TRACK CLOSURE: For the purpose of race track redevelopment, Tara Raceway will be closed from April 26 and resume racing on Sunday, May 13. Trialling details will be announced closer to the completion of the upgrade.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Following the re-surveying of the Tara Raceway track earlier this week by local surveying firm Alexander Symonds, 500 cubic metres of sand will have been distributed on the track by tomorrow night.
Speaking at the track on Wednesday, Tara Raceway track work supervisor, Tim Manterfield, said around the bends there would be a crossfall of 10% and in the front and back straights a crossfall of 4%.
Racing is scheduled to resume on Sunday, May 13 with heats of the Trackside Meats Feature Grade Five (512 m) but as Manterfield pointed out there was much to be done on the track before then.
“The 512 metre, 600 metre and 732 metre boxes will all require to be lifted and concrete slabs laid to ensure the starting boxes are at the recommended levels,” he said.
“There will be new starting mats placed in front of all four starting boxes, along with new covers over the 512 metre and 732 metre boxes.
“Television cabling will also be laid in order that TV sets can be mounted behind the 400 metre and 512 metre boxes which will allow trainers to be able to view the finish of races.”
He also said that there would be a new turnaround area for the race track tractor on the northern side of the track.
Manterfield, who pointed out that there would be no changes to race distances, said he was hopeful that trials would resume on Tuesday, May 8.
And he stressed that the Tara Raceway redevelopment undertaking was not for the purpose of greyhounds being able to run faster times but for the welfare of the racing animal.
Thursday, April 26, 2018
Glencoe greyhound Galactic Viper’s win in the Ivor Dowdell Memorial final (400 metres) at Tara Raceway on Wednesday afternoon was surely a fitting result.
After all, the race – now in its second year – is run in memory of a man who was still training when in his early 90s and who had been generally regarded as the world’s oldest licensed greyhound trainer.
And the winner, owned and trained by Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club secretary/treasurer Barry Shepheard, turned five in February, making him one of very few greyhounds of that age to be still racing and winning at a TAB track anywhere in Australia.
The final attracted a good field with Mahlo Blackhawk, looking to open his Tara Raceway winning account after two recent second placings, taking up the early running over Dimora Flash and Galactic Viper.
But turning for home, both Dimora Flash and Galactic Viper were poised to make their moves – the latter finishing well along the rails to defeat Dimora Flash, who made his run out wide and failed by a head, while the early leader was a further head back in third spot in a winning time of 23.31 seconds.
Speaking at the presentation, an emotional Shepheard paid tribute to the son of Velocette x Magic Elite that has now raced on 121 occasions for 26 wins, 26 seconds and 12 thirds, marvelling that the black dog was still competing and winning at an age when most racing greyhounds have been retired.
Earlier at the ANZAC meeting, Spirited Bingle, lining up for her third start at Tara Raceway, had looked to be the omen tip of the day – her dam being Kokoda Spirit.
And the black bitch showed plenty of spirit, leading all the way in the Veterans Stake (400 m) for Portland trainer Robert Halliday, running out a 6¼ length winner over Galactic Shiraz in a best of day time of 23.05 seconds.
“Actually, she should be in gaol,” joked Halliday, referring to the fact that Spirited Bingle had previously copped convictions (for failing to chase) at Horsham and Bendigo.
“Mark Morrissey of Strathfieldsaye reckoned she had some ability and suggested the finish-on-lure at Tara Raceway as a means of perhaps switching her on,” he said.
Kokoda Spirit, winner of the 2013 Group 3 SA Oaks at Angle Park, is by Knocka Norris x Flaming Doll and a litter sister to former Tara Raceway 400 metre record holder Star Doll (23.05 sec.) and Guru Doll, the dam of Brinza and Odd Boots who Halliday has enjoyed success with.
And in December, Guru Doll whelped a litter of four dogs and three bitches to General Destini, this coming about after Halliday won a service to the beautifully bred sire as part of the winner’s prize when successful with Hutch in the 2017 Summer Classic at Tara Raceway.
Leading trainers Tracie Price and Nicole Stanley dominated the meeting with trebles – Price with Swift Limes, Blazing Moment and Banjo Queen while Stanley was successful with Joshy Wink Wink, Bereluke and Jan’s Star.
Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Since April 10, 2011 when Robert Halliday’s Half Way Home ran 29.79 seconds, it’s been easy enough to keep up with the steady drop in times of the 512 metre track record at Tara Raceway.
Prior to that, though, there’s a frustrating lack of documentation in regard to just how fast the better greyhounds were running around the Lake Terrace East venue.
