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

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17: Nominations closed. WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 27: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Thursday, December 21 with GRSA. SUNDAY, DECEMBER 31: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Wednesday, December 27 with GRSA. See “Racing Calendar” for full details. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time).


Happy days at the greyhound track

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Fortnightly time-graded race meetings, introduced for lower-grade greyhounds in order that they may continue to gain starts against opposition of a similar standard while also collecting guaranteed prizemoney, are proving pretty popular at Tara Raceway.

These are the Friday meetings that carry similar total prizemoney as normal race meetings but with the distribution differing inasmuch that all runners receive prizemoney from $400 down to $70 each for the last four to finish.

Marcos, Nathan, Ebony, Kerry and Zoe Jenner were a happy family after Elgrande Rebel opened her winning account at Tara Raceway last Friday.

So, for example, if a trainer has one dog engaged that runs fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth then he or she will not only pick up a $60 trainer’s rebate but also $70 unplaced prizemoney. Even more, of course, if that runner happens to finish in the top four.

And for the trainer with a trailer-load, the $60 rebate is still there, while the total pay day could be anything up to $1000 – and that’s without a winner.

Even better, the races are non-penalty which means that many of the greyhounds can come back and do it all again a couple of weeks later – in the same grade.

Little wonder that many – although, it must be said, certainly not greyhound racing die-hards from an era now long gone – are referring to the time-graded meetings as the happy days of greyhound racing. Every player wins a prize, if you like.

While these meetings are unlikely to unearth too many future Group 1 winners, they do from time to time come up with a feel-good story, as was the case at Tara Raceway last Friday with the Jenner family and their greyhound Elgrande Rebel.

Nathan and Kerry Jenner had run third with Elgrande Rebel at Tara Raceway back in October and after following up with thirds at Bendigo and Ballarat decided to make the 300 kilometre trip from Landsborough, situated at the foot of the Pyrenees Ranges in Western Victoria, back to Mount Gambier.

Lining up from box one in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (400 metres), the daughter of El Grand Senor and La Shi Ra was pretty short at $1.75, especially considering she’d been a $31 chance at her last start from box one over 390 metres.

But Elgrande Rebel – another one raced by the Chasing Gold Greyhound Syndicate – won like an odds-on favourite should, leading all the way to defeat Garnet by three lengths in 24.24 seconds and bringing up her first win in 11 starts.

For Kerry Jenner, involved in the sport virtually all her life, it was her first winner at Tara Raceway and her third this year for Chasing Gold after Chabbay Laray had previously won two races over 390 metres at Ballarat.

Meanwhile, hanging over the finish line fence and fervently cheering on Elgrande Rebel to victory were the Jenner kids – Marcos 13, Zoe 9 and Ebony 4 – quickly onto the track afterwards to join an equally as excited Nathan and Kerry for a photograph with the winner.

For the Jenner family this was indeed a happy day at the greyhound track.

Money for jam

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Mount Gambier “back yard” trainer Amanda Darmanin generally works with giveaway greyhounds and more often than not manages to get a win or two out of them.

Steve Greathead, Amanda Darmanin and her daughter Jas pictured with Jam Lady after her win at big odds last Friday at Tara Raceway.

Mind you, Jam Lady, who went into last Friday’s The Border Watch Stake (400 m) with one win from 45 starts, was really starting to test her.

The daughter of Mepunga Geordie and Lady Lithgow, herself a winner at Tara Raceway in 2010, won her maiden at the local track at start number 19 in January this year for Penshurst trainer Brendan Casey.

But by August, Casey, who also won at Warrnambool and Horsham with Lady Lithgow, had had enough and was able to convince Darmanin to have a crack with Jam Lady.

She was still trying to win a race some 15 starts later and with the white and black bitch lining up in box three last Friday at odds of $31 there really didn’t appear much chance of any sort of form reversal.

However, Jam Lady looked anything but the outsider of the grade six field when leading all the way, eventually defeating Jimbo Jet by 5½ lengths in 23.89 seconds.

For Darmanin, it was her first win since Knick Knack, yet another Chasing Gold Syndication greyhound, was successful in August.

