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Trainers find the secret

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Secret Mantra is certainly not your average type of Masters greyhound.

Here he was lining up as a four-year-old in the 400 metre Gambier Vets Masters – for grade five dogs that are 3½ years or older – at Tara Raceway on Friday afternoon with only 26 starts to his name.

These races are generally for the likes of Twistex, only three months older than Secret Mantra but going around for a 171st time when contesting Friday’s Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (400 m).

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Secret Mantra pictured after his Masters win at Tara Raceway on Friday.

However, being a grade three, Twistex was a fair way off from being eligible for the Masters class. Even further now after leading all the way and bringing up win number 30 and $45,000 in stakemoney for David and Toni Jones of Devon Meadows.

But back to Secret Mantra and his Charlton trainer Kevin Ashton, who landed his fourth Tara Raceway win this month, after the son of Mantra Lad and Dadda Poppa scored a comfortable win against the veterans in what turned out to be a best of day 23.34 seconds.

And according to Ashton, the secret to the white and fawn dog is to run him only at Tara Raceway, hence his limited number of starts.

“The simple fact is that he just won’t go on any other track,” he said. “I’m putting it down to the finish-on-lure. He certainly seems to enjoy chasing the big red lure.

“The only trouble is, of course, being four hours away it is not always convenient to get over here which is disappointing because Jan (Neil) and I really enjoy racing in Mount Gambier.”

Secret Mantra has now won three races – two of those being this month.

Another trainer who reckons the finish-on-lure has worked wonders for his greyhound is Robert Walsh of Koroit.

Walsh was over on Friday for the 400 metre maiden heats and landed his first Tara Raceway winner when Saint Flynn, the only greyhound he is currently training, was successful.

Having only his fourth race start, the well-supported brindle dog looked to be in plenty of bother early before bursting from the pack down the back prior to running out a strong 4¼ length winner in 23.55 seconds.

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Saint Flynn scored an impressive win in a heat of the maiden 400 metre series for Robert Walsh of Koroit.

But, as Walsh explained, it hasn’t been all plain sailing for the Peter Byrne-bred March 2014 son of Spring Gun and 13-race winner Real Frosty.

“When he was 12 months old he damaged a shoulder and as a result he spent some months getting over the setback before Peter asked me if I would be interested in having a go with him.

“Probably the best thing I did was to bring him over to Tara Raceway because he had been a little hesitant on other tracks and the finish-on-lure seems to have really brightened him up.”

Prior to Saint Flynn, the last greyhound Walsh had raced locally was Ima Harley which concluded his 86-start career at Tara Raceway on September 25, 2015 at 6½ years of age.

Earlier in the day, Saint Flynn’s litter brother, Saint Fox, put in a big performance for Byrne and Southern Cross trainer Ray Mahony to win the first heat of a maiden 512 metre series.

A short-priced favourite at his past three starts at Tara Raceway, the brindle dog looked like proving a costly conveyance once again after jumping slowly and still well back down the back straight.

But Saint Fox loomed large turning for home and finished too strongly to win by three-quarters of a length in 30.90 seconds.


Iron Dog to test greyhounds’ versatility

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The versatility of 16 greyhounds will be tested over the next three meetings at Tara Raceway when they line up in the annual Iron Dog series which is once again sponsored by Michael Niele of Berringa Park Kennels.

The first round of the three-distance series kicks off with two heats over 600 metres and will be the highlight of Sunday’s 10-event programme.

At the following Sunday’s meeting (September 4) the same greyhounds will race over 400 metres with the eight highest point scorers from the first two rounds then contesting the 512 metre final on Friday, September 9.

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Iron Dog contender Roarsome has won over Tara Raceway’s three distances for owner Erin McNamara and trainer Ralph Patzel.

Roarsome and Dee Tee will line up in the first heat having previously won over Tara Raceway’s current three distances.

By Fear Zafonic out of Ren Shen, Roarsome has been a real revelation for Mount Wallace owner Erin McNamara since joining Ralph Patzel’s Mount Gambier kennels in May.