However, we can tell you that the fastest time run at the opening meeting on January 25, 1997 was 30.95 seconds by a dog called Bigbad Ray, trained at Port Fairy by John Shanahan.
To add to the frustrations was the fact that many Tara Raceway race books in the 2000s neglected to mention the track record holders although by 2005 it can be confirmed that another Halliday greyhound in Iza Rule held the record at 29.86 seconds.
Half Way Home took the record off Gary Lane’s Mantra Miss who held the record at 29.80 seconds while at the same time holding the 732 metre record at 44.20 seconds.
Later, Mantra Miss, a beautifully bred daughter of Malfoy x Al Fresco, produced Miss Jacovella who on August 14, 2015 ran a Tara Raceway 600 metre track record of 35.08 seconds.
Half Way Home’s record would stand for close to three years until Tom Sinnott’s Dub Me In (Lonesome Cry x On Shore) ran 29.62 seconds on March 14, 2014.
But that time would stand for only a few months, David Peckham’s Thanks Tubby, a daughter of Superman and Irish Fantasy running 29.60 seconds on a Friday afternoon in early June.
And it would be another three years before this time was lowered in what turned out to be a remarkable seven days of greyhound racing at Tara Raceway.
First, on June 11, 2017, the Jeff Guy trained Paraphernalia, a son of Big Daddy Cool and Scrappy Coco, broke his own 600 metre record when running 34.97 seconds, while three races later his litter sister Brazen Bomber gained a run as a reserve and gave the Horsham trainer his second track record on the day – the black bitch running 29.55 seconds for the 512 metre journey.
A week later – one week, mind you – Guy lost both records in the space of a half hour to Peter Franklin trained greyhounds.
McIvor Verna demolished a 0-4 wins field over 600 metres, eventually winning by 12½ lengths in 34.84 seconds while Mojito Mayhem, one of the better greyhounds to have gone around Tara Raceway in recent times, finally got the 512 metre track record with a run of 29.52 seconds.
By the time this year’s Mount Gambier Cup came around Lektra Stomp and Hutch, another Halliday-trained greyhound, were running sub-29.60 second times – Lektra Stomp giving Phil Lenehan his first record holder as a trainer when running 29.45 seconds in a cup heat on March 11.
Lektra Stomp returned in a blaze of glory to Tara Raceway last week, winning by 12 lengths and in the process lowering his record to 29.35 seconds.
So as things stand at the moment from a track record point of view, Magic Assassin’s 277 metre record looks pretty safe considering this distance is not currently being run; Cryer’s Ricky’s 22.78 seconds for 400 metres has stood for more than two years and it will take pretty fair greyhounds to knock over McIvor Verna’s 600 metre time and the 732 metre record of Nellie Noodles.
Although who knows what the forthcoming track upgrade will bring?
Monday, April 23, 2018
Lektra Stomp became the second Tara Raceway track record holder to break his own record when running a sizzling 29.35 seconds in the Klaassens Contractors Open Stake (512 metres) on Friday afternoon.
The time was 1½ lengths quicker than his previous record of 29.45 seconds which he ran in a heat of the Mount Gambier Cup on March 11 when defeating Verev by seven lengths prior to running second to Xtreme Caution in the final a week later.
By Walk Hard out of Lektra Angie – a 13 length maiden winner at Tara Raceway in November 2012 – the white and black dog is trained at Toolong by Phil Lenehan who opted to return to Mount Gambier with Lektra Stomp after four disappointing runs at The Meadows and Warrnambool.
Well suited in Friday’s small field, he quickly found the front from box four and was always low flying, eventually running out a 12 length winner over Hit The Runway.
The win further enhanced his outstanding record at Tara Raceway – 15 starts for nine wins, four seconds and three thirds – with Lenehan believing Lektra Stomp is better suited to tracks which run with a finish-on-lure (FOL) system as is the case here.
“The trouble is there’s not many other FOL tracks around although the trial of the FOL on the outside track at Geelong apparently has been a great success,” he said.
The Geelong Greyhound Racing Club is now extending the FOL to its inside track on Tuesday. This track comprises 520 metres and 596 metres, with Lenehan believing both distances would suit Lektra Stomp and give him another option.
Lektra Stomp was the second leg of a running double for Lenehan, Lektra Lucy bringing up her second 600 metre win in the space of a month when defeating Big Rough and Shiney Bling in the Produce Store Mixed Stake in 35.47 seconds.
