SUNDAY, MARCH 4: Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, February 27 with GRSA. FRIDAY, MARCH 9: Mount Gambier Cup supporting events heats. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Monday, March 5 with GRSA. SATURDAY, MARCH 10: Mount Gambier Cup Calcutta at Tara Raceway. SUNDAY, MARCH 11: Mount Gambier Cup heats. Nominations close at 9 a.m. (SA time) on Tuesday, March 6 with GRSA. See “Racing Calendar” for full details. HOT WEATHER POLICY: Please note that when the Mount Gambier temperature is forecast at 32 degrees or higher on a race day the kennels will be open a half hour earlier. TRIALS: Every Tuesday and Saturday, commencing at 9 a.m. (SA time). Bookings on arrival at track.
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Merbein South trainer Jamie Quinlivian had done it all before, on several occasions, making the long trip to Tara Raceway without a lot of success and then facing what always seemed an even longer trip home.
Quinlivian travels thousands of kilometres every year with his greyhounds, due to the remote location of Merbein South (just down the road from Mildura) from a greyhound track point of view.
There was a time when he wouldn’t have been too badly situated – tracks being located at Robinvale (Victoria), Wentworth (NSW) and Barmera (SA). These days, though, his closest tracks are Gawler and Horsham, both four hours away.
In Mount Gambier last Sunday for heats of the Peter Rocket Summer Classic (512 metres) and the Metal Worx Feature Grade Five (512 m), the 46-year-old trainer clinched a final spot in the classic after Serene Machine ran fourth in the first heat.
And then in the second heat, Quinlivian pulled off one of the upsets of the day when Shot Thru, a $23 chance, finally gave him his first winner at the track and his second Summer Classic finalist – Serene Machine and Shot Thru later drawing boxes eight and four respectively for this Sunday’s final.
Shot Thru, a daughter of My Bro Fabio and Geelong maiden winner Lainey Bale, actually did a good job to win the heat in 30.50 seconds considering it was her first run on the track.
Away only fairly from box three, she still had plenty of work to do mid-race although off the back the black bitch had put herself right in the race, finishing too well in the home straight for Monarto South trainer Tony Hinrichsen’s pair of Breemelia Swift and Assertive Fury (a half-brother to his 2016 Summer Classic winner Menzel Boys).
Quinlivian said he believed Shot Thru – a litter sister to Tritt Tritt who has won seven races from 10 starts and prizemoney of more than $18,000 on Victorian tracks – had her share of ability.
“I actually reared her from nine months of age for Charles Mercieca and Mark Mihailovic, receiving in return a one-third share in her,” he said.
“And when she won first-up at Horsham over 410 metres back in September last year I thought she was probably worth sending to Melbourne to be trained but that didn’t work out and she was back home again by January.”
Later in the day, Quinlivian’s Bessie Belle went down by a nostril to Blazing Moment in the first heat of the Metal Worx Feature Grade Five although litter brother Signal Peak made amends in the second heat with an impressive 29.91 seconds win over perennial placegetter Chilly Kiss.
Both are into the final on Sunday, as is Monster Foxy – all being out of Quinlivian’s prolific producer Rustic Reeta who raced on only 19 occasions for two wins, both in the space of a week in mid-December 2012 at Ballarat and then Tara Raceway where she won over 400 metres in 23.90 seconds.
Some time later Quinlivian acquired her for breeding. Ask him what the attraction was and he’s got no idea. All he knows is that, after a mating with Cape Hawke, more than 100 winners followed with the rest now being history.
So the trainer, who has done pretty well for someone involved in the sport for only four years, left the track on Sunday with wife Lydia, along with a couple of winners and the prospect of having to do it all again this Sunday.
Mind you, the trip home from Mount Gambier last Sunday wouldn’t have seemed anywhere as near long as some of those of the past.
But Lydia Quinlivian could be missing this week as there’s plenty happening at the moment at Merbein South – Rustic Reeta has an 11-pup 10-week-old litter by Sulzanti while Sweet Savage, a litter sister to Signal Peak and Bessie Belle, whelped eight dogs and five bitches six weeks ago to Hostile.
And as if that’s not enough, well-performed staying bitch Tahlo is in pup to Worm Burner.
Time honours for the classic heats went the way of the Tracie Price-trained Dynamite Danger who led all the way from box seven, holding out Galactic Panther in the run to the line to win by a neck in 29.99 seconds.
Both dogs should be further improved, Dynamite Danger having only his second run over 512 metres and Galactic Panther his first race start since mid-December, although he had been trialling well.