She’s now won seven races in that time, including a 600 metre win over Kirsty’s Me Mum in 35.37 seconds prior to a strong best of day 512 metre performance last Sunday.

Bushfield trainer Gary Lane intimated several weeks ago that the Iron Dog would probably mark the end of Dee Tee’s racing career.

She was actually retired at the end of November last year before being mated and subsequently failing to conceive before returning to racing in May.

And the daughter of El Grand Senor x Mantra Miss, now a rising five-year-old, showed she still had life in her legs when defeating Old Jock last month over 600 metres in 35.45 seconds prior to running third over the same distance behind Supreme Deal.

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Part-owners Kev Clayfield and Dale Lewis pictured with Glenville Jester.

Lane will now be hoping Dee Tee can go out on a winning note after she went into last year’s Iron Dog final (600 m) as the leading point scorer.

The Nicole Stanley trained Old Jock showed he is ready for the Iron Dog after a solid 600 metre win in the wet last Sunday while runner-up Kirsty’s Me Mum has won over both 512 metres and 600 metres at Tara Raceway for Southern Cross trainer Garry Elliott.

Adding even more interest to the first heat is the Richard Clayfield trained Glenville Jester, also a winner over both 512 metres and 600 metres this year.

Patzel also looks to hold a strong hand in the second heat with Supreme Deal, recent winner of the Eric Lewis Memorial (600 m) and successful at Tara Raceway’s three distances.

An older half-brother to last Sunday’s Winter Classic winner Lektra Munster, Supreme Deal defeated Old Jock in the memorial and at his last start chased home Cryer’s Jack in a 512 metre event.

The son of Where’s Pedro and Supreme Vision is raced by Patzel in partnership with Bob White, Darryl Patzel and Amanda Darmanin who is doing well at the moment in her own right as a trainer.

Cryer’s Jack, another Tara Raceway three-distance winner, is racing well for Tom and Margaret Cryer, having won his past two 512 metre starts.

The son of Spring Gun x Cryer’s Midget has won three 600 metre races and knows what the Iron Dog is all about after reaching last year’s final.

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Calum Blake, sponsor Michael Niele and Aaron Blake with inaugural Iron Dog winner Kiss Me Donkey.

The Berringa Park Iron Dog was first run in 2012 although it wasn’t all that testing back then. With 600 metre racing still to be introduced at Tara Raceway, the three-distance series was run over 400 metres, 512 metres and 400 metres.

Winning the inaugural event was the Aaron Blake trained Kiss Me Donkey which defeated the Brendan Bunworth pair of Ten Doeschate and Tanroddy Trina.

There was no Iron Dog staged in 2013 but the following year Cap Abbott’s former smart stayer Manila Express, originally a reserve, gained a start in the 600 metre final and defeated Sir Lenny, another Bunworth-trained chaser.

And then last year, with the 600 metre final run in driving rain, the Monty Wilson trained front-running Boolite Bruiser and Clayfield’s fast finishing Upset Boy couldn’t be split on the line.

This year’s Berringa Park Iron Dog final will carry $1750 prizemoney with the winner to also receive a K9 Winning Formula Kennel Pack (valued at $170), donated by Peter Bryce of Winning Post Supplies. All Iron Dog rounds are non-penalty.


Smart maiden winner to be put to the test

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

As far as maiden wins are concerned they don’t come much more impressive than that of Cee Righty’s in last Sunday’s JB Irrigation Stake (512 metres) at Tara Raceway.

The fawn dog was in front from box six by the time the field hit the first turn and from then he simply kept extending the lead, eventually winning by 10½ lengths in 30.64 seconds on a rain-affected track.

Only Lektra Peck and Roarsome ran quicker on the day.

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Andy Graham’s Cee Righty will tackle the second heat of a grade 6 series at Tara Raceway on Friday.

Bred, owned and trained at Portland by Andy Graham, Cee Righty is an October 2014 son of Cosmic Chief and Victorian city-winning bitch Cee Anna Rose which raced on only 18 occasions.

Graham also bred Cee Anna Rose (by Bombastic Shiraz) and regards her as the best of his prolific producer Senni Wendy’s stock.

