WEDNESDAY, MARCH 20 (T/G): Nominations closed. SATURDAY, MARCH 23: Calcutta night at Tara Raceway. SUNDAY, MARCH 24: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, March 19 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Monday, March 18, 2019
As far as this week’s Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier heats are concerned, Melton-based greyhound trainer Simon Payne couldn’t have hoped for a better trial for Molly Coaster at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
This was long-time participant Payne’s first trip to the Mount Gambier track and he liked what he saw – even more so after the running of the Produce Store Stake (512 metres).
Lining up from box four on the back of a handy effort at The Meadows on March 8 when running fourth behind Fabwik in a grade five final (525 m) in a personal time of 30.12 seconds, the only query regarding Molly Coaster was probably her lack of early pace.
But for a greyhound that has raced on Victorian city tracks in all but one of her 29 starts, Sunday’s five-dog field was a decided drop in class, so much so that the black bitch was in front at the first turn.
And despite running wide rounding the first bend she soon found her bearings, eventually running away to an 8¾ length win over Pool Hall in a best of day 29.70 seconds, Payne confirming soon after that Molly Coaster would be back for Sunday’s cup heats and he for the Saturday night Calcutta at the Tara Raceway clubrooms.
Later, when her trainer brought her out from the kennel house for a swab, Molly Coaster looked a “million dollars”, on her toes and giving steward Stan Bright the real run around as he sought, ladle in hand, to secure a urine sample.
There’s been a buzz around the track in recent weeks surrounding the “Galactic” youngsters, all members of the Paddy Whacker x Galactic Rumball litter and raced locally by Robert Chuck and Steve Bartholomew.
August 2017 whelping Galactic Mojo, having only her fifth race start in the Gambier Vets Stake (512 m), after a maiden win last week made the step up to grade six class – something not a lot of greyhounds are able to do – when leading all the way to defeat a gallant Candy Chimes by 4¼ lengths in 29.92 seconds.
The brindle bitch is owned and trained at Moorak by Chuck who said Galactic Mojo, after her sub-30 second win, would now be nominated for Sunday’s cup heats as would Galactic Athena, trained for him at Worrolong by Bartholomew.
Galactic Athena, who has raced on only four occasions, won a heat of last month’s Summer Classic (512 m) in a brilliant 29.61 seconds before running third in the final behind Banjo Bad Boy and Rose Ali. She is reported to be trialling well.
Usain Insane, unplaced in a heat of last year’s Mount Gambier Cup behind Print The Money in 29.68 seconds, will be back on Sunday for another crack for Allendale East trainer David Peckham after a solid win in the South Eastern Hotel Mixed Stake (512 m).
Chasing his first win this year, the son of Bekim Bale x Swift Blaze barged his way to the front going out of the first turn, eventually running out a two length winner over another cup contender in Big Casey in a time of 30.03 seconds.
Big Casey, trained at Edenhope by Cap Abbott, was having his first run at Tara Raceway since December 21 when he defeated Azumi Striker in a quick 29.84 seconds. His last win was in early January over 515 metres at Angle Park.
Hutch, trained at Portland by Robert Halliday, looks likely to be back for his third Mount Gambier Cup after an impressive official trial at Tara Raceway prior to last Sunday’s race meeting.
Returning after a two-month injury break, the four-year-old son of Premier Fantasy x Cairnlea Ellie solo trialled over 512 metres, looking good when stopping the clock at 29.91 seconds and pleasing Halliday who declared Hutch a cup starter provided all goes well this week.
Hutch first contested the cup in 2017 on the back of winning the Summer Classic, defeating Paraphernalia in a cup heat before finishing unplaced in the final behind Fabregal in race record time.
And last year, the black dog was unplaced in Print The Money’s heat before defeating Henry in the Mount Gambier Cup Consolation in a best of day 29.56 seconds.
Last Sunday didn’t turn out to be a bad day for Halliday, Molly’s Wally appreciating box one in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m) when leading all the way to defeat a fast-finishing Dusty Pearl by 2½ lengths in 30.15 seconds.
Then, in the following race, the Swallow Drive Meats Open Stake (400 m), Spirited Bingle, back after a two-month break, led all the way to defeat Speedy Scar by 6 ¾ lengths in a best of day 23.13 seconds.
Thursday, March 14, 2019
The fields come out for Sunday’s 10-race greyhound meeting at Tara Raceway and the interesting runner for the day is the Simon Payne trained Molly Coaster who has drawn box four in the Produce Store Stake (512 metres).
So an email is fired off, seeking some information on owners, trainer and greyhound and hoping that the trainer is in a position to make contact with a few relevant details pertaining to Molly Coaster.