Taking a keen interest in Friday’s win was local Tara Raceway regular Steve Greathead, who, according to Darmanin, had been an integral part of Jam Lady’s success.

“Steve helped out with the dog when I was recently in hospital and I’m certainly very grateful for his efforts,” she said.

Littermates’ day out gives trainer first treble

Monday, December 4, 2017

Sally and Brian Weis with Xtreme Notice, Xtreme Carnage and Xtreme Rush.

Wins by littermates Xtreme Rush, Xtreme Notice and Xtreme Carnage at Tara Raceway’s Sunday meeting gave Portland trainer Brian Weis his first treble after more than 20 years involvement in greyhound racing.

Raced by Matt Morris, the trio is by Barcia Bale x Xtreme Gretel with both Xtreme Rush and Extreme Notice, who is engaged at The Meadows on Wednesday, leading all the way when scoring comfortable wins in the Metal Worx Stake (400 m) and the South Eastern Social Club Stake (512 m).

Xtreme Carnage, also racing at The Meadows on Wednesday, chased Just Like Fire down the back straight in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m) before taking over approaching the home turn and then holding out strong finishing bursts from Cryer’s Jed and Homer to win by a length in 30.44 seconds.

For Weis, who had previously trained five doubles at Tara Raceway this year, the treble took his number of winners at the local track since January to 31.


Harry Hicks pictured with Greyhound of the Year contender Scorpion after his win on Sunday.

Meanwhile, fellow Portland trainer Nicole Stanley also landed a treble when Verev, Fiorelli Rose and Oh No Beta took her total number of Tara Raceway winners this year to 103.

Fiorelli Rose finally had a change of luck when winning her first 400 metre race – the Stake – and taking the lead in the Greyhound of the Year award.

However, 20 minutes later the Tracie Price trained Baz’s Moment regained the lead by a point after running second to Scorpion in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m).

The Lee Bartholomew trained Scorpion has kept himself in GOTY contention with the win being his tenth this year and now placing him in equal fourth spot.

Bright lights and bling for Stanley

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Portland greyhound trainer Nicole Stanley served notice as far back as January 1 that this was going to be her year when she kicked off the Tara Raceway season with five winners – Evening In Paris, Travel Ticket, Stylish Pursuit, Fiorelli Rose and Old Jock.

And by the end of April, when a further three subsequent race meetings had each netted four winners, Stanley was well on the way to winning her first Mount Gambier trainers’ premiership.

In early November a win by Rowchester Star brought up her 100th winner overall for the year while by the time Friday’s local meeting came around she had been only one short of becoming the first trainer to lead in 100 winners in a season at Tara Raceway.

Nicole Stanley with Shiney Bling, her 100th winner at Tara Raceway this year.

Shiney Bling, lining up in the Williams Crane Hire Mixed Stake at what would be only her tenth race start and having her first crack over 600 metres, was the greyhound to bring up Stanley’s century.

By My Bro Fabio out of Lollipop Bling, who won most of her eight races over the middle-distance, Shiney Bling went straight to the front from box two, leading all the way for a 5¾ length win in 35.85 seconds.

Now a winner of four races, the nicely-conformed 30 kilogram bitch is a litter sister to All Bling, who recently topped the Bendigo Ready 2 Race Sales when Eaglehawk Railway Hotel publican David Torr purchased the black dog for $20,900.

Stanley’s involvement in greyhound racing goes back more than 20 years and to a friendship with Michelle Emmerson and her husband David who won the 1991 Mount Gambier Cup with Pop Brett.

“At that time I had been showing dogs but whenever Michelle and David were away I would look after their greyhounds. My interest stemmed from there,” she said.

She still remembers her first greyhound – Super Grover, a son of Freewheeler and Vee Line who had been bred by David Emmerson.

“It didn’t turn out to be all that great an introduction to the sport because he only raced on four occasions with his best effort being a 10 length third to Ashanti Dancer at Glenburnie,” Stanley recalled.

And she still has fond memories of her first winner, Our Torri, a daughter of World Title x Avalon Rose that was also bred by Emmerson.

“Even though she raced on 54 occasions and won only three races as well as running 17 minor placings, she still remains one of my favourites.”