While the former found plenty on his first-up effort over the distance at Tara Raceway a week prior, the improvement wouldn’t have come as any real surprise to Price who had been talking up the classic chances of the son of Dyna Double One x Mepunga Jayelle for several weeks.
What might have surprised him though was the effort of kennelmate Same Scenario who found something like a 16-length improvement on her previous 512 metre efforts when running a 1½ length third and clocking 30.10 seconds.
The nicely-bred daughter of Fabregas and Who’s Doing What, a distant third down the back straight behind Dynamite Danger and Galactic Panther, worked home well and will add even more interest to what should be a terrific Peter Rocket Summer Classic final on Sunday afternoon.
Monday, February 12, 2018
Four weeks out and Toolong greyhound trainer Phil Lenehan’s Mount Gambier Cup prospects have been considerably boosted by the return to the kennels of the enigmatic Lektra Forrest and by the performance of his litter brother Lektra Stomp at Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon.
By Walk Hard x Lektra Angie, Lektra Stomp, an odds-on favourite when narrowly beaten the previous week by Odd Boots at Tara Raceway, lined up from box eight in a smart Open field as a $3.30 chance behind a couple of other cup prospects in Zuma Creek and Hutch who shared favouritism at $3.10.
In direct contrast to last week, the white and black dog quickly found the front in the 512 metre event and was never ever going to be beaten, eventually running out a 7½ length winner over Odd Boots with a further three lengths back to Zuma Creek.
But it was the winning time that told the story – 29.57 seconds. This is the third-fastest time ever recorded at the track, bettered only by the Jeff Guy trained Brazen Bomber’s then-record run of 29.55 seconds on June 11 and then Mojito Mayhem’s current record of 29.52 seconds recorded a week later for Peter Franklin.
The win completed a good weekend for Lenehan at Tara Raceway after Bluey Moran and Lektra Menzel had been successful at Friday’s time-graded meeting.
Lektra Forrest, a fair lump of a dog that tips the scales at around the 36 kilogram mark, has raced on 29 occasions on Victorian tracks for seven wins and $27,000 in prizemoney, running times at The Meadows, Sandown Park and Ballarat that would make him more than competitive at Tara Raceway.
Mortlake trainer Peter Crawley confirmed that Zuma Creek, a son of Fabregas x Skye Creek, and a 29.66 seconds winner at Tara Raceway on Australia Day, was being set for the cup.
And Crawley could also have a strong second-string in the form of Bomber Creek, a younger half-brother (by Magic Sprite) to Zuma Creek – an impressive 29.97 seconds maiden winner on Australia Day and looking even better on Sunday in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m) with a 9¼ lengths win in 29.88 seconds.
Also on the cup trail is Blazing Moment who wrapped up another big day for Compton trainer Tracie Price after Cindy La Moment, Baz’s Moment and Dynamite Danger had been successful earlier in the day and taken his winning tally for the year to 18.
Blazing Moment, a 37 kilogram son of Bekim Bale x Lucy’s Moment, is slowly but surely finding form again after major surgery forced him off the scene for much of the latter part of 2017.
A Darwin Cup finalist in early August last year, Blazing Moment was having his first run over 512 metres in close to six months in the first heat of Sunday’s Metal Worx Feature Grade 5.
And in a deceptive finish, the big black dog – in an effort that should top him off nicely for this Sunday’s final – was able to get the decision by a nose over the Jamie Quinlivian trained Bessie Belle in 30.05 seconds.
Saturday, February 10, 2018
Kongorong trainer John Little opened his winning account for this year when Gee She Roks broke a frustrating run of outs to score a tidy win in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (600 metres) at Tara Raceway’s time-graded meeting on Friday.
A greyhound that generally uses her fair share of the track, she surprisingly took full advantage of box one in the 0-3 wins event, chasing Kinnky McPhee until the home turn where she railed through, eventually running out a 2¼ length winner in 35.92 seconds.
The win was Little’s first since October, although even then he had to be content with sharing the spoils after Bungaloo Thor dead-heated with Special Case in a maiden 400 metre event.
“Actually, my last outright wins came at a meeting back at the end of July when Bungaloo Lucy and Bungaloo Ruby won the first two maiden races at Tara Raceway over 400 metres and 512 metres respectively,” he recalled.
By Cape Hawke x Freestyle Lass, Gee She Roks’ last win had been almost 12 months ago, Little taking her over in July as a give away from Adelaide owner Ross Schurgott who, as it turns out, is a distant relative to Little.
And Schurgott also has a connection with Harken, who opened her Tara Raceway winning account in the Trackside Meats Stake (512 m) on Friday after previously winning at Maitland and Gosford.
