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

THURSDAY, JUNE 21 (T/G): Nominations closed. SUNDAY, JUNE 24: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Wednesday, June 20 with GRSA. FRIDAY, JUNE 29 (T/G): Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, June 25 with GRSA. SUNDAY, JULY 1: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, June 26 with GRSA. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.


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Keeping the strike rate intact

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Adelaide race caller come greyhound trainer Ray Fewings kept his more than handy Tara Raceway strike rate intact last Sunday when Castle Rock led all the way to win the Stake (512 m) in a best of day time of 30.15 seconds.

Fewings, ostensibly in Mount Gambier to call the meeting, brought Castle Rock along for the ride and with a race record of three wins and a second from only four starts, all at Angle Park, the fawn dog was always going to be hard to beat in the grade six event.

Castle Rock after his best of day win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

Ethics, having her first run at the track for Portland trainer Nicole Stanley, quickly settled in second spot and off the back did look some sort of chance, especially as her most recent form had been more than sound over the distance at Angle Park.

But much to the relief of those who took the short odds – and to the race caller – Castle Rock kept finding in the home straight, eventually running out a three-quarter length winner.

By Barcia Bale out of 22-race winner Sidney’s Shadow (Mogambo x Alana Blues), the September 2016 fawn dog was bred at Strathalbyn by Karen Butcher who has since bred another litter out of Castle Rock’s dam, this time using Worm Burner who is owned by her in-laws, Cameron and Yvonne Butcher.

Fewings, who purchased Castle Rock as a pup prior to rearing him at Williamstown, said that he had initially copped a bit of criticism over the selection of the fawn dog.

“I wanted a fawn pup, right or wrong. But as he was growing up I had a few ‘experts’ tell me that his conformation was all wrong and that he probably wouldn’t be much good from a racing point of view.

“Well, he’s now broken 30 seconds at Angle Park and won four races from five starts so I’m now wondering just how good he could have been if it hadn’t been for his conformation,” he said, facetiously.

Castle Rock is an ideal age for next month’s Angle Park Champion Puppy Classic (515 m) – for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2016 – although Fewings said he was unlikely to tackle the long-running event.

“I think that might be a bit tough for him,” he said, following last Sunday’s win. “But I am looking at the forthcoming Peter Rocket Winter Classic (512 m) down here. I think that would be a better fit for him.”

To be run in August, the 2018 Peter Rocket Winter Classic is a non-penalty event for all dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2016.

Boers fares well with Hail A Cab

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cashmore trainer Ben Boers, after recently whelping down his 2015 Mount Gambier Cup winner Lots Of Yap’s litter by Nitro Burst, was back at Tara Raceway last Friday with Hail A Cab who made it back-to-back wins when leading all the way in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 metres).

Ben and Kees Boers after Hail A Cab’s win at Tara Raceway last Friday.

Hail A Cab is the dog that won his maiden at Tara Raceway last November when defeating subsequent Mount Gambier Cup finalist Verev and then struggled to find winning form again in the ensuing six months.

But over the past month or so the black dog has gone around on five occasions for three wins and two minor placings, Boers putting the improved form down to smaller fields.

“I think the smaller fields he’s been recently encountering have certainly helped because he’s been finding less trouble in his races. It’s also possible that he’s a bit of a late maturer,” he said.

Raced by Damien Anderson, Hail A Cab is by Don’t Knocka Him, the 2012 Victorian Greyhound of the Year, out of the city-winning Taxi Sono Qui who has gone on to produce city winners from a second litter.

Winners among her second litter, by Vapour Whirl, are Power To Wyn, a winner of five races including Sandown Park, and Rowchester Miss who has won three races, all at The Meadows.

Hail A Cab will now take another step up in class when he tackles a handy grade five field at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon in the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (400 m).

Successful comeback for ‘forgotten’ greyhound

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Just over 12 months ago Blitz And Bolt had been racing so well at Tara Raceway that majority shareholder and trainer David Peckham, along with co-owners Connie Miller and the Viking Syndicate, reckoned the black dog could be worth a try in the city.

Soon after, Blitz And Bolt was relocated to Adelaide where in the space of six weeks he strung together three wins and three third placings at Angle Park before returning in late August to Peckham at Allendale East.

Part-owner Connie Miller and handler Shane Flink with Blitz And Bolt after his win at Tara Raceway last Sunday.

The son of Cosmic Rumble x Moonshine Sally, picked up by his owners in late 2016 for $1500, all of a sudden was developing into something of a bargain buy.

