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

SUNDAY, AUGUST 19: Nominations closed. FRIDAY, AUGUST 24 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, August 20 with GRSA. SUNDAY, AUGUST 26: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, August 21 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.


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Club moves back in time

Saturday, August 18, 2018

It’s a story that’s been told before but in view of recent developments at Tara Raceway it’s probably worth repeating.

A couple of years ago, Warrnambool greyhound identity Norm McCullagh, of Bold Trease fame, had been at Tara Raceway – the first time since 2004 when he won the Mount Gambier Cup with Bay Rhode.

And on his return visit McCullagh was keen to check out the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s memorabilia section but disappointed to learn that no such display existed.

The Tara Raceway memorabilia display.

If nothing else, though, his visit did get the local club thinking. After all, the South East was steeped in history, coursing meetings being run as far back as the late 1800s and plenty of top greyhounds coming out of the region.

Two years later, while continuing to be a work in progress, the South East Greyhound Racing Club (the club’s original name) memorabilia section is now on display in the Tara Raceway clubrooms with the MGGRC still looking for further contributions.

The display has a striking back drop of enlarged black and white photographs including a picture from a Mount Gambier coursing meeting in the late 1890s. Also featured is a fine-looking Dr. Mac, winner of the Mount Gambier Coursing Club President’s Cup in 1932, the cup also in the photograph and the original on show.

Missight, winner of the 1973 Mount Gambier Coursing Derby, also figures as does a terrific group shot that includes former key local players Dick Sealey, Newman McDonnell, Roy Douglas and Col Sims.

Coursing was where it all began, of course – no “tin hare” racing back then. Coursing slips used by the “slipper” are on display along with red and white knitted collars and a judge’s flag, white in this case, used to signal a white-collar winner.

While mechanical hare racing didn’t commence in Mount Gambier until 1979, there are interstate race programs – including Warrnambool – from as far back as the mid-1930s, a time when the track racing fixtures were often referred to as speed coursing meetings.

Initially, there was no computerised photo finish – just cumbersome cameras, a developing tray and a photo finish print that have found their way onto one of the memorabilia shelves, a big wooden “P” requiring to be displayed when a photo was required. And no electronic semaphore board, either, placings and race times posted via painted wooden numbers.

Also displayed, a set of greyhound papers, the size of an A4 sheet printed with a diagram of a greyhound, its relevant markings inked in, including the colour of its toenails. Unlike today when “papers” come in the form of a piece of credit card-like plastic.

Inside the Tara Raceway memorabilia display.

The owners, trainers and breeder licences on show are interesting inasmuch that they were issued by the atrociously-named SA Dog Racing Control Board, fortunately later to be renamed the SA Greyhound Racing Control Board and a forerunner to Greyhound Racing SA.

Allen Williams has donated a couple of bottles of greyhound port – Red Pulse and Tempix – Greyhound of the Year port at one time being all the go. Perhaps surprisingly, both these bottles are unopened, someone suggesting it must have been an ordinary drop or Williams surely would have drunk them by now!

In another time there was an abundance of greyhound publications circulating, with some on display including a 1981 issue of the SA Greyhound Trainer which carried an interesting front page story by Brenton Scott.

Scott, at the time a fresh-faced apprentice compositor in Adelaide but these days CEO of the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association, wrote that he believed that the Southern Greyhound Raceway (Strathalbyn) was going to relocate to Murray Bridge.

Scott was right, of course, just a few years ahead of his time!

As was Norm McCullagh, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club now awaiting his return visit.

Local breeders hold key to Winter Classic

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Local greyhound breeders Tracie Price and Steve Bartholomew look set to play a strong hand in Sunday’s Peter Rocket Winter Classic heats (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.

Two heats of the classic for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2016 will kick off the 11-race program with the first four from each heat through to the $3000 final which will be run on Sunday, August 26.

Azumi Striker (No. 2) scores in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake at Tara Raceway last Sunday over Lektra Brandy (3), Design A Dream (7) and Slipper’s Away (4). Azumi Striker is one of five members of the Dyna Tron x Azumi Touch litter that will be contesting Sunday’s Peter Rocket Classic.