Cee Righty will now line up at Tara Raceway on Friday from box eight in the Produce Store Stake (512 m) which is the second heat of a grade six series.

And Graham is likely to have more idea of where he’s at with his promising pup after the running of what is a pretty fair lower-grade race.

Jumping alongside him will be the Monty Wilson trained Kylan Brae which has little early pace but does finish strongly as demonstrated at Tara Raceway’s August 12 meeting when he came from a long way back to run down Cee Righty in 30.56 seconds – a 512 metre time that held up well on the day.

A son of Kinloch Brae x Sionara Milly, Kylan Brae, whilst unable to overcome the “first run out of a maiden hoodoo” when finishing fifth last Sunday behind Lektra Peck, should be better for the experience.

Cee Righty will run into that same “hoodoo” on Friday but if he can once again find the front then he should be very hard to run down.

Adding further interest to the heat will be the Nicole Stanley trained Hay Miss which has drawn box one and comes into race on the back of some solid form in the Winter Classic.

By Bekim Bale x Miss Stackhouse, Hay Miss ran down Lektra Munster in a heat of the classic before working home well to finish a 1½ length second to the same greyhound in last Sunday’s final.

Local owners Kerry Hawker and Michael Robinson, who picked up Gentle Moment after a handful of starts for $500, will be hoping the son of Spring Gun and Suzy’s Moment can bring up his third win when he jumps from box four in the South Eastern Hotel Stake which is the first heat of the grade six series.

Trained at Glencoe by Dean Fennell, Gentle Moment was successful shortly after being purchased but an accident which necessitated the removal of part of his tail then kept him off the scene for six weeks.

The black dog has obviously taken no harm from the ordeal, since winning again. And while he’s yet to win over 512 metres, three recent minor placings would suggest he’s not far away.

One of the hardest to beat looks to be the Tracie Price trained Port Side which chased Lektra Peck home at last Sunday’s meeting.

 

VETERAN TO GIVE A BIT OF CHEEK

The veterans are back at Tara Raceway on Friday for the Gambier Vets Masters Stake (400 m).

Designed to keep racing greyhounds in the system longer, Masters are non-penalty grade five 400 metre events for dogs 3½ years and upwards with preference given to older dogs.

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Connie Miller and Amy Howard with Bourne Cheeky which has drawn box one in Friday’s Masters event.

Friday’s race includes several in the minimum age bracket including the Barry Shepheard trained Galactic Viper which has drawn box eight and looks well placed in an event of this type.

A winner of $40,000, Galactic Viper is, however, yet to win at eight starts at the track and distance.

Punters invariably have found the Connie Miller trained Bourne Cheeky hard to catch in her 61 start career which has included nine wins – eight over 400 metres – but she does look well drawn in box one.

The November 2012 daughter of Spring Gun x Nicky’s Moment also should appreciate a drop in overall class after having run into Fear The Rascal and Future Past at her past two starts.

Black Barron Lad, trained at Bushfield by Gary Lane, is Friday’s oldest runner at 5½ years.

It’s been almost two years since the black dog last won but he was placed after showing early pace in the June Masters race and wasn’t beaten all that far at his last start at Warrnambool earlier this month.

As an aside, one of the oldest greyhounds going around at the moment is Victorian chaser Soldier Spy which was whelped in November 2010.

The son of Trewly Special and Ice Dancer has been kept in the system mainly by veterans’ races up the straight at Healesville where his past 29 starts there have resulted in 17 wins.


A classic win to the Munster

Monday, August 22, 2016

Toolong greyhound Lektra Munster’s brilliant mid-race burst in Sunday’s Banjo Boy Winter Classic at Tara Raceway set the scene for an impressive win in the $3000 age-restricted final over 512 metres.

A $7.50 chance from box four, he was the least favoured of three littermates contesting the third running of the classic, with Lektra Lucy and Lektra Ash both well fancied at $3 and $3.60 respectively.

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Owner-trainer Phil Lenehan with Lektra Munster after his Banjo Boy Winter Classic win. The $3000 final also carried a service to Group winner Banjo Boy.