In Allendale East trainer David Peckham’s kennels since early last month, Harken, a daughter of Swift Fancy x Montanus, also has a tie-up to Freestyle Lass, both tracing back to former champion dam Thai Again.
So for Little it was a case of perseverance finally paying off with Gee She Roks, although he’s the first to admit that his patience had been wearing pretty thin.
“To be honest, I’d just about given up hope of her ever winning a race for me,” he said. “In fact, it was only a week ago that I was offering her to anyone who wanted her as a give away.
“Fortunately there were no takers!”
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Already he’s being talked up as one this year’s best local Mount Gambier Cup hopes but Moorak breeder-owner Robert Chuck and long-time greyhound trainer Steve Bartholomew of Worrolong aren’t looking any further than heat one of Sunday’s Peter Rocket Summer Classic (512 metres) with Galactic Panther.
By Milldean Panther x Galactic Rumball, the black dog will jump from box five on the back of four consecutive wins at Tara Raceway over 400 metres and 512 metres in November and December last year.
And even though it’s been close to two months since Galactic Panther last raced, Bartholomew said this week that he couldn’t be happier with the dog’s condition going into the age-restricted series.
“He’s overcome a few minor issues and I’ve been really pleased with his recent trials at Tara Raceway. Hopefully he can keep out of trouble from box five on Sunday and qualify for Sunday week’s final.”
Whelped in January 2016, Galactic Panther is well placed as one of the oldest in the Summer Classic, a far cry from last September’s Winter Classic when he was the youngest runner.
But for all that, he ran a terrific second behind Away We Go in a heat before having no luck in the final behind Solitary Lad.
The two heats of the Summer Classic have attracted greyhounds from far and wide, none farther though than Serene Machine, Bushiri and Shot Thru who are trained by Jamie Quinlivian of Merbein South, some 600 kilometres from Mount Gambier.
Drawn in boxes four and two respectively in separate heats, Serene Machine and Bushiri, both three-race winners, are by Banjo Boy out of Quinlivian’s prolific brood bitch Rustic Reeta who has now produced more than 100 winners from matings to Cape Hawke and Banjo Boy.
Compton trainer Tracie Price, a great supporter of the local age-restricted races, has won the Winter Classic twice, with Stylish Moment and Cee Me Burst, and will probably be relying upon either Dynamite Danger or Shine On Shannah to give him his first Summer Classic success.
Dynamite Danger, although virtually unknown at 512 metres, was a quick 23.18 seconds maiden winner over 400 metres last month while Shine On Shannah looked pretty good in her 512 metre 30.28 seconds win last Sunday.
Two years after Menzel Boys won the Summer Classic, Montarto South owner-trainer Tony Hinrichsen is back with the son of Dyna Tron x Fighting Fury (a finalist in Banger Harvey’s 2011 Mount Gambier Cup) for the winningformula.net.au Stake (400 m).
Natural Fury and Assertive Fury – by Lochinvar Marlow and also out of Fighting Fury – will make the trip with Hinrichsen in the hope that one of them may emulate their half-brother’s 2016 success in the Summer Classic.
And Toolong owner-trainer Phil Lenehan will also be attempting to win a Summer Classic, with Lektra Viki, after Lektra Munster won the Winter Classic for him in 2016.
The nicely-bred daughter of KC And All x Lektra Scarlett is yet to race at the track and has drawn box five in the second heat. However, she has a pretty handy record of three wins from 12 starts and should find this a bit easier than her last start at Horsham where she ran into Lektra Stomp and Paraphernalia.
Interestingly, the previous Summer Classic winners, Cryer’s Ricky, Menzel Boys and Hutch, all took on the Mount Gambier Cup the following month and all reached the final.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Local owner-trainer Amanda Darmanin’s small team continues to perform well, the latest win coming at Tara Raceway last Sunday when Ruby’s Cheekstar got up in the last bound in the Greyhound-Data.com Stake (400 m) to defeat tearaway leader Jay Bee Ell.
The win was the first over the short course for the black bitch, with her breeding of Cape Hawke x Jamaican Ruby suggesting that she would be better suited over more ground as has been the case with littermates I’m A Princess and Ima Caravan.
But Ruby’s Cheekstar is also a 600 metre winner – twice at Tara Raceway – with Darmanin treating the 400 metre win as a real bonus as she builds her back up to middle-distance racing.
Sunday’s win was the first for Darmanin who purchased her in early November from breeder-owner Robert Walsh of Koroit after she had run second over 600 metres at the local track.
“After that run I asked him if he was interested in selling her,” she said. “In his typical fashion he said ‘it’ll cost you’ and from there we were able to work out a suitable arrangement.”