The winner of the classic will also receive a service to the Group-winning Peter Rocket, sire of the Tara Raceway 512 metre track record holder Rockoon who will go around on Sunday in the JB Irrigation Open Stake (600 m).

In what is probably the most even line-up of youngsters in the Winter Classic’s five-year history, Price has five runners spread over the two heats out of three litters whelped at Compton during 2016.

Worrolong-based Bartholomew also has five runners, all out of the July 2016 Dyna Tron x Azumi Touch litter, and giving absolutely nothing away as far as age is concerned.

The Price-trained Lika Missile looks one of the hardest to beat in the first heat, chasing Talitha Cumi in last Sunday’s Gambier Vets Stake (512 m) before taking ground off the leader in the run home to go down by four lengths in a best of day 30.00 seconds.

Scott Brandon gives Cee Me Burst a well deserved drink after winning the 2015 Winter Classic.

Whelped in November 2016, Lika Missile, who is a son of Nitro Burst x Oh Cee Ya and a Tara Raceway winner in 30.00 seconds, will go into the series as one of the youngest runners.

Another Price runner in Smart Knocka, yet to race at Tara Raceway but reported to be trialling well, is the interesting runner in the second heat.

By Knocka Norris out of Who’s Doing What, Smart Knocka created a huge impression when winning on debut over 515 metres at Angle Park in early June, racing only once more after that before being spelled.

Price’s December whelping Cee Me Turbo is yet to win over the classic distance although the son of Cosmic Rumble and 2015 Winter Classic winner Cee Me Burst continues to improve with every run over 512 metres.

The Bartholomew camp looks particularly well represented in the second heat – Dusty Pearl, recent winner of the John Reid Memorial well drawn in box one, while Azumi Ryder also looks well drawn out in eight and is likely to find Sunday’s race somewhat easier than last Sunday’s Open event at Tara Raceway.

Previous Winter Classic winners: 2014 Stylish Moment (Spring Gun x Nicky’s Moment) 30.27 Tracie Price; 2015 Cee Me Burst (Nitro Burst x Oh Cee Ya) 30.31 Tracie Price; 2016 Lektra Munster (Fabregas x Supreme Vision) 30.89 Phil Lenehan; 2017 Solitary Lad (Lonesome Cry x Up And Away) 30.55 Richard Clayfield.

Talitha Cumi rises to the occasion

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Widely-travelled trainer Jamie Quinlivian made one of his spasmodic trips from Merbein South to Mount Gambier last Sunday, rewarded for the long trip with a double – his second this year at Tara Raceway.

Prophetess pictured defeating kennelmate Shot Thru in the Produce Store Bitches Stake at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Back in February he had been successful with Shot Thru and Signal Peak while last Sunday both Prophetess and Talitha Cumi impressed when having their first runs on the track.

Quinlivian had been at Angle Park on the Monday prior, Talitha Cumi leading all the way to win over 515 metres in a handy 30.14 seconds prior to the black bitch lining up in the Gambier Vets Stake (512 m) from box six less than a week later.

Colin and Pam Nolte with Jamie Quinlivian after Talitha Cumi’s impressive win.

And once again Talithi Cumi – purchased after breaking-in – quickly found the front, opening up a big break down the back straight before running out a four length winner over promising youngster Lika Missile.

By Lochinvar Marlow out of Dream Choice, a winner of 14 races and $28,000 in stakemoney, Talitha Cumi is owned by Quinlivian’s parents, Pam and Colin (“Nick’s my cousin”) Nolte who were on course to enjoy the win.

Prophetess, by Banjo Boy out of Quinlivian’s prolific producer Rustic Reeta, brought up her first middle-distance win with a strong performance in the Produce Store Bitches Stake (600 m).

Well drawn in box eight, she quickly found the front and from then on was never headed, kennelmate Shot Thru left to do the chasing before going down by 3¼ lengths in 35.34 seconds, a time that compared favourably to that of Cryer’s Plugger’s 35.26 seconds in the race prior.

Dual record holder takes a shine to Tara Raceway

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

It’s probably fair to say that Quedos attracted little attention when Portland trainer Nicole Stanley fronted up for the first time at Tara Raceway last month with the former WA short-course greyhound.

Quedos defeats Cilla Brown in the first heat of last Sunday’s grade five series over 400 metres.

