A dashing win by Portland greyhound Old Jock in the final of last Friday’s Berringa Park Iron Dog (512 metres) at Tara Raceway continued a good year at the local track for trainer Nicole Stanley.
Into the final of the annual three-distance series on the back of a 600 metre win and a fifth placing over 400 metres, Old Jock was away well from box seven and when settling a close second behind Roarsome mid-race he was always going to be hard to hold out.
And that’s how the race panned out with the rising four-year-old finding the lead off the back before running out a 1¾ length winner over Roarsome in a best of day 30.13 seconds.
For Stanley the win, which was her 46th this year at Tara Raceway, has her sitting in second spot behind Tracie Price who has trained 55 winners. It also continued her good run of feature race success at the track after Rowchester Star and Hay Miss’s wins in the Sims Memorial and Reid Memorial.
Bred at Mortlake by Terry Payne, Old Jock is a son of Bekim Bale and Swift Blaze (Vapour Whirl x Lankan Flash) which was unraced but a litter sister to former smart type Vapourash (27 wins).
Raced by the Jock Middleton-managed Jocks Lot Syndicate, Old Jock has been trained throughout his 86-start career by Stanley who has now guided the 35 kilogram chaser to 13 wins and 30 minor placings for prizemoney in excess of $20,000.
Friday’s win was his eighth this year at Tara Raceway and resulted in him taking a one point lead over Fred Of Lidsdale in the Greyhound of the Year after that greyhound later in the day went down by a neck to Slipper’s Shadow in the Allestree Holiday Units Mixed Stake (400 m).
Roarsome, after running second over 600 metres and then winning a 400 metre second leg, wrapped up a consistent Iron Dog series for Mount Wallace owner Erin McNamara and Mount Gambier trainer Ralph Patzel with a gallant second in the final behind Old Jock.
And Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield’s Glenville Jester also performed consistently with a third and a fourth prior to running home well for a 3¼ length third in a 512 metre final that boasted a really even field of versatile greyhounds.
Race favourite Cryer’s Jack’s day didn’t begin all that well when the trailer he was travelling in from Apsley arrived at the track minus a door – apparently falling off somewhere between Penola and Mount Gambier.
Fortunately there was no greyhound in that particular compartment but Cryer’s Jack, which found trouble in last year’s Iron Dog final, suffered the same fate on Friday when finishing down the line. Trainer Tom Cryer will now be hoping for a change of luck at Horsham on Tuesday night.
It’s now been three years since Mount Gambier representative Moorak Hope won the SA Country Cup (531 metres) at Gawler for Moorak owner Allan Holmes and trainer Tracie Price of Compton.
This was the re-introduction of a series – albeit with considerably less country greyhound tracks to draw on – that had been spasmodically run over a number of years.
In fact, by the time 2013 came around the only real country tracks left had been Mount Gambier and Port Augusta. Long gone were tracks at Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Pirie, Kulpara and Barmera. As a result, Gawler and Strathalbyn were added to make up a working number.
But for all that, the Country Cup has added further interest to the SA racing calendar. With total prizemoney of $7375 and a breakdown of $5000, $1250, $625 and $100 for unplaced runners it’s a race well worth winning.
And while this is the SA Country Cup, conditions released this week by Greyhound Racing SA allow for non-SA trainers and their greyhounds to represent Mount Gambier provided the trainer has had starters at Tara Raceway on at least 15 occasions in the previous 12 months.
All greyhounds must have started at least twice in the past 12 months at the track they are attempting to represent and must not be above grade five at Angle Park (Monday and Thursday).
Mount Gambier’s qualifying heat/s will be run at Tara Raceway on Friday, November 4 with a maximum of two heats per club and the winners of each heat qualifying. If only one heat is run then the first two placegetters will advance to the final.
The SA Country Cup final, to be decided this year over 536 metres at Strathalbyn on Sunday, November 20, is rotated on an annual basis between Gawler and Strathalbyn and is run in conjunction with the clubs’ Cup nights.
Country Cup winners since 2013 have been Morgan McLaren and My Excuse with Price looking to play a strong hand in this year’s series.
Clashing in tomorrow’s more than handy Trackside Meats Mixed Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway are two of his likely contenders in Real Moment and Fear The Rascal.
Having her first run back in Mount Gambier since the end of July, Real Moment impressed last Sunday in her all the way win over 512 metres in a best of day 30.16 seconds.
There will also be plenty of interest tomorrow in Price’s promising youngster Blazing Moment – already a winner at Tara Raceway and Angle Park – which will jump from box four in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (512 m) for grade six greyhounds.