But soon after returning, Blitz And Bolt sustained a stopper injury which ultimately would see him off the scene for eight months after a further setback in early 2018.

“To be honest, I had my doubts as to whether he would race again,” Peckham said. “However, by last month he had been trialling well so after a lengthy period away from the race track I nominated him for Horsham over 410 metres.

“He came through that run unscathed as he did at his next two 400 metre runs at Tara Raceway where he finished close-up on both occasions.

“No way is he a 400 metre dog but I reckoned he needed one more run before stepping up in distance so that is why he went around last Sunday in the Stake. Needless to say, we were all delighted with the run.”

Blitz And Bolt, chasing his first win since July 2017, was away well from box eight, quickly working into second spot behind Cryer’s Harper before railing through on her in the home straight and finishing strongly to win by three lengths  in a personal best time of 23.24 seconds.

Peckham said he was now hoping to be able to get enough 512 metre runs into his 14-race winner with a view to next month’s Anniversary Cup, a race which in more recent times has resulted in him reaching the finals with Dare Devil and Sister Aunty Cuz.

Lifting the spirits of one of the good guys

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The 4½-year-old Cheyenne Black made it three wins in succession when knocking over a pretty handy field of short-coursers in last Sunday’s Klaassens Contractors Open Stake (400 m) at Tara Raceway.

David and Valerie Brodhurst pictured with Cheyenne Black at Tara Raceway on November 15, 2015 after her first win at the track.

Nearing 100 starts, the daughter of Cosmic Chief and Eva’s Flame settled midfield before finishing powerfully in the home straight to run down Problem Solved and Greyhound of the Year leader Oh No Beta.

The winning sequence, which commenced back in April, came after Cheyenne Black had been out of the winner’s list since September last year.

But the black bitch has been a tremendous acquisition for Serviceton couple David and Valerie Brodhurst who purchased her for $1200 in October 2015 prior to her going on to win 16 races at Tara Raceway.

The only downside to last Sunday’s win was the absence of David Brodhurst who at the moment is battling serious health issues.

Let’s hope Cheyenne Black’s win helped, in some small way, to lift the spirits of one of the good guys of greyhound racing.

Rocky takes it all in his stride

Monday, June 18, 2018

Rocky, better known as Rockoon to greyhound racing followers, wandered into Tara Raceway on Sunday in typical laid-back fashion, nothing appearing to faze him as trainer Tracie Price went through the ritual of kennelling him in readiness for the Rock’s Retreat Mixed Stake (600 metres) later in the day.

Tracie Price and Rockoon prior to Sunday’s Rock’s Retreat Mixed Stake (600 m) at Tara Raceway.

Rockoon, the best credentialled greyhound to take the trip down Lake Terrace East in quite some time, had recently transferred from Keith Hellmuth’s Pearcedale kennels to Compton, both owner and new trainer hoping the 35 kilogram white and black dog could derive some benefit from a confidence-boosting run in Mount Gambier.

The son of Peter Rocket and Raya Riot hit the headlines last November when winning the Group 1 Hume Cup (600 m) at The Meadows before winning a heat of the Bold Trease over 715 metres at Sandown Park and then running fifth in the final behind million dollar dog Fanta Bale.

But a subsequent injury saw him off the scene for five months, three runs upon return in April and May resulting in well-beaten efforts at Sandown Park and Shepparton – Hellmuth saying later that Rockoon had been trialling as well as ever and that he believed it to be a confidence thing.

And if connections were looking for a confidence booster then Sunday’s five-dog race was probably as good as they could have hoped for with their Group-winning greyhound jumping from box one with a record of 24 starts for 10 wins, eight minor placings and $124,575 in prizemoney.

Pre-race, Price led Rockoon into the parade ring adjacent the kennel house, the trainer appearing to have more spring in his step than his dog.

“He’s just a beautiful dog,” Price told onlookers hanging over the fence looking to check out Rocky who, if nothing else, looked resplendent in a red racing rug that was further highlighted by his big white frame.

“He’s a great kennel dog – quiet, clean and certainly no bother to have around,” he continued.

Next, it was off to the preview area where greyhounds, if trainers believe it necessary, can view the lure going around in what is known as a “stir-up”.

Price opted for a preview, although he could have saved his time, Rockoon giving the impression to the “fence-hangers”, at least, that he was not really all that interested in the lure going around – unlike a couple of his opposition in the preview yard with him that were carrying on in a frenzied fashion.