Owned and trained by Phil Lenehan, the Munster had shown similar mid-race dash to find the front in a heat at the previous meeting but had been unable to hold out Nicole Stanley’s Hay Miss in the run to the line, eventually going down by a nostril.

In Sunday’s final, though, despite being in traffic and wide on the first turn, once he let loose down the back he was always going to be hard to run down.

Again it was the Portland trained Hay Miss, winner of last month’s John Reid Memorial, doing the chasing after momentarily hitting the front down the back, and while running home well, this time Lektra Munster had 1½ lengths to spare.

Lektra Ash, now based at Tarpeena with David Williams, finished the race off nicely in third spot and will be a more than handy addition to the local ranks while Lektra Lucy, favourite on the strength of an impressive heat win, found trouble going out of the first turn and never really got into the race for Lenehan.

The “Lektra” finalists were also bred at Toolong and are by Fabregas out of Supreme Vision, a winner at The Meadows, Sandown Park and Cannington.

Supreme Vision’s previous litter (by Where’s Pedro) includes former smart Melbourne chaser Lektra Concord, which has since been sold to New Zealand, and Supreme Deal, recent winner of the Eric Lewis Memorial (600 m) for Mount Gambier trainer Ralph Patzel.

The October 2014 Fabregas litter consists of six dogs and three bitches with six having already won.

And it’s been a pretty fair few days for Lenehan and the litter after Lektra Utah was successful at Horsham on Tuesday, Lektra Aly won at Warrnambool on Thursday night before Sunday’s classic success with Lektra Munster and Lektra Peck’s all-the-way win in the ClassicBet Stake (512 m).

The litter and training double continued his good run at Tara Raceway this year and brought up his 24th local win.

While conceding that Lektra Utah is the pick of the litter at this stage, Lenehan said he had been delighted with Lektra Munster’s effort in the Winter Classic.

“I certainly thought he would improve on his heat effort but I was really pleased with his mid-race dash today and it will now be interesting to see how far that takes him.”

With the winner’s time of 30.89 seconds being indicative of the wet conditions, this was certainly a winter classic in the true sense of the word.

 

STAMPING HIS AUTHORITY IN THE WET

While the past two Tara Raceway meetings have been pretty ordinary from a weather point of view, one greyhound that has really adapted to the conditions is Stampy Longnose.

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Catcher Mo Canala and trainer Dean Fennell pictured with Stampy Longnose after his Produce Store Feature Grade 5 win.

By Fabregas out of Lemon Cruiser, Stampy Longnose braved atrocious weather conditions from box eight last meeting in a heat of the Produce Store Feature Grade Five (512 m) when defeating litter sister Smirnoff Lass in a surprisingly quick 30.49 seconds.

And box eight and another heavy track were no deterrent on Sunday when the 35 kilogram black dog found the front going into the back straight and once again held out his litter sister, trained by Tracie Price, to win by 1¾ lengths in 30.66 seconds.

The win was his seventh since being taken over by Glencoe-based Dean Fennell in September last year for first-time owner Jack Davies who races Stampy Longnose in partnership with fellow Millicentites Paul Whitford and Fennell’s son Hayden.

The win also continued a good year for Fennell who has now trained 16 winners and been successful with Ticked Off and Stampy Longnose at the past three meetings.

The monthly Feature Grade Five heats and final events over 512 metres, which are funded by a $10,000 Greyhound Racing SA subsidy, have proven to be popular with owners and trainers.

And one of those trainers is certainly Fennell who said after the race that he believed the first prize of $1415 was probably the most he had ever collected from a single race.

Heats of next month’s Gordon Refrigeration Feature Grade Five (512 m) will be run on Friday, September 9 with the $2100 final on Sunday, September 18.

 

RUNNING DOUBLE

Recently-retired David Brodhurst of Serviceton is another trainer who is having a good year at Tara Raceway.

While working he had been limited to the number of meetings he could take in but with his greyhounds now able to race on a more regular basis he and wife Valerie are reaping the benefits.

Like on Sunday when Miss Murderous and Major Lachy sent the couple home on a happy note after winning the final two races.

