Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club

Tara Raceway, Lake Terrace East, Mount Gambier, SA

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It’s been a strange sort of year at Tara Raceway

It took a while, but the off again-on again 2020 Mount Gambier Cup was finally run – not in its traditional end of March timeslot but at the end of August.

Once the border closure was in place, the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club was always going to struggle by way of a lack of Victorian trainers and their greyhounds. The first casualty was the cup, Greyhound Racing SA cancelling the event but later rescinding this decision after lobbying from the club.

By the time the cup final came around on August 30 at Tara Raceway, patrons were permitted back on track, albeit with a social distancing policy in place, food and drink was once again available and for this day only the on-course TAB was operational.

Hampering the coverage of what was the 40th consecutive running of the event was the lack of promotion in the local print media after the 159-year-old The Border Watch closed its doors a week before the final.

Cape Bridgewater trainer Scott Blacksell is now able to return to Tara Raceway . . . sore shoulder and all!

Interestingly, soon into September, Lifestyle 1, a weekly give away, had changed to a newspaper format. A weekly newspaper called the SE Voice was launched soon after. Following was the news that The Border Watch had new owners and would be relaunched in October on a once-a-week basis.

All things considered, cup day went off pretty well. On track were GRSA representatives Grantley Stevens, Matt Corby, Gavin Bosch and Adrian Battiston who were all suitably impressed.

Dark clouds were looming, though. Once the cup was over GRSA believed the club would probably struggle for nominations and as such should close until such time as the border reopened and Victorian participants could return to Mount Gambier.

MGGRC president Noel Perry argued that closure at this time could result in the track never reopening. Corby, to his credit, took this on board with the resultant outcome being that greyhound racing continues at Tara Raceway on Thursday afternoons.

SA’s leading trainer Tony Rasmussen, who had been down for the cup, pledged his continued support. And he’s been as good as his word, helping in no small way to ensure the club continues to attract sufficient nominations.

In fact, such has been his involvement that he’s already into the top 10 on the leading trainers’ list and will represent the club in the forthcoming SA Country Cup final at Angle Park with Hot Sambuca.

Also supporting the club in recent times have been Kevin Bewley and the Trengove family of Lewiston and Charlie Adcock of Kilburn.

The year of change continued in early September when, with the on-course TAB once again closed, local bookmaker Darren Guthridge made a guest appearance at a Tara Raceway Sunday meeting. This was the first time in many years that a bookie had fielded at the track.

And the Winter Classic was run in Spring. Not that local trainer Tracie Price cares too much what season the age-restricted event is run in. His recent win with Our Boy Thommo was his fourth in the classic’s seven-year history.

Slowly, Victorian participants are making their way back to the Mount Gambier track. Cap Abbott of Edenhope has been given the all clear. He’s been quick to pick up from where he left off all those months ago with winners at his first two meetings back.

Monty Wilson of Mumbannar is also right to go as is Scott Blacksell of Cape Bridgewater. While it’s fair to say that Blacksell’s greyhounds will be a welcome addition to the pool, local participants should be prepared for the continuation of his over the top sore shoulder saga.

Another Winter Classic for local trainer

Our Boy Thommo defeats kennelmate Proud Fernando and gives Compton trainer Tracie Price the Winter Classic quinella at Tara Raceway on Thursday.

Adelaide-owned Our Boy Thommo’s impressive win in Thursday’s Winter Classic (512 m) at Tara Raceway continued Compton trainer Tracie Price’s domination of the event, this year for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1, 2018.

Price won the inaugural classic back in 2014 with Stylish Moment, followed up the next year with Cee Me Burst before being successful again in 2018 with Smart Knocka who won in a then race record time of 29.85 seconds.

Three weeks later Smart Knocka ran second to Nervous And Weird in the Group 3 SA Derby (515 m) at Angle Park. And another three weeks later he won the Adelaide Cup Consolation (515 m).

Having his first start on the track, Our Boy Thommo ran a more than handy second placing the week prior in a heat of the classic, the white and black July 2018 dog then displaying further improvement in Thursday’s final.

In fact, he was going to win the race a long way from home after stalking Glenville Rose down the back straight before running out a 3½ lengths winner over Proud Fernando. A further two lengths back in third spot was Heckle Me in a time of 30.18 seconds.

Meanwhile, somewhere in Adelaide a delighted Brett Thompson of Bonetti Transport Services was watching the race live on his phone.

