong challenge for Greyhound of the Year honours.

Overall, Paraphernalia – the only greyhound this year to reach both the Mount Gambier Cup and Anniversary Cup finals – has now raced on 125 occasions for 32 wins and 29 minor placings.

And speaking at the Iron Dog presentation, Guy didn’t try and hide his feelings for the dog that in late 2016 broke the Tara Raceway 600 metre record and then lowered it again eight months later. “I just love him,” he said.

Paraphernalia will now return to Tara Raceway on Sunday for the Mount Gambier division of the SA Country Cup after having represented the club last year with Colden Girl in the final at Angle Park on Adelaide Cup night.

The night reputations counted for nothing

Monday, September 17, 2018

The SA Derby has always been a tough race to win, even back in 1971 when the inaugural classic was run at Strathalbyn and won by the Whyalla young gun North Kinta.

These days, with the Derby carrying Group status and a $25,000 first prize, it’s little wonder that the age-restricted series for male greyhounds also attracts top young performers from interstate, in particular Victoria.

Tracie Price pictured at Compton last Friday with Smart Knocka after his SA Derby heat win the previous night at Angle Park.

Mount Gambier’s leading trainer Tracie Price, after his recent Peter Rocket Winter Classic winner Smart Knocka impressed with a sub-30 seconds win at Angle Park 11 days ago, then decided his September 2016 whelping warranted a crack at Group 3 glory.

The BGC Industrial Cleaning Supplies SA Derby (515 m) got off to a flying start at Angle Park last Thursday night when Victorian greyhound Nervous An Weird, already a winner of more than $30,000, won the first heat in a flying 29.59 seconds for Cranbourne trainer Ashlee Terry.

Then it was Victorians Grey Ghost, trained at Anakie by Jeff Britton, and Pearcedale trainer Seona Thompson’s Aston Kimetto, a Group 3 winner this year at Warragul, that fought out the second heat which was won in 29.64 seconds.

And by the time the third and final heat of the Derby came around, it did appear as though a clean sweep for Victorian greyhounds was on the cards, Anakie trainer Angela Langton’s Blue Shadows a long odds-on favourite on the strength of some quick wins at Sandown Park.

Smart Knocka comes up with box one for Thursday night’s SA Derby final at Angle Park.

Smart Knocka, on the other hand, was one of the rank outsiders at $14 although he looked anything but a longshot as he charged out of the first turn in front. And that’s where he stayed, his more-fancied rivals languishing at the rear as he careered away to a 5¾ length win in 29.64 seconds.

The blue youngster, by Knocka Norris out of 16-race winner Who’s Doing What, was bred by Price who races Smart Knocka in partnership with WA father and son team Peter and Andrew Haines, also owners of the dam.

Who’s Doing What – who traces a long way back on her dam’s side to Bulwark, one of Australia’s greatest and fastest dogs – will be mated with Fernando Bale next week, her litter sisters Star Recall (40 wins and $445,000 in stakemoney) and High Recall (12, $50,000) having already been mated with the boom sire that currently stands at a fee of $8800.

Price, in bed by 4.30 a.m. on Friday, looked surprising fresh a few hours later at his Compton kennels as he proudly showed off the laid back Smart Knocka who also didn’t seem any the worse for wear.

He has now raced on seven occasions for five wins, his trainer saying that Smart Knocka didn’t really break-in any quicker than the rest of the litter.

An 8-year-old Tracie Price pictured with Russell’s Girl.

“Encouraging breaking-in assessments are nice but they don’t always mean much,” he said. “I’ve had dogs broken-in with outstanding reports that haven’t really reached great heights.

“Actually, it wasn’t until I ran him as an unnamed youngster over 512 metres on a trial morning at Tara Raceway and he clocked 29.96 seconds that I thought I might have something here.”

For the 54-year-old Price, whose first recollection of greyhounds goes back to when he was eight years old and a brood bitch called Russell’s Girl (Nulla View x Keymac), a win in the SA Derby will give him his biggest success in 30 years of training.

“Probably two of my better wins so far have been a Stan Lake Memorial at Warrnambool and the 2013 SA Country Cup with Moorak Hope at Gawler,” he said.

As far as Tracie Price was concerned, last Thursday at Angle Park was a night when reputations counted for nothing.

And it was also the night that Smart Knocka struck a blow for South East greyhound racing, putting himself in the mix for success in the time-honoured classic, perhaps even more so after drawing box one in this Thursday night’s final.

Battle heats up for GOTY honours

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Short course specialist Oh No Beta found winning form again for the first time since May when successful in last Sunday’s Williams Crane Hire Open Stake (400 metres).

And in doing so the well bred son of Lochinvar Marlow and National Futurity winner Sometimes Speedy has now accumulated 49 points – seven wins, nine seconds and three thirds – to give him a half-point lead over Chilly Kiss in this year’s Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year award.

Oh No Beta pictured after his Tara Raceway win last Sunday which saw him regain the lead in the Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year.

Owned in Adelaide by Jason Caddy, Oh No Beta is trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley who will be looking for her third consecutive GOTY award after previous success with Old Jock and then Fiorelli Rose last year.

Scoring for the leading greyhound won’t conclude until Tara Raceway’s final meeting of the year, on Sunday, December 30, but already the battle is heating up with Robert Halliday’s Redda, who doesn’t miss too many meetings, slipping unobtrusively into third spot with 43 points.

There’s plenty of GOTY form around Cryer’s Plugger, his dam, Cryer’s Midget the GOTY in 2011 and Cryer’s Fred, a full brother to Plugger, winner of the award in 2015 for Margaret and Tom Cryer.

By Spring Gun, Cryer’s Plugger, who these days races almost exclusively at Tara Raceway, has quickly moved up the leader board and now sits in fourth spot on 39 points.