ON THE STRAIGHT AND NARROW
Top racing, excellent on-course turnover and plenty of new faces made for a good day at Tara Raceway last Sunday.
One of the new faces was that of a gentleman from Wentworth, a small border town in the far south west of NSW.
He’d been holidaying with his wife in Mount Gambier and took the opportunity to take in a day at the dogs. A day, he assured club officials, he thoroughly enjoyed.
Not that greyhound racing was anything new to him as many years ago he had been involved in the introduction of straight track racing at Wentworth.
That was back in the 80s and a time when many owners and trainers used to make the thoroughly enjoyable trip to Wentworth over the June long weekend to take in the Wentworth Cup – heats on the Saturday, final on the Monday.
The Wentworth track is now also long gone but not so straight track racing in Victoria which continues to thrive on a weekly basis at Healesville, and beginning in November will race weekly on both Friday and Sunday.
And closer to Mount Gambier, discussions are now underway regarding a straight track at Horsham.
A change this year in the order of running of the three-distance Berringa Park Iron Dog series – the highlight of an excellent programme of greyhound racing at Tara Raceway on Friday afternoon – seems to have paid off for the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.
The past two years have seen the finals run over 600 metres, however this year saw a first round of 600 metres, followed by 400 metres with the leading point scorers to now contest Friday’s final over 512 metres.
The Ralph Patzel trained Roarsome, which has drawn box four, heads the qualifiers with 15 points but so even is the field that any one of the eight finalists could win without surprising.
A daughter of Fear Zafonic and Ren Shen, Roarsome accumulated 15 points with a 600 metre second and a dashing 400 metre win last Sunday.
And while the January 2014 black bitch hasn’t done much wrong since joining Patzel’s kennels in May and winning eight races, the Iron Dog final will certainly be one of her biggest tests since arriving in Mount Gambier.
Gary Lane’s rising five-year-old Dee Tee charged into last year’s Iron Dog with maximum points before becoming bogged down on a rain-affected track in the 600 metre final.
A 1¾ length second over 400 metres to Dark Nemesis last Sunday gained her enough points for a second final and she’ll jump from the two – a box she has an excellent record from.
But a fair bit has happened since the daughter of El Grand Senor and Mantra Miss ran in the 2015 final – retirement, a mating and no pups, followed by a comeback in May.
Four-year-old Old Jock, a 2016 Mount Gambier Cup finalist, will jump from box seven as one of the best credentialled of the eight after a 29.75 seconds run earlier this year.
Trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley, the son of Bekim Bale and Swift Blaze struggled over 400 metres after a 600 metre win but with a Tara Raceway record of five wins and nine minor placings from 22 starts at 512 metres the black dog does look the testing material.
Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield will be hoping for further Iron Dog success, this time with Glenville Jester – another one that will be better suited by the 512 metre journey.
A son of Vapour Whirl and Glenville Maggie, Glenville Jester is the only SA-bred finalist with Clayfield looking to go marginally better than last year when Upset Boy dead-heated with Monty Wilson’s Boolite Bruiser.
Also a finalist last year, Cryer’s Jack, which has drawn awkwardly in box six, is racing well for Apsley trainer Tom Cryer and will take a power of holding out if he can find a forward spot.
And it looks like the “Cryer’s” are going to keep coming, with January 2015 whelping Cryer’s Bob, from a repeat mating of Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget, finding his way into the race book (as a reserve) for the first time on Friday.
The Iron Dog is once again sponsored by Michael Niele of Berringa Park Kennels and will also carry to the winner a Winning Formula Kennel Pack, donated by Peter Bryce of Winning Post Supplies.
CUP FINALISTS RETURN FOR GRADE 5 FEATURE
Elbow Room and Howies Flyer, finalists in July’s Anniversary Cup won by Mojito Mayhem, will clash again in the second heat of the Gordon Refrigeration Feature Grade Five (512 m).
Trained at Warracknabeal by Ian Bibby, Elbow Room, a son of College Causeway x Lavana, ran third in the cup final prior to defeating Old Jock early in August at Horsham over 480 metres and looks well drawn tomorrow in box one.
Paul Carmichael of Elliminyt returns with Howies Flyer which ran second to Galactic Viper in a heat of the Anniversary Cup before having no luck in the final.
By El Grand Senor x Irish Blossom, the brindle dog, which is not well drawn in box five tomorrow, is coming off some pretty solid form up the straight at Healesville, along with a handy 24.29 seconds 425 metre run at Bendigo.
Fascinated, owned and trained by John Cameron at Penshurst, hasn’t won since late April, but she looks well drawn in box one in the first heat.