But there was no cause for concern. No sooner had the email been sent than Simon Payne was on the phone, on a break from his duties as senior sergeant at the Melton Police Station.
And yes, he’s got the Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup well and truly in his sights with Molly Coaster, a winner of three races, all at Sandown Park.
While the black bitch’s last win was back in September, since then she has run nine minor placings, all at either Sandown Park (515 m) or The Meadows (525 m) with Payne’s assessment of her being that while she’s a slow starter she finishes her races off very well.
As such, with personal best times of 29.63 seconds at Sandown Park and 30.12 seconds at The Meadows, she should be hard to hold out in Sunday’s six-dog grade six field.
Molly Coaster is owned by the Package Syndicate which comprises Paul Giddings and Chris Wright of Package Landscape, the pair previously enjoying success with the Payne-trained Cosmic Coaster, a Sandown Park and The Meadows winner.
Purchased as a pup, Molly Coaster is by Fabregas out of Victorian city winner Reiko Bale and comes from a more than handy litter that also includes Fab Reiko, Reiko Ablett and Reiko Rocketta.
Payne is heavily involved in the Melton community, having previously coached the Melton Football Club and currently is the president of the Melton Greyhound Racing and Coursing Club which he is hopeful will soon be conducting drag lure coursing meetings.
And he’s looking forward to finally taking in a race meeting at Tara Raceway.
“I come over to the area quite regularly to fish at Nelson and while I’ve often driven past the track it’s always been on a day when racing wasn’t being conducted,” he said.
“I’m hoping Molly Coaster can do enough on Sunday to warrant coming back the following weekend in order to also take in the Calcutta which I’ve already heard so much about.”
As far as greyhounds are concerned, the Calcutta has a long history, dating back to the days of open coursing while the Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta is unique to SA greyhound racing.
For those not quite sure what the Calcutta is all about, tickets are now on sale at $1 each or $80 for a book of 100 from Tim Holmes on race days or on the night of the Calcutta (Saturday, March 23).
On Calcutta night, ticket holders will have the chance of drawing a runner in the following day’s cup heats. Those drawing a runner will receive half of what that greyhound attracts when auctioned later in the night – in other words, if sold for $100 then the ticket holder receives $50 with the other $50 added to the Calcutta pool.
Winning ticket holders can bid on their greyhound and pay half price if they are the successful bidder at the auction which will be conducted by Chris Manser of Green Triangle Real Estate. Calcutta pools vary from year to year but last year’s cup winner Xtreme Caution delivered a pay out of more than $4000 for a modest outlay.
Meanwhile, Kongorong-based Springvale Alysa, the greyhound purchased by John Little, Liz Newberry and Kevin Mullan from the proceeds of last year’s Calcutta windfall, has drawn box seven in Sunday night’s Murray Bridge Cup Consolation (455 m).
One of the better local greyhounds going around Tara Raceway at the moment, Springvale Alysa will contest a heat of the Mount Gambier Cup on Sunday week.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Allendale East greyhound trainer David Peckham’s Mount Gambier Cup hopes took a real hit this week after Rose Ali, a winner of five races from seven starts this year at Tara Raceway, was transferred to Victoria.
A personal best 512 metre time at the track of 29.72 seconds, run on February 6, looked to have the daughter of My Bro Fabio and Born Ali right in the mix for this year’s Group Listed event, Peckham still chasing his first Mount Gambier Cup win after a desperately close second with Bourne Again behind Lots Of Yap in 2015.
Peckham said Rose Ali’s owner, Noel Mugavin of Warrambool, had contacted him earlier this week to inform him that he had decided to send the black bitch to leading trainer Robert Britton of Lara with a view to contesting the forthcoming Launching Pad series.
“It’s disappointing, because I thought she would have been competitive in the cup,” he said. “But I respect Noel’s decision and wish him all the best in the Launching Pad.”
The 2019 Launching Pad boasts a massive $432,000 in stakemoney with the winner of the Group 2 final, run over 515 metres at Sandown Park on Thursday, April 18, collecting $150,000.
The sweepstakes series, which is open to greyhounds with 1-6 wins and no more than 30 starts, carries a $2000 entry fee.
For Peckham, it had been a good start to the year with 20 winners seeing him sitting in second spot in the Ian Badger Trainer of the Year award and Rose Ali sharing the lead with Dimora Flash in the Greyhound of the Year.
And there’s been a bit happening recently out at Allendale East with two Worm Burner litters being whelped – two bitches and three dogs out of 13-race winner Maximum Bella while Thanks Tubby, former Tara Raceway 512 metre record holder, produced two dogs and 4 bitches.
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Ray Fewings, ostensibly at Tara Raceway last Sunday to call the 11-race card, took the opportunity to also bring down a couple of littermates to race – Wrackmere and Zoltan.