Our Torri, who won at her first start at Tara Raceway in July 2001, came out 10 months later at the cup carnival and defeated My Girl Mandy and Tiarni McBeal in the W. A. Fary & Son Distance Championship (732 m) in a time of 45.60 seconds.

But her best dog still remains Go Go Ebo (a son of Zed Three x Marinka Bale), who raced on 56 occasions for 16 wins and $65,000 in prizemoney.

Stanley, who generally has about 20 greyhounds in work, rates Fiorelli Rose’s Anniversary Cup win as one of her season highlights.

“She drew badly in box five in what was a pretty good field but was able to quickly find the front and then hold off Colden Girl and Brazen Blue to win in 30.12 seconds,” she said.

Friday’s meeting was certainly a far cry from those heady days of the mid-2000s when Go Go Ebo was winning the SA Sprint Championship (515 m) at Angle Park by 10 lengths in race record time of 29.49 seconds.

However, “Congratulations Nicole Stanley 100 winners” was flashed on the semaphore board by photo finish operator Paul McIntyre, serving to remind followers of greyhound racing at Tara Raceway of what had been another outstanding achievement.

Wrapping up an ‘Xtremely’ good week

Thursday, November 30, 2017

With a winner at Horsham last Saturday and another one at the same track on Tuesday, flamboyant Portland greyhound trainer Brian Weis will be hoping to wrap up a good week at Tara Raceway on Sunday with Xtreme Rush, Xtreme Notice and Xtreme Carnage.

The December 2015 littermates, by Barcia Bale out of seven-race US winner Xtreme Gretel, are owned by Wagga breeder Matt Morris who also has Xtreme Caution and Xtreme Move placed with Weis – all five of the litter having now won races.

Brian and Sally Weis pictured with Xtreme Carnage.

Following wins at Warrnambool and Mount Gambier, Xtreme Carnage brought up a hat-trick last Saturday and now looks well-placed to extend the winning streak after drawing box one in Sunday’s Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 metres).

Xtreme Rush, a winner in good time over 410 metres on Tuesday, also appears well-placed in box seven in the Metal Worx Stake (400 m) while Xtreme Notice – a Warrnambool winner in mid-November – should be hard to beat in the South Eastern Hotel Social Club Stake (512 m).

A significant number of social club members will be at Tara Raceway on Sunday for what is one of their annual functions, this one certainly adding considerably to on-course atmosphere.

Weis, who is enjoying his best year ever as a trainer at Tara Raceway, has now led in 28 winners and currently sits in fourth spot on the Leading Trainers’ list. Another of his greyhounds, Big Rough, is figuring prominently in fourth spot in the Greyhound of the Year.

With only five non-time-graded meetings remaining this year, Sunday’s Williams Crane Hire Stake (400 m) should create considerable interest from a GOTY point of view – the leading pair set to clash.

Baz’s Moment, on 57 points, continues to lead the way by two over Galactic Viper, the pair drawing boxes four and two respectively in the Open class sprint.

And the race will become even more interesting if Fiorelli Rose can win the prior event – the Stake (400 m) – and take her overall GOTY tally to 58 points.

The ‘Meadows Maestro’

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Richard Clayfield, of Glenroy, has unearthed a copy of the Venture, this particular four-page edition – inserted in country newspapers around the state, including The Border Watch – dated February 6, 1974.

One suspects that Clayfield hadn’t kept the Venture all these years for the “Gardening with Glen” column or even a book review on the “History of Millicent”.

No, it was probably for the front page story titled “Meadows man has the dogs going for him”, the then 45-year-old Meadows man being Doug Payne or as he was often referred to, the “Meadows Maestro”.

Doug Payne pictured at Meadows in 1974 with Bristol Miss.

Here he was in glorious black and white (not much has changed there as far as greyhound racing is concerned), pictured with the mighty Bristol Miss. Another picture was of the inside of his impressive kennel house while Payne’s former champion stayer Yodel High was shown with her litter by Half Your Luck.

Actually, the unearthing of the article was quite timely with the $9290 Doug Payne SA-Bred Memorial Feature Free For All (515 m) to be run at Angle Park next week.