Ben and Tracie Price and young Harper with Rockoon after his outstanding win on Sunday.

Then it was off to the 600 metre boxes by way of another parade ring stop over, Price and Rockoon leading the way with Good Yarn, Joshy Wink Wink, Vectis Campinae and Hit The Runway following.

Hit The Runway, a last start winner over 600 metres in a handy 35.30 seconds a fortnight earlier at Tara Raceway looked to be Rokoon’s main danger, especially if the son of Oaks Road x Full Noise Turbo could run up to his personal best time of 35.10 seconds.

As it turned out, Rocky had only been kidding. The starting box lids came up and he was off, quickly finding the front over Hit The Runway and prompting race caller Ray Fewings to declare “he’s going like the old Rockoon.”

And then as the margin continued to lengthen, “Tracie Price has revitalised him” and into the home straight, “he might even run a near track record.”

On the line Rockoon had 11 lengths to spare over Hit The Runway with a further six lengths back to Good Yarn in a time of 34.86 seconds.

While it would probably be fair to say that Tara Raceway on Sunday was not really conducive to track record times given the amount of rain in Mount Gambier over the past few days, Rockoon’s run was the second fastest ever at the track – McIvor Verna’s 34.84 seconds run almost 12 months ago to the day.

Rockoon sauntered back to the kennel house, job done, leaving local greyhound enthusiasts to ponder the magnitude of the run and to further appreciate just how good it had been to have a Group 1 greyhound grace their track.

Xtreme Gretel and her Fernando Bale pups.

Meanwhile, another of Price’s stayers in Bekim Lucy’s has been retired for breeding after suffering a wrist injury at Angle Park last Thursday night.

Owned locally by Willie Vossen and Michael Robinson, Bekim Lucy’s raced on 67 occasions for 11 wins and 25 minor placings.

Speaking on Sunday, Robinson said a sire had not yet been chosen for the daughter of Bekim Bale and Lucy’s Moment.

And Brian Weis, of Portland, reports that Xtreme Gretel, the dam of Xtreme Caution, this year’s Mount Gambier Cup winner, has whelped a litter of three dogs and four bitches to boom sire Fernando Bale.

This is the US-bred Xtreme Gretel’s second litter, her first, by Barcia Bale, having now won 48 races.

It’s now all good fun for new trainer

Thursday, June 14, 2018

After some frustrating bureaucracy issues, Dita Mitchell has finally sorted out the paper work, cut through the red tape and is now ready to start racing greyhounds.

Formerly based in Victoria, she relocated to Tarpeena with her partner Michael McPhee in February last year and will have her first runner as an owner-trainer when she leads out Jeanie’s Gem for the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 metres) at Tara Raceway tomorrow.

Dita Mitchell and Banjo Lass pictured at Tara Raceway last Sunday with Harper Diegmann, Brooklyn Winterfield and the Bouchier brothers, Paddy and Isaac.

Also bred by Mitchell, Jeanie’s Gem is by Banjo Boy out of Jeanie’s Wish who from an earlier litter by the beautifully bred Don Chendo (Where’s Pedro x Kilby Supreme) produced eight individual winners.

Mitchell, who has three other members of the Banjo Boy litter yet to race, is of the opinion that Jeanie’s Gem is certainly not the best in the litter although she’s looking forward to boxing her first runner in a race.

“I look at her as a good dog to learn on,” she said. “Really, greyhound racing is simply a hobby for me and all good fun thanks to the great help I’ve received along the way from Tracie (Price) and Michael.”

And Mitchell had something of a dress rehearsal for tomorrow’s race when successfully handling the Price-trained Banjo Lass in the final of last Sunday’s Trackside Meats grade five final (400 m).

A $10 chance despite having won two of her past three starts, Banjo Lass quickly settled on the pace before finishing strongly to grab Cryer’s Harper on the line in a tidy 23.20 seconds.

Owned by Andrew Varasdi, Banjo Lass is by Knocka Norris out of the city-winning Banjo Star who is a litter sister to Varasdi’s successful sire Banjo Boy – connections looking to ultimately breed with last Sunday’s winner.

The grade five 400 metre heats and final series, which offered owners and trainers the opportunity of winning two races in the same grade as well as Open prizemoney for the final, proved to be popular with connections.

Heats of the next grade five 400 metre series will be run on Sunday, July 1 with the $1100 final on Sunday, July 8.

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