However, in a long and colourful career that includes having raced everything from pigeons to pacers, he was quick to concede that last Sunday’s pair was nowhere near to being in the top bracket of racing greyhounds.
Certainly not of the calibre of Paua To Kapau and Don’t Kid Me that Fewings had won with 12 months previously at Mount Gambier’s Mount Gambier Cup meeting.
But for all that, Wrackmere, after being midfield early worked home well to defeat Midnight Ruby in The Border Watch Stake (400 m) while Zoltan took over the running from Nix Jakit off the back before holding on for a neck win in the Swallow Drive Meats Stake (512 m).
The pair’s breeding is interesting, being by 23-race winner Hallucinate, who collected $252,000 in stakemoney and won the 2004 Melbourne Cup at his last race start.
Their dam, Lotus Blossom, who won 14 races in Queensland and South Australia, is by Made To Size out of Elite Oriental who is the grand-dam of Aston Dee Bee, a winner of $800,000.
Fewings, who is based at Williamstown, also bred the litter after Maxine Wytkin of Willaston had offered him the Hallucinate straw which she had had in her possession for a number of years.
“I took her up on her offer, Maxine later taking a share in Zoltan. A couple of other members of the litter have also won and while there are no champions here I think they still need more time,” he said.
Fewings is next likely to be at Tara Raceway for the Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup on Sunday, March 31, this time in his role as Greyhound Racing SA industry representative.
Monday, March 11, 2019
Hobby trainer Heath McAdam, based at the Bellarine Peninsula seaside town of Ocean Grove, had this year’s Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup well and truly in mind when making the 400 kilometre trip to Tara Raceway with No Excuse for Sunday afternoon’s meeting.
The brindle dog’s last win had been at Sandown Park over 515 metres in 29.79 seconds at the end of December, although a 29.83 seconds effort when running second a couple of weeks ago at the same track had McAdam keen to test the waters in Mount Gambier.
This was the trainer’s first visit to the track and with No Excuse drawing box six and running into a more than handy field of grade five greyhounds in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (512 m) there was a fair chance that he would know exactly where he stood after the race from a cup point of view.
As it turned out, lack of track knowledge made no difference, No Excuse going straight to the front and eventually running out a 7¾ length winner over Lone Star in 30.17 seconds – the best of the day on a track not conducive to quick times due to solid rain earlier in the day.
Raced by the seven-member Larry Syndicate, the winner is by Fernando Bale out of Victorian city-winning stayer Scusami Hotel, the 42-year-old McAdam purchasing the September 2015 whelping in August 2018.
“He’d actually had 63 starts when we purchased him,” he said. “Since then he’s raced a further 25 times for wins at Horsham, The Meadows, Sandown Park and now Mount Gambier, his effort today really pleasing from a Mount Gambier Cup point of view.”
Meanwhile, Rose Ali, one of the best local chances for this year’s cup, brought up her fifth win from seven starts at the track when finishing strongly to defeat China Catch ‘Em by a nose in the final of the JB Irrigation Grade 5 final (512 m).
Now jumping better, Rose Ali was in front going out of the first turn but was unable to match the pace of China Catch ‘Em who opened up a handy break down the back straight and at one stage looked some chance of causing a massive boilover.
But Rose Ali, the middle leg of a treble with Our Man Zed and Kolora Posie also successful, ultimately continued Allendale East trainer David Peckham’s outstanding run at Tara Raceway this year when grabbing the leader in the shadows of post in a time of 30.33 seconds.
For the luckless China Catch ‘Em, trained at Charlton by Kevin Ashton, it was his fourth consecutive minor placing at Tara Raceway, the brindle dog last winning in June last year at Tara Raceway.
Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott ran the quinella in the Rock’s Retreat Mixed Stake (600 m) with litter brothers Black Spring and Spinning Jakit finishing the race off strongly, the former winning by five lengths in 35.96 seconds.
By Spring Gun x Lektra Scarlett, the brothers’ efforts had Abbott later in the day declaring that they would be part of a big team that he would be nominating in a bid to try and finally win a Mount Gambier Cup.
In 2007 he ran second to Army Officer with Cape Arrow and then in 2010 White Arrow, a daughter of Cape Arrow, finished fifth behind Kirkstall Jane.
And Kongorong trainer John Little is hoping to return to Murray Bridge this Sunday with Springvale Alysa for the Murray Bridge Cup Consolation (455 m) after she showed early pace before finishing fifth in a heat last Friday.
Little said Springvale Alysa, who last raced at Tara Raceway on January 20 when successful over 512 metres in 30.05 seconds, would then tackle the Fairthorne Forestry Mount Gambier Cup (512 m), heats of which will be run on Sunday, March 24.