Last year’s Doug Payne SA-Bred Feature was won by Wilba Beast, with three generations of the Payne family on track for the presentation.

Payne, a butcher and successful trainer in Broken Hill, moved to Meadows in the 1970s, looking to get in on the ground floor when legalised greyhound racing behind the mechanical lure was introduced.

He certainly got in on the ground floor, as he was the leading trainer for the first 15 years of greyhound racing in SA and won an unprecedented four Adelaide Cups – his favourite being with rising four-year-old Kuriarkin, the 1989 winner at 33/1.

Payne always rated Bristol Sue and her sister Ascapella Miss as two of his best dogs, followed by a couple of “cast-offs” that came from Melbourne – Red Pulse and Yodel High.

A key player in the halcyon days of SA greyhound racing, Payne was widely-respected Australia-wide as a trainer and in 2011 was inducted into the Australian Greyhound Racing Association Hall Of Fame.

The “Meadows Maestro” died in 2000 at the age of 71.

Panther on the prowl

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Promising young greyhound Galactic Panther should be able to overcome an unsuitable box five and unsuitable distance to win Sunday’s 400 metre grade six ClassicBet final at Tara Raceway.

Owner Robert Chuck with promising youngster Galactic Panther after his grade 6 heat win at Tara Raceway last week.

Owned at Moorak by Robert Chuck and trained by Steve Bartholomew of Worrolong, Galactic Panther, after being third early in the first of two heats last week, stormed home to defeat the front-running Lektra Miss by a half length in 23.41 seconds.

The black dog was having only his second run back after finishing unplaced in the September 24 Destini Fireball Winter Classic final (512 m) won by Solitary Lad, also a winner last Sunday.

By Milldean Panther out of Galactic Rumball, Galactic Panther is a litter brother to Faster Bolt, the fastest-ever Tara Raceway 400 metre maiden winner and now winning in Victoria.

Bartholomew, who took over Galactic Panther’s training after the Winter Classic, is setting the January 2016 whelping for February’s 512 metre Peter Rocket Summer Classic, a series for all dogs and bitches whelped on or after January 2016.

“He ran a terrific race in his Winter Classic heat to reach the final but from an age and distance perspective he will be much better suited in February’s classic,” he said.

“As far as Sunday’s race is concerned, Galactic Panther should be better for the run and if he enjoys a bit of luck early then he should be right in the mix at the finish.”

Banjo Boss, winner of the second grade 6 heat, was the first leg of a treble for trainer Tracie Price.

Victorian trainer Gavin Gledhill once again will be on the road at some ungodly hour when he takes off from Coomboona with a team of nine – including Marko Bale and Jai Jai Away who will contest the final from boxes seven and eight.

Gledhill’s team performed pretty well last Sunday considering they had never seen the track and those returning this Sunday should be better for the run.

Marko Bale, who qualified for the final when running fourth behind Galactic Panther, had no luck early after tangling with race favourite Galactic Shiraz but once finding the rails worked home well while Jai Jai Away looked lost mid-race before finishing third in the second heat to Banjo Boss.

Banjo Boss, the first leg of a treble for Compton trainer Tracie Price, led all the way from box one, eventually running out a 2¾ length winner over Sweet Spud in 23.52 seconds.

By Banjo Boy, Banjo Boss is out of the second litter of proven producer Rustic Reeta who recently whelped a third litter – eight dogs and four bitches to Sulzanti, a son of Magic Sprite x Scissor Queen who raced on only 12 occasions for seven wins, six of those in best of the night.

Stanley set for 100 winners

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Nicole Stanley came close in her bid to become the first trainer to land 100 winners at Tara Raceway in a season but last Sunday ended with 99.

Nicole Stanley with Stylish Pursuit.

The Portland-based Stanley doesn’t have a runner until race six, the Williams Crane Hire Stake (600 m), at Tara Raceway’s Friday meeting, however she looks a strong chance of bringing up her century in the middle-distance event with Shiney Bling, Stylish Pursuit and Hay Miss all looking well placed in the grade 5/6 mixed stake.