The most successful greyhound so far this year at Tara Raceway has been the outstanding veteran chaser Paraphernalia who has won eight races and accumulated 36 points in a year that has seen him as the only greyhound to reach the Mount Gambier Cup and the Anniversary Cup finals.

A former 600 metre Tara Raceway record holder, Paraphernalia is trained at Horsham by Jeff Guy who is keen to keep the 124-start fawn dog racing at the local track where he believes the son of Big Daddy Cool and Scrappy Coco is best suited these days and by no means out of contention for the GOTY.

Other Mount Gambier Greyhound of the Year winners in recent years have been 2012 Maldini’s Motion (Cassie Billington), 2013 Just Humphrey (Lee Bartholomew) and 2014 Rouse Flyer (Barry Shepheard).

Tracie Price, who will win this year’s inaugural Ian Badger Leading Trainer award, is yet to train 100 winners at Tara Raceway in a season but goes into Sunday’s meeting with 97, The Border Watch selections suggesting that by day’s end the Compton trainer will be sitting on 102.

GOTY contender Chilly Kiss defeats Ben Nevis (5), Xtreme Purpose (6), Blitz And Bolt (rails) and Shaniqua at Tara Raceway last month.

Nicole Stanley, last year’s leading trainer with 111 winners, is comfortably placed in second spot with 57 while Cap Abbott, David Peckham and Halliday are all in contention for third place.

The days of the leading local sire are long gone but not so the leading dam with local brood bitches Azumi Touch, owned by the Bartholomew family, and Price’s Who’s Doing What having a great battle out in front – only one win separating the pair.

Members of Azumi Touch’s litter by Dyna Tron, which have produced the majority of her 21 winners this year, should figure prominently at Tara Raceway on Sunday, Azumi Ryder the current standout with five wins and 36 points in the GOTY award.

Who’s Doing What’s litter by Knocka Norris includes this year’s 512 metre Peter Rocket Winter Classic winner Smart Knocka, successful in a race record time of 29.85 seconds.

Last year’s leading dams were Which Class (44 wins), followed by Cryer’s Midget 26, and Blonde Caviar and Swift Blaze 21.

Currently, there is no leading dam award although there’s probably no reason why one couldn’t be re-introduced if only to acknowledge the amount of time and effort that goes into the breeding of a litter.

Blake brothers chasing another Iron Dog title

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

An impressive all the way win by Haddi Bale in the first heat of the second round of the Metal Worx Iron Dog (400 metres) at Tara Raceway last Sunday clinched a spot in this Sunday’s 512 metre final for White Hills brothers Calum and Aaron Blake.

Calum Blake (left), sponsor Michael Niele and Aaron Blake with 2012 Iron Dog winner Kiss Me Donkey.

And they’ll be chasing their second Iron Dog title, six years ago the brothers, aged 16 and 20 respectively, winning the inaugural series – then run over 400 metres and 512 metres – with Kiss Me Donkey who defeated Ten Doeschate in the final.

Haddi Bale was purchased for $3500 by Calum Blake in April this year after having won five races at Sandown Park, Shepparton and Geelong – the brindle bitch now racing in Blake’s 20-year-old girlfriend Jaz Warzywoda’s name and his brother last Sunday training the September 2015 whelping for her first win for her new owner.

Aaron Blake with Haddi Bale after her second round Metal Worx Iron Dog win last Sunday.

Tipping the scales at a sizeable 31.5 kilograms, Haddi Bale, who has drawn box one in Sunday’s final, is by Roanokee out of Darya Bale, a winner of 18 races in three states, along with stakemoney of $82,000 – this being one of the sire’s last litters whelped in Australia.

Whelped in 1994, Roanokee was by New Tears out of Free Method and won 37 races from 57 starts, including the 1997 Melbourne Cup before successfully standing at stud in Ireland.

Paraphernalia’s all-the-way win in the second Iron Dog heat sees the son of Big Daddy Cool x Scrappy Coco into the final from box three for Horsham trainer Jeff Guy and chasing back to back Iron Dog titles after an all the way win over Hit The Runway in last year’s series.

Roanokee pictured after winning the 1997 Melbourne Cup.

A veteran of 124 starts, the 4½-year-old fawn dog – with best times of 22.83, 29.71 and 34.97 at Tara Raceway – overall has now won 31 races and run 29 minor placings, Guy believing Paraphernalia is racing as well as he was at the same time last year.

“He’s won more races at Tara Raceway this year than any other dog and while he continues to race well at the track I’ll keep bringing him over,” he said.

Jeff Guy with Paraphernalia who will be chasing back-to-back Iron Dog titles.

“He pulled up a treat after last Sunday’s win and even though I’m primarily looking at confining his racing to Mount Gambier, the following week’s local division of the SA Country Cup (512 m) is certainly worth seriously considering.”

The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club will have two representatives in the $7375 SA Country Cup final (515 m) at Angle Park on Friday, October 12 (Adelaide Cup night).

But back to the Iron Dog.

Cryer’s Plugger was the leading Iron Dog point scorer for owner Margaret Cryer.

Cryer’s Plugger, who didn’t have much luck in last year’s Iron Dog final when finishing fifth, goes into Sunday’s final as leading point scorer after winning both his heats for Margaret and Tom Cryer of Apsley but having to contend with a tricky box four draw.

And Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, who won the 2016 Iron Dog series with Old Jock, will be looking for her enigmatic greyhound Hit The Runway to go one better this year.

Noosa Parade, whose last win was at Tara Raceway over 600 metres back in early April, turned in a couple of eye-catching placings to make it through to the final for Ecklin South trainer Peter Fulton who will be hoping the son of Collision x Miss Black Fern can find winning form again from box eight.

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