Our Boy Thommo, a recent addition to the Price kennels after previously being trained at Lewiston by Troy Murray, is raced by a family syndicate that is managed by 44-year-old Thompson and also includes his wife Sarah and Jason and Michael Bonetti.

“About four years ago we decided to have a crack at greyhound racing and we’re certainly enjoying our involvement in the sport,” Thompson said.

“Our Boy Thommo was one of a couple of pups that we purchased from Brodie Jessup who bred the litter by Fernando Bale out of 23-race winner Scarp Missile.

“The other one now races as Our Boy Wolf and he made it a good week for us when winning at Angle Park a few nights’ prior to the Winter Classic win.”

Proud Fernando’s second placing in the classic gave Price the quinella. A half-brother to Smart Knocka, the son of Fernando Bale x Who’s Doing What was virtually out of the race by the time the field turned into the back straight.

But the blue dog picked himself up, got going again and, in what was a big run, just kept coming.

Tracie and Karen Price pictured with Winter Classic winner Our Boy Thommo, owned in Adelaide by Brett and Sarah Thompson and Jason and Michael Bonetti.

Local SA Country Cup representatives decided at Tara Raceway

Mount Gambier’s SA Country Cup representatives. From left, David Peckham and Dyna Carnie and Tony Rasmussen with Hot Sambuca.

Hot Sambuca and Dyna Carnie will represent the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing in next month’s SA Country Cup final at Angle Park.

This follows yesterday’s running of two heats at Tara Raceway over 512 metres which saw both greyhounds lead all the way to win their heats in 29.77 seconds and 29.52 seconds respectively.

In the kennels of SA’s leading trainer, Tony Rasmussen, Hot Sambuca is a November 2017 son of Fernando Bale x Cuddletime Tears and raced by his breeder, Angela Meimetis of Currency Creek.

Rasmussen, who answered the local club’s cry for help after nominations took a hit due to the border closure, has done well with the litter. Hot Sambuca’s litter sister Hot Sophie, also raced by Meimetis, won the Group Listed Murray Bridge Cup (455 m) in March.

A winner of 10 races since joining the Gifford Hill kennels in September last year, Hot Sambuca, according to his trainer, will now go into the Country Cup final without another race.

“We’ll just keep him up to the mark with plenty of free galloping,” said Rasmussen who will be chasing his second SA Country Cup success after Stick Figure had been successful at Angle Park in 2017.

Dyna Carnie will go into the Country Cup as the best credentialed finalist, having raced on 106 occasions for 28 wins and $103,000 in stakemoney. However, he also will be the oldest finalist.

The 4½-year-old son of Kelsos Fusileer x Xylia Allen has done well for owners Tim Aloisi and Matt Lehman since joining David Peckham’s Allendale East kennels last November.

Highlighting the black dog’s year at Tara Raceway has been a 400 metres track record (22.74 seconds), a very quick 29.33 seconds win over 512 metres, a spot in the final of last month’s Mount Gambier Cup (512 m) and a win in yesterday’s Country Cup heat in smart time.

Peckham, who has never won a Country Cup, was represented in 2014 at Strathalbyn by Thanks Tubby and Bourne Again. The following year Thanks Tubby contested the final at Gawler.

The $6430 SA Country Cup final (515 m) will be run on Friday, October 9 in conjunction with the Adelaide Cup final. Allinga Ollie and Oakvale Elite will represent Murray Bridge while Victa Boris and Long Gully Evie will fly the flag for Gawler.

Local Country Cup heats ‘a real raffle’

SA Country Cup representatives – six in all – will be finalised tomorrow afternoon at Tara Raceway when Mount Gambier’s two heats are conducted over 512 metres.

Last start winner Elle Limes will contest heat 1 of tomorrow’s SA Country Cup heats at Tara Raceway.

The two winners will then head to Angle Park on Friday, October 9 to contest the $6430 final over 515 metres against representatives from Murray Bridge and Gawler, those clubs’ heats run on Sunday night and Tuesday afternoon.

And such is the evenness of tomorrow’s fields it is anyone’s guess as to which greyhounds will end up representing the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.

This will be the fourth year that the SA Country Cup final has been run at Angle Park to coincide with the running of the Adelaide Cup final.

A Mount Gambier representative is yet to win the SA Country Cup at Angle Park, however when the series was re-introduced in 2013 it was the Tracie Price trained Moorak Hope who won the event at Gawler. And at Strathalbyn in 2016 the Nicole Stanley trained Berry Bling flew the flag for Mount Gambier.

Galactic Mojo, another last start winner, will contest the second heat of the Country Cup for owner Robert Chuck.

The Yvonne King trained Allinga Ollie and Nathan Wilson’s Oakvale Elite won the two Murray Bridge 455 metres heats in 25.49 seconds and 25.36 seconds respectively. And at Gawler, where there was only one 531 metres heat, Mick Giniotis’s Victa Boris clocked 30.83 seconds when defeating the Paula Hearnden trained Long Gully Evie.

Mount Gambier Country Cup heats: Heat 1 – 1 Hot Sambuca, 2 Fantastic Flame, 3 vacant, 4 Angelo’s Entity, 5 vacant, 6 Elle Limes, 7 vacant, 8 Perseverance. Heat 2 – 1 Our Man Zed, 2 Dyna Carnie, 3 vacant, 4 Galactic Mojo, 5 Double Love, 6 vacant, 7 Shadow Burner, 8 Tandiki.

Price in line for another classic win

Proud Fernando defeats Frodo Baggins in the first heat of the Winter Classic at Tara Raceway last Thursday.

The Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club’s Winter Classic final (512 metres) at Tara Raceway on Thursday afternoon could well result in another win for Compton trainer Tracie Price.

First run in 2014, the classic is for dogs and bitches whelped on or after July 1 two years prior to its running. Price won the inaugural event with Stylish Moment and has since been successful with Cee Me Burst and Smart Knocka.

Karen Price with Proud Fernando after his Winter Classic heat win.

His representation on Thursday will comprise Our Boy Thommo, Proud Fernando and maiden performer Compton Peggy, with the former likely to improve on his first-up second in a heat last week.

A July 2018 son of Fernando Bale x Scarp Missile, Our Boy Thommo chased Heckle Me throughout, finishing strongly for a neck second in 30.21 seconds, the faster of the two heats.

Proud Fernando, a half-brother to 2018 Winter Classic winner Smart Knocka, found himself well back in the first heat before finishing powerfully along the rails in the home straight to defeat Frodo Baggins by 2¼ lengths in 30.37 seconds.

Whelped in November 2018, the son of Fernando Bale and Who’s Doing What is raced by Price’s wife Karen in partnership with long-time kennel supporters Andrew and Peter Haines of WA.

Compton Peggy, a March 2019 whelping and giving away plenty on the age-scale, snuck into the final on the strength of a solid 3¼ lengths fourth behind Heckle Me. The 31 kilograms bitch is by Worm Burner out of Flying Flutter which in itself will make for an interesting story at a later date.

Gifford Hill husband and wife training team Tony and Lisa Rasmussen have a finalist each, the former with Heckle Me, winner of last month’s Produce Store Feature Maiden (512 m) at Tara Raceway.

Purchased as a pup by Razza Racing, Heckle Me, a November 2018 whelping by Aston Dee Bee, is out of She’s A Looper who is a litter sister to Worm Burner.

Frodo Baggins, another well-bred pup by Oaks Road x Allinga Val, is also owned by Razza Racing and trained by Lisa Rasmussen. The January 2019 black dog did a good job to finish second in his heat after finding early trouble.

Algi Lapinskas with Winter Classic heat two winner Heckle Me.

His trainer will be chasing her second Mount Gambier classic after Menzel Boys defeated Cairnlea Lewis in the 2016 Summer Classic at Tara Raceway.

Allendale East trainer David Peckham’s Double Vision wasn’t beaten all that far when finishing third behind Heckle Me and Our Boy Thommo in last week’s second heat. The July 2018 dog will go into Thursday’s race from box one and as one of the most seasoned finalists. He’ll also go into the race as one of four runners by leading sire Fernando Bale.

Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield’s Glenville Rose gave plenty of cheek in last week’s first heat, opening up a big break early before being collared by Frodo Baggins on the home turn and finishing a 5½ lengths third behind Proud Fernando.

It’s hard to see the December 2018 daughter of Aston Dee Bee and Majestic Tale winning this race but she’s there and her trainer did win the 2017 Winter Classic with Solitary Lad.

2020 WINTER CLASSIC BOX DRAW: 1 Double Vision, 2 Proud Fernando, 3 Frodo Baggins, 4 Glenville Rose, 5 Midnight Daisy, 6 Our Boy Thommo, 7 Compton Peggy, 8 Heckle Me. Res. Rough In Vegas, Smokey River.

Heckle Me holds out Our Boy Thommo, Double Vision and Compton Peggy in heat two of the Winter Classic.

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