The daughter of Hutmaker and Spellbound, and a litter sister to Tuesday night’s Horsham winner Fireball Jack, has run second at her past two 512 metre Tara Raceway starts, with plenty to like about her quarter-length second last Sunday to Real Moment in a best of day 30.16 seconds.
Box three runner Thanks Captain’s two runs back over 400 metres after a lengthy spell have been good and David Peckham’s son of Fabregas x Zadar Belle now looks ready to figure prominently over 512 metres.
And the wide-running Yucatan, which has won his past two Tara Raceway starts over 512 metres for Bibby, despite stepping up in grade and from box five also looks a good chance of making his way through to the final on Sunday, September 18.
Allendale East greyhound trainer David Peckham was the first to admit that he really had no idea how Dark Nemesis would handle the 400 metre round of the Berringa Park Iron Dog at Tara Raceway.
Dark Nemesis had gone into the second heat of Sunday’s second round with five points accrued from the previous meeting’s 600 metre opener and realistically needed a top three finish to ensure a spot in this Friday’s 512 metre final.
And the black dog proved to be the nemesis of his rivals, quickly dispelling Peckham’s doubts, when leading all the way from box one in 23.38 seconds to defeat Dee Tee by 1¾ lengths with a further 1½ lengths back to Stampy Longnose.
“He’d previously won at Tara Raceway over 512 metres and 600 metres but today was his first race start over 400 metres,” Peckham said.
By Kinloch Brae x Angel Millie, Dark Nemesis started his racing career off in Tasmania for owner Mark McIntosh before relocating early this year to Mount Gambier where he has now won four races.
For Peckham, it will be his third consecutive Iron Dog final after Thanks Tubby and Bourne Again finished third and fourth respectively behind Manila Express in 2014 while Thanks Tubby backed up again last year when running fourth behind dead-heaters Boolite Bruiser and Upset Boy.
The Ralph Patzel trained Roarsome heads into the final as the leading overall pointscorer after an all the way 23.42 seconds win over Kirsty’s Me Mum which is also through to the final as are third and fourth placegetters Cryer’s Jack and Glenville Jester.
Roarsome, a daughter of Fear Zafonic and Ren Shen, has now won eight races since joining Patzel’s Mount Gambier kennels in May and will go into the final having already won five races over 512 metres.
Through to the final for a second consecutive year are Dee Tee and Cryer’s Jack while Richard Clayfield, after dead-heating with Upset Boy last year, has qualified with Glenville Jester.
The leading Iron Dog qualifiers are: 15 Roarsome, 14 Cryer’s Jack, 13 Dark Nemesis, 12 Kirsty’s Me Mum, 12 Old Jock, 11 Glenville Jester, 11 Dee Tee, 10 Julie’s Love, 10 Stampy Longnose, 8 Jasmine Lilly.
TWO IN A ROW FOR YUCATAN
Warracknabeal chaser Yucatan once again showed his liking for Tara Raceway with an emphatic win in the Produce Store Grade Six final (512 m).
This is the dog trainer Ian Bibby originally brought to Tara Raceway to take advantage of the track’s two bends in a bid to try and curb the black dog’s tendency to run wide on the turns.
“He’d been running wide on the one-turn Horsham track,” Bibby explained. “So I thought perhaps a two-turn track might be worth a try to see if he handled it any differently.”
But despite his record of three wins from four starts over 512 metres at Tara Raceway, Yucatan is still running wide on the turns as once again emphasised in his win on Sunday.
Away well from box five, he hit the first turn in front before running wide and allowing front runner Gentle Moment to take the lead.
But off the back Yucatan loomed large and despite once again running wide turning for home he finished too strongly to defeat Hay Miss by 4¼ lengths with Gentle Moment a further 1¾ lengths back in third spot in a time of 30.26 seconds.
By Kynan’s Express out of Crymelon Miss, Yucatan’s win came on the back of an impressive heat win a week prior, also at the expense of Hay Miss, and after Bibby had opted to run him in-between over 450 metres at Shepparton where he had finished fourth on September 1.
And Bibby, who is the Horsham Greyhound Racing Club president, also was successful at his home track last Tuesday with Yucatan’s half-brother Crymelon Fettle (by El Grand Senor) which won the $1650 Conway’s final (410 m) at the nice odds of $16.40.
TRAINER’S RUNNING DOUBLE WAS TOUGH GOING
Barry Shepheard’s short-course running double with Jett Setter and Galactic Viper would have been tough going for the Glencoe trainer after both wins came in tight finishes.