After all, it had been 10 months since the four-year-old son of Magic Sprite x Typhoon Monelli had last won at Cranbourne and his appearance in a grade five 400 metre event at a Thursday time-graded meeting was certainly a far cry from the bright lights of Cannington – WA’s main track.

However, his record did read pretty well for a time-graded race – 70-odd starts for 18 wins and more than $32,000 in prizemoney – that record since further enhanced with a win on July 13 and another one last Sunday.

Nicole Stanley with Quedos.

The Sunday win was in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m), the first heat of a grade five series, with Quedos leading all the way from box two and holding out a fast-finishing Cilla Brown to win by a length in 23.21 seconds.

The career of the Del Greaves-owned black dog has certainly been eventful. Commencing racing in early 2016, his first 15 months were spent in WA where he won 15 races which included a remarkable four-day period in May.

It was during that time he broke the Mandurah 302 metre track record with a run of 16.75 seconds before following up several days later with a record run of 15.78 seconds over 275 metres at Cannington.

Quedos then had three starts in Victoria for wins at Shepparton and Ballarat before returning to WA for a further three starts.

Then it was back to Victoria again where he won the one race at Cranbourne before finding his way in April this year to Stanley’s Winmore Greyhound Kennels where he suffered a setback soon after arriving.

George Regis won the second heat in a best of day 23.16 seconds.

“Yes, he was off the scene for close to three months but he now seems to be over his problems and has been racing quite well,” Stanley said.

“He’s certainly a well-travelled greyhound and obviously in his younger days a very quick one. In fact, I think he still holds both the Mandurah and Cannington track records.”

Sunday’s final should be an interesting affair with Quedos well drawn in box one while Noel Perry’s George Regis, the other heat winner, is also drawn well in box two.

And the Tracie Price trained Blazing Moment, back after a four-month break, should improve on his three length third behind George Regis last week while kennelmate Dimora Flash has drawn well in the eight.

Paraphernalia to chase back-to-back Iron Dog titles

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Horsham trainer Jeff Guy has confirmed that his rising 4½-year-old chaser Paraphernalia will tackle next month’s Metal Worx Iron Dog at Tara Raceway.

Paraphernalia won last year’s three-distance series after running fourth in the 600 metre first round behind Bekim Lucy’s before accumulating sufficient points to reach the final when defeating Hit The Runway in the 400 metre round, running a quick 22.83 seconds. He then defeated that greyhound again in the final 512 metre round.

Paraphernalia brings up win number 30 when successful at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

The son of Big Daddy Cool and Scrappy Coco was back in winning form at Tara Raceway last Sunday when finishing powerfully in the Laser Electrical Open Stake (400 m) to run down Greyhound of the Year contender Oh No Beta in a time of 23.33 seconds.

For Paraphernalia it was his 120th start and brought up his 30th win in what has been a wonderful career for owner Chris Johnson and Guy who later said that the fawn dog, after an unplaced run at Horsham on Tuesday, was likely to finish his racing career at Tara Raceway.

“He’s starting to struggle at his home track now,” Guy said. “So I’m happy to race him at Mount Gambier while he’s still competitive there and have another crack at the Iron Dog series.

“Paraphernalia’s got a terrific record at Tara Raceway, having won over three distances, along with being a former 600 metre record holder twice. He’s also the only dog this year to have reached the finals of both the Mount Gambier Cup and the Anniversary Cup.”

Paraphernalia has drawn box four in Sunday’s Trackside Meats Open Stake, a race that has attracted a fair sort of field including last month’s Anniversary Cup winner Ben Nevis and current Greyhound of the Year leader Chilly Kiss.

Meanwhile, the JB Irrigation Open Stake (600 m) will be one of Sunday’s highlights with the Tracie Price trained Rockoon returning to Tara Raceway after contesting the Darwin Cup.

This will be his first time back at the track since running a 29.28 seconds 512 metre track record on July 1, a fortnight after he had run a near-record 34.86 seconds when winning by 11 lengths over 600 metres.

The race also includes Trent Blacker’s Aeroplane Mo, successful in last month’s Eric Lewis Memorial (600 m) and last week’s 600 metre winner Cryer’s Plugger, trained by Tom Cryer.

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