Miss Murderous, a $7.50 chance in the Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (400 m) led early from box five before being head by Fu Ling Shen but finished too strongly for that greyhound in the run home to score by a length in 23.53 seconds.

Another winner for Fabregas, Miss Murderous is out of former Queensland stayer Tango Tapper and is owned by one-time Tara Raceway caller Chris Buttigieg.

And Major Lachy brought up Brodhurst’s 13th Tara Raceway winner this year when leading all the way in the Berringa Park Mixed Stake (400 m) to defeat Marlow Moment in 23.64 seconds.

Starting at the nice odds of $21, the son of Cape Hawke and Gifted Glory has now won four races since relocating to Serviceton in February this year.


Twistex just keeps on keeping on

Thursday, August 18, 2016

It’s now been almost three years since David and Toni Jones’s Twistex appeared for the first time at Tara Raceway where he finished a close-up second to Explosive Arrow over 400 metres at what was his second race start.

Last Friday, the black dog was back in Mount Gambier for the Klaassens Contractors Mixed Stake (400 m), having raced a further 164 times since that October afternoon back in 2013.

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David Jones pictured at Tara Raceway last Friday with Twistex after his 167th start.

So, with not too many racing greyhounds hitting the 100-start mark, Twistex’s record after race 12 stood at 167 starts for 29 wins and 45 minor placings – a real testament to his tenacity and durability.

By Dyna Lachlan out of Victorian city winner Avery Bale, he’s been at the Jones’s Devon Meadows property since day one.

“We actually whelped the litter for the owners,” David Jones recalled this week. “But it was only by pure chance that we happened to end up with Twistex.

“We had picked out a pup to purchase from the litter but it turned out the owners wanted to keep him so we had to make another choice.”

But the rising 4½-year-old is soon to embark on a different sort of journey.

“We currently have our property on the market and by Christmas we’re hopeful that we’ll be hitting the highway in a motor home and travelling around Australia,” Jones said.

“And yes, Twistex will be making the trip with us.”

 

CONFUSION OVER TRACK RECORD

Unsub Andy’s 600 metre track record at Tara Raceway will continue to be recognised by the Mount Gambier Greyhound Racing Club.

Owned and trained at Southern Cross by Peter Byrne, Unsub Andy lowered Miss Jacovella’s previous record when clocking 35.04 seconds on March 11 this year.

Brazen Bomber
Brazen Bomber defeats Old Jock and Fireball Jack in the Koroit 600 final at Tara Raceway in June. Picture: Todd’s Photographics.

However, confusion has arisen since the running of the Koroit 600 which was conducted on Sunday, June 26 and won by the Jeff Guy trained Brazen Bomber.

Due to a timing malfunction for that race, Brazen Bomber’s winning time was posted as a hand-timed 35.33 seconds.

But Greyhound Racing SA has Brazen Bomber winning the race in a hand-timed 35 seconds and now lists this time on its website and in all official form as the track record.

MGGRC secretary/treasurer Barry Shepheard said this week that he was trying to resolve the issue of the two track records for the same distance with GRSA.

“I’ve been in touch with GRSA stewards in regard to the anomaly but I’m still waiting for an explanation as to where this 35 seconds time actually came from.

“We don’t accept any hand times as track records so as far as we are concerned Unsub Andy’s 35.04 seconds is still the 600 metre track record.”

 

FIRST CITY WIN FOR THE RASCAL

Locally owned and trained fast-class performer Fear The Rascal won his first city race when defeating kennelmate Skatey Perry over 515 metres in a good 29.94 seconds at Angle Park on Monday night.

By Fear Zafonic out of Shannah’s Star, Fear The Rascal has now won 15 races and recorded 16 minor placings from 39 starts for Mingbool breeder-owner Don Nunn and trainer Tracie Price of Compton.

And Price was back at Angle Park for the Wednesday afternoon meeting with boom youngster Blazing Moment which recently won on debut at Tara Raceway.

The 37 kilogram son of Bekim Bale and Lucy’s Moment was slowly away from box six in a grade six 515 metre event but found the front turning into the back straight before running out a 3¾ length winner in a near best of the day 30.15 seconds.


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