Not only would a win by Stylish Pursuit give Stanley her 100 winners but would also keep the daughter of Mogambo x Butterfly Bling in rough contention for Greyhound of the Year honours.

Shiney Bling, who finished well for second behind Xtreme Carnage at Horsham last Saturday, is yet to race over 600 metres although she gives the impression that the extra distance will be no problem. Interestingly, her dam, Lollipop Bling, is a litter sister to Butterfly Bling.

Friday’s meeting comprises 11 time-graded races which generally makes things a bit tougher although a couple of box one runners in David Peckham’s Raz’s Girl (Gordon Refrigeration Stake) and Robert Halliday’s Homer ( Stake) look to be sound chances on the 12-race card.

Solitary Lad chasing another feature win

Monday, November 27, 2017

A smart win in the Allestree Holiday Units Mixed Stake (512 metres) on Sunday afternoon has Glenroy greyhound Solitary Lad looking well-placed to land a third feature race success at Tara Raceway this year.

A $3.10 favourite, Solitary Lad crossed the field from box eight, missing the first turn interference as he charged away to a commanding lead before running out a four length winner over Lektra Fire in 30.18 seconds.

Solitary Lad will now head to the Christmas Cup after an impressive win at Tara Raceway on Sunday. He is pictured with handler Dale Lewis.

The winner, a two-year-old son of Lonesome Cry x Up And Away, is owned at Yambuk by Ann Sinnott and trained by Richard Clayfield who said that the brindle dog would now be set for the forthcoming Williams Crane Hire Christmas Cup (512 m).

“His 16 race starts have all been at Tara Raceway so at some stage soon I’d like to try him on another track but with the Christmas Cup heats coming up on December 10 I think we’ll concentrate on that first,” Clayfield said.

The long-time trainer will be chasing back-to-back Christmas Cups after Glenville Jester defeated Old Jock and Abbey’s Hand in last year’s cup in a time of 30.05 seconds.

Tara Raceway’s most successful greyhound in 2016 with 13 wins, Glenville Jester’s effort was full of merit as the final also included Galactic Viper, Mojito Mayhem and Blitz And Bolt with the winning time second only to 2014 winner Who’s Doing What’s 29.77 seconds.

Solitary Lad, who didn’t commence racing until early July, has already won the John Reid Memorial (512 m) and the Destini Fireball Winter Classic (512 m) feature events this year.

Sunday’s success followed on from the previous meeting a week prior when litter brother Lone Star, raced in the same interests , won the Trackside Meats Stake (512 m).

Hail A Cab keeps the meter running

Monday, November 27, 2017

It mightn’t be quite like the heady days of 2015 when Ben Boers was winning the Mount Gambier Cup with Lots Of Yap but the Cashmore trainer was confident of success on Sunday in the Laser Electrical Maiden Stake (400 m) with Hail A Cab.

And the black dog didn’t let him down when leading all the way to defeat Verev – having his first start on the track for Portland trainer Nicole Stanley – by three-quarters of a length in 23.83 seconds at the nice odds of $11.

Ben Boers enjoyed a change of luck when Hail A Cab was successful at Sunday’s Tara Raceway meeting.

By Don’t Knocka Him out of Taxi Sono Qui, a city-winning bitch as was her dam Who Told Helen, Hail A Cab is raced by Geelong flooring contractor Damien Anderson who had contacted Boers in early September to see if he would be interested in training the dog.

“At the time Hail A Cab was still a maiden after 13 starts but mid-year he had made the semi-finals of a Vic-bred maiden series at Bendigo so I thought he might be worth having a go with,” Boers said.

The win came at his sixth start for Boers, and helped to make up for the previous week’s time-graded meeting when kennelmate Indi’s Fancy went down by a half head to Pillar Creek over 400 metres.

Stanley, incidentally, came into Sunday’s meeting with 98 winners at the track and after reserve runner Miss Pineapple gained a start and was successful in the Trackside Meats Stake (400 m) she looked a distinct possibility of becoming the first trainer to bring up 100 winners in a season.

But that was it for the day, with the leading trainer now looking a strong chance to land her century this week when meetings will be run on Friday and Sunday.