Four-year-old Jett Setter looked to have the job ahead of him going down the back in the South Eastern Hotel Stake (400 m) when the Norm McCullagh kennelmates Ella Rhode and Sea Mist were matching strides down the back while Shepheard’s runner was a distant third.
But turning for home, Jett Setter stuck to the rails and in a deceptive finish was able to edge out Ella Rhode by a nose with Sea Mist another three-quarters of a length back in third spot in 23.59 seconds.
By Cosmic Rumble x Brooklyn Belle, the veteran chaser – a former Victorian – has now won three races for Shepheard since he took over his training in February.
Also taking a keen interest in Jett Setter was local owner Dale Lewis who pointed out that the black dog traces back to one of his family’s breed in Kori Golden which was whelped in 1987.
And Galactic Viper’s win in the Gambier Vets Grade Five final broke an exasperating run of minor placings over the 400 metre journey.
The son of Velocette and Magic Elite, despite having never won over the journey in 10 starts, was still an odds-on favourite from box one but when last start winner Thanks Captain took over the running off the back it looked like another short course minor placing coming up for the Group winner.
However, he dug deep in the home straight and in a keenly contested finish he was able to hold out Thanks Captain to win by a neck in a best of day 23.29 seconds.
Shepheard will now head to Angle Park on Wednesday with Galactic Viper, which has drawn box five in a grade six over 515 metres, while kennelmate Lektra Destiny will contest a maiden/grade six 600 metre from box one.
CLEAN SWEEP FOR LITTERMATES
Koroit littermates Saint Fox and Saint Flynn made a clean sweep of the 400 metre and 512 metre maiden finals.
By Spring Gun x Real Frosty, Saint Fox led all the way in the Metal Worx Open Maiden (400 m) for owner Peter Byrne and trainer Ray Mahony while Robert Walsh’s Saint Flynn was successful in the ClassicBet Open Maiden (512 m).
Both greyhounds had won their heats at the previous meeting with Saint Fox once again running wide on the home turn before holding off the Peckham littermates Blitz And Bolt and Goldie’s Run in 30.65 seconds.
Saint Flynn chased early leader Raz’s Girl, also trained by Peckham, before finishing too strongly in the run home to defeat her by a length in 23.40 seconds.
The debut of 18-month-old Azumi Swift at Tara Raceway last Friday certainly would have pleased Worrolong greyhound trainer Lee Bartholomew.
Whelped on the last day of February, 2015, the solidly built 29 kilogram daughter of Cosmic Chief and Azumi Touch was a clear last from box seven in the ClassicBet Open Maiden heat (400 metres) and still had plenty of work to do as Louis Mini Girl led the field down the back straight.
But despite racing greenly – let’s face it, how many times would she have run in a full field – Azumi Swift worked home solidly, eventually going down by 4¼ lengths to Saint Flynn in 23.55 seconds.
In what promises to be a further learning curve, the black bitch will now jump from box four in the ClassicBet Open Maiden final on Sunday.
Azumi Swift is the first of Azumi Touch’s offspring to hit the track for Bartholomew and her husband Steve who also bred the litter.
The couple also raced Azumi Touch, a daughter of Cosmic Rumble and Elite Touch, between 2012 and 2014 when she won 15 races over 400 metres at Tara Raceway and a 388 metre sprint at Angle Park by 9¼ lengths.
And along the way they must have seen something they liked as far as Azumi Swift’s litter was concerned because in May this year Azumi Touch underwent frozen semen artificial insemination (FSAI) at Gambier Vets.
The first greyhound FSAI to be performed locally by Greyhounds Australasia-accredited Rebel Skirving, Azumi Touch subsequently whelped five dogs and four bitches by Dyna Tron on July 20.
Also having her first run at Tara Raceway last Friday was Elusive Linda which is four days younger than Azumi Swift.
Owned by Graham Ganderton and Paul White, the black bitch is trained at Sandford by Brad Mitchem who was more than happy with Elusive Linda’s effort after having copped plenty of trouble at her first race start only two days earlier over 388 metres at Angle Park.
The quick back-up obviously didn’t worry her too much as she quickly found the front from box three in a heat of Metal Worx Open Maiden (512 m) before digging deep in the home straight to hold out Goldie’s Run.
In Mitchem’s kennels for three months after breaking-in well, Elusive Linda will now jump from box one in Sunday’s Metal Worx Open Maiden final.
By Barcia Bale, she is out of Quick To Go which is also now at Sandford with a view to further breeding.
Quick To Go, by Collision out of My Hot Fancy, raced on only five occasions, winning a semi-final of the 2014 Group 3 Nowra Puppy Classic before being retired after finishing unplaced in the final.