Ruby’s Cheekstar will line-up again on Sunday over 400 metres with Darmanin hoping to have her ready for The Tankman Grade Five 600 metre feature over the Mount Gambier Cup carnival.
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Another day of multiple winners last Sunday for Compton greyhound trainer Tracie Price – this time a bag of five – was the best individual performance at Tara Raceway in just over 12 months.
Last year’s leading trainer, Nicole Stanley, kicked off her winning year on January 1, 2017 with five winners – Evening In Paris, Travel Ticket, Stylish Pursuit, Fiorelli Rose and Old Jock.
For Price, it was his most successful day at the track since September 3 last year when he won with Shannah’s Might, Black Fields, Which Moment and Gangster Of Love.
The most number of winners trained by an individual on any one day at Tara Raceway is six – a record established by Price on Sunday, September 20, 2015 after Fear The Rascal, Pam’s Boy, Who’s Doing What, Roma’s Moment, Whatta Moment and Mellow And Black won half the races on the programme.
Success came early in the day on Sunday for Price after Kevin Bouchier’s Dimora Flash, a daughter of Cosmic Rumble and the 2014 Winter Classic winner Stylish Moment, took the lead going out of the first turn and was never headed when opening her winning account in the Greg Martlew Autos Stake (512 metres).
He then won the final four races with Shine On Shannah, Swift Moment, Swift Limes and Hopalong, the former, by Fabregas x Shannah’s Star, a younger half-sister to Price’s two former prolific-winning dogs in Shannah’s Might and Fear The Rascal.
Owned locally by Don Nunn, Shine On Shannah led all the way from box seven in the Klaassens Contractors Stake (512 m), eventually holding out an improved Garnet to win by a head in 30.28 seconds – a time that should see her more than competitive in this Sunday’s Peter Rocket Summer Classic heats.
Box one specialist Swift Limes, a member of the successful Swift Fancy x Which Class litter, quickly shook off Ming Men Shen before going on to a comfortable six length win over that greyhound for the Bouchier Syndicate in the Gambier Vets Mixed Stake (400 m).
And for the second consecutive meeting, the Scott Brandon owned Hopalong broke the 23-second barrier for the 400 metre journey when clocking 22.93 seconds (22.96 seconds at his previous start) and once again defeating Oh No Beta in his all the way win.
But the story of the day as far as Karen and Tracie Price were concerned was the win of Swift Limes’ litter brother Swift Moment in the Produce Store Stake (400 m).
This is the dog that ran a best of day 29.82 seconds over 512 metres at Tara Raceway in May last year, impressing to the extent that he was promptly sent to WA to be trained by Krystal Shinners.
However, at his first start the following month at Mandurah the black dog suffered severe tendon damage which saw him flown back to Victoria where he underwent a lengthy surgical procedure.
It would be seven months before Swift Moment raced again, finally back on the track on January 26 at Tara Raceway over 400 metres and finishing third in a pretty handy grade five field.
Team Price was happy with the run but even happier last Sunday when he led all the way to defeat Arolok Jax by six lengths in a quick 23.16 seconds.
“What we like about him is that he’s such a hard chaser, especially now that he’s starting to get his confidence back,” Karen Price said. “Now we’re hoping he’ll be ready for the Mount Gambier Cup.”
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Give away greyhound Luca Flyer kicked off a good day for 16-year-old owner Clarissa Miller of Adelaide when he opened his winning account at Tara Raceway on Sunday in the Rock’s Retreat Maiden Stake (400 m).
Despite jumping slowly from box three, the brindle dog was able to secure a dream rails run throughout, eventually rounding up Hard Call in the home straight and then holding off a fast-finishing Clear The Bar to win by three-quarters of a length in 23.92 seconds.
By Luca Neveelk, a winner of 29 races and $500,000 in prizemoney, out of Independent Lass, Luca Flyer was picked up by Allendale East trainer David Peckham for Miller after well-known Dennington trainer Dusty Drew was looking to move him on prior to racing.
“Clarissa had been looking for another dog to race with Chilly Kiss who is trained for her by her grandmother Connie (Miller) so when Luca Flyer was offered to me I thought she might be able to have a bit of fun with him,” Peckham said.
A litter brother to Ben Hur, who has won 10 races and $23,000 in prizemoney on NSW tracks, Luca Flyer will now line up from box five in the ClassicBet Stake (400 m) at tomorrow’s time-graded meeting at Tara Raceway.
And later last Sunday Chilly Kiss knocked up her fourth successive minor placing for the Millers when running a 2¼ length second to Stylish Pursuit in The Border Watch Stake (600 m) for grade five bitches.