Both greyhounds will back up again at Wednesday’s ANZAC meeting, Lektra Stomp from box eight in the Legacy Open (512 m) and Lektra Lucy in the ANZAC Open (600 m).
Paraphernalia, who will jump from box one in the ANZAC Open Stake (600 m), lowered his 34.99 seconds record for the middle distance to 34.97 seconds on June 11, 2017 for Horsham trainer Jeff Guy.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Monarto South trainer Tony Hinrichsen’s 1600 kilometre trip from one end of the state to the other at the weekend resulted in a win with Filthy Phantom at Port Augusta on Saturday, followed up by an impressive performance from San Tan Sam at Sunday’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway.
By Collision out of San Tan Maid, a daughter of Mogambo and the US-bred San Tan Scuffy, the June 2015 brindle dog was having his first start for Hinrichsen, leading all the way in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (512 m) for a 3¾ length win over Cee Rose Black in a best of day 29.92 seconds.
The win provided a quick return for the widely-travelled trainer who only a fortnight ago purchased San Tan Sam after he had won nine races at Angle Park, Gawler and Port Augusta from Ray Burgess of Port Pirie.
Hinrichsen, who is heavily involved with the Southern Greyhound Raceway at Strathalbyn, makes occasional trips to Mount Gambier to race at Tara Raceway, his biggest success to date being with Menzel Boys in the 2016 General Destini Summer Classic.
Another widely-travelled trainer to achieve success on Sunday was Hamilton-based Tony Harding with Sweet Emma in the JB Irrigation Maiden Stake (400 m).
Now four years old and having her 37th race start, Sweet Emma led all the way to defeat Mrs Hardwicke by two lengths, bringing up her first win in a personal best time of 23.67 seconds.
The win, which Harding put down to the fact that the fawn bitch finally kept out of trouble in a race by going straight to the front, came after runs on a variety of other race tracks including Warrnambool, Ballarat, Horsham, Geelong and Strathalbyn.
Sweet Emma, taken over as a giveaway by Harding last September, is by former top stayer Dashing Corsair out of Paramount Diva, a winner of 14 races and $22,000 in prizemoney for Edenhope trainer Cap Abbott.
Monday, April 23, 2018
Friday’s Tara Raceway race book had the Laser Electrical Stake listed as paying $605 to the winner of the maiden 512 metre event.
And it was the July 2016 youngster Azumi Ryder, having only her fifth race start, that scored an impressive two length win over Andrew’s Gift in the tidy time of 30.31 seconds.
But connections Steve and Lee Bartholomew, of Worrolong, will pick up considerably more than the listed first prize due to the fact that Azumi Ryder, trained by the latter, is an SA-bred greyhound.
This follows additional breeding bonuses introduced by Greyhound Racing SA which now sees breeders and owners of SA-bred maiden winners whelped in 2016 onwards also collecting $500 each for the win.
In the case of Azumi Ryder and the Bartholomews, though, they will collect the $1000 on top of the first prize as they are also the breeders and owners of the black bitch.
By Dyna Tron, Azumi Ryder is out of Azumi Touch, a winner of 15 races at Tara Raceway and one at Angle Park for the Bartholomews.
This is Azumi Touch’s second litter, her first, by Cosmic Chief, producing handy types Azumi Spice (six wins) and 10-race winner Azumi Swift who will jump from box six in tomorrow’s Ivor Dowdell Memorial (400 m).
Thursday, April 19, 2018
A comfortable win in last Sunday’s Gambier Vets Stake (600 metres) by giveaway greyhound Two Jobs completed a good day for Tara Raceway regulars David and Valerie Brodhurst of Serviceton.
Away fairly from box six in the bitches-only grade five event, Two Jobs gave a great display of railing, staying in touch with Cilla Brown, Boomer Hargen and Cee Jay’s Heart down the back before pushing through on the paint off the back and then racing away to a 5½ length win over a fast-finishing Lektra Destiny in 36.14 seconds.
By Cosmic Rumble out of Enlightment, this was her first success since September, David Brodhurst attributing seasonal issues as part of the reason that she had taken so long to win her seventh race for the couple.
Two Jobs is the dog that arrived in Serviceton early last year after having won a maiden at Port Augusta but then found herself on the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) waiting list soon after when struggling for form.
As luck would have it, though, a run in a Pathway prior to the GAP call-up turned her fortunes around, with the 25 kilogram fawn bitch appreciating the low-grade format with a confidence-boosting win in a best of day time.
Earlier on Sunday, Swoosie, having her fourth start at Tara Raceway, opened her winning account for the Brodhursts when leading all the way to defeat Teacup Toni by a neck in the Metal Worx Maiden Stake (400 m).
By Oaks Road out of Power Merc, a winner of 14 races at Angle Park and Gawler, Swoosie was picked up by the Brodhursts by pure chance.
“Lewiston trainer Rob Harnas had been selling off all his dogs and I contacted him regarding a couple that I thought could be worth purchasing for down here,” David Brodhurst said.
“But by the time I spoke with him the only dog he had left was a giveaway called Swoosie who had finished down the line at her only start at Gawler. We figured we didn’t have much to lose so we went with her.”
Sunday’s double was the Brodhursts’ first since June 25 last year when Two Jobs defeated Panalo and Cryer’s Plugger in the Koroit 600 feature and Eye Spy Emma was successful over 400 metres.
Two Jobs and Swoosie, who will now line up again at Sunday’s time-graded meeting, have both drawn box one – in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m) and the Rock’s Retreat Stake (400 m).
Thursday, April 19, 2018
With Ivor Dowdell being born on ANZAC Day and serving in Borneo during World War II, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s annual ANZAC meeting at Tara Raceway seems an appropriate day to run the Ivor Dowdell Memorial final (400 metres).
Dowdell died in early 2017 in his 95th year, having only hung up the collar and lead a couple of years prior, his last winner at Tara Raceway being He Gone on September 11, 2015.
An article in The Border Watch in April 2012 when he turned 90 suggested that not only was he Australia’s oldest licensed greyhound trainer but probably the oldest in the world.
He embraced the suggestion good-heartedly because being the world’s oldest greyhound trainer did come with a few perks – not the least being his own reserved table at Tara Raceway on race days and a birthday cake on or about April 25 each year.
Mumbannar trainer Monty Wilson has the distinction of winning the inaugural Dowdell Memorial last year with Lektra Excess defeating Galactic Dragon and Still We Believe. It was a good result, with Wilson, like Dowell, being a hobby trainer and simply enjoying the sport.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Glencoe greyhound Galactic Viper showed there is still plenty of life left in his 62-month-old legs when taking the time honours in last Sunday’s Ivor Dowdell Memorial heats (400 metres) at Tara Raceway.
Quite possibly the oldest greyhound to be currently racing – and winning – in SA, the son of Velocette x Magic Elite led all the way from box one in the first of three heats, eventually defeating Mahlo Blackhawk by 6¾ lengths in 23.45 seconds.
The win took Galactic Viper’s record to 120 starts for 25 wins, 26 seconds and 12 thirds, with Barry Shepheard taking over the ownership and training of the black dog in early 2016.
Five-year-old winners at Tara Raceway – or any other track for that matter – are not all that common, one of the last being back at the end of 2014 when another Shepheard-trained greyhound in Rouse Flyer won on his fifth birthday and clinched Greyhound of the Year honours.
But there have been some wonderful stories surrounding the longevity of racing greyhounds, perhaps none better than that of Green Lizard who raced on 223 occasions before being retired at the age of 86 months.
Named after a poker machine, Green Lizard was by Colonial Warrior, a winner of 24 races on SA tracks, out of Dixie Land who won her last race at Port Lincoln over 306 metres.
Whelped in March 1997, the Lizard was trained in SA’s north at Crystal Brook by local legend Trevor “Swami” Hendry whose association with the dog from a racing point of view commenced in May 1999 and concluded five years later with a record of 64 wins, 44 seconds and 31 thirds at Angle Park, Gawler, Strathalbyn, Barmera, Port Pirie, Port Augusta and Whyalla.
And speaking of local legends. Allendale East trainer Connie Miller’s terrific run this year with Chilly Kiss continued in the second heat of Sunday’s memorial when the daughter of Spring Gun x Chilly Babe quickly found the front from box one and then held out Eily West, a good run considering she was having her first run at the track for Geelong owner-trainer Mick Vaughan.
Chilly Kiss, who currently leads Hopalong by two points in the Greyhound of the Year, has now become one of a relatively few greyhounds to have won over 400 metres, 512 metres and 600 metres at Tara Raceway.
Azumi Swift, having only her second race start this year, kept out of trouble from box eight before finding the front and then never really looking like being beaten in the third heat of the memorial.
Trained at Worrolong by Lee Bartholomew, the daughter of Cosmic Chief x Azumi Touch defeated Mount Gambier Cup finalist Verev and the speedy Dimora Flash – all three through to next Wednesday’s ANZAC Day final along with Galactic Viper, Mahlo Blackhawk, Chilly Kiss, Eily West and Cheyenne Black.