Monday, February 5, 2018
Lektra Stomp’s return to Tara Raceway on Sunday afternoon added plenty of interest to the main 512 metre race of the day, the winningformula.net.au Mixed Stake, after the white and black greyhound had won earlier in the week over 485 metres at Horsham.
The winner of the Newman McDonnell Memorial (512 m) in a flying 29.69 seconds back in November, Lektra Stomp was a $1.80 chance from box three for Sunday’s race, trainer Phil Lenehan of Toolong looking for another forward showing at the local track with a view to the forthcoming Group Listed Mount Gambier Cup (512 m).
But by the time the field had headed into the back straight the short-priced favourite was closer to last than first, Galactic Viper soon after railing through to take the lead from Banjo Queen while Odd Boots was unobtrusively making ground along the rails.
And there was still life in the ageing legs of Galactic Viper who led the field into the home straight before Odd Boots finished powerfully to hold out Lektra Stomp, who came from a mile back, to win by a head at the nice odds of $14.
By Cosmic Rumble x Guru Doll, Odd Boots gave Portland trainer Robert Halliday his fifth winner this year at Tara Raceway with the white dog having now won 15 races in a career that kicked off on November 4, 2016 with a win over Irka Jakit.
Lektra Stomp, having his first run at the track in close to two months, didn’t lose too many friends with his effort and looks one of the better cup hopes for Lenehan who will be out to emulate his father Brian who was successful in the 1993 Mount Gambier Cup with Immortal Flash.
In the end, the Barry Shepheard owned and trained Galactic Viper finished 2¾ lengths back in third spot at what was his 113th race start. Not a bad effort in a higher-grade race for a greyhound that is only eight days short of his fifth birthday.
Monday, February 5, 2018
Cryer’s Bob, a brilliant 12¼ length winner of the 732 metre distance at Tara Raceway back in December, went right on with the job on Sunday with another big win at his second start over the stayers’ journey in the JB Irrigation Mixed Stake.
Coming into the race on the back of four reasonable runs over 600 metres, including a last start sixth behind dead-heaters Odd Boots and Xtreme Carnage on January 21, Cryer’s Bob’s biggest danger in the five-dog field appeared to be Kevin Finn’s Destini Montana, second over 725 metres at The Meadows last Wednesday.
But as it turned out, there were no real dangers after Cryer’s Bob railed through on Destini Montana turning for home the first time before grabbing the ascendancy going into the back straight and running away to a 7¾ length win in 44.10 seconds.
By Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget, the January 2015 brindle dog is owned by Margaret Cryer and trained by husband Tom with the pair now holding a strong hand in the staying ranks after the return of litter brother Cryer’s Plugger, also a 732 metre winner at Tara Raceway, to their Apsley kennels last week.
Speaking after the race, Tom Cryer said he would now give some consideration to perhaps trying Cryer’s Bob over 731 metres at Angle Park.
Meanwhile, later in the day The Border Watch Stake for grade five bitches over the 600 metre middle-distance journey turned out to be a keenly-contested affair with Stylish Affair defeating Chilly Kiss and Azumi Spice in 35.78 seconds.
Owned and trained at Portland by Nicole Stanley, Stylish Pursuit, a daughter of Mogambo x Butterfly Bling, broke a long run of outs, her last win being back in May last year. She will now line up over 600 metres at The Meadows on Wednesday afternoon.
The win was the first leg of a running double for Stanley, Derivation improving plenty to win the Gordon Refrigeration Stake (512 m) by 6½ lengths in a personal best 30.26 seconds from Breemelia Swift and Dyna Beryl.
Monday, February 5, 2018
The drought finally broke for long-time Glenroy trainer Richard Clayfield and Shore’s Last in the Williams Crane Hire Stake (512 m) at Tara Raceway on Sunday.
For Clayfield it was his first win this year while Shore’s Last, a well bred son of Kinloch Brae x On Shore, last won at Tara Raceway in July last year.
A winner of three races at the track and distance, the brindle dog led all the way to defeat the consistent Goldie’s Run – nine minor placings from his past 11 starts – by three-quarters of a length with a further 2¼ lengths back to the luckless Xtreme Purpose in 30.39 seconds.
Speaking later, Clayfield said the win had been a real confidence-booster for a dog that had been sadly lacking in confidence.
“He had lost all confidence and then back in early November he fell in a 600 metre event which certainly didn’t help matters,” he said.
“Because he’d won here in 30.07 seconds I knew he could run a bit so I freshened him up before giving him a few trials.
“But, to be honest, the trials were nothing special so no one was more surprised than me when he came